One School, Two Sites
St. John's is organised over two sites: our infants (children aged 4-7 in Early Years, Year 1/2) are based at our recently developed Lower Redland Road (LRR) site and our juniors (children aged 7-11 in Year 3/4 and 5/6) are located at our Worrall Road (WR) site. Each site is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the age group located at that site. Children benefit from equipment and furniture that is appropriate and, especially in shared spaces such as the hall, the right size. So infant pupils at LRR eat their lunch at tables and on chairs designed for their height, meanwhile juniors at WR enjoy more challenging climbing equipment at playtime.
However, although both sites are self-sufficient and pupils have no need to move between sites during the school day, we very much encourage all pupils, families and staff to see themselves as part of the whole St. John's school. We regularly get together as one school to celebrate special events, and at the beginning and end of term. In addition, older pupils might visit younger pupils to share their writing; our infants visit WR to use our Forest School area; and we also have termly House Team events, each with a different focus, where pupils usually work in small groups made up of children of all ages - these really are very special.
For more information on our two sites, including directions and site-specific information, see:
Mixed Ages: Benefits For All
We intake 75 pupils each year and so have 3 smaller classes of 25 in Early Years (Reception). During the children's first year at St. John's they work both within their own class and also have a considerable amount of free flow between the other 2 classes and outside. This enables the children to get to know other pupils across the whole year group, not just their class, and really supports the ethos and organisation further up the school.
In Year 1/2, we have two Year 1 classes, two Year 2 classes and one mixed Year 1/2 class. When the children move to Worrall Road as juniors, they will be in five mixed age Year 3/4 classes. They will stay in that class for two years before moving up to one of what will be 5 mixed age Year 5/6 classes before they move on to secondary school.
In each year group, the whole year team work very closely together to ensure a consistency of experience and we have a two-year rolling curriculum programme to ensure a variety of topics are taught over the two years. We have been running this mixed age class system for many years and we know that, not only does it support learning, but it really aids social development and contributes to the 'family' feel that we value so highly. Key advantages of this approach include:
- Teachers have the opportunity to work with children for two years and really get to know them as individuals and learners. Recent educational research published in the 'Economics Of Education Review' found that this familiarity over 2 years actually improves educational outcomes; click here for more information.
- The younger children in a mixed class benefit from the support of the older pupils when they enter the class, and the older children learn valuable life skills through mentoring the younger pupils.
- The organisation helps pupils to become adaptable and to work with a variety of peers in different contexts. Many children develop a wide circle of friends, as they get to know those in the year group above and below them, as well as those in their own class and year group.
Our teachers and assistants are highly skilled at making sure work challenges all children, whatever their age or ability. As Ofsted noted in 2015, they "understand precisely the needs of each pupil and plan activities that enable every child to achieve their best." In mixed classes, St John's students learn skills for the future and benefit far more than they might otherwise do from being in the same class of 30 pupils throughout their time in primary school.