What is a composite class?
A composite class has students from more than one year level. For example, the class can be made up of students from Year Two and Year Three. As our student enrolments grow and change, it is likely that we will have several composite classes across the school. Research demonstrates that there are many benefits to students being in a composite class; and through teamwork and positive communication, we can support all our students to successfully transition to their new class and school.
Why do we create composite classes?
As our enrolments fluctuate and grow there will be a need to run composite classes at our school to meet industrial requirements. This is because funding in public schools is allocated on a per student basis, with our overall budget being assigned according to the total number of students enrolled on the census date, in early Term One each year.
How does the school decide the classes each year?
The principal and the staff work together to form classes that consider the overall student numbers, individual student needs, the recommended class size and the total number of staff employed by the school. Multiple scenarios are projected and considered based on needs throughout the whole school. The final decision is made by the principal.
How do teachers cater academically for more than one year level in a class?
Teaching has changed significantly in recent decades through a focus on teachers using data to develop whole class, group and individualised 'plan, teach, assess cycles' that meet specific needs across different curriculum areas. Our teachers are skilled in differentiating curriculum delivery and will be provided with ongoing coaching, feedback and support whenever required. In every class, including in single year levels, there is a significant variation in students' knowledge, skills and abilities across all curriculum areas. Teachers are adept at building learning opportunities, based on the curriculum, across multiple year levels. Research by Professor John Hattie indicates that teacher quality, as opposed to whether a class is a straight year level or composite makes a positive difference to the academic outcomes of students.
What about socially?
Children benefit tremendously from having friends outside of their year group, just as they do outside of school. Developing a wider group of friends gives students greater connections across the school and can benefit them within the wider community. It also helps students build social skills, which has a long term positive effect for building resilience. Most children quickly adapt to new classes and form friendships that are lasting in future years. All students share the same break times, which will further widen social and play opportunities.