How are classes determined?

(6 Posts)
classof2017 Wed 06-Jul-16 17:20:31

I have NC for this.

My DC has today found out which class he will be in next year for year 4. In the pre-prep DC was taken out for separate Reading/writing and streamed for maths (top set). There are two classes of the year level. School report this week was glowing.

Next year's teacher is new. My DC will work to whatever level the teacher expects - so I have always been weary about new teachers being able to provide the challenges she needs, while still finding their feet in a new class and a new country in this case. I have moved schools in the past when they have not been able to challenge her.

Added to that none of the 15 children in his class have been in any of his streamed/extra classes and several of the children are deemed as the "trouble makers" in the year level.

I feel that the school have let him down or are holding him back. My DC likes the challenge of working with like-minded children who can challenge him...and yet it looks like in this class there are none. It is a small school so I am familiar with all the DC having helped at the school on numerous occasions.

However, I have heard that some DCs will be taken out for extra lessons either to advance them or to bring them up to speed.

The reason I am in a flap about this is that my DC was in a similar situation previously and regressed considerably. Was bored in school and did very little in that year. I am concerned that it will happen again.

Just to be clear I am not a helicopter parent being precious about my child just after some advice as to the school's reasoning perhaps and or benefits/disadvantages of this situation.

Does anyone have any advice?

skybluepinkish Wed 06-Jul-16 17:38:43

Primary classes are rarely streamed based on academic achievements / whether a child is working below, at or above age related expectations and are usually a mixture of children (academic and behavior). Each lesson should involve support for those struggling and challenges for those excelling.

If you're worried your child wont be challenged enough then have a chat with the school and the new teacher when possible. Ask about what is put in place for gifted and talented students. If it's done politely and its clear you want to be involved in your child's learning the school should work with you to further your child's learning so they don't lose interest/slip behind.

And don't worry too much about new teachers - this can be good for a school as they don't have any pre-conceived ideas about the children. I've seen new teachers do wonders and really push children.

bojorojo Wed 06-Jul-16 18:31:07

You seem to be suggesting the teacher is not from this country so I would ask if they are familiar with the curriculum. Are the children taught the national curriculum? If your child is aged 8, is it wise to look for yet another school?

I would have some confidence the school knows what it is doing but I would check a few things out. I would also want to know what I am paying for. In prep schools you should see top destinations for the children and an ability to stretch the quicker children. If there are so many needing extra help, how academically high flying is the school? Are there too many children with needs in the school so that it is not really aiming children at the top senior schools? If this school really does not meet the needs of your child or your desired future destinations, then you might need somewhere that does. I would be careful about constant moves though.

The teacher should be monitored by senior management to ensure all children are making good progress. Does this happen in your school? How is progress measured? does the school stream for CE exams and have a scholarship stream in the prep department? If so, at what age? Are there subject specialist teachers? Do a bit more research and then decide.

classof2017 Wed 06-Jul-16 21:26:53

Thank you for your thoughtful replies.

The teacher this year taught at the same level at a British international school.

I have set up a meeting with the headmaster so hopefully will get a clearer understanding.

The school goes up to 13 and it is expected that children stay till then and not leave earlier, so there is no real incentive to nurture aptitude at this young age that may encourage children to leave for better destinations.

The school's destinations are quite good - with a high percentage to London's top indies - and local grammars.

In the previous situation my DC was always put forward as the "good role-model"...which I find is unfair. I believe that children learn the most from their peers and not be responsible for other's behaviour/learning.

At DC's level I would say there were about three other children who are like-minded and can interact freely with - none in his class. These other children are not that far behind academically but my DC is just further ahead and their behaviours would be disruptive to the class in general and thus the learning of the class.

I wondered whether my DC was too far ahead and that they felt could just get on with things while they sort out these other children? Which again is not what I am paying £5K a term for! Would a school ever do this?

I will check if the scholarship streams start next year...because that would at least ease some of my concerns. Specialist teachers are only in Music, ICT, sport and languages. Everything else is taught by the class teacher.

suit2845321oie Wed 06-Jul-16 22:47:50

To be fair I think you are over reacting. A teacher in a class of 15 should be more than able to cater for all levels. In my DS's prep there are a couple of children who are head and shoulders above the others academically but they then lag behind in other areas such as sport or drama.

Since you don't know the teacher you really should give them the benefit of the doubt and not pre-judge them and you really can't go around changing schools every time there's a teacher you don't fancy the sound of.

In my eldest two children's prep school a beloved year 6 teacher left and parents were up in arms as she was being replaced by a teacher from, can you believe it, a STATE, school. They were hysterical that the school had let them down, she would never be able to teach to 11+ etc etc and at least a dozen families from year 3/4&5 pulled their very happy settled children out. And guess what? She's a fabulous teacher, her 11+ results from day 1 were excellent and the kids and parents love her.

Give it a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 06-Jul-16 23:14:45

I wondered whether my DC was too far ahead and that they felt could just get on with things while they sort out these other children? Which again is not what I am paying £5K a term for! Would a school ever do this?

There's lots of good reasons why they would, you would hope of course that they wouldn't. But you should certainly get a very good explanation of how and why the classes are determined from the people you're paying, they are the people who know.

Certainly don't just wait around until you get even more annoyed.

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