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(14 Posts)
LizzyLiz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:42:42

Does anyone have any experience of secondary schools which don't stream at all?

We looked at one this week which has good GCSE results but doesn't stream. I realise it's probably unusual but am interested in anyone's experience of how it worked/works for their child and if you feel there are benefits or disadvantages to it.

Thank you

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 03-Oct-12 13:08:34

Which school is it?

You have to be careful reading GCSE results.

Do they have overt or covert selection?

LizzyLiz Wed 03-Oct-12 13:45:06

Do you mean their intake? It's a state comprehensive with an established intake area which includes about 6 feeder primary schools. It became an academy last year but the non-streaming is a lot older than that.

It has a very good reputation so that's reassuring but I assumed all comprehensives would stream so was curious about experiences of it.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 03-Oct-12 13:48:04

I was asking for the name of the school really.

Seems you'd get more info that way.

noblegiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 14:06:50

No streaming or no setting? Most schools don't stream, however they do put children in different sets for certain subjects.

I'd be very wary of a school that didn't set at all for subjects like maths and science.

JustGettingByMum Wed 03-Oct-12 16:15:43

DDs comp only streams for maths in Y7 and Y8. Then streams for English in Y9.

Once GCSEs kick in then Science is also streamed, but as far as I know (based on 2 older ones having also gone through it) that's about it.
This year their GCSE results were 81% A*-C inc maths and English.

orangeandlemons Wed 03-Oct-12 16:20:35

The theory behind mixed ability teaching, is that it raises the achievement of all the kids. That's the theory................. In reality itcan be very difficult to teach.

However it can, when done properly lead to very good results

KitKatGirl1 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:46:17

I know of a school that does all mixed ability teaching for every suject in every year group (friend of a friend of a friend teaches there - nowhere near our area) and they claim very good results and very good value added but when you dig into the figures a little more (as you can now on the dfe website) it's clear they are 'letting down' the top ability children a little who are not achieving what they should (or are achieving in similar intake schools who set). But they claim the social benefits are just as important.

mummytime Wed 03-Oct-12 20:06:32

Streaming is awful IMHO, as it puts children in groups for all or a group of subjects based on one (or more) set of abilities. Eg. Maths, Science, Music and PE based on Maths scores; and English, history, Geography and RE based on English ones. It is a very old fashioned approach, and it is very hard to move pupils (as it affects a number of subjects).
Most schools use setting, where pupils are grouped according to ability for individual subjects. In almost all cases, some subjects will be set and others will be taught in mixed ability groups. Often year 7 has less subjects in sets than the later years.
Even in strict streaming schools some subjects may be taught in mixed ability groups in years 10 and 11, as there may be only one group choosing a subject.

It is pretty unusual for Maths and Science to be taught totally in mixed ability groups in years 10 and 11, as the amount of the syllabus that needs to be covered by the top and bottom ability are quite different.

However good mixed ability teaching can work. I would just ask more questions about how they do it in practise and how it changes over the years. Also if they effectively set by course, so top ability do Triple Science GCSE and bottom ability do just Core Science or BTec or OCR Nationals.

LizzyLiz Wed 03-Oct-12 20:07:51

Thanks for the replies. I made a mistake on OP; they do set for maths but don't for any other subject.

Skippy - the school is King's School in Ottery St Mary. We're just out of catchment but I'm considering it over our local school.

I'll have a look at the dfe website and the top ability scores and see how they compare.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 03-Oct-12 22:27:43


58% High Achievers
37% Middle
5% Low

The intake ability is very high.

Not truly comprehensive in that sense.

The value added is approximately 1000 - i.e. no better than average.

Weak on languages, only 60 (mostly girls) out of 176 for French, 11 for German, 15 for Spanish:

Looks like about 1/4 of students do separate sciences.

About 87% getting A*-C in Maths, and 84% in English lang, 95% in English lit. Lots of A* in Geography and English, not so many in Maths.

Looks to be strong in humanities/art, but weaker in maths/science.

kakapo Thu 04-Oct-12 10:09:55

Not sure about social benefits btw - as one who was taught in both mixed ability and streamed, I would say streaming has a distinct social benefit for those at either end of the spectrum.

LizzyLiz Thu 04-Oct-12 19:11:27

OK, thanks for your all your thoughts. Interesting that the results are weaker in maths where they do set.

I find it interesting they teach like this as it does seem unusual. I know from a friend who teaches secondary SEN (at a different school) that some yr7s are still mastering the basics of reading when they arrive-I wonder how that can work in an English class?

Kakapo, what would you say are the social benefits of streaming?

maggotts Thu 04-Oct-12 23:57:15

I went to a completely non streamed comp for Years 7 and 8. I was one of those at the top of the class and was completely bored BUT I also remember a girl for whom the whole experience was clearly a nightmare as she just didn't really understand anything. (She was a very lovely kind girl and I just remember feeling very sorry for her).

On the other hand, my brother was streamed into a B stream at his school and told he had to do CSE English (that dates us!) so parents had him sit O Level at evening school and he got an A.

Think streaming is essential to a degree to avoid boredom/confusion but has to be flexible enough between subjects and also flexible enough to recognise that children change, often rapidly and significantly.

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