Can we stream or 'cross-set' classes across a year group/s?

Some teachers and schools will elect to 'cross-set' or streaming students.

PLD DOES NOT advocate for this situation but rather that teachers deliver 3 levels of targeted teaching within the range evident in any classroom.

Benefits of Whole Class Instruction

Students are constantly being exposed to, and are learning above their level/stage, as well as revising down the previous levels, while the teacher reads and sounds-out each of the phonic-based word lists to the whole class. Yes, students have their own allocated stage/lists, but they should be absorbing learning beyond that allocated level.

For students with low literacy skills, this will provide exposure to future concepts.

For the typical and more-able students, this will provide ongoing revision as many students will still make common errors.

This daily practise reinforces the relationship between sounds and letters, which is essential for retention and consolidation of phonic concepts.

Special Conditions

Cross-setting or streaming may be allowable (from the school's administration) if each of the following conditions occur:

Time Efficient

Working with other classes and moving students around can consume time. The process needs to be well-rehearsed.
Ensure that Structured Synthetic Phonics in Year 1 and 2 does not exceed 35 minutes and in Years 3-6 does not exceed 25 minutes.


The majority of students should show positive gains in the areas targeted and their percentage test scores should demonstrate progress within the termly tracking.


Teachers instructing a specific group, should still be differentiating. A teacher instructing, for example, the Stage 2 students, should not be delivering one level of instruction.

There will be students operating with low levels of stage 2 accuracy (e.g. 12-25%accuracy) and there will be students operating at higher levels of accuracy (e.g. 55-70% accuracy).
One group requires nearly all stage 2 concepts and it is likely that these students are still making a few errors last in stage 1.
The other group should likely have stronger stage 1 accuracy and are requiring final concept to be taught before progressing onto stage 3.

Tracking Student Profiles

Student profiles should not be the class groups showing the targeted teaching groups, but should be specifically showing the particular group/teacher allocation.
The differentiation for that group should also be reflected with the processing of the tracking.

Should any of these conditions not be met, PLD's opinion is that the 'cross-setting' or streaming **should cease**.

Over the years PLD has received evidence of year levels collaborating effectively, but more commonly PLD has seen this approach operate poorly.

Updated on: 17/08/2022

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