Draft Class And Classroom Allocation Policy


Sacred Heart Primary School

Class and Classroom Allocation Policy

Introductory Statement:

This policy was formulated as a result of a collaborative approach between the Principal and Staff. 

Link to School Ethos:

Sacred Heart Primary Schoolis committed to enabling children grow and develop into confident, mature adults with high self-esteem.  We also strive to ensure children maximise their academic and social potential.  This policy is geared towards those aims through offering all children exposure to a variety of teaching methodologies and skills.

Rationale:

This policy ensures that teachers get the opportunity to expand their skills through teaching a range of different ages and topics, as well as teaching in different settings. It also offers the teaching staff and children flexibility within the system and there is provision in the policy for children to have access to teachers with specific skills and expertise.

Aims and Objectives:

The policy also facilitates the allocation of rooms suitable to the needs of the children;

  • To facilitate the smooth, efficient running of the school
  • To enable the teaching staff to professionally develop themselves through exposure to different age groups and curricula
  • To maximise the learning opportunities of the children through prudent class allocation which utilises to the optimum, the range of individual teaching skills within the staff

Policy Content

Class Allocation:

The allocation of teaching duties within the school is a matter for the Principal.  However, it is the policy of the school to reach collective agreement and consensus when distributing teaching duties.  The Principal facilitates this process in a fair and equitable way. 

The Principal is responsible for the creation, together with the Board, parents of students and the teachers, of a school environment which is supportive of learning among the students and which promotes the professional development of the teachers”. (Education Act – Section 23)

  • Teachers may spend a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years in a given setting. It is school policy to rotate every 5 years, using a staged approach.   
  • Toward the end of each year, all teaching staff will complete a form in which they list the 3 classes they would like to be assigned to for the coming year in order of preference. Teachers will also complete as record of the classes they have taught in the school over the past 10 years, or the length of time they have taught in the school should it be less than 10 years.
  • Courses completed in Special Education will also have a significant bearing on allocation as training and participation in a given programme may necessitate a teacher staying in Special Education for a number of years. Thereafter, it is at the discretion of the principal to allocate a teacher to a Special Education setting. Similarly, consideration will be given to class teachers who undertake training at of specific programmes (e.g. infant literacy and numeracy programmes; behavior programmes)
  • The Principal will allocate classes according to the class preference form completed by the teaching staff.  The Principal will also take other factors into account when making these decisions such as;
  • Teacher’s own preferences
  • Current class being taught. It is not intended that there would be a substantial change (e.g. from Junior Infants to 6th) for teacher during rotations excepting extraordinary circumstances. However, teachers will be expected to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to move within relative range of classes (within junior cycle Junior Infants to 2nd; or senior cycle, 3rd class to 6th). Teachers returning to the classroom from SET will be consulted as to their preference of class.
  • Experience
  • Contribution to overall school policy development in relation to teaching and learning
  • Range of classes already taught / not taught
  • Personality
  • Medical/Personal factors
  • Special talents
  • Opportunities for development such as Special Education, shared teaching etc.
  • Length of time teacher has spent in a given setting. Teachers with the longest periods in a given mainstream class/Special Education setting will be given consideration first for rotation.
  • During the period of transition to the 5-year model, a staged approach will be taken, so as to minimize disruption to the school. In this way, all teachers will not be required to move in the same year.  
  • Some teachers may have larger classes than colleagues.  This normally ‘evens itself out’ over a number of years, so that an equitable workload is achieved
  • Class allocation relies heavily on compromise and consensus.  If this is not possible to reach, the Principal will make an informed decision based on suitability, experience (whether a particular teacher has had the class before), special talents, courses taken and what is in the best interests of the children concerned.  An interview is not held. The principal’s decision is final. 
  • Class allocation is completed in May of every fifth year.  There is no special exemption for teachers in relation to First Communion and Confirmation classes.  Special arrangements are put in place if a teacher’s religious beliefs preclude preparing children for religious ceremonies.

Class Clusters

The Principal is responsible for the allocation and/or (if applicable) the splitting of classes for each academic year. This will occur after consultation with teaching staff. The Principal will decide, when applicable, the cluster of classes based on the following criteria;

  • The pupil numbers in each class
  • The DES pupil-teacher ratio. This is 26:1 as of Budget 2018
  • Classroom suitability/size
  • Curriculum Implementation- splitting classes with currculam levels (Jnr & Snr. Infants, 1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 5th & 6th)   
  • Individual Learning Needs of a particular pupil/pupils.

Splitting classes

The allocation of classes may require the splitting of classes. Split classes are viewed as two distinct class groups. Each class group will follow the same curriculum. The Principal may transfer a pupil from one classroom to another classroom within the same class group if deemed necessary for curricular, educational, administrative, and/or behavioural reasons. The school shall not consider requests by a parent/guardian to transfer a pupil between split classes.

In the event of splitting classes, the school will work to ensure balanced classes in accordance with the terms of DES Circular 20/07. The criteria for dividing the class will rest ultimately with the Board of Management.

Criteria for splitting classes:

  1. Teacher input - taking special needs into account
  2. Maturity and gender balance – equally weighted
  3. Parent input – taking friendships and siblings into account
  4. Fluctuating enrolment
  5. Classroom accommodation.

While it is not the ideal situation to separate the class, teachers will collaborate to ensure children will follow the same curriculum, use the same learning materials, and have the same opportunities.

Classroom Allocation:

  • Junior and Senior Infant classes are allocated rooms nearest the front of the school to allow ease of collection for parents
  • It is not the policy of the school to move classes from specific rooms unless in exceptional circumstances such as teacher request, physical damage to room or health and safety issues
  • The design of the school allows for ease of access to the Learning Support/Resource room, ICT/Library room, gymnasium and Assembly hall for all classrooms
  • Allocation of rooms will also be dependent on class or support of specific classes, i.e. allocation of a room in the junior or senior building.
  • Where possible, larger classes will be accommodated in larger classrooms.

Roles & Responsibilities:

All staff, under the guidance of the Principal participate in and contribute to the implementation of an effective and equitable class allocation policy.  Grievances are dealt with at a Principal/teacher level and will only transfer to the Board if a compromise cannot be reached.

Notifying Parents

Where feasible, parents will be notified of the next year’s class/teacher allocation before the end of the academic year. All decisions made in respect of class/teacher allocation may be subject to change at any stage before and during the school year.

Success Criteria:

The school evaluates the success of the policy through;

a)    Participation of all staff in the policy

b)    Smooth hand over of classes

c)    Feedback from all staff

d)    Staff satisfaction

e)    Parental satisfaction

Timetable for Review:

A review will be conducted based on the success criteria outlined, or where consensus and compromise is not achieved.

Ratification and Implementation:

DOCUMENT APPROVAL AND CHANGE HISTORY

Action

Name

Date

Staff

September

Parents Association

Board of Management – Chairperson

References

Education Act 1998 – Sections 22 and 23

Circular 16/73

CPSMA - Board Members handbook p.234