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Should I ask to move maths set?

(63 Posts)
SurvivalGuide Sat 18-Jul-15 17:28:39

DS's teacher says his maths is much improved this year. He gets it all right, finishes early and then helps the others in his set to fill the time. Should I ask for him to move up a maths set? What's the best way to talk to the teacher? Worried DS is not being sufficiently challenged.

xxxnikkixxx Sat 18-Jul-15 17:53:38

I don't think you have a say on that, surely that is up to the teacher?

SurvivalGuide Sat 18-Jul-15 18:05:12

Surely parents have the right to an opinion too? No-one is right 100% of the time!

redskybynight Sat 18-Jul-15 18:09:14

You can say "I'm not sure DS is being sufficiently challenged". You can't say "I want DS to move up a maths set".

catkind Sat 18-Jul-15 18:10:01

It'd get backs up less if you ask if they are planning to move him rather than telling them they should. (And might still put him on their radar for a move in the unlikely case it hadn't occurred to them.) From the report it sounds very likely they'll move him up in the new term. How about a quick email along the lines of
"Dear Ms HeadofMaths, delighted to see in DS report that he is much improved in maths. May I ask if you are planning to move him up a set in September?"

Then hopefully they'll either say yes, or no because ....

HowDoesThatWork Sat 18-Jul-15 18:17:53

You have maths sets in primary?

(our children have all attended a small village school with two or three years per class)

xxxnikkixxx Sat 18-Jul-15 18:26:03

You have the right to have an opinion, but you do not have the right to ask to move a set, that is up to the teacher. The teacher may keep your son on the same set for a number of reason... or she/he may move him up! But it's all up to the teacher and not the parents!

SurvivalGuide Sat 18-Jul-15 18:30:02

Lucky you how does! In a class of 30 we have 5 sets each for maths and English. Set one taught more than set 2 etc etc. although everyone covers NC of course. Therefore v imp to be in the correct set, especially when in a grammar school area. Only top 2 sets will have a realistic chance of passing as they are taught to the required level. Thanks for the sensible advice catkind !

regularrectangle Sat 18-Jul-15 18:38:22

Any teacher would move a child up, or down, a set if this is the most appropriate action for the child. Parental opinion would have little impact on the decision.

xxxnikkixxx Sat 18-Jul-15 18:57:54

You say it is very important to be in the correct set, are you implying you know better than the teacher? Your son may have made a lot of progress but, that progress may not be enough to go up a set. If you are really that worried about being in a grammar school area you may want to step up your "game" as it seems like your son is struggling... or maybe you are just pushy hmm

SurvivalGuide Sat 18-Jul-15 19:06:32

Yes very pushy! Game plan is to make sure my child is exposed to the most information possible at school. A child in year 6 in the bottom set has simply not been exposed to the same amount of knowledge (in reference to education imparted from a teacher) as one in the top set. Also have a private tutor lined up. Obviously home support too. It is my experience that you can't rely on the school to do it all. (Although strangely that approach worked for my parents)

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 18-Jul-15 19:07:10

I think you are talking about grouping, rather than setting. I don't think you can demand it but I don't see the issue with asking whether he's ready to be moved up and what he needs to do if they think he isn't.

You should definitely be ensuring that they are challenging him though. If he's getting everything right and finishing early then he's not being challenged and they need to provide him with extension work. Whatever the next group up is doing would seem the obvious option.

xxxnikkixxx Sat 18-Jul-15 19:15:01

Well if a child is in the bottom set is because that child doesn't have the knowledge to be in the top set and therefore needs to learn the basics before moving up. Always thought schools in grammar school areas were very pushy, maybe your son really needs a tutor as it's pretty obvious he is not on the top set (or anywhere near!)! Actually feel sorry for him, he must be doing ok but mummy is not happy with ok!

SurvivalGuide Sat 18-Jul-15 19:16:54

Thank you Rafals. That is what I thought. Don't think I know better than the teacher but quite often things get overlooked and not recognised as soon as they might be. Just needs to be posed as a respectful question. Not a demand. Thanks

xxxnikkixxx Sat 18-Jul-15 19:18:11

It's the end of school year anyway, if anything he will be moved up in September and not now!

DoesItReallyMatter Sat 18-Jul-15 19:20:19

Of course it's ok to ask about this. I don't see how that's pushy or rude as long as you are just asking if it's possible.

redskybynight Sat 18-Jul-15 19:25:27

So that's ability groups within a class rather than sets? So how on earth can they be taught different things (differentiated work I could understand). Also doesn't fit with new curriculum where there are age related things to cover so the top group doesn't get to cover more material!!

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 18-Jul-15 19:27:00

I would wait until you see the set up next year with his new teacher to be honest.

Mandzi34 Sat 18-Jul-15 19:27:55

When my DD was in Year 2 I asked the teacher about whether she could be given the top group homework as she was finding the middle group work quite straight forward, finishing work early in class etc. She agreed and then started to work with the higher group, achieved a level 3 in the SATS and is now comfortably within the top 8. She was obviously improving but may have not been given the chance, had I not asked.

DocHollywood Sat 18-Jul-15 19:28:52

Yes, unless you have one teacher per 6 children then it just sounds like grouping within the same class. The children will be working on the same concept, the class input will be the same but the group work will be differentiated depending on the ability of the children in the group.
If a child in a group is consistently finding the work easy then he or she will be given work of a higher level which may not involve an actual move to a higher group but there should be no problem in accessing the same work. Moving groups would only happen if a child in the higher group was working at a level below your child and it would benefit both to change groups.
That's how it happens in our school anyway.

Minispringroll Sun 19-Jul-15 07:46:27

*Moving groups would only happen if a child in the higher group was working at a level below your child and it would benefit both to change groups.
That's how it happens in our school anyway.*
Why does one child have to wait for another to struggle before they are allowed more challenging work? What a ridiculous system. confused I find the notion of children being allocated to a specific 'group' and then having to remain there very odd. There is no rule that says that there has to be a certain number of children in each 'group' and anyone, who insists that they can only have as many in their group as there are spaces at the group table, is just plain weird...
I'd wait and see what happens next year. I remember starting at a new school and one parent getting very cross with me because I had "moved dd to a lower group". I hadn't. I don't do static groups. Most of the time I don't do groups at all. I might teach my advanced group something more difficult to stretch them, but that can mean 15 children for one day and 3 for another.
What you are talking about are groups, not sets. I'm not sure why this means your DS finishes early and then has to help others. Surely he should just be given the work appropriate for him in the first place...hmm

Elisheva Sun 19-Jul-15 08:03:18

In my DS school the children are 'set' from year one - there are 3 classes per year group and for maths and literacy they move around. The sets are definitely taught different material albeit within the same topic.

Minispringroll Sun 19-Jul-15 08:26:09

So how flexible are these sets?
I'm wondering how much of a chance some of the pupils I have just waved off to secondary school would have had, had we used fixed groups. Some of them got Level 1 at KS1...and have just left us with Level 5s for their KS2 SATs. If I had always expected them to be less able and therefore not given them the opportunity to be exposed to Level 5/6 content, they wouldn't have had a chance to show what they are actually capable of. Some children simply develop later or at a different pace. To limit expectations and opportunities so early on is quite harmful, imo.

Elisheva Sun 19-Jul-15 08:33:04

Parents are not told which set their child is in, or if they are changing sets. I only know if DS happens to mention something which is unlikely. I can work out which sets they are in by asking who else is in the group but generally I leave it to the school. As far as I know there are table groups within the sets as well, these seem to move around more.

DocHollywood Sun 19-Jul-15 09:10:15

You are not reading what I said miniroll. The child will always access the higher work but logistics will dictate the label/group name/table which in most schools mean nothing, it's the capability of the child that has any meaning. In general terms our 2 top groups do the same work with variable extensions, middle 2 groups, ditto, lowest group will be dictated by each child's needs.

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