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Frequently Asked Questions - Multi-Age Education

What is the class structure for 2012?

The class groupings for 2012 will be

Stage 1 Two Kindergarten classes and three clases of Yr 1 and 2
Stage 2 Three classes of Yr 3 and 4
Stage 3 Two classes of Yr 5 and two classes of Yr 6


How will this continue in the years beyond?

The structure by 2014 will be

Stage 1 Kindergarten, Years 1 and 2
Stage 2 Years 3 and 4
Stage 3 Years 5 and 6

However, the number of classes will depend on enrolment figures for each stage.


How will class groups be chosen?

Class groups will be formed using the same criteria as outlined in the school’s class placement policy. Formation of classes take gender, learning needs and social factors into consideration. Classes will be mixed ability. During Term 4, parents have the opportunity to provide the school with information that provides further background to student placement.


My child is in Year 4 (or Year 2). Will they be doing the same work as in Year 3 (Year 1)?

No. Education in New South Wales is developed around Stages as outlined in the syllabus documents.  This means that children work towards the achievement of outcomes over an approximate twenty-month period. It is the achievement of the outcomes rather than a focus on content that drives the curriculum.
Foundation statements provide the summary of knowledge, skills and attitudes that should be demonstrated by students who have achieved the outcomes for that stage. Teachers design activities based on the foundation statements and outcomes that meet the needs of the student at that time. All students are on a continuum of learning.

Through assessment for and assessment of learning children’s needs are identified and groups are formed to address these needs so that they can progress on the learning continuum. This means that within a classroom, groups will be fluid throughout Key Learning Areas as they change according to student’s needs as identified through assessment.

In English and Mathematics, this means that concepts are modelled to children, taught to specific needs of children in guided groups and then given opportunities to apply knowledge, skills, values and attitudes inindividual, partner or cooperative group learning experiences.

These literacy and numeracy skills are utilised in Human Society and Its Environment, Science and Technology, Personal Development and Health to explore concepts about people and our world.

Underpinning children’s learning is the ability for them to set goals and plan, take responsibility for their learning, work cooperatively and problem solve.

The success of the education offered at school is not restricted to academic pursuits but also to the development of the whole child. Our aim is that when children leave Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School they will exhibit the following qualities:


What will the learning environment look like?

Classrooms will have spaces that allow for modeled, guided and independent activities. Children will have the opportunity to use the stage’s combined space to work in cooperative learning tasks while still under the supervision of class teachers. The hall, Creative Arts classrooms and outside spaces will also be utilised for creative, physical and academic pursuits.


Why Stage classes and not Grades?

is arrangement allows for the equitable use of the school’s resources, both physical and human. The grouping of students is an organisational consideration. The structure of learning as outlined by the Board of Studies (which is the registering body for our system of schools) is divided into stages. This system allows children to consolidate their learning over a two-year period.


The Australian Curriculum is designed around classes. How will this be accommodated?

Curriculum documents provide teachers with a continuum of learning in each Key Learning Area. This provides a guide for teachers to plan learning experiences for children to meet their current needs and move them along the learning continuum.

By having the new curriculum in grades, it further clarifies this learning continuum. Grades are just one organisational structure, the core issue is knowing where children are in their learning and how to move them forward.


How will excursions be organised?

Excursions relate to the areas of study in Key Learning Areas – particularly Human Society and Its Environment, Science and Technology, Personal Development/Health and Creative Arts. Therefore, within a stage of learning, excursions will match the outcomes being covered.


Where will classes be located?



Which enrichment opportunities will be offered?

Current enrichment programs will continue. These include School Band, sport gala days (enrichment days for those not attending), focus groups for literacy and numeracy, Southern Illawarra Catholic Schools enrichment days.
Extra experiences will occur in Music and Visual Arts for 2012.  


What does stage education look like?

Throughout the first two learning sessions, emphasis is given to

  • English in the morning session (8:55am – 10:55am)
  • Mathematics in the middle session (11:25am – 12:25pm)
  • Religious Education in the middle session (12:25pm – 12:55pm)

During this time, Religious Education is taught in student's own classes.
English will have the same focus across the stage with the major/minor text type focus occurring over a two-year cycle. For example:


Modelled learning experiences would generally be presented to a mixed ability group to expose children to ideas outside their current thinking and experience. Guided Reading, Reciprocal Reading and Guided Writing groups will be determined by assessment data and will change regularly according to the needs of the students. Independent activities will emanate from these experiences. Content may be literature or other KLA based. Spelling and Comprehension will continue to remain as focus areas for development in the school.

Mathematics would have all children learning the same strand. Number sense would be to a mixed ability group so as to expose and reinforce students to efficient practices. There is flexibility in that explicitly teaching the concept could also be done to the mixed ability whole class group or to students from across the stage who are grouped (from assessment data) into similar position on the learning continuum. Students would then be provided with support from the teacher and school support staff as they undertook individual, partner or cooperative group investigations. The sharing of their learning at the end of the Mathematics lesson would also be with the mixed ability class or identified group to draw out and emphasise the learning.

In the afternoon sessions, children have the opportunity to explore Human Society and Its Environment, Science and Technology, Personal Development, Health, and Creative Arts. These would be organised around a two-year cycle and would engage children in rich learning tasks that invite them to ponder and learn about people and the world. These may be integrated units of works. These would also be implemented to across ability groups. Teachers could use their expertise in organizing the learning for the whole stage and model implementation of the strategies for the whole stage group while this would be a professional development opportunity and support role for other staff.

Time needs to be given to ensuring analysis of data is understood by all members of the stage team and that planning for student achievment is consistent across the stage. Teachers would also need to meet to share assessment data gathered if working with children from another class other than their own.


Why are we doing this?

This is an exciting opportunity to focus on the purpose of our school.  It addresses such questions as:

  • What is our understanding of our school's vision and mission?
  • what do the students need from education as Ss Peter and Paul?
  • How do we best utilise the staff to meet student's needs?
  • How do we use the learning space to implement the learning program?
  • How do we continue to build the community of the school?

We are doing this because this is the best way for our school to proceed at this time.


Links to useful websites

Research, models and descriptions of multi-aged classrooms can be found at the following websites:

Multi Age Classes and Stage Based Learning (NSW Public Schools)
Choosing Multi Age
Learning Theories and Multi Age Classrooms


How will Stage 3 curriculum be structured?

This is about children and their learning.

The Board of Studies organise learning into stages that cover a two-year period. Learning is seen as an individual journey along the continuum, where the children develop knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes.

Ss Peter and Paul’s curriculum is organised into two-year cycles – this means that units and content will be spread over the two years and children will not repeat these within the stage.

Religion – covers liturgical year (Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Advent/Christmas), sacraments, justice, creation/stewardship, Australian Catholic Church history, Scripture, Mary and the Saints. Confirmation is celebrated for children in their final year of Stage 3. At school they learn about the Sacrament, the parish with families prepares them to celebrate the Sacrament.

English – children have experiences in reading, writing, talking and listening, which also deal with spelling, grammar and punctuation. Teachers organise small / guided groups to meet student’s needs in these areas. Over the two-year cycle there is changing emphasis according to the content covered in other Key Learning Areas… with the text types having a major or minor emphasis each year.

Maths – Number, Patterns and Algebra, Data, Measurement, Space and Geometry are covered each year with children developing skills and knowledge along the continuum. Teachers will explicitly teach the concept and then children will work at investigating this through modified activities that allow them to work at their level of development.

Human Society and Its Environment / Science and Technology / Personal Development, Health, Physical Education / Creative Arts – these units are interchangeable across the stage – it is a school based decision whether these are covered in the first or second year of the stage. Children will complete the learning in these areas at their level of development.


How will leadership be organised?

Leadership roles will be for children in their last year of Stage 3. They will focus on public leadership and how to exercise their role within the school. Those in the first year of Stage 3 will have the opportunity to learn about personal leadership and school leadership roles as they are modelled by the older students. Children will explore either personal or public leadership at the Stage 3 camp.


When will major excursions occur?

Major excursions occur over the two-year cycle:

Canberra with the Human Society and Its Environment unit in Cycle A (even years)

The leadership camp in Cycle B (odd years).


Are there activities for students only in their final year of Stage 3?

Yes. These include SICS Leadership Day, Confirmation, design and wearing of sport shirts, Transition to High school programs and Secondary School orientation days, and end of primary school events (Farewell Mass and Dinner, end of year celebration)