by Joanna Feast, 1 January, 2019


Using Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE with Composite Classes

Guidance and Supporting Documentation

The following guidance and supporting documents have been developed to support schools where there are a range of ages being taught in one or more classes throughout the school. Much of the guidance has come from Orkney, Cumbrian and South West primary schools in the UK who are using Jigsaw 3-11/12, and represent a wide range of primary school settings from large, 3 form entry to one class schools with a handful of pupils. The learning from Orkney, in particular, has been instrumental in identifying how Jigsaw 3-11/12 can be effectively used with composite classes.

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The whole school approach that is key to the Jigsaw philosophy, enables the resource to be used successfully with composite classes.

The following guidance is designed to support teachers to get the most from Jigsaw for their pupils and to make planning straightforward for them where they are delivering lessons to a range of age groups.


Key Concepts & Differentiation in Jigsaw 

Jigsaw provides a spiral, progressive approach to a range of key concepts and the aim is for children to be exposed to these concepts and have opportunities to develop their knowledge and skill in these areas. The spiral nature of Jigsaw means that the key concepts are repeated throughout the programme and this enables differentiation to be applied to the majority of lessons across lower and upper primary phases.

The recommended approach for schools with composite classes is to implement a rolling programme that is designed to ensure that children are exposed to the full programme of Jigsaw materials over the course of their primary education. The key to effectively implementing Jigsaw in composite classes is having a system in place to record and monitor each child’s completion of Jigsaw units (Puzzles) and their progress as they move through the school. (See Fig. 2)

NOTE: Some lessons will need very little differentiation as they work well across a range of ages, for example the introductory unit, Being Me in My World, works well across age groups due to the introductory nature of the puzzle. Teacher questioning will be the main method of differentiation enabling you to identify the level children are working at.

The use of differentiation allows for a rolling programme to be implemented as the majority of Jigsaw lessons can be easily differentiated where children are at either the lower (5-8 years) or upper (9-11/12 years) stages in primary school.  (See Fig. 1)

Fig. 1 provides some examples of how teachers could differentiate lessons according to the age of children. By referring back to the key concepts being addressed it should be straightforward to make appropriate adaptations of lessons, and teachers with composite classes will be used to doing this across the curriculum.

In the rare instances where there is only one class of children we recommend that the group is split in two with one group using a lower primary lesson and the other an upper primary lesson as in Fig.2. Even in this situation there will be aspects of the Jigsaw lesson that can be shared with the whole class for example, Connect us and Calm me time.

In the case of a one class composite, there is additional work for the teacher in potentially managing several ‘lessons’ at a time. However, with some additional planning there should be the opportunity for children to access the full set of Jigsaw resources and develop knowledge and skills across the range of health and well-being lessons offered by Jigsaw. Fig. 3 shows an example from a Cumbrian school with one class of pupils aged between 5-11, where the teacher has differentiated one Jigsaw lesson appropriately for all the children.


Age-Appropriateness of Lessons

There are a few lessons where the model described above will need further adaptation as the subject knowledge in the lessons is designed to be appropriate at particular ages. On the whole, this refers to some of the relationships and sex education lessons (in the Relationships and Changing Me Puzzles), and some of the lessons in Healthy Me that are specific to certain topics e.g. drugs education. In this instance, it is recommended that lessons designed for older children are only delivered to the age group for which they were intended. Due to the spiral, progressive nature of Jigsaw this is unlikely to be difficult to manage and it may be that older children follow the programme that is appropriate for younger members of the group, as the underpinning concepts are the same, but in addition have a separate session (or piece of group work) that covers the additional subject knowledge. Fig. 6 gives some examples.

Continue to download the full article with maps below.

Composite Classes Map for Jigsaw PSHEDownload (pdf)

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