to feel defeatist about this (school-related)

(46 Posts)
agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 12:51:34

DD is not in the set she would have hoped for.

The school streams in science based on maths ability.

DD is just above average for her year in maths but is in the top 10% for physics and biology and is quite a bit above average in Chemistry.

The top set is equivalent to about 20% of pupils from what I understand.

All other sets (4 of them) are mixed ability with the exception of a small bottom set.

So am I being unreasonable in thinking that we will just have to suck this up and that the school will not make any special provision for her? Has anyone challenged something like this and actually managed to get a different result?

[Have started a thread in education too asking for advice.]

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 04-Sep-14 12:55:02

What age is she?

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 12:58:38

She has just gone into year 9.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 04-Sep-14 12:59:52

Is she really only just above average in maths but top 10% in physics. The two do usually go hand in hand. I can see why you could do well in biology and even chemistry a lower level of maths but not really physics. I'm guess she is in the younger end of secondary school. In which case I think it might well be a good idea to raise it with her form tutor and say you are worried that her science is going to suffer if she is in mixed ability set when she is is top 10%.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 04-Sep-14 13:00:59

Sorry x-posted. I would definitely mention it year 9 is good preparation for GCSE year and she doesn't want to be in the wrong set. A bit odd to do it completely by maths.

Goldmandra Thu 04-Sep-14 13:01:07

I would leave her where she is and wait to see how good the teaching is. This makes a much bigger difference than whether she is in the top set. If she has good teachers, don't start asking them to move her because the top set teachers may not be as good.

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 13:04:56

It's a fairly academic school so she isn't bad at maths, she got 80% in her end of year exam (same exam given to all maths sets).

There is I think a general correlation between ability in maths and science, so what the school have done is effectively creamed off the top scientists too and left her behind.

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 13:07:36

Goldmandra, that sounds very sensible and is what we have done for the past 2 years that she has been in set 2. However, now that they have started y9, set 1 becomes 'accelerated' and at the end of 3 years will have 2 maths GCSEs. Other sets do not have this option. DD loves maths and wants to do it at A level.

5Foot5 Thu 04-Sep-14 13:11:49

DD loves maths and wants to do it at A level

There is a huge leap between maths at GCSE and A level. If your DD is already not in the top stream for maths then she might struggle.

icclemunchy Thu 04-Sep-14 13:12:40

My school did this with maths and English. Because I was not so good at maths I got dropped a set at English which I excelled at.

I suppose it wasn't a huge problem in that I did well in my exams but I did find English lessons frustrated as with a lot of the work I felt "held back" by the rest of the class hmm

I'd have a chat with her teachers and see if there are any options, you don't need to go in all guns blazing but even just finding out if moving up sets if she works hard to improve will be useful to know

Goldmandra Thu 04-Sep-14 13:19:34

In that case you need to go in and talk to the subject head to find out more.

Also, are you in a position to get her some maths tutoring this year so she aces the end of year exams?

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 13:20:08

There will be no possibility to move between sets as they are on different trajectories icclemunchy.

SWIMTHECHANNEL Thu 04-Sep-14 13:25:42

I was in the top set for maths, and definitely at the bottom end of it. We also did two maths exams, one per year.

I wish I hadn't been too proud to ask to go down to the next set. I got Cs for both my maths O levels, and As for all the rest., I am now a chartered accountant, so by no means a duffer in the subject - but the slower, surer approach would have suited me better.

So if your dd went into a set where she struggled, even slightly, it might make maths at A level less possible iyswim?

ILovePud Thu 04-Sep-14 13:27:52

I'm confused agoodinnings, you state that there's no possibility of moving between sets because they're on a different trajectory, what special provision were you thinking of if not a move to the higher set?

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 13:28:16

Goldmandra we thought she'd aced it this year with her 80% smile. A few of her friends who were in set 3 had tutors and are now in set 1. I think they must have known the importance of doing exceedingly well in the maths exam to get into the top set in sciences. Poor DD in the middle set with her 91% in Physics. If she'd known how important it was then she would have put more of her time and effort into maths rather than sciences. She doesn't have any difficulty understanding the concepts in maths or so she assures me.

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 13:30:59

Sorry ILovePud, if there is to be any movement between sets it would have to be now and not in a few weeks/months time. DD has said that if she gets the chance in set 1 now and can't cope she will very happily move back down.

Goldmandra Thu 04-Sep-14 13:33:15

You need to go and talk to the school. Just be honest about your concerns and see if they can suggest a solution.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 04-Sep-14 13:33:19

If she got 91% in physics I think she should be in top science set. I'd definitely be having a chat with the teacher. It sounds like it's high achieving school though so maybe middle set is still destined for A* / A / B at GCSE in which case not such a big worry.

The thing about being on a different trajectory would definitely make me raise this now though in your shoes.

ElephantsNeverForgive Thu 04-Sep-14 13:34:19

IME there is never any harm in querying setting decisions.

They are not anything like as well considered, at an individual level, as you might hope.

DD spent the whole of Y7 twiddling her thumbs in maths and science because she messed up her numeracy CAT (partly it's very dyslexia unfriendly, partly she was bursting to go to the loo).

I moaned, they moved her, too slowly, because the head of science is a idiot, but they did move her. She has nice shiny A GCSEs.

ILovePud Thu 04-Sep-14 13:37:56

Oh I see, I'd speak to the teacher in the first instance, I don't think that's pushy or unreasonable at all and it might be a way of addressing the valid point Goldmandra makes that the teacher in her current set may be a better fit for your DD, you might meet him/her and feel reassured that your DD will get the appropriate amount of challenge in her work. Although there's a correlation between maths and science ability to me it does seem too crude a way to stream, especially when they have science results to inform the picture.

SunshineAndShadows Thu 04-Sep-14 13:42:21

I was rubbish at maths, hated it but sat 3 sciences at A level and am now a vet. I still use a calculator to check all my drug doses
blush
At my school only pupils in the top set were entered for 'top ability' GCSE papers. The papers were structured by the exam board so that on the hardest top ability papers only grades A-C were possible (if you were entered for this paper and did poorly so your grade would be less than a C you would fail) Students in the mixed sets were entered for the B-D grade paper. I was in the top set at maths despite struggling, because I was good at Science and English. I got a C at maths GCSE and could have failed
Equally if this system still exists kids in middle sets may not actually have the opportunity to get grade As despite ability if they are automatically entered for the B-D paper at GCSE. I've no idea if this system is still in place (things may well have changed) but def speak to your daughters teachers to check her current set won't affect her future grade potential

agoodinnings Thu 04-Sep-14 14:56:28

I spoke to the Head of Middle School who reckons that the maths and science results were taken into account and that she just missed out which I guess is much fairer and I think DD will be a bit happier with that. Cut off for top set 87% and DD 84.5% sad. The top set is not at maximum capacity though, so maybe there's still some hope?

TeenAndTween Thu 04-Sep-14 14:57:28

Does it matter if she is not in the top set for Science?
Will it stop her doing triple for example?

If not then let it go.

To go on to maths A level she will need an A for GCSE (most other subjects need only a B). Is she really going to be good enough? (In my view she should be able to manage GCSE maths reasonably easily without a tutor).

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 04-Sep-14 15:25:26

I'm glad you've spoken to the teacher at least. It's a pity that they have calculated it like that and your DD has missed out. I guess she may have genuinely struggled with the maths but it's a shame it's also impacting on her science. At least he knows how you and DD feel so if the new teacher notices she's flying in science she may get moved up since they have capacity.

CromerSutra Thu 04-Sep-14 15:32:34

If she got 91% in physics surely she ought to be in the top set, it's not as if she did badly at maths either. I'd say something in this situation. She couldn't have been far off the cut off.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now