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Maths and English streaming

(19 Posts)
squashpie Thu 09-Jun-11 14:03:16

Hello, getting a bit anxious about streaming when DC goes up to year 3 in September. Other parents at the school (!) say that there is little or no movement upwards, so you have to ensure that you get your DC into the right (top-ish) set from the word go.

Have other people found this at their DC's school and, if so, what have they/ would they do to ensure their DC were at the right level to get into the top groups in year 3? Knowing all their timestables? Being great on spelling? Anything else?


IndigoBell Thu 09-Jun-11 14:19:39

* I'd be surprised if there really was no movement. Certainly my DS was moved up half way through the year. If they don't move then they'll have to differentiate as much as if they didn't have sets - which would defeat the purpose.

* All sets will teach the same thing (the NC). And there may be very little difference between the top set and the middle set. One might be given more and harder problems - but they will both learn the same thing

* Would you really want your child to be in the wrong set by trying to artificially raise her grade?

The school is teaching all kids the NC. It's aiming for all children to make as much progress as possible. Let them do what they think is best......

AliceAirhead Thu 09-Jun-11 14:20:25

In my experience (as a parent and former teacher), teachers will group children into their appropriate ability group, i.e. a child will only be in higher ability group if he or she deserves to be so.

My daughter (yr3) started a new school recently and was mightily disgruntled to have not been put in to the 'top table' for literacy as she was as her old school. She complained that the work was too easy. I offered to go in and talk to the teacher, but my daughter took it in to her own hands and made sure she showed her ability and the teacher duly moved her to the highest ability group. No interference from me. I know this is a different to your situation, as my daughter moved schools within the same year, rather than just moving up in same school, but there is movement!

I suppose the crux of what I'm saying is have faith in the teachers to assess your child's ability level. Teachers are also a very approachable bunch - talk to them if you think they've got it wrong. Also, talk to your child about what they're doing, scrutinize their homework and I'm sure you'll be able to gauge whether the work he/she is getting is too easy/hard.

Sorry don't have time to give you advice on what to do at home (school run beckons) but a bit of googling and you'll suss it out.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Thu 09-Jun-11 14:20:59

At my son's state school they set based on the KS1 results and on the yr 2 & yr 3 teachers discussing the kids at the close of the summer term. DS is in yr 3 at the moment. Having said this they seem to have moved DS around a bit this year so nothing is set in stone, at least not here anyway. Don't think spelling or times tables had much to do with it, general literacy seemed most important. They have spent most of yr 3 doing tables but it wasn't assumed knowledge, they have been doing them for the first time. In yr 2 I think the most advanced kids did counting in 2s, 5s and 10s, not much else. I will be very happy to move on from tables, it has become so boring.

lovecheese Thu 09-Jun-11 14:30:59

Agree with IndigoBell, why would you want your child to be in the "Top set" if that wasn't the right place for them? Assuming it's to do with bragging rights in the playground, and I am not aiming that at you, OP.

Surely a child will be setted based on their KS1 results and teacher assessments? Don't think parental interference would be taken into account (although at my DC's school a child joined the top reading group after mum and dad made a fuss, surprised at the teacher agreeing TBH (hmm)

squashpie Thu 09-Jun-11 14:53:38

Thanks for all the responses. I too feel this is all a bit much but .... one of the points that one of the mums made (I do slightly hate myself for listening) was that, in our grammar school area, the top set kids stay where they are (there is a lot of kumon/ tuition already in year 2 and that's only going to get worse) so there is no space for any kids who develop and 'get it' suddenly, to move up because the top set is full from the beginning. Then the middle group of kids don't get suitably stretched etc etc.

I don't know. I was just wondering if this was a common experience.

lovecheese Thu 09-Jun-11 14:56:23

...then I would say it sounds like a crap school if there is no movement.

IndigoBell Thu 09-Jun-11 15:00:35

You're listening to unsubstantiated gossip.

Of course the top set is full. But if a child in the middle set is doing substantially better than a child in the top set, they will at some stage get swapped round.

Might not be till next year, but it will happen.

The parents don't really know what goes on. Everyone thinks their child should be top set and therefore there must be some unfair system going on.......

The middle group will also get suitably stretched. That's the whole point of streams.......

If you're that worried, do a whole summer of Kumon and tutoring yourself....

RoadArt Thu 09-Jun-11 19:25:05

Teachers are capable of giving the appropriate work at the appropriate level, no matter what streaming may appear to be done in the class.

If children are not in particular sets, then they are not demonstrating in class that they are capable of doing work at that level.

Our school dont stream (not openly) and the kids do fine

cat64 Thu 09-Jun-11 19:30:38

Message withdrawn

londonkids Thu 09-Jun-11 19:30:43

Just because you are in the bottom/ lower stream doesn't mean you won't do well. In fact it might make you do better. It stops children who are struggling losing confidence and being with other children who find the work easier. This is secondary though but I went to one school that didn't stream and found French impossible, I then went to another school that streamed and was put in bottom French stream and was with all children of my same capability, got my confidence back and did fantastically. Was in higher streams for English and Maths and got A GCSE's in all, so actually the streaming helped as I would have just dropped out of French in the old school.

pointythings Thu 09-Jun-11 19:31:31

A good school will allow for movement - DD2 started off Yr 3 in second set maths, by autumn h/t was moved up because things had just clicked. I don't get the idea of a top set being 'full' - from year to year you might have different numbers of children working at a particular level, you have to plan for it!

gordongrumblebum Thu 09-Jun-11 19:42:18

Even if chidlren are put into sets, you still have a different range of abilities. The set I have this year goes from 2B to 3B/A (last year 2a-3b with far less children at the higher end - much easier set to plan for!). My colleagues set is p-2A, so there is overlap. Some children feel much safer away from the high-performers, because they lack confidence: we sometimes make a decision to keep these in the lower set so that they can be 'top dog'.

Our groups are incredibly fluid. I have just had 2 children moved to my set this late in the year. The two sets do approximately the same thing every week and we have a prescribed order to teach calculation.

gordongrumblebum Thu 09-Jun-11 19:43:08

sorry, meant 'far fewer' children, not 'far less'!

cat64 Thu 09-Jun-11 19:43:27

Message withdrawn

spanieleyes Thu 09-Jun-11 19:57:42

My top maths set started with 4 in it, there were 6 by Christmas, 8 at Easter and now has 11! My aim is to get everyone into the top set by summer grin

However my initial top setters have still moved up a minimum of 2 sublevels since September, those joining them have moved three.

pointythings Thu 09-Jun-11 20:02:02

Good point about range within a set, gordongrumblebum - DD1 is in a top set of 16 (middle school, much bigger) but the range is from 4b to 5b - boy do I respect her teacher for coping, they all seem to be progressing well so he must be doing something right!

spanieleyes Thu 09-Jun-11 20:09:17

We are a small school so "stream" across the two key classes and then set in groups in each stream. I have top stream so my 26 children vary from level 3B to 6B, my top set now ranges from 4A to 6B and has children from years 4,5 and 6. Life is fun!

spanieleyes Thu 09-Jun-11 20:10:04

Sorry, I meant we stream across the two KS2 classes

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