Split Class Policy

Ballyshannon National School Split Class Policy


This policy was the product of whole-staff collaboration in consultation with the Board of Management of Ballyshannon NS.


In the interest of providing the best education for all students, it may from time to time be necessary to divide and combine classes, which are smaller in size and offer a better pupil-teacher ratio.


Aims and Objectives of this Policy


Framework for the splitting of classes

At the time of planning the classes for the coming year, the Principal will look at the overall numbers in each year group and the number of teachers available to teach them. The Principal 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

We group the children in such a way so as to maximise the learning outcomes for each child. When dividing a year group/class, there are certain criteria to be taken into consideration:

·        Classes will be primarily split based on date of birth, taking into account mixed ability groups and gender balance

·         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

·         This decision for splitting the class will lie ultimately with the Principal, who must consider the needs of every child in the class

·         It would be the intention that once a new class is formed, every effort would be made to keep that class together 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. This increases their circle of friends and their abilities to form new friendships.

Explaining to parents why their child is in a split class.

The DES allots one teacher to each group of 26 pupils at present. This is known as the pupil-teacher ratio.  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 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.

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

The principal, the class teacher and special education team will consult on how best to organise the support teaching for the mixed class. In some cases, the special education teacher may work in the classroom with the class teacher, in a team-teaching arrangement. It is possible that the special education teacher may work in the classroom supporting a small group of children, with the class teacher doing the main teaching of the lesson. Another arrangement for special education which may suit the class is for either the class teacher or the special education teacher to withdraw small groups of children. There may also be the situation where there is a very large class and the principal would decide to allocate the special education teacher to this class.

All of these arrangements must be considered on a class by class basis, from year to year.

The allocation of teachers to split classes

It is the duty of the Principal as per Circular 16/73 to assign teaching duties.

Ratification and Review

This policy was ratified by the Board in May 2019 and will be reviewed on an annual basis.