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secondary schools streaming... but not saying so?

(10 Posts)
paintandbrush Fri 04-Dec-15 11:45:33

I have experience with 2 schools.
one was a v. good comp. there, the classes were given labels like 8R, 8Q, 8P etc. but the kids all knew which one was the bottom set and worked hard to stay in the higher sets with their friends (usually).

The other school was a fairly academic grammar- classes A and B seemed to be the more able pupils, while C, D, and E were a bit smaller and less academic. By GCSE, the kids got moved by subject: AB was for the STEM/ arts crowd and CDE were more vocational.

The core subjects were taught in sets and then mixed groups for PE and so on. But the grammar school never mentions anything about sets in the prospectus? I do agree with streaming, but surely parents should be told?

purpledasies Fri 04-Dec-15 12:28:30

I think the schools maybe hope that the bright kids will realise they're being set and be happy about being in teh top sets. And the less bright kids will be dim enough not to notice, or at least that they won't be clear enough about it for their parents to realise and complain at them being in low sets. I'm not sure that philosophy actually works beyond early primary school, as IME, pretty much all the kids are aware of it.

It's something you can ask about at open days. I found it quite illuminating to get individual teachers' views on how they did things and why. They're sometimes more honest than the head.

paintandbrush Fri 04-Dec-15 12:46:28

That makes sense actually. Even in primary school everybody knows where they are in the class.

kjwh Fri 04-Dec-15 13:37:28

Everyone knows where they are at my son's school.

Progress test results are handed out showing the child's score and with the average score written next to it, so they immediately know if they're above or below average (across the year, not just that class). There's no secrecy about test scores either - for class-marked tests, it's hands-up time for mark boundaries, and for teacher-marked tests a mark list is put up on the white board. So there's no hiding place.

As regards settings/streamings, again, it's well known which subjects/classes are set/streamed and which aren't, and which order the sets are. In his case 10/1 is top set, down to 10/6 is bottom set. For subjects not streamed, they use 10/letters of the full name of the school so 10/S for example that everyone knows has no meaning.

triceratops1066 Fri 04-Dec-15 21:44:14

I think streaming suits all rounders but not those who are good at maths but not english and vice versa. Setting for different subjects is preferable for a lot of pupils. My dc know where they are in theory but from what I understand there is a lot of blurring so the best in the second set may well be better than the worst in the top set.

ConesOfDunshire Fri 04-Dec-15 22:15:02

Streaming and setting are two different systems. Are you clear on the distinction?

Many grammar schools don't stream or set. There's little need when the intake is already selected to be above average.

Brioche201 Sat 05-Dec-15 11:17:56

...and you are saying that at the grammar school there were 2 out of 5 gcse stude ts doing predominantly vocational qualifications? Are you sure it is a grammar school?

Brioche201 Sat 05-Dec-15 11:19:29

Sorry 3 out of 5!!

IguanaTail Sat 05-Dec-15 11:30:35

Grammars are less likely to set in some subjects due to narrower ability range. Additionally, students tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves - being told they are not in the highest set can be devastating for them. Finally, some have incredibly pushy parents who can't quite grasp that their child is perhaps not as bright as they imagined. Although they were top of the class all the way through primary, within the grammar school, they fall in the middle. This can put additional pressure on the kids. There are more and more mental health issues and grammars have quite a job getting kids to focus on just doing their "personal best" rather than trying to match the 5 or 6 real Einsteins in the class.

paintandbrush Sat 05-Dec-15 18:42:21

In this particular area the grammar intake is v. high, about 40% of local children do end up there. It's not just as competitive as it used to be, which is apparently due to the birth rate dropping.
And I don't mean purely vocational, but the central curriculum together with stuff like HE, beauty and LLW (the latter two in collaboration with a nearby secondary).

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