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Setting in year 8

(21 Posts)
sleepwouldbenice Tue 14-Jul-15 19:22:16


Our school doesn't appear to set for humanities or mil in year 8. It's a mixed ability school

Is this usual? Is there any good reason why this would be the case? I just thought that setting helped all students progress the best they could?

Also do your schools offer a second mfl in year 8 for top sets?


sleepwouldbenice Tue 14-Jul-15 20:19:34


sleepwouldbenice Tue 14-Jul-15 20:19:55

Mfl not mil....

QueenOfNothing Tue 14-Jul-15 20:28:59

There are loads of good arguments both for setting and for not setting.

Some args for not setting:

- Lots of children struggle with reading and writing but are really good verbally and flourish in a mixed ability class.

- Sometimes top sets can be very quiet and hard to get a conversation going. (This can be a cultural thing! ie you can have a top set full of quiet hard working girls from a culture where being quiet is valued more than speaking your mind)

- The bottom set often turns into chaos / babysitting and isn't good for anyone.

- It is fairly easy to all be doing the same work in a mixed ability humanity class and still all working at your own level. ie everyone can write an essay on the causes of WW2, but the result will be different for different ability pupils.

- The middle set can feel they're not good enough and get demoralised.

- Middle set may not care if they get a C or a B and so are very hard to motivate

- Bottom set may not care if they get a D or an E and so are very hard to motivate

Better to not pigeon hole them and tell them they're rubbish......

Setting is often better for the top set, but may not be, depending on the make up of that top set...... But in general it's worse for everyone not in the top set.

merlehaggard Tue 14-Jul-15 20:47:51

My daughter's comprehensive school starts setting in year 8 and only introduces the second language to the top sets in year 9. They have separate sets for maths, english, languages, the humanities (including music and drama), sports and DT/DF I think. They only set for maths in year 7. I am for setting and can see the arguments for and against but on the whole, I feel that if your child is in the higher sets, then setting is advantageous for them. To be honest, she isn't a genius but quite geeky and takes it quite seriously and even in sets, moans about kids not working, things having to be explained lots of times etc so I'm not sure how happy she would be with the pace of learning in mixed groups.

Takver Tue 14-Jul-15 21:03:02

DD's just finished yr 8. Set for French, theoretically mixed ability for humanities (though through circs not especially mixed, I think).

The school only offers the one MFL, sadly they dropped Spanish a few years back.

Marmitelover55 Tue 14-Jul-15 22:42:09

My dd has just finished year 8 at a girls comp. they study 2 languages from the start of year 7 and are set for English, maths and science but so far not for humanities. Bizarrely the set fro Spanish is based on their set for English, but French is mixed ability. My dd is in the middle set for maths and science and top set for English/Spanish.

AugustRose Tue 14-Jul-15 23:29:52

DD is just finishing Year 8 and her school sets for most subjects including MFL and humanities. They also used to introduce a second language for the top set in Year 9 but have dropped it this year, sadly as DD was looking forward to trying German.

AmazonsForEver Tue 14-Jul-15 23:34:10

Our school offer a second mfl in y8 to top 4 (of 6) French groups (choice of two languages ). Humanities aren't setted though.

sleepwouldbenice Wed 15-Jul-15 08:18:59

Thanks for this. Pondering my reaction at the moment. She's not top of the school by any means but she is hard working and there are lots of grammar schools near by so the school unfortunately does have a disproportionate number of children that don't really want to study and I wanted to move her away from that where possible.

Interested in any other repliessmile

TheWordFactory Wed 15-Jul-15 08:27:00

IMVHO lack of setting is a huge problem and I would not send my DC to a school that does not do so.

I might forgive them year 7 or part thereof while they work out appropriate setting, but after that, no way.

boxofholes Wed 15-Jul-15 08:33:08

dd's school
- set for maths from the start
- English is mixed ability (except for the nurture group) in y7 & setted in 8 & 9
- science setted from y9
- humanities & MFL not setted but obviously setting in the other subjects (different timetables) kinds of means they are by default.

- second MFL offered from y8 (they used to do two from y7 & three from y8 but had trouble finding teachers :/ ) three available from y10.

Bonsoir Wed 15-Jul-15 09:34:39

Setting for every single subject in a mixed-ability/non-selective school is quite likely to prove immensely demoralising to those who are in the bottom sets across the board.

Setting very rigorously in a highly selective school isn't going to convince those in the bottom sets that they have been written off.

muminhants1 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:05:30

In ds school there are sets for Maths and English in Y7, and they set for science and MFL from Y8. They don't set for humanities.

pointythings Wed 15-Jul-15 11:16:47

The DDs' school sets for English and maths from Yr7, which I think makes sense - especially in maths, since it's a subject where you can have such a huge ability range. Then from Yr9 they set in Science and MFL.

They don't set the humanities at all and I really don't see it as an issue. I think differentiation in these subjects is far more readily managed than in other subjects and as long as the teacher is able to 1) differentiate well and 2) manage behaviour well, there is no reason why everyone should not achieve their potential. DD1's very mixed history group is like that - everyone in it has exceeded their targets this year, everyone has contributed and actually some of the students who have previously struggled with history have blossomed and done particularly well. Meanwhile DD1's little subgroup is hitting the As and A*s already. it can be done.

PolterGoose Wed 15-Jul-15 11:47:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cloud2 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:12:09

DS1's secondary only set for math, and top math set will study additional math in year 10&11 along side the normal math. But they don't set for other subjets.

I guess math is the subjet that some children can get very fast and some children need to take it slowly. But for other subjets, like science, they only start science study seriously from year 7. The knowledge are new to every one, it doesn't matter if there are setting or not. The same apply to MFL.

timeandtimeagain Wed 15-Jul-15 14:45:25

My Dd s school only set in maths & Eng in y7 but will set in every subject in y8 onwards.

sleepwouldbenice Thu 16-Jul-15 01:08:41

Thanks to all for information. I guess about 50/50 re humanities then. I guess I can see why but I just have always thought that it helps children and teachers to focus appropriately on developing the class at the right pace whatever the subject

Mfl I am disappointed over, I think I can see real advantages to different paces when learning something so new and it seems more the norm to set by this age.


timeandtimeagain Thu 16-Jul-15 11:09:00

I don't like sets in primary schools as dc was put into bottom set since 5yo (child cruelty shock) . It affected her selfconfidence in learning a lot. In yr7 she was put into set 3 out of 5 sets for maths. However in just one year she has progressed 4 sublevels up. As long as my dc is progressing well I don't have a problem about her sets' numbers. I just keep my fingers crossed and trust the school and teachers. If I have any doubts I know I can always email any of her individual subject teachers and so far they are very good in responding my queries. I said to my dc sometimes it is to do with their style of learning. My dc is a very careful worker and mistakes worry her a lot so she needs to learn at slower paces so being in set 3 will allow her that extra time to secure her knowledge.

Fullrumpus Thu 16-Jul-15 18:32:36

Bonsoir - actually counterintuitive though it may be, the 80% of selective school pupils who don't make it into the top set of their selective school do have the same issues of self-esteem associated with not believing they are good enough. In fact, it is potentially more destructive to pupils who have established their self-concept around academic success to be not in the top set, especially in an environment where academic success is valued so highly.

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