AIBU to actually be told which sets DD is in?

(48 Posts)
Iamnotminterested Wed 28-Nov-12 20:49:12

I've posted before about the lack of information from DD.s school (she is in year 7) . They were put into sets a couple of weeks ago and we have not received any kind of info as to which sets she has been placed - DD has had a guess at a few and in some lessons the teacher has said "because you are x set I expect this and this etc" but really it's just guesswork and I think it's a bit poor of the school not to send out some explanatory gumpf to co-incide with the timetable re-jig.

Am I being unreasonable? Is this just the way it is at high school and I should bloody well get used to it?

prettybird Fri 14-Dec-12 16:24:02

We've not been told formally. Ds is in S1 (Y7) and was set after about 4 weeks for Maths and a couple of months for English. We've just had the first parents' evening and I suppose if you hadn't been told by your child which set (s)he was in, you could have asked then.

The school welcomes any questions though and the Depute head responsible for S1s always gets back to me within a day. (I had a couple of queries re after school sports insurance and then about homework as ds was getting his homework 3 days late as he has to do something else when she is issuing the homework and it was only giving him one night to do it in.)

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Dec-12 19:18:40

We've never been told but the kids seem to know.

DD says she's in the top sets for everything apart from Maths - she says she's in the bottom set for Maths. Yesterday she was moaning that maths is too easy and the other kids in her lesson were "thick". I told her she'd have to work harder at maths if she wanted to move up as she's obviously been put there for a reason.

She was still moaning this morning so I told her if she's that put out by it to talk to her personal tutor about it which she has done! grin

I'm not getting involved, I'm thinking the teachers know better than me.

However if she's right it would be nice to know so I would know that maybe she needs more help/support in maths. Parents evening not till Easter but I would hope to get some info then????

Iamnotminterested Thu 13-Dec-12 19:05:23

crazymum53 - "Many children on level 6/7 at the start of year 7" ?? Really?? My DD must be a complete thicko in comparison with her 5's then.

seeker Sat 08-Dec-12 18:07:46

Why not ask your child?

crazymum53 Thu 06-Dec-12 09:23:22

dd is in Y8 and I do know which sets she is in for English, Maths, Science, MFL and History/Geography (other subjects are not set). However the set number does need to be taken in context of the particular school, ability range of the cohort and NC levels etc. As well the set number we are given the NC levels for each subject at the end of each term and also information about the range of levels across the year group.
So I am happy that we are given sufficient information.
At the start of year 7, it could be possible for a child at school A to be in set 1 with a level of 5a whereas at school B the same child would be in set 2 as there are many children on level 6/7. Therefore the set number on it's own must be kept in context.

armedtotheteeth Tue 04-Dec-12 20:25:01

Ah, I've just seen fallenmadonna has exactly the same system now. No need for letters imo.

armedtotheteeth Tue 04-Dec-12 20:23:17

When i was at school, we were put in sets for some subjects from age 9. I clearly remember telling my mum which set i was in for maths, and they were numbered from 1 (top) to 5 (bottom) so all pretty transparent. Are sets labelled more cryptically these days, or could you just ask your children?

doobeedee Tue 04-Dec-12 20:11:05

Senua what exactly is it that you don't get about MFL levels?

TheFallenMadonna Fri 30-Nov-12 21:38:32

Ours are numbered, so it's hardly cryptic. It's not like tables named after Olympic sports or whatever as in primary. But we don't send letters home about it.

inkyfingers Fri 30-Nov-12 21:34:53

Not to tell parents basically means they don't trust them with the information. At my DS comp the sets spell out the name of the school and parents know this, unless the don't read it printed in the pupil's journal or can't spell. So it's kind of clear, but they have never told me as such. When he moved sets (up natch) I had general letter saying he'd moved but no details as to why. Hedging their bets? Why not just ask face to face at parents evening. It would be outrageous if a pupil moved down each term with no info to parent.

BackforGood Fri 30-Nov-12 16:40:07

We've never been told by either of my dcs' schools, but of course the children know.
That said,I don't see why you would need to know. As long as the work they are getting is at the right level for them - not too easy or too difficult - then does it matter if there are children in the school who can do more advanced work or who need more support or who don't achieve so much ?
It will often come out in conversation at Parents Evenings or review days, but I can't see what would be gained by schools sending out letters everytime there's a set change.

doggydaze Fri 30-Nov-12 11:14:45

Our (outstanding state) school doesn't inform parents regarding sets. I have no wish to know what set my DC's are in, imho that means nothing. I DO wish to know that they are happy, their needs are being met, that they are being sufficiently challenged and supported and making good progress for their individual ability.

Communication between the school and parents allow me to be confident that this is happening, and, on the (very) rare occasion that I need to contact the individual teacher, I have, without fail, had a reply on the day I raise the query, which is thoughtful and detailed and addresses the points that I raise.

I guess I have confidence that they know the pupils well enough to place them where they deem appropriate, whilst it is a partnership, they are the experts.

In reality, the kids do know how it works so I have a good idea where they are, set-wise, but it's not the information I look for initially.

sashh Fri 30-Nov-12 08:48:39

I think they don't tell because they are meaningless. A child can be in the top set one year and in another year, a child who is equally capable is in set 3 because there are some particularly talented students that year.

It's even worse when people compare accross schools. I went to a comp that was 11 - 16 with no grammer option.

My cousin went to a comp that was 11 - 16, but the top 20% (so the top 2 sets) went off to the local grammer which was 14-18.

Said cousin ended up i top, set for everything, as she didn't get to the grammer.

Lots of comments in the family about how bright she was.

I'm not bitter, honestly, it was annoying at the time but on results day I had twice as many O Levels as her (yes we are booth that old).

RaspberryLemonPavlova Fri 30-Nov-12 00:44:57

I agree completely tiggytape. I too had the same conversation with the school over the optional Sats result, although I wasn't made to have a meeting with the headteacher. And a friend, who is a teacher, told me I was wrong to ask and her school doesn't hand them out as 'parents don't understand them'.

Dcs secondary school sends letters about sets, both during the year and at the end of the year ready for September. We aren't routinely given long-term assessments,jeust end of year ones, but I am expecting DS1s report, which should arrive in the next week, to have his GCSE targets on.. He has been told them verbally already.

Mathsdidi Thu 29-Nov-12 23:13:38

We don't routinely inform parents of the sets their dcs are in, but we do make sure that the pupils know which set they are in and that they could move up if they work hard and improve a lot (or move down if they mess about and aren't keeping up). I went into great detail with my year 7s about the numbering system of the sets as we have 2 top sets, 2 set 2s, 2 set 3s, etc but the sets are just given numbers. So one of our set 2s is labelled group 8 and I made sure every pupil knew that they were not really in set 8, they were in set 2 of the second half of the yeargroup. The message doesn't always make it home to parents, but I am perfectly happy to clarify which set a child is in if a parent phones or emails to ask.

Dd1 has been setted in most subjects now and I have yet to recieve any official communication about which sets she's in. She knows which sets she's in though and is quite happy to tell me all about it (and how much she hates the subjects they aren't in sets for)

wonderstuff Thu 29-Nov-12 23:03:45

They drop a level from KS2 to KS3 because the primaries a judged on KS2 sats so understandably hot house them for SAT exams, then do little core subject teaching after the exams, then the children have 6 weeks off school. Of course they go backwards.

phlebas Thu 29-Nov-12 22:56:34

we are told at my dd's school & the children have their sets & working levels written large on the front of their exercise books (!).

Though in year 7 they only set for maths (top set, two middle sets & one progress group) & semi set for English, there is a progress group for those that struggle but the rest are mixed ability. Effort/attitude/organisation grades are 0-4 (improvement essential - inadequate/inconsistent - adequate - strong - very strong). Seems to be mostly based on SATs results, dd hadn't done SATs so they put her in the middle but moved her up after a couple of weeks.

tiggytape Thu 29-Nov-12 22:11:41

You don't need to be a qualified teacher to be kept in the loop which is all most parents ask. This isn't about being told things so you can challenge them all. It is about being told things because it is your child and you have a right to know and should know about that aspect of their lives.

Being informed isn't the same as being consulted although it is nice to hear some schools do this where resources permit.

Roseformeplease Thu 29-Nov-12 20:40:18

Controversially, we not only set in my school and my subject but we DISCUSS our plans with parents before finalising details. Thus a parent can make the decision to put a child in the top set where they might struggle and have to work very hard to keep up or in the lower set where they will get more support and find the pace, and standard of books, less challenging. But we are a small secondary school and have the space in classes to do this. Most parents are happy to take advice. Also, those in the bottom set have a very much better staff / pupil ratio (1 teacher : 6-8 pupils rather than 1 teacher: 14-20 pupils) so this is seen as a positive. NB We are a non-selective rural comp.

BeatTheClock Thu 29-Nov-12 20:33:24

We are not properly told although by now dd seems to know where she sits regarding sets.

Never had a clue all during primary school though and if you asked, then the teachers wouldn't give a straight answer anyway and would waffle on vaguely about colour or animal groups which were meaningless to me. I can't see why we can't just be toldhmm

TheFallenMadonna Thu 29-Nov-12 20:26:52

I don't keep it a secret, but we don't routinely inform parents of setting. I have had parents phone me to insist I change their set, and then when I don't, try to go over my head. Fortunately my line manager trusts my judgement. I am always happy to discuss setting and exam entry with parents. I have changed tier of entry for a couple of students based on discussion with their parents. I'm not always willing to change my mind though.

IDK Thu 29-Nov-12 20:13:16

I also understand how utterly hacked off schools get with parents who are not qualified teachers second guessing them the whole time.

I told the school that I thought that DS had a problem. The school disagreed and wouldn't investigate further. Guess who was proved right by an independent diagnostic assessment?

Teachers need second-guessing sometimes. All they could do was bleat "but how did you know confused ...?". Beats me how I knew better than the teachers, seeing as I'm not qualified.hmm

TalkinPeace2 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:39:53

Tiggytape
I understand your interest. My kids are in years 8 and 10. I also understand how utterly hacked off schools get with parents who are not qualified teachers second guessing them the whole time. State and Private.

tiggytape Thu 29-Nov-12 18:58:54

TalkinPeace2 - schools may well think it is no benefit in parents knowing which set their child is in (or what mark they got on a maths paper in Year 4 or whatever else they decide not to disclose) but that's not the point.

If there is no confidentiality issue, and if a parent wants to know, they should be told (and indeed the school must comply if the parent insists)

It isn't about the school deciding what it is useful or not useful for a parent to to be told. It is about a parent's right to have that information and to be included as a part of the picture in their child's life and education.

As it happens, my DS's school has told us his sets. If they hadn't I would have insisted that they did.
They seem quite keen on sharing and do treat parents as sensible people who know what that information represents and how much importance to attach to it.
We have also been told us his current NC levels and predicted sub levels all the way up to Year 9. This is after half a term in year 7 so of course I don't take this information as gospel or a cast iron guarantee of where he'll be each year. I know it is computer generated guess work but I still want to know it anyway just because I am his mum.

Niceweather Thu 29-Nov-12 18:58:45

Yes, JuliaScurr, our local school with the top half and bottom half has the same issue. I know that if you are in the bottom half, the highest you can go for in maths is a Grade C - they won't be taught any higher - written off in Yr9 which is when they start their GCSEs. On a positive note, my friend's son at another school was in Set 2 for maths all the way through and achieved an A* which many in top Set didn't achieve.

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