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Is it really more important to set for PE than other subjects? And how do they do it?

(43 Posts)
SomeRainbow Sat 23-Feb-13 09:30:42

Not an imminent issue otherwise I'd ask the school, but just wondering... Our secondary set for PE and Maths from Y7 and MFL in Y9. Now I can see the merits of setting for PE but I can see many merits for setting for all sorts of subjects. (Went through a rigid streaming system myself and find it very difficult to get my head round mixed ability teaching at all). And if your school do this how do they actually assess the ability of the children in PE?

wol1968 Thu 28-Feb-13 13:13:58

I wish they had set for PE at my school! (though it was so small that it made setting unfeasible). Due to a lazy eye which wasn't corrected until I was 13, I have no 'ball sense' whatsoever, so anything involving catching or throwing objects is a complete waste of my time. But I was happy to do walking, hiking, cross-country and even exercise classes. I just hope this could be done without anyone attaching any 'status' to each stream.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 27-Feb-13 22:36:01

My son's school have short-term setting for Games (term each of rugby, football and cricket) - the whole year (4 forms) do games at the same time, in their form for the first half term, and then in a mixed-form set for the second. He's only in y7 so I don't know if that changes in y8. They also have (indoor) PE, but I think that's in their forms.

Dd2 used to have some not-very-granular setting - there was a boys group and a girls group and then a mixed lower set who played games more than sports. Now she's in y10 and they seem to be much more split up throughout the timetable.

Dd1 had never had any sort of setting, but they have had a lot of choice since y9 about which PE options they wanted to do, so that's quite self-selecting.

iseenodust Wed 27-Feb-13 14:18:12

There was setting for PE in my day - if you were on the academic stream you were told to give up PE for a 'proper' o level. <old gimmer who doesn't set foot in a gym>

So far Lancelottie's school sounds the best for all abilities.

lainiekazan Wed 27-Feb-13 13:27:29

Oh, if only there had been setting for PE in my day! It might have made me less of a couch potato and even fostered some desire to exercise. As it was, I was always picked last, jeered at, prayed for rain/gym burning down...

Ds is in Year 10 and is hopeless at anything physical. He often says it's unreasonable not to set for games and PE when they do so for academic subjects.

It must be equally frustrating for those who are sporty to be lumbered with uncoordinated elephants on their team or have to wait for ages until the last two wheezing and gasping runners finally lope over the finish line of the 1500 m.

ReallyTired Tue 26-Feb-13 16:34:47


My impression is that most people on this thread are in favour of setting for PE. Children will have a PE curriculum to suit their physical needs.

TiffIsKool Tue 26-Feb-13 15:15:38

I don't see what the issue is.

Which one is more demoralizing? Being in the bottom set for athletics or being the kid being repeated lapped by the fast kids?

Lancelottie Mon 25-Feb-13 14:40:42

Yes, it's a fab school in most respects -- we're very lucky, or at least DS1 was. But we're out of catchment, and it's so oversubscribed that DS2 and DD are going elsewhere.

Never mind. 'No rugby unless you actually want to' is enough for my younger two!

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 24-Feb-13 22:43:34

Am so wishing that DD1 could go to Lancelottie's school. She would LOVE the idea of an "adventure" stream and we'd be able to knock on the head the idea that she's "no good at sports". Cycling, climbing and cross country would suit her down to the ground (or should that be up in the air grin)

creamteas Sun 24-Feb-13 20:57:02

Bright distruptive children don't get put in bottom sets for Maths

No, but because they spend lessons in the internal exclusion room, they don't actually get to stay in the same room as the non-disruptive top set DC...

The problem is that the PE dept doesn't follow the same behaviour sanctions as the rest of the school. Everyone wants the disruptive kids to run around outside, and higher sets have to do theory as part of the curriculum, so this is not seen as appropriate for many of them. In other words, it is not formally a punishment (but everybody knows that it is).

ReallyTired Sun 24-Feb-13 20:36:16

I wonder what OFSTED would think of punishing high ablity children by putting them with low ablity children. Differentiation is about meeting learning needs rather than seperating children into groups who are worthy and groups who are deemed sub human.

I feel that a formal written complaint to the governors is the best way to challenge such a policy. Bright distruptive children don't get put in bottom sets for Maths and it should not happen for any other subject.

BackforGood Sun 24-Feb-13 17:01:55

Completely agree ReallyTIred and bigTillyMint - that really is not right that the less able get lumped with the disruptive ones when it's not even linked to ability angry

bigTillyMint Sun 24-Feb-13 15:46:36

OddBoots, that sounds great that they offer different sports for the lower sets - the problem with PE is that it tends to focus on team sports and ball sports which some children find really difficult, but they can shine in other areas when a sport grabs their interest. And a decent level of fitness is good for all children (so circuit training, etc is perfect)

OddBoots Sun 24-Feb-13 15:23:21

My DS is in the bottom set for PE (and has been since Y7) so that is all I know but from what I can see they do some different sports but there is overlap, he's never done rugby and does very little football, he does a fair bit of the racket sports and athletics, some circuit training, cricket, trampolining and judo.

Thumbwitch Sun 24-Feb-13 14:53:04

That's interesting - the secondary school I went to streamed for Maths, all sciences and all Languages (except English - although it may have streamed for English Lit, I don't remember cos I didn't do it). Didn't stream for P.E. though and tbh I can't see how it would have worked unless the least capable students were given different sports to do?

hoodoo12345 Sun 24-Feb-13 14:48:38

My DD will be set for PE in year 8 onwards,where they will eventually do different exams.
I think it is a good idea, i might of stood a chance if i had of been set back in the day.

OddBoots Sun 24-Feb-13 13:42:12

Maybe they need one of those ex-army teachers that were proposed a year or two ago just to teach PE to the disruptive ones.

Thankfully as DS's (large state comp) school disruptive children aren't dropped a set, I'm not sure how they deal with them but however it is it works.

creamteas Sun 24-Feb-13 11:40:20

I really wish they would work with the disruptive children differently, but the way it works is also related to assessment. Top sets in PE take GCSE, middle sets take BTEC sport and the bottom do recreation only. So that is why the disruptive kids end up at the bottom, as they don't want to 'study' sport.

From numerous complaints conversations with the school over the bullying problems in PE, their belief is that disruptive kids need to run around and let off steam, so they refuse to use the usual sanctions against them

bigTillyMint Sun 24-Feb-13 11:16:57

Completely agree, ReallyTired. If there are sporty children disrupting, then they need to findmore effective ~ays of ~orking ~ith them.

ReallyTired Sun 24-Feb-13 10:56:03

"I think this is a good idea in principle, but inevitably it means that bottom sets also includes the disruptive kids, This means that kids like my DS who has ASD and dyspraxia still end up finding PE difficult "

I don't think that ablity in PE has anything to do with behaviour or ablity in academics.

"back that might be true except that they demote kids who don't 'play nicely' to lower sets as a punishment. So anyone who fouls too often, or talks back gradually sinks to the bottom regardless of their sporting ability.... "

If badly behaved children are demoted to the lower sets for PE then that is really wrong. It implies that being in a the bottom set for PE is a permament punishment. Children who misbehave in maths don't get put in a lower set. In properly run schools children who misbehave get put in isolation or sent to the head of year.

If it is really the case that badly behaved atheletic children get put in the lower sets then I think you should complain formally to the school.

bigTillyMint Sun 24-Feb-13 10:55:27

tiggy, the school my friends DS's go to is a state comp. It's for the lessons that they set, although they may have A and B, etc teams.

They don't set at my DS's school, but I think the PE teachers must be good at differentiating as mine no longer complain (like they did at primary!)

tiggytape Sun 24-Feb-13 10:43:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

creamteas Sun 24-Feb-13 00:05:55

back that might be true except that they demote kids who don't 'play nicely' to lower sets as a punishment. So anyone who fouls too often, or talks back gradually sinks to the bottom regardless of their sporting ability....

BackforGood Sat 23-Feb-13 23:26:53

creamteas I actually think that quite a few children who can be very disruptive in a classroom, are quite often children who excel at sport - it strikes me that PE is an area where there wouldn't be any correlation between children with behavioural issues and children who are least able.

<Thinking of dd's football team manager who was in despair recently as two of his better players were on a week's ban from representing the school at sport, due to some misdemeanours in school >

Lancelottie Sat 23-Feb-13 23:06:46

We also have children at two different secondaries.

One school has sort of optional setting -- the pupils choose whether to go for 'adventure', 'strength' or 'team' stream each term. Adventure is stuff like climbing wall, cycling, cross country; team is football/netball/cricket, and I think strength it some weird mix of salsa and gym work. DS thinks it works fine.

The other sets in a more traditional way (but DS2 says no one has to do rugby if they don't want to!).

Admittedly my boys are both wusses, but at least this way they can become slightly fitter wusses without anyone ranting at them.

creamteas Sat 23-Feb-13 20:58:52

DC's school set for PE, I have no idea on what basis. This happens in year 8, whereas much other subjects they use sets from year 7. PE only seems to consist of team ball games rather than a range of sports.

I think this is a good idea in principle, but inevitably it means that bottom sets also includes the disruptive kids, This means that kids like my DS who has ASD and dyspraxia still end up finding PE difficult sad

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