My DS is at a Prep at the moment, streamed for Maths and English, lots of differentiated work in other subjects. Very happy with that.
We've got 3 very good state upper schools in our town and I'm visiting them over the next few weeks. One of them streams in most subjects - fine. The others only have sets in Maths.
I work in a state middle school and know that my school sends many children on to those Upper Schools at age 13 at NC Level 7 in many subjects, but there are also some on Level 3 or 4 (and a few below that) in the same year group.
If lessons (English particularly) aren't streamed by ability, how can you possibly teach a class the same lesson when there are maybe 4 or 5 NC Levels difference between certain children? How can a 13 year old child at Level 3 in English access Shakespeare for instance? The same questions apply for History / Geog / Languages etc.
I intend to ask these questions at the Open Evenings, but would appreciate any thoughts from teachers and interested parents who have had to deal with the same concerns.
If you think about it, Shakespeare wrote precisely so that people with different abilities and different education would all get something out of his plays: the aristocracy as well as the groundlings. It's the same with ancient Greek theatre: it is designed to be very democratic in its appeal because it had to be.