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why do they put kids in different groups in Y1 to Reception and what do they mean?

(88 Posts)
imaginaryfriend Thu 04-Sep-08 22:24:41

My dd started Y1 today and has been so upset since getting home. All her previous friends in her group are still in a group together but she's been moved to a different group. It doesn't sound like a huge deal but if you knew how shy dd is and how hard it was for her to settle into school life.

So I'm just wondering if anybody can explain to me how the system works? Is it likely she might be moved group during the next few weeks?

WilfSell Thu 04-Sep-08 22:26:39

It seems to be ability based in most schools, often different for different subjects. Sometimes they base it on previous teachers' assessments I think, later on SATS results, some teachers do their own assessments of ability AFAIK.

Hulababy Thu 04-Sep-08 22:27:01

You could ask her teacher?

In DD's school, the tables are mixed up every term, not just yearly. The teachers seems to like to mix the friendship groups up. As small class they dont tend to bother with completely academic groupings.

imaginaryfriend Thu 04-Sep-08 22:31:38

Hi Hula smile - still waiting for that letter ... wink

dd's school do group kids academically. I think she's been moved 'down' by two groups looking at who's in her current group as they were all together in Reception.

I feel a bit daft asking the teacher, kind of pushy.

ninja Thu 04-Sep-08 23:01:56

It's happened to us too - DD is on a table of 6 with NO other girls and the 3 naughtiest boys in the class. I know they told me she was good at dealing with the more difficult boys but really that's not her job.

I've been told it's temporary, however I will be speaking to the teacher if it seems more than a couple of weeks.

I think it's one of those situations where you could go into the classroom to look for a 'lost coat' and then casually ask the question.

imaginaryfriend Thu 04-Sep-08 23:54:43

ninja, dd's on a table with a girl who terrifies her! She told me that today she couldn't get on with her work because this girl was whispering in her ear all the time about having a secret she wouldn't tell dd.

When the teacher said it was temporary did they give any reasoning behind that?

SmugColditz Fri 05-Sep-08 00:01:27

Maybe she's a bit naughty too ninja, and they like to have them all on one table? Just an idea - I think we as parents can be very blind to our own children's foibles, because they are baseline to us.

Ds1 has been telling me he does nothing and plays with nobody at school - I asked his teacher about this, and she looked mystified. "But he's doing so well in the classroom!" she cried!

Hulababy Fri 05-Sep-08 07:56:41

Really IF - it was sent off ages ago. We lost the first one - or rather DH did. But DD wrote a second one and posted it straight away.

Really sorry about that.

ninja Fri 05-Sep-08 08:30:01

Sadly - they told me that dd was one of the most mature members of the class and got on with her work quietly. Trust me she's not like that at home!!

They said they were asessing them for ability I think. DD's been asking why there are no girls on their table sad so I think I might go in and have a word sooner than later

chapstickchick Fri 05-Sep-08 08:41:59

after many years of waiting at the school gates i have the answer!!!! - they do it to encourage competitiveness between parents hoping that if your child is moved from big green toad tble to tiny tadpole team then you will sponsor the schools football team,send in school posh biscuits, join the pta and attend the ofsted meeting to praise the school.

Its really quite disturbing how much it can affect little ones all this tble business...........when i was at school we all sat where we sat all year -no moving that was it we all learnt the same way doing the same work at the same time and we all read the same reading book as a class activity and were encourged to 'free read' from the school library- in fact my lovely primary teacher mrs blackberry used to let the girls wear her high heels at dressing up time and she used to buy class comics every week twinkle ,beano ,dandy and bunty and we used to put our head on our arms fter lunch for rest ..........

piratecat Fri 05-Sep-08 08:48:30

we have 2 intkaes in our school, sept and jan. I am toldthat they do it to mix up the ages, so that you don't have all the older ones together etc...

I also think they use it to mix up children who may be having issues with others. In my dd's reception yr there was one particular pupil who had a gang around her, and they took her away from 2 others who seemed tbh catty. It has helped, and altho this individual is in dd's class, i think it's good becuase tis little girl is calming down, and well ok my dd has to put up with her, but it's all part of learning.

the playground, well that's another scenarion, and dd haslearnt to walk away from conflict.

TheDuchessOfNork Fri 05-Sep-08 10:25:44

if - do the 'ability' groups sit together all the time or is it just for particular subjects? Our class has different groups for both maths and reading which are different again from the tables they sit at in the classroom to do general work. So your DD may get some time with her old friends. But I think it's most likely that the teacher is trying to encourage her to make a wider group of friends to combat her shyness?

ninja - my DD1, who's just gone into Y2, had the naughtiest boys on her table for R & Y1. She handles having her PE kit thrown across the room, her pictures scribbled on, etc, etc, extremely well - comes of being the eldest of 4! But she was fed up with it by the end of Y1 and fair enough. This year, they have chosen their own tables and she is sitting, amongst others, with 2 bossy show-offs hmm. I think I'd rather have the naughty boys back! But no doubt she will learn to get on with all sorts. <trots out optimistic cliched nonsense and keeps fingers crossed>.

imaginaryfriend Fri 05-Sep-08 13:49:34

SmugColditz I can't speak for ninja's dd but mine is the opposite of 'naughty' at school. At all the previous parents' evenings it's been brought to my attention that she's highly reserved and very shy and we've always been trying to work on her social skills.

Duchess from what I know from friends whose kids have been through Y1 at dd's school they have one group for general things and one for reading so you're right that she may see some of her old group when doing reading. But I still don't understand why all her previous group are still together with 2 children from the other Reception class who were at the same level and dd's been moved 'down' 2 groups into a group in which all the children were also all previously together. As they are ability groups it can't be to encourage her to make new friends and in any case it's having totally the opposite effect. She's gone from having gained some budding confidence to zero again.

If I'm honest I think she may have changed groups because she's not at the standard of the rest of her previous group but it seems a hard thing to do to such a small child. She feels like she's done something wrong.

cory Fri 05-Sep-08 14:24:29

It probably is an ability thing Ninja, in which case you can't do much about it except help to explain to her that it's nothing she's done wrong but it's about how the teacher thinks she will learn best.

I felt a little sad when dh was put in the lowest ability groups for maths and literacy in Year 1, but looking back it was the best thing that could have happened to him: he got help that was appropriate for his level and did not have his confidence dented by working with friends that were far more capable than he. Now he's started Year 4 and he's just been told that he is moving up in both subjects.

Anchovy Fri 05-Sep-08 14:32:38

I think the thing is that the ability groups are so wide at that age they have to split them up a bit. I know when DS was in Y1 last year, there were some who could barely read, some very dogged, some pretty much free readers. you really do have to put like with like in those circumstances. DS moved around reading groups quite a lot (both up and down, I think) as both he and people around him changed so very quickly.

PrimulaVeris Fri 05-Sep-08 14:39:30

The tables can move round quite a lot. I think in Reception they relate more to date of birth, but from Y1 they are more to ability. (I did not realise this until my oldest was in Y3 btw). Our school has separate ability tables for literacy and maths, but also a 'home table' where they do everything else. Some teachers kept the home table the same all year, some changed termly or half-termly.

Your dd will have to get used to moving tables - it's normal. I'd give it a couple of weeks and see how things are going. If she has any issues by then I'd pop in to see the teacher to discuss.

singersgirl Fri 05-Sep-08 14:44:46

Ours tend to be like PrimulaVeris's - they have a home table, which is mixed ability, and a reading group, which they only do reading in. Then they're set across the year group for numeracy and literacy, and within the sets they're split again 3 or 4 ways.

imaginaryfriend Fri 05-Sep-08 14:48:40

The home table is definitely not mixed ability in dd's class, they are all more or less the same kids as they were in Reception on each table and I think they are only moved around according to what kind of abilities they show. I don't know about the reading groups yet as the teacher hasn't fixed them yet.

My dd will get used to moving around, I know it's normal. It just totally threw her that she was the only one to be moved and I've been wondering why.

PrimulaVeris Fri 05-Sep-08 14:49:52

Another good reason to leave it for a little while is that at the start of every term lots of children & parents complain that groups of friends get split up and the teachers can get a bit fed up. If you wait, observe and see teacher calmly with evidence, you're more likely to have sensible discussion and a move if that's appropriate.

AbbyLou Fri 05-Sep-08 14:56:14

I have aYear 1 class and mine are grouped by ability for some subjects and not others. There is a lot of partner/group work in the curriculum nowadays and it is easier to manage this if the children are grouped by ability. However, grouping by ability is not alwyays useful. It's nice for children to sit with others sometimes and for some subjects a mixed group works better. In my class I have ability groups for Literacy and Maths and set PE groiups which are mixed ability. For all other subjects the children can choose to sit where they like. I think this is a healthy balance.

imaginaryfriend Fri 05-Sep-08 15:28:10

It's not to do with groups of friends. The sad thing is that dd didn't really make friends with any of the people in her group so much as became familiar with them. I can't stress how shy she is socially and how hard she finds it to adapt to change. But what's also a problem for her is that she's the only one to have been moved so she feels she's done something wrong / the teacher doesn't like her and I can't find a reasonable explanation to give her as to why she's the only one to be moved.

ninja Fri 05-Sep-08 16:40:27

As DD was a bit upset about being with 5 boys, I did ask her teacher what temporary meant and they're changing on Monday (hurrah!). She even asked DD if she had any preferences so maybe she'll get to sit with one of the 3 other year 1 girls in her class which would be good.

Hope you manage to get some joy imaginaryfriend

imaginaryfriend Fri 05-Sep-08 16:50:16

Oh, so perhaps by some strange unlikely osmosis I might expect dd's groups to change on Monday too?

cheesychips Fri 05-Sep-08 17:11:03

I think you are going to have to support her in getting used to the fluidity of groups. Ability groups change quite rapidly in year 1 and that is hard for some children but they also spend lots of time on the carpet and in the playground where she can choose to play with more familiar peers.

TheDuchessOfNork Fri 05-Sep-08 17:40:04

if - can you explain to DD that she's in the group where the teacher thinks she will enjoy the books the most? And add that if she finds the books/maths/whatever too easy then she will be moved up to another group.

I also think you should give it a couple of weeks as the teacher will not yet be familiar with abilities and personalities (other than reports from Reception). If in 2 weeks you still don't know why she has been moved (ie. a note in her reading book?) then arrange an appointment with the teacher. If any action is decided on at the meeting, you'll then have a few weeks to monitor them before the next parents evening.

I've no advice on the shyness, my 2 at school are embarrassingly the other end of the spectrum and DD2 was only shy until aged 3. Might be worth a separate thread though with particular focus on classroom/making friends?

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