Teaching mixed-age classes (primary)

Find expert advice to help teachers cater to pupils of different ages. See how other schools teach mixed-age classes and how to communicate your approach to parents and carers.

Last reviewed on 18 September 2023
School types: All · School phases: Primary
Ref: 8513
  1. You can introduce curriculum content earlier or later for some pupils
  2. Use age-related expectations to inform planning
  3. Keep whole-class teaching to a minimum
  4. Adapt your classroom environment as pupils mature and progress
  5. Take advantage of the mixed age groups
  6. See how schools have approached teaching mixed-age classes

You can introduce curriculum content earlier or later for some pupils

This is because within each Key Stage (KS), you’re only required to teach the relevant programme of study by the end of the Key Stage, rather than a specific year.  

For example, if a year 3 pupil in a mixed-age class is working beyond the year 3 curriculum, their teacher can introduce them to year 4 curriculum content. 

You can also teach Key Stage content in an earlier Key Stage, if appropriate.

This applies for English, maths and science (even though these programmes of study are set out by year) - see pages 16, 100 and 145 of the National Curriculum framework for KS1 and KS2. The programmes of study for foundation subjects are already set out by Key Stage. 

Make sure teachers are clear on the age-related expectations for the divided year