Top groups at primary vs secondary

(19 Posts)
Username22344 Sat 01-Aug-20 11:09:16

Just wondering if most children who are in the top sets in year 3/4/5/6 end up in the top sets by the end of year 10/11?
Do all kids in the top sets (primary school in particularly), work at roughly the same level, or is there usually a big difference between the child at the bottom of the top set and the child at the top of the top set, if that makes sense?

OP’s posts: |
SometimesItRains Sat 01-Aug-20 11:15:51

I’m not aware of any English primary schools that stream children - obviously they differentiate within lessons, but there aren’t enough children in each year group generally to have them in permanent sets. I went through the middle school system in the midlands so was streamed from yr5. Whether you stay in the top set all along to yr11 depends obviously on where you are within the top set. With three middle schools feeding into a high school not all children in the top set in yr8 could remain in it on the transfer to high school. But most people stayed roughly in the same bracket, with some dramatically improving and others falling behind (usually due to failing to apply themselves). But that’s just my anecdotal knowledge.

RedskyAtnight Sat 01-Aug-20 11:25:28

As per PP; I think it's very unusual for primary schools to have sets.
And the National Curriculum requires everyone in a year group to be taught the same material. Quite a lot only have 1 or 2 classes, so sets not really possible. And not all secondary schools set either!!

At the lower end of junior age, the higher performing children are often older, or quicker to pick things up. By secondary school some of the other children will have caught up and some of the original high flyers will have decided they can't be bothered to work and have settled into a more "average" curve.

Have a look at progress figures between KS2 and GCSE. Also all the research into why the 11+ is not such a great differentiator!

AgnesNaismith Sat 01-Aug-20 11:32:28

My children have been put into sets for maths and English in primary from KS2. I have no info on how that develops as yet but would be interested to know!

Thriceisnice Sat 01-Aug-20 11:34:09

My primary school split us into 2 sets, higher and lower. I was in higher for both English and maths (only subjects we were set in). I went to a grammar and was in top sets for maths and science (only subjects with sets)

Hoppinggreen Sat 01-Aug-20 11:37:57

Depends on the Secondary
I know dc who were in set 2 or 3 at Primary who were in set 1 in Secondary.

MollyAtTheFolly Sat 01-Aug-20 11:42:24

My top children in English this year (primary) would probably have been high middle last year.

My lowest children in Maths last year would be middle this year.

It can depend on the cohort.


MollyAtTheFolly Sat 01-Aug-20 11:44:09

Meant to say- when they get to secondary where they were in their class in primary won't really matter. I think those in top groups in Y7 are more of an indication of Y10/11.

I think some schools are better than others at movement too.

KarenKarendson Sat 01-Aug-20 11:47:40

My child was in bottom sets for primary and went pretty quickly to top sets in secondary. Think it's something to do with the negative environment of that particular primary tbh.

marcopront Sat 01-Aug-20 11:55:57

*Depends on the Secondary
I know dc who were in set 2 or 3 at Primary who were in set 1 in Secondary.*

Surely it depends on the student and both schools.

Maybe they worked harder in secondary and so did better.
Maybe something clicked and they suddenly understood and so did better
Maybe the students who were on the top set in primary stopped working and so moved down
Maybe they were in the wrong set in primary
Maybe they were in the wrong set in secondary
Maybe they were with a different group of students and all the good ones from their primary school weren't with them in secondary
Maybe the size of the sets were different
Maybe they were the top of set 2 in primary and the bottom of set 1 in secondary

Or maybe one of many other reasons

missyB1 Sat 01-Aug-20 11:56:31

You can’t compare really. Children can perform very differently in senior school than they did in primary. Also there are usually significantly more children in the senior school so a child who was in top set in primary might be second set in senior (they tend to have more sets).
The advantage of senior school is there is usually more flexibility to move between the sets.

VincaMinor Sun 02-Aug-20 10:31:15

Mine are at secondary. At KS1 level the ability groups didn't necessarily match what they would be at secondary. Age affected this. I remember kids who were in middle groups who became top and vice versa. By KS2 it did start to match more. I'm not sure of the details of difference of abilities between kids in the same group.

CatkinToadflax Sun 02-Aug-20 10:51:57

In my primary school we didn’t have ‘sets’ as such but we were on different ability tables. I was always on the highest ability table. (Sounds ridiculously boasty but true.) I then went to a grammar school, and apart from one subject where I remained at the top, I was very much middle of the middle. My DB, on the other hand, was on the top table at primary, stayed at the top in his grammar school and then went to Oxbridge. My DS2 was at the top in his prep and remains in the top group in his private secondary school, but it’s an extremely small school and even then he has to work hard to stay in the group. In a larger school with many more pupils I suspect he wouldn’t be in the top group. I think it depends vastly from school to school, the sizes of the schools, and the pupils in them.

WeAllHaveWings Sun 02-Aug-20 10:53:00

Ability seen in primary is a factor, but once you get to secondary some that are very capable don't put in the consistent effort required, or don't have the parental support at home, or their focus is elsewhere, and once they start to fall behind it takes a lot to get back on track.

Conversely those with less natural ability that put in the hard graft can really flourish in secondary.

RedCatBlueCat Sun 02-Aug-20 11:02:44

My son is moving to secondary in September.
The secondary intake is three times bigger than his current primary - and 10 times bigger than some primaries. Not everyone in his top set maths is going to be in the top set at secondary (unless the class has about 100 kids in!).

Milicentbystander72 Sun 02-Aug-20 11:13:03

My dd was a wonder kid at primary - really high marks, perfect sats scores.

She's now going into Y11. She's in an extension group for English but the rest are very average - good at History, drama and Spanish, middle of second set for Maths, second set for Science and struggling with Chemistry.
I'd say she's a good student but needs to work hard at it, and there no way she'll be getting all those 9's she was predicted after her sats (which I personally feel is a ridiculous expectation).

My ds is in Y9. He cane out of Primary and very average student. He's excelling at English, DT, Drama and Engineering. None of which he even covered in Primary school.

So in my experience, I feel performance at Primary doesn't indicate too much.

Milicentbystander72 Sun 02-Aug-20 11:14:12

*of course he covered English! grin

Rosieposy4 Sun 02-Aug-20 11:16:35

We take nearly 300 students a year from around 40 different primaries, not possible for all of the kids who have been on top table in their small primary to end up in top set in secondary. Poor maths department in particular get a lot of parental moans about this, with the parents seemingly incapable of understanding the basic maths and probabilities.

Hophop26 Mon 03-Aug-20 23:23:35

Like others have said I don’t think it’s relative, far too much happens in the time in between. Personally, I didn’t thrive at primary school was poor at English etc but was in top sets for everything in year 10/11 whereas others that had been the stars in primary school were in mid sets

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