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What's the point in ability grouping if they get put in top for everything because they're top in one subject?

(12 Posts)
dollybird Mon 09-Sep-13 21:57:34

DS has just started secondary school. Came home last week and told me he was in groups for English and Maths with his friends who are both very bright, did level 6 SATs etc, so i was really pleased for him as it appeared he had moved up in English where he was in second group in juniors. He told me today that they he is with the same people for EVERY subject and one of his friends is in this group even though he was in 3rd out of 4 groups last year, because he's top for Maths. This seems a little odd to me as surely just because you're good at maths doesn't mean you're good at eg French or whatever. I wonder if it's just initial grouping and they'll get moved around as time goes on?

tiggytape Mon 09-Sep-13 22:24:25

It is called streaming rather than setting.
Setting is when a child is placed in an appropriate ability group for each subject.
Streaming is when a child stays in the top, middle or bottom group for every subject even though they may be much stronger/weaker in some areas than others.

Streaming is much less common but some schools still favour it. It is usually based on SATS plus initial school assessments. You could always ask his tutor whether they will have sets later on.

tiggytape Mon 09-Sep-13 22:24:40

(his form tutor)

dollybird Mon 09-Sep-13 22:28:33

Oh ok, that makes more sense. I'm not too concerned as I'm pleased he seems to be in top. He really worked hard last year to improve his reading and writing and it paid off. I imagine it could be tricky further down the line if a child was really struggling in the top stream at a particular subject. Will make a note to ask if it changes later. Thanks

mummytime Tue 10-Sep-13 07:27:22

Are you sure they are even set? Maybe some of these are mixed ability groups?

dollybird Tue 10-Sep-13 19:12:56

He's with the same people for everything except PE and ICT which are random, and the people he's with were in top groups for English and/or maths last year. I don't know, but he seems happy enough as he's with his friends.

HattyJack Tue 10-Sep-13 20:21:11

I was at a 'streamed' secondary. We were only streamed for the first three years, which were called year 1, year 2 and year 3 then - seems quaint now!

It was broadly ok, although I was surprised at some of the people who ended up in my form. What was weird was that when it got to GCSE we weren't setted or streamed, apart from in maths. Look out for that.

Talkinpeace Tue 10-Sep-13 20:25:51

streaming is lazy in these days of computerised timetables

Blu Tue 10-Sep-13 20:26:00

They may well start setting for certain subjects next term, or next year - schools like to do their own 'sorting' based on performance in secondary.

Ask for clarification on how it works at parents evening.

Good that he is happy anyway.

dollybird Thu 12-Sep-13 19:00:40

yes, definitely a question for parents evening! When I was a t secondary we did everything in our tutor groups for the first two years, then some English and Maths were setted in the third year, then everything in 4th/5th year. I hope they don't stay in streams through the whole 5 years

lljkk Sat 14-Sep-13 08:10:00

Streams/sets are supposed to be porous, it's bad practice in Ofsted eyes to do otherwise.

Talkinpeace Sat 14-Sep-13 20:09:30

Sets are easily porous
streams are not

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