This year at Magill we have a high number of composite classes. Your child is one of those placed in a composite class. We understand that some parents worry about this and we would like to answer some of your questions and allay your concerns. Class structures vary each year depending on the numbers of students in each year level. Schools are funded on total enrolments. We then organise students into even class groupings of 26 (Reception to Year 2) and 30 (Years 3-7). To do this we need to have a number of classes with two year levels (composite classes). If we didn’t we would have some classes with 35 and others with 19. The most common fear for parents is that their child will fall behind - that the teacher’s attention will be split and that they’ll get overall less learning time with their teacher. The research does not agree. Multiple studies conclude that it makes no difference to performance whether students are in a straight or a composite class – the most important factor in determining how well a student does is quality of the teaching. What researchers, teachers and parents know is very supportive of grouping students in multi-age classes. Students’ learn at their own rate and in their own time. All students have their own strengths, interests and ways of learning best. This influences their ability to pick up learning more slowly or quickly than others. All students have specific needs and all require guidance from teachers and parents and this varies from one task and situation to another. In a straight class there are 26 or 30 students with different needs and in a composite class there are 26 or 30 students with different needs. Teachers work from where each individual student is at and develop them with the aim of at least 12 months growth for each student regardless of where they are at the beginning of the year. Teacher’s expectations are based on the abilities of their students and the average benchmarks per year level in the Australian Curriculum standards. Teaching in a composite class occurs with whole class, group and individual activities. Often a topic is presented to the whole class, with further teaching to groups and individuals. Teachers also offer different ‘entry’ or ‘extension’ points for students and allow for the students who catch on quickly, those who are poorly organised and those who need things explained in stages. These groups exist in every class – there is no such thing as a class all at the same level – in any one class there are students working within a range of five year levels – teaching in every class is based on the needs of the students. There is often a lot read into a child being placed in a composite class. We spend so much time in class placement and our aim is for every class to be balanced in terms of learning and social needs. The Year 4’s in a Year 3 / 4 class for example are not of lower average ability than the Year 4’s in a Year 4 or a Year 4 / 5 class. All classes have the whole range of students. We hope that this answers some of your questions and you feel positive going in to the new school year for all the learning and opportunity that it will bring.