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Is such a lack of movement between ability tables normal in Y1?

(76 Posts)
averywoomummy Sun 08-Dec-13 19:08:06


I have written before about ability groups and my views as DC had entered Y1 on a lower table. Anyway she and I have worked very hard over the past term and she has improved massively but still no movement up for her.

The thing is there has been no movement at all amongst the class over the Autumn term which is nearly at an end now. They all started off on tables (which were apparently given by the reception teacher) then there was a bit of a shuffle round in the first couple of weeks and since then nothing (I know this because I go in to help).

I would have thought that even if the groupings were correct at first that there would be quite a lot of movement as children don't all learn in a linear fashion and that some children would suddenly grasp things whilst others might plateau etc. It would seem strange that they had all progressed in an equal fashion.

I am a bit concerned by this lack of movement especially as in DCs class there are a fixed number of children on each table so for someone to move up or down a corresponding child has to be moved too. I am wondering if this creates extra work for the teacher (and maybe unhappy parents coming in) and so they just haven't bothered to do it? Or would changing groups be something that would be done once at the start of each term?

cloutiedumpling Wed 11-Dec-13 09:12:49

Not just the quality of work, but also the opportunity to access it. See Lougle's post above 10/12 at 14.49. The top group may have quality work set but the kids who are at the top of the next group may not be able to access it.

Snowbility Wed 11-Dec-13 09:01:56

I was sat by ability as a child, our table still managed to complete the work set way before the rest of the class, no further work was ever set, we just sat and chatted once we finished while we waited on the rest of the class...would therefore conclude that position of seating is not the important bit of challenging a child - have a feeling the quality of work set might be more important!

simpson Tue 10-Dec-13 23:11:27

Lougle - we had that too grin 4 words on each page with maybe 6 pages (and loads of drawings too) and even the blurb on the back. DD was 3.8 at the time.

Rosencrantz Tue 10-Dec-13 22:55:02

Seating learning by ability was the only reason I thrived as a gifted child in a very poorly performing school.

I don't see it as bad practice at all.

mammadiggingdeep Tue 10-Dec-13 22:53:58

Aaaah bless...I love it smile my dd is 3.5 and took two 'pages' to write her name. Biggest letters I've ever seen. Still a book though grin

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 22:51:37

My DDs make 'books' too. At first they thought they needed a piece of paper for each 'page' so we ended up with a 16 page book when they wanted to write 4 words, one on each 'page' grin

mammadiggingdeep Tue 10-Dec-13 22:42:37 and dd make little books together. They're full of her emergent and stickers. They are real books because she sits and 'reads' them. Try telling her its not a real book.

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 22:38:09

I simply can't get this notion of 'non-books' confused. A book is a collection of text, written on pages and bound together. Just because the content of a book doesn't meet your literary preferences doesn't stop it being a 'real' book.

mammadiggingdeep Tue 10-Dec-13 22:16:48 still haven't said why you don't home know, seeing as teachers know absolutely nothing and you have single handedly taught your daughter to read smile

simpson Tue 10-Dec-13 21:44:24

I don't think anybody needs to volunteer in their DC class to find out where their kids are ie what table etc as the children work it out for themselves.

I love DD's phonetically plausible words. She wrote "twiangals" this evening for triangles!

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 21:28:37

You still haven't explained what a non books is ... is it similar to an imaginary friend?

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 21:25:06

Well, others might have some deep-seated love of non books and bizarre spelling, and they're welcome to them. There may even be some peculiar argument in favour of both of them, but I'm afraid they're not for me. I'll take my chances with real books and words spelled the way that they're found in the dictionary. It might sound crazy, but then I'm not a teacher!

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 21:17:23

unfortunately being comfortable isn't quite the same as being correct

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 21:09:06

Life is full of uncertainties. But when it comes to my children there are several of them, in this particular regard, that I'm quite comfortable with!

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 21:02:27

You can't compare one child with another so not even you can know what might have been the outcome

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 20:58:44

Thankfully that's true, mrz. (I have seen some of the results in other people's children though.)

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 19:17:30

You will never know how your child would have turned out had you let the teachers do their job will you columngollum

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 16:59:23

But we are talking about ability setting in schools. confused

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 14:52:46

And she'd still be writing like this:

tH elfant wos Hot ant it woz coald sow it wend awai

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 14:50:30

That does rather assume that all of their knowledge comes from school. If all of my daughter's knowledge came from school she'd still be reading

Bob jogs on a hog with a log in the bog.

And wouldn't yet have learned to count to thirty.

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 14:45:37

Potential ability + Oportunity + Effort = Outcome

If either one is lacking then the outcome is going to be poorer for that child than one who had all 3.

Children who are put in fixed ability groups and therefore are denied the opportunity to learn at the level of a higher ability group will have a poorer outcome.

Take 'spellings' as an example (leaving aside the fact that most education experts say that spellings are fairly useless as an exercise):

Group 1 - 3 spellings per week to learn
Group 2 - 5 spellings per week to learn
Group 3 - 7 spellings per week to learn
Group 4 - 10 spellings per week to learn.

By the end of the term, if they've learned all their spellings:

Group 1 - 36 words
Group 2 - 60 words
Group 3 - 84 words
Group 4 - 120 words

There is very little chance of a child in group 1 catching up with a Group 4 child even if they put in masses of effort. They are 90 words behind after just one term.

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 14:37:15

But, ability doesn't come from a table does it. It comes from within.

mammadiggingdeep Tue 10-Dec-13 13:58:59

It's not that it's 'not right' but I certainly think it can make it difficult for everyone. You don't really get a whole picture if what's going on because you're not seeing all the work and differentiation that goes on. The teacher then has to justify the decisions made and worry about upsetting/worrying parents. It's a tricky thing because its lovely to have parents in to help but a bit counterproductive when issues like this are the result.

I agree that you should focus on your dc's progress and just wait to see how things pan out. If they're a good teacher they will have a handle on what your child can do and be setting challenging work accordingly despite which group they're in .

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 11:07:04

This is why my DDs' school has a policy of no parents helping in their child's year group.

It's not right that you are gaining knowledge of the by going into your child's class.

PastSellByDate Tue 10-Dec-13 10:50:33

Hi averywoomummy:

I've written on your other thread about this but just wanted to say our school is very similar (? the same).

START OF SCHOOL YEAR - tables maintained from previous year
assessed start of school year
A FEW WEEKS IN - places on tables shuffled

Either end of 1st TERM/ START of 2nd TERM - re-shuffle
end of 2nd term Optional SATS
end of 2nd TERM/ START 3rd term - reshuffle

TERM 3 - stable - maybe one or two moved toward the very end (usually under the impression it's done for political reasons).

I've written on your other thread - but genuinely in a nutshell I'd say stop worrying about the table - worry about mastery. Is your DC doing what they should by this age. Only the teacher can really judge performance (because they can see the whole picture). Yes, it's maddening to have the impression (or indeed know) that top table has a richer range of material/ challenges than other tables - but on the other hand that is the nature of 'top table' systems. What is unfortunate, is there seems little impetus to close the gap between the rest of the class and the 'top table' pupils. However, what one can never truly factor/ comprehend is how much extra work/ support, or indeed tutoring, is going on behind the scenes.

A school governor (and friend) swears blindly her DS only does school work (for which read 10 minutes at weekend + nightly reading 10-20 mins) and is just naturally bright. The little boy regaled me about how mommy is always buying him workbooks and quizzing him, and how he'll start with an 11+ tutor at Easter, when I gave him a lift home from a birthday party. Certainly with DD1's friends (all Y6) it's coming out that huge amounts of workbooks/ DIY tutoring/ 11+ prep workbooks/ 11+ private tutoring was going on.

So given all that - sincerely - just focus on what you need to do with your DD and don't worry about what table she's at.

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