What subjects are your DCs set/streamed for in Yrs 7 - 9?

(34 Posts)
Perriwinkle Wed 23-Jan-13 19:58:29

I'm just wondering what subjects your DCs are set/streamed according to ability for in seconday school in the years prior to starting on GCSE courses.

From speaking to people with DCs at different schools, both state and private, I'm finding that there is quite wide variation. For example, in some schools they're set for all of the "core" subjects according to ability, maths english and science and in others a wider range of subjects, i.e. maths, english, science, humanities and languages. In our school it varies from year to year; in Yr 7 it's only for maths, in Yr 8 it's for maths and science and in Yr 9 it's maths, science and humanities. They're not streamed for ability in english or languages until they start their GCSE courses.

I would really appreciate any feedback from teachers on the relative merits of streaming. It seems to me that there are benefits to be gained from it as it appears to me (as a non teacher) that it may perhaps be easier to teach a group of a very similar level of ability and to be able to pitch the lesson appropriately and have more time to spend with the students rather than being taken away to explain things to those who may not understand or need more guidance. I think these children deserve to have the lessons pitched to their ability rather than being left to think that they "don't get it" when others do.

Do you feel that teaching to similar ability groups equals better results too?

In our school it's quite common for children who finish set work in lessons to be told to sit with a small group of others who haven't finished and help them, or to have a particular student nominated for them to work one to one with and help. The line that teachers often come out with is that the best way to learn is to teach! I have to say I have a problem with this and I'm not sure it would naturally happen so often in a class where there was not such a disparity between various levels of ability.

On the other hand, one new teacher has a "challenge folder" from which students who have finished their work are encouraged to take more work, which may be the next level up, more challenging or whatever. This seem like a good idea to me but I can't help thinking that it seems like common sense to teach groups of students who are at a similar level so they can all progress at a similar pace. That's what always used to happen when I was at secondary school way back in the dim and distant past!

Any thoughts gratefully received...

Perriwinkle Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:17

Yes, his response probably was a "boy" response thinking about it! I do know it goes on a lot and I suppose they might be able to justify it under the banner of "mentoring". My gripe is that it's usually the same children that they get asked to help and they're usually the ones who really have little interest and don't really want to engage with learning and I feel it's not the job of children to be used as TAs. As far as I can make out they don't particularly enjoy the experience and would even prefer to be given more work of their own to do rather than have to help!

seeker Wed 23-Jan-13 22:36:58

"and I feel it's not the job of children to be used as TAs. As far as I can make out they don't particularly enjoy the experience and would even prefer to be given more work of their own to do rather than have to help!

As I said, there's more to school than academic stuff.

Perriwinkle Wed 23-Jan-13 22:38:57

Agreed Seeker but what we're encountering is nothing as structured as a proper peer mentoring scheme that both parties could find mutually rewarding.

In this case it's totally ad hoc and informal and the children who are being called on to help are being asked to help the same children children each time and they're the ones who don't want to engage with learning. The peers in this case are by no means equipped with the skills to assist them. In many cases the trained and experienced teachers can't always deal with them themselves!

SomeBear Wed 23-Jan-13 22:59:47

DD is in yr 7 and appears to be set for every subject apart from RE, PE and DT where they seem to be put into random groups. She is somewhere near the top for maths & science and further down for English which she finds a bit harder.

I've no idea how this compares with other schools since it was a choice of this one or, well, this one. One of the joys of rural living! Ofsted think it's a good school and she seems to be keen to learn.

JenaiMorris Thu 24-Jan-13 09:26:16

I know at primary they often had to help each other on their tables (which was a form of setting).

A bit of informal peer support is very helpful - I remember this as a college and university student, from both sides (helper and helpee).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 24-Jan-13 09:32:17

dd2 in year 7 is set for Maths, which is also your German set.

IIRC, dd1 was same, then in years 8 and 9, maths, science, English, French and German, and a 'humanities set' which covered History, geography and RE.

In years 10 and 11, the set for science is kind of determined by who's doing 3 separate, I think. Set for Maths and English, and the other things seem to be governed by which option block you chose them in.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:52:53

In year 7 DD was set for English, maths, science, MFL and humanities. Music, art, drama etc was mixed.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:56:07

GCSES will be set in all core subjects; English, maths, science, MFL. There are four sets.

Other subjects will depend on numbers as to how many sets.

jellybrain Fri 08-Feb-13 21:08:34

Ds2 y8 is set for maths and French. Will be set for German in year 9. Ds1 y11 is still only set for maths and MFL, everything else is taught in mixed ability groups.
I would say sets are great for those at the extremes but not always so for those in the middle.

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