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Split into ability groups at age 5?

(56 Posts)
misdee Wed 22-Feb-06 09:53:20

dd1 class has had a rearrangment of groups over half term. they have been split into ability groups for phonics. now dd1 has an IEP as she is struggling with her phonics and has extra small group sessions with a different teacher. i feel a bit miffed, and others parents are saying they hope their kids are in the higher groups. i just feel like shite for dd1 as i feel that at the age of 5 they are all devoping at slightly different rates and to split the class is IMO wrong.

Piffle Wed 22-Feb-06 09:56:52

Misdee I can see it from both sides
It is good that they are putting in the extra support and doing small sessions for the kids who do not find it as easy.
Other parents... can you just ignore them?

marialuisa Wed 22-Feb-06 09:58:48

But isn't this just another way of ensuring that your DD (and any other kids who find phonics difficult) are taught at an appropriate level and don't get missed out? It may not be nice to hear that your DD is struggling but presumably the groups are fluid and she would be moved if things suddenly clicked?

misdee Wed 22-Feb-06 10:01:04

i do try and ignore. the school also does small group sessions for the brighter kids.

LIZS Wed 22-Feb-06 10:01:47

I think there are benefits to focussed small group work , even at this age, but to do so so overtly and divisively seems wrong to me. The difference between the children may not be so great anyway, which could mean children of similar level being separated in the interest of numbers and group dynamics. Are these planned to be fixed for the rest of the year or will there be movement in between as progress is made. I don't think the parents should be getting so hung up about it as it will pass their preconceptions onto the kids. It doesn't sound as if the teacher has communciated the idea very well.

misdee Wed 22-Feb-06 10:04:16

i am hoping the groups will be changed throughout the year. i am also upset as the class mischeif maker is now in dd1 group she doesnt need any more distractions.

Piffle Wed 22-Feb-06 10:04:49

It is down to how the school handles it, that then affects the parents and then the children.
If you had a kid in the higher "ability" area you would be pleased that they were being catered for too - it is unfair to to expect kids who struggle to bowl along in literacy with kids who find it easier. And unfair to hold those kids back too. CAtch 22 in a lot of ways.
Certainly this was not the case 9 years ago.
Maybe their PR needs a bit of work, perhaps ring and have a word so in future they can rework?

misdee Wed 22-Feb-06 10:06:43

as i have said, the class does cater for the brighter kids in small group sessions as well.

i guess i am more upset about dd1 struggling than i thought i was.

Blandmum Wed 22-Feb-06 10:08:03

My ds 's class (which is only 10 btw) is split into three sets for ability. I am very glad that this is so, sinve ds is *way( behind all the others. In a mixed ability set he would feel totaly out of his depth and it would affect his confidence.

As it is the staff work very hard with him and two other boys, he gets masses of support and priaise and his report this time was fantastic as he is makeing real progress in his reading and writing and more importantly his confidence and attitude.

Being in smaller sets has been the making of him imho. And this from the boy at the botttom of the class

Piffle Wed 22-Feb-06 10:08:34

It must be tough misdee and kids and other parents can make it worse too
I have this very real fear when dd starts school.
I am desperately finding ways to avoid being disapoointed, but in the meantime prefer denial...

madmarchhare Wed 22-Feb-06 10:09:27

They did this at my friends DSs school. He was in one of the groups that neede extra help and he really did come on. Before that they were just going too fast and he was getting further and further behind.

Agree that sometimes it will just be there normal rate of development but unless the kids are made to feel that they are less able because they are in a 'lower' group etc etc.. then I would welcome the fact that they are aware and doing something.

madmarchhare Wed 22-Feb-06 10:10:16


Enif Wed 22-Feb-06 10:11:17

they do this at dd1s (state) primary too

it upset me at the time but tbh she has blossomed being in the duffers class

misdee Wed 22-Feb-06 10:13:09

pmsl at duffers class

i know i am being silly.

i am going into town latyer to try and get her the jolly phonics dvd.

Blandmum Wed 22-Feb-06 10:21:15

Shall we start a Mother of Duffers club on MN?

Enif Wed 22-Feb-06 10:23:34

yes please

I will be hon sec of MoD

misdee can I recommend the Jolly phonics poster in the kitchen? Mine love it (more than the dvd) and they 'test' each other on it every morning.

foxinsocks Wed 22-Feb-06 10:25:27

aww misdee, they split them into groups at dd's school aswell (state) but we are not made aware of the fact that they are doing it or which group they are in. I think this is largely to stop competitive parents!

I asked dd about it the other day and the groups are colours (red, yellow, blue, green) so that there's no hint or one being better than another.

Hopefully it means your dd will get a bit of extra help with her phonics.

Blandmum Wed 22-Feb-06 10:25:47

Id be in the Mother of smartarse club as well. We don't do average in this house!

ds will be starting karate after easter and I am praying that be will be masses better than his smartie sister. I want him to have something to be best at, poor little lamb!

annh Wed 22-Feb-06 10:36:06

I don't think it matters how the teacher presents the groups, if mothers want to find out, they will easily suss out which groups are stronger. I find ds2's class very competitive in this respect with mothers slyly chatting about their kids' reading books etc at the school gates in order to figure out where they are at in relation to others. I am determined to keep out of it. I do think however that dividing the children into ability groups can only be a good thing in terms of ensuring that kids who are bright don't get bored and those who need extra help get it and don't get disheartened and left behind. IME, the groups are fluid and do change throughout the year, certainly they do at ds' school. DS2's class of 23 has four groups, he started off in what I would guess was the second lowest group and has now leap-frogged into the top group but the top group appears to be getting bigger all the time (I think now 8 kids) so I'm not sure how they all fit on one table or what's happened to the other groups. Honestly, I think I would be happier if he had been left in the other group as the TA or teacher presumably has more time to devote to a group of 4 than to a group of 8. I certainly won't be stressing if he gets moved again.

fennel Wed 22-Feb-06 11:26:12

dd1's yr 1 class is split into 5 groups for maths and reading. fruit groups. she's an orange in reading and an apple in maths. school resolutely will not tell us which group is top. they are very egalitarian in approach. of course i have cast sneaky looks at the charts to work it out. it's very hard to tell for sure whether banana is above apple though.

singersgirl Wed 22-Feb-06 11:26:56

DS2's Reception class has just been organised into groups for Literacy and Numeracy too - but there is a lot of movement in Reception/y1. At this age the majority of the children in what is clearly the high ability group are the older ones in the year.

It does make sense, though, because some children are reading fluently and spelling well, and others don't know all their letters yet. So they do need differentiated tasks, as well as whole class teaching.

DS1 started in the 'support/duffers' group in Reception and I was gutted. Over the years (Y3 now) he's worked his way into the 'right' groups for him.

fennel Wed 22-Feb-06 11:30:06

they do change fast. dd1 has gone up a group or two in both maths and reading since September. she may, or may not, now be in top reading group. i still can't tell for sure.

Twinkie1 Wed 22-Feb-06 11:55:07

misdee - this is probably not an issue for DD - it is other parents that harp on about how clever their children are and make it a huge isue - I have a friend who insists on showing me her DDs reading book to show how much cleverer her DD is than mine - I just ignore it - just be glad that your DD is getting the help that she needs.

Enif Wed 22-Feb-06 11:56:35

it is SO not an issue for dd1

she is cheerful resigned and totally thrilled when she does well

luckily she is sport billy and brainy dd2 is a klutz so her self-esteem remains intact

Blandmum Wed 22-Feb-06 11:56:41

As I say ds is at the bottom of his class by quite some way. But the important thing is that he is making progress. And that is all that matters

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