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St Nicholas CE VA Primary School

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Class structure

In a small school like St. Nicholas, mixed year group classes are well established and successful. The school has 5 classrooms and 7 year groups with around 22 pupils in each year group.

Our pupils spend 7 years in the school: moving from their first year in Reception, through 2 years in Key Stage 1(infants) and then 4 years in Key Stage 2 (juniors) before moving onto secondary school.


How does the school work out the class structure each year?

St Nicks covers seven school years from Reception to Year 6 with an in-take of 22 pupils each academic year. There are 5 classes in the school which means every class has mixed year groups based purely on the age of each child. All children will have two classes in which they spend two years. The classes are as follows:

  • Garnet Class: All Reception and Year 1 (6 to 8 youngest children). The maximum amount of children in this class is 30.  
  • Topaz Class: Year 2 (youngest 14 to 16 children) and Year 1 (oldest 14 to 16 children). The maximum amount of children in this class is 30.
  • Emerald Class: All Year 3 and Year 2 (6 to 8 oldest children). The maximum amount of children in this class is 30.  
  • Sapphire Class: All Year 4 and Year 5 (11 youngest children)
  • Diamond Class: All Year 6 and Year 5 (11 oldest children 3 in Year 5)


How does the school decide which children should go into each class?

We put all of the pupils into a list based on their date of birth. We then work our way down through the list and allocate the children to classes as we go until we are happy that there is a good balance of class sizes. The allocation is based on each pupil’s age therefore ability is not considered.

The exact size of each year group varies from year to year which determines where the split for each class is made.


When are children and parents told about their new classes?

We understand that pupils and their parents want to know about their new class as soon as possible. Admissions for each year group are finalised in mid-June, at which time we work out who will be in each class and let everyone know in time for Move Up Day at the beginning of July.


Will my child make progress if they are in a class with younger pupils?

Pupils, who remain in the same class for more than one year, are taught the in line with the National Curriculum expectations for their specific year group. There is also a two year rolling programme for foundation subjects to ensure the children cover different topics. For example, the children who spent two years in Emerald Class would cover Tomb Raiders (Ancient Egypt) for one year in History and Grand designs (Ancient Greece) in the following year.


We assess the progress of pupils against the national expectations of pupils in each year group, irrespective of which class they are in. We know from analysing several years of data that pupils who in the same year group but in different classes make the same progress in younger and older classes. So for example, we know that in general, pupils in Year 2 in Topaz Class make the same academic progress as pupils in Year 2 in Emerald Class.


There is always a wide spread of children’s ability in every class and teachers focus on what each child knows, what they can already do and what they need to be taught next.


Are there further benefits to mixed aged classes?

Children who are the youngest in their year often grow in confidence when they become one of the eldest in the class. They can show the new children in the class how things are done and become role models for them. They learn to make new friends and still play with their old friends at playtimes and lunchtimes.


If my child stays in a younger class will they move to secondary school at the same time as their friends?

Yes they will. Pupils move to secondary education at the end of Year 6, irrespective of which classes they are in, or have been in, during their time at primary school. At our school Year 6s always spend their final year of primary school together in Diamond Class.






Emerald Class

Sapphire Class

Diamond Class



Year 1

Year 1

Year 2

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 5

Year 6

St Nicholas CE Primary School, Church Green
Harpenden, AL5 2TP