Splitting of Classes Policy 2019

St.Colman’s N.S, Cappagh  Splitting of Classes  Policy 2019

This policy has been developed in consultation with the staff and B.O.M. of St. Colman’s N.S., Cappagh.

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In the interest of providing the best education for all students, it may from time to time be necessary to divide and combine classes to allow for class groupings that are smaller in size and offer a better pupil-teacher ratio.  An additional class at a particular level may be added resulting in smaller class sizes and reduced pupil-teacher ratio.


Aims and Objectives of this Policy

  • To provide a framework for the splitting of classes
  • To outline the criteria on which children are selected to be placed in particular mixed class groupings
  • To set out the supports which may be used to ensure the best learning outcomes for all children in mixed classes


Framework for the splitting of classes

At the time of planning class groupings, the school will look at the overall numbers in each year group and the number of teachers available to teach them. The school will decide how best to organise classes with a view to providing the best educational opportunities for all children.


Criteria for placing children in particular class groups

In consultation with the class teacher, and if necessary with previous teachers of the classes involved, lists of possible groups are drawn up. The children will be grouped in such a way so as to maximise the learning outcomes for each child. When dividing a class into groups, to be placed in particular class groupings, there are certain criteria to be taken into consideration:

  • It is considered best to form mixed-ability groups. The ability of the pupil will be determined by teacher observation, and test results.
  • The dynamics of the class must be considered. Emotional, behavioural and social factors will be taken into consideration when forming new groupings.
  • Gender(distribution of boys and girls in classes) and Family (siblings) Considerations
  • The process of forming new friendships is a life skill which is important to develop. A positive and supportive attitude from parents is a key element in achieving a successful outcome in the new groups.
  • It will seldom be possible to satisfy all demands for groups of friends to be kept together. This decision will lie ultimately with the Principal and School Management, who must consider the needs of every child in the class.
  • It would be the intention, that if a particular class has been split during a school year, every effort would be made to reunite that class going forward.
  • Parents will also be informed of any class split and consulted in any decision going forward.

Classes that have been split reunite daily to play together on the playground/sports field during breaks so they can maintain existing friendships as well as make new friends in the new group. On wet days, students from split classes will reunite with their class.  Classes will also reunite for sacramental preparation and during participation in school related activities and events (concerts, school tours, swimming, GAA coaching etc).


Explaining to parents why their child’s class has been re-distributed.

All parents/guardians of the pupils involved in a re-distribution will be informed by letter. This will outline the rationale and reasons for the re-distribution as well as the criteria used to decide on the new class groupings.

The DES allots one teacher to each group of 26 pupils at present. This is known as the pupil-teacher ratio. The ideal situation for teacher and pupil would be a single stream class at all class levels with no more than 20 pupils per class. However, the current system does not allow for this and the principal has overall responsibility for grouping or splitting the classes where numbers would otherwise be too big or too small in one class. The DES’ objective is that class size should be as equitable as possible across all class levels. The pupil-teacher ratio is dictated annually by the government budget and schools have no control over this. However, the teacher will ensure that each pupil in each class will be working on the set of skills from the national curriculum for the correct class.


Why does one half of the class have a different booklist to the other?

Classroom teaching is based on the curricular objectives for each class level. Pupil textbooks are used merely as a guide by the teacher. The primary curriculum ( is primarily skills-based rather than content-based. In Mathematics there is a separate set of content and skills for each individual class.

For other subjects the content is menu-based and teachers can choose content suitable to their class. The teacher is a professional who is trained to tailor the curriculum and differentiate the content and expected outcomes to cater for the needs of each individual pupil. The smaller the class group, the more effectively the teacher will be able to do this.

Although the class may be using a textbook as a guide, the teacher is dealing with each child as an individual learner. Pupils are not aware of this as it is carried out in a seamless manner by a skilled professional.  Teachers choose the books and adapt them. Publishers sometimes put numbers or names of classes on books as a guide. This may be misleading for parents as the teacher, as the professional decides how the content and skills to be taught.


The supports which could be made available to children and teachers in mixed classes

The Principal, the Class Teacher and Learning Support team will consult on how best to organise the learning support for the mixed class. In some cases, the Learning Support Teacher may work in the classroom with the Class Teacher, in a team-teaching arrangement. It is possible that the Learning Support Teacher may work in the classroom supporting one child or a small group of children, with the Class Teacher doing the main teaching of the lesson. Another arrangement for Learning Support which may suit the class is for either the Class Teacher or the Learning Support Teacher to withdraw small groups of children. All of these arrangements must be considered on a class by class basis, from year to year.

The allocation of teachers to classes

It is the duty of the Principal as per Circular 16/73 to assign teaching duties. We will endeavour at all times to work with all pupils and parents to ensure a smooth transition. The final decision will ultimately be with the Principal.


This policy will be reviewed in March 2020


Chairperson:_________________________     Date__________________________

Principal:____________________________    Date:_________________________