Ivy Chimneys Primary School is located in Epping, Essex and serves families in the immediate catchment of Ivy Chimneys.
The school is a popular choice amongst parents and each year is oversubscribed with a number of families who remain on our waiting list. We have grown significantly over the past number of years, with our NTA (Number to Admit) having risen from 40 to 45. We currently have a capacity for 315 children.
Our school is organised across 11 classes, from EYFS, KS1 and KS2. Since our NTA is 45, this results in some mixed age classes and is not an unusual arrangement for mid-size schools. The diagram on the right shows how our classes are organised.
We believe that mixed-age classes work really well and there is much educational research which points towards mixed-age learning being very successful with the younger children seeing the older children as role models. Our class teachers are very experienced and skilled in differentiating their learning to ensure that all children are appropriately challenged.
As you can see, currently we have two foundation classes meaning that one class will have just 22 children and the other 23. This provides an excellent start for our children in the first year of school. Each class has a full-time class teacher and at least one Learning Support Assistant, possibly two.
We pride ourselves in providing the very best opportunities for our children and families to ensure that the children reach their full potential. Whilst academic success is important to us, we first and foremost wish to ensure that our children are happy and have a strong desire to arrive at school each day.
NEW CLASS ORGANISATION
Each year, year groups are reorganised to form new classes and this is done for a number of reasons. Firstly, since there are mixed age classes at Ivy Chimneys, there is an obvious need for new classes to be created. Secondly, we believe that we provide children with the opportunity to develop social skills as they build new friendship circles amongst their classmates. We also recognise that there are times when particular children would benefit from becoming more independent or detaching themselves from less desirable partnerships. Therefore, the effect of creating new classes has several advantages.
New classes are always created with the input of the children's current class teacher. Class teachers have a great deal of understanding about the academic, social and emotional characteristics of the children they have taught. The teaching staff come together on one afternoon to reorganise children into their new classes. A number of criteria is applied to ensure consistency and balance:
- each class to be mixed ability and where achievable, have an equal numbers of boys / girls in each of the classes.
- where possible, each child is placed with another child from their current class in their new class. Please note, this isn't necessarily their best friend.
It is on very rare occasions, that a parent makes a specific request about where their child is placed. These situations occur very infrequently and each request is considered on a case by case basis. The Head Teacher will always wish to meet face to face with the parent to consider whether the request is valid. Only in exceptional circumstances will a valid request be acted upon.
We ask that parents support the school in helping your child manage the transition to their new class. The school supports the children by running a series of transition sessions which include both morning and afternoon sessions. These usually take place in the last four weeks of the school academic year. The schedule is as follows:
Session 1 - It's Good to be Me!
Session 2 - Maths and English focus
Session 3 - Curriculum Planning for September
Session 4 - Preparation for September
Children are notified about their new class at the first transition session where they will meet their new class teacher and classmates. Most children are very positive about their new classes and are excited about the prospect of the start to the new school year.
Should a child find themselves unhappy for whatever reason, we urge you to remain positive and encouraging. We need our children to become resilient citizens and over time, the concerns they raise will almost certainly improve and/or disappear. Our teachers are incredibly understanding and appreciative of the enormous anxiety that occurs during this time and they will help support you and your child. Changes to class organisation at this stage does not happen, unless, over the course of the transition period it is clear the situation hasn't improved.
If you do have a concern about any aspect of the new class allocation or transition, we ask that you come and speak with a member of teaching staff, Deputy Head Teacher or Head Teacher in the first instance. We hope to avoid involving children with a concern which may easily be quickly overcome and resolved.