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Misled by my daughters school.

(23 Posts)
lemonysnickett Sun 05-Oct-08 01:51:22

On wednesday night I was informed by my 8 year old daughter that her numeracy class is streamed and that she is in the bottom group. She was in tears as apparantly only 6 chidlren out of 16 are in this small group. I had attended every parents evening and have alwasy been told there are no problems, she is doing very well, infact as recently as last week we were informed that the only area she needed to work on ws long division.
I ws shocked to learn tht hte classes are streamed and tht my daughter is in the bottom group. The school has been very secretive about this for some reason.
The grouping of he top group only allows 10 children due to numbers in the ict suite.
I have a meeting with her previous class teacher and the head on Monday. We were never told that my daughter was struggling with maths...infact in recent tests they said she was at hte expected level in one paper and weel above the expected level in a nother...So you can imagine my confusion. I am really disappointed and angry that the school did not make us aware ..we could have offered her a little extra support at home if we'd known....has anyone got any advice or experienced anyhting similar?
All advice very welcome . Thanks.

lemonysnickett Sun 05-Oct-08 01:52:44

Very sorry about the spelling mistakes...its 2am and I am very tired.
Sorry

ScummyMummy Sun 05-Oct-08 01:55:21

long division? At 8? omg shock

Sorry you are so worried.Hope you get some answers- maybe it's a very high attaining class?

nooka Sun 05-Oct-08 02:03:11

I'd be looking to check that your dd is right in the first instance. Some schools group by ability and use other reasons for the groupings, maybe random, maybe based on how the children work together. The teachers don't tend to specifically tell you what groupings they use (I don't think I have ever been formally told, and our school used groups from reception). Kids do tend to figure these things out, but I'm not sure that they are always right. ds is dyslexic, but told me he was in the top literacy group. Comparing his work with other children when visiting the classroom I can see he is not in the top by any means (his handwriting and spelling is creative at best). They usually have five or so groups in each class.

It sounds as if the class is split in two so they can use their ICT suite (pity it is so small). I would be very concerned about the tears, as clearly your dd feels that she isn't doing well, and I would talk to the teacher about it, but don't assume that there is a problem with your daughters maths, because it is highly unlikely they would have told you she is doing well if she was struggling. IME most schools are keen for parents to be aware of any difficulties.

SqueakyPop Sun 05-Oct-08 06:11:29

Don't get angry - if you are concerned, then ask the teacher to explain how they came up with the groups. She won't be able to tell you about the other children though - just your DD.

There has to be somewhere to make the cut, and a pupil that just misses out on the top group. If she is at the top of the small group, then she may be 11th out of the year which is really in the middle. It could be that it is a very strong year group, and your DD really is doing fine.

It may be that they feel your DD will benefit from being in the smaller group, with more attention from the teacher, or that she will thrive being at the top of the group rather than the bottom of the other group.

seeker Sun 05-Oct-08 06:23:13

I would be a bit careful - children sometimes get the wrong end of the stick. It may not be a bottom group - it may be group 2. That might mean no more than that group 1 uses the ITC suite this week, group 2 uses it next week, if you see what I mean. I think it's pretty unlikely that the teacher would have called it the "bottom" group - so maybe your dd has misunderstood what's going on? And I also think it's incredibly unlikely that an 8 year old who is working on long division would be in the "bottom" group, even if there was one! My ds is in year 3 too, and very much "top table" in maths - and he hasn't got to long division yet!

stitch Sun 05-Oct-08 08:01:45

ds is in the bottom group in school. initially he was upset about it, but now he likes it because the teacher doesnt confuse him. he achieved the national average in his year two sats. now in year three, he is extremeely embarassed that he cant divide. but the teacher seems to be helping him understand, and that iswhat is important.

gagarin Sun 05-Oct-08 08:30:26

In a class of very bright children someone will be "top" and someone will be "bottom".

If they are dealing with long division at her age and in a class of 16 I would suspect you are talking about a high achieving class in an academic school?

If your daighter's progress is above the national average (which it surely must be if she's doing long division!) then irrespective of what set she's in she is doing extremely well.

Please try and react calmly to this news from your dd - dcs pick up on parental expectation very acutely and at 8 she has somehow tuned into the fact that to be in the "bottom" set is shameful.

It seems awfully young to have those sort of feelings - esp if she is destined to the in the "bottom" set all her school life for maths!

From a personal perspective I was in the top set for maths at school - but I was ALWAYS the lowest achiever. It did nothing for my self esteem and I sat rigid with fear while all around me merrily loved maths sad.

So you can get her all the extra tutoring you like to help her into the "top" set - and she may be miserable as sin there and learn nothing!

Ask the teacher how the groupings came about and explain your dd has interpreted the sets as "top" and "bottom" which has knocked her self-confidence.

QOD Sun 05-Oct-08 08:47:44

my dd's school "band" from yr 4. In yr 3 I was told she was doing great, on target, bright girl blah blah.
Yr 4 she got banded with the group who had low ability. She was very aware of it, a boy in her class is still at level 1a ... she was 3c.
SHe was in that one for 2 terms then moved up to the "normal" band for her class, and now in yr 5 is in the correct band again.
It was a shock to be honest, I felt let down that they hadnt pre warned me that she was below parr, I would have helped her more.
Sometimes its not ability, its neves or confidence. That was the claiim from her school - I think I mentioned before that her school burnt down during class & they were trapped on the field - terrifying experience, temporary school, no learning aids for a while once they were in new school, she had trouble sleeping etc & spent a lot of yr 3 in tears............

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 08:53:30

Bloody hell, QOD!

Lemony, go and talk to her teacher and establish whether dd has got the wrong end of the stick. It is a shame that she's been given to understand she's not very good at maths - whatever system they are using, they should be able to handle it in a way that does not upset the children.

FWIW ds's class (Yr 1) is streamed. They keep it very quiet - the children don't know what the purpose of the groups is and they have never told us parents. I only found out because ds was upset about being sent into Mrs X's class in the mornings (he's found the division into two classes for Yr 1 rather difficult, upset at being split from some friends) and was really confused that he was having to go into the other class.

magentadreamer Sun 05-Oct-08 08:53:57

I doubt she's having a problem with Maths more that the other children are perhaps just that bit better and there has to be a cut off point. Personally I'd rather my DD was doing well in the bottom set then struggling in the top set. Talk to the school and see how they decided the grouping and then hopefully you can reassure your DD

PortAndLemon Sun 05-Oct-08 09:12:10

If you took a class of 16 professors of mathematics six of them would be in a "bottom" group, but it wouldn't mean that they were struggling. Similarly, there's no intrinsic reason that a child can't be performing at or well above the expected level and still be in the bottom set (if, for example, there were a lot of children in the class who were unusually gifted in maths).

If the school has genuinely introduced ability-based setting I would have expected to be informed, though. And if your DD is distressed by her perception of the setting then that ought to be discussed with the teacher.

bloss Sun 05-Oct-08 10:07:30

Message withdrawn

debs40 Sun 05-Oct-08 11:12:18

I agree you need to know more from the teacher but my experience is that teachers play these things very close to their chest for fear of upsetting parents or (perhaps of having to explain themselves - she says cynically!).

I think teachers differentiate their teaching within a class and grouping children can help them all get the individual help they need - if done well. And that is the key.

But confusion about these things causes lots of upset. I don't blame you for reacting like this. It is difficult to know how to deal these things when they come from your child out of the blue.

Hope you get some proper answers

littlerach Sun 05-Oct-08 11:15:38

At dds school they are grouped form Year 1.
The children aren't told what their group means, but probably do work it out.
I think it helps the children to work a their own pace.

snorkle Sun 05-Oct-08 13:53:18

I wouldn't worry about this. I was never in top set for maths all through primary school but excelled as soon as it got more abstract & ended up with 2 A levels in the subject. If the school is happy with her progress & she's at or above the expected level for her age then I should think she's fine - she could still end up being a mathmo, or maybe her strengths are in other areas.

Blandmum Sun 05-Oct-08 13:55:46

YOu cannot assume that there is anything, 'wrong' with your dd's maths ability. She might just not be in the top 10 in maths in that class.

and as long as she is making progress why does it matter which set she is in?

Better by far to be in the 'bottom set' and make progress than be in the 'top set' and coast, or flounder

cory Sun 05-Oct-08 17:45:33

As everybody else has said: there is nothing inherently improbably in the thought that all 16 are above the national average/government expectations. Or at least your dd and 10 children above her. 16 after all is a very small sample.

The important thing is to establish whether your daughter is currently working at a level that is appropriate for her. If she is doing work that is too easy- then you may want to do something. But above all, stay calm! If you let her know now that being in the bottom set is dreadful, you may set her up with anxiety problems later on.

Ds, who is 8, was in bottom set for 3 years and has only just moved up to middle set. It's worked really well for him, as it meant he got more help with his particular weaknesses.

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Sun 05-Oct-08 17:47:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbbeyA Sun 05-Oct-08 19:21:28

My DS was in the bottom group all through primary school. He came 2nd in his class in a test and was still in the bottom group! The school explained that they felt he was better there because he took a while to get new concepts and was afraid to take risks and fail. He started secondary in set 3, quickly went to set 2 but they kept him there for a long time because of the same problems as primary school. I went with the Maths teachers. He ended up with an A at A'level and out performed most of the children in the top group at primary school. She will get more individual help, I wouldn't worry about it.

lemonysnickett Sun 05-Oct-08 22:49:48

Thank you , thank you , thank you.It is so reassuring to hear all of your views. I feel it has helped me to gain some perspective on this matter. I have actually spent most of the day wondering how I can help my daughter 'catch up' with the rest of her class.I will meet with the Head tommorow and thanks to the replies with a much calmer approach .I have to say, I can usually be level headed about these matters when they happen to someone else, but as anyone who is on this thread must know, we all want our children to do well and when we feel they are falling short or are upset by anything, it can be upsetting. I know how important confidence is and I did speak to my daughter when she was upset that there could be a number of reasons why she was in that group and that we are very happy with how she is doing. Thank you all again.

Flum Sun 05-Oct-08 22:53:51

Don 't worry. I was pants at maths but made it as a Chartered Accountant. Still can't do long division though.

lou031205 Sun 05-Oct-08 23:23:47

I do think that you can't describe set 2 of a two set class as "bottom". Just encourage your daughter to give it her all, and she will gain confidence in her abilities as they are.

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