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Can you explain the logic behind not setting?

(56 Posts)
Turquoiseskies Mon 08-Feb-16 19:07:37

Ds will start at a large ofsted level 3 school in year 7.

A large bulk of the school will come from areas where expectations are low. These children will come in achieving at a lower level. This may be due to ability or lack of parental expectation amongst other things I guess.
A smaller number come from an area where children are likely to have a higher level when going in. Many children from this area will have been sent to private secondary hence why less of them.
My ds is quiet and conscientious and should be achieving a level 6 by the summer.
I have reservations about the school but we have no option. According to ofsted there is a culture of low level distribution in the classes. I had clung onto the fact that ds would be in the higher sets and that would hopefully mean he avoided much of the disruption.
Anyhow I have heard that there is a move away from setting now and that they will be having mixed groups.
So behaviour aside how on earth can a secondary teacher manage for example a class of 33 where the range of ability is so huge. I can't see that benefiting the able , less able or middle children and I'm
Not sure who benefits. Or are the clever ones meant to help the rest?
I'm worried he will get bored or teased for being clever or fail to make progress etc
Any experiences welcome.

Lurkedforever1 Mon 08-Feb-16 20:32:43

The usual line is that it benefits the middle and lower achievers, whilst 'only' negatively effecting the high achievers. Not something I'm remotely in favour off.

However I will say it depends on how good they actually are at differentiating. Dd was in mixed ability classes throughout primary with a mostly low achieving cohort, some round the average range. The differentiation she got was actually far better than what I gather is the more normal 'one size fits all' ability group teaching.

Whether your son's school fits into the 'hold the able back for others benefit' group, or the amazing individual differentiation group depends on how good both teachers and leadership are.

Lurkedforever1 Mon 08-Feb-16 20:33:14


timelytess Mon 08-Feb-16 20:39:22

Former teacher.
Excuse my language.
There's no fucking logic in it, its a pathetic socialist attempt at equality which leads to falling standards for everyone. Who, elsewhere in life, would be led by/held down by the weakest? When countries take part in sports events, do they train everyone together, from the international standard athletes to the born-again couch-potatoes?
Its a load of bollocks.
Set, ruthlessly, for capability in that subject and for behaviour.

Turquoiseskies Mon 08-Feb-16 20:44:04

Oh dear you've confirmed what I was worried about.
I was at an inner city comprehensive in the 80s and and we were set for maths even then.
His currently primary sets and the top set is really pushed.
I can't see what we can do really.

senua Mon 08-Feb-16 20:44:26

Our Headteacher used to justify not setting essay-type subjects on the basis that girls mature earlier than boys so the school would end up with a girl-heavy top set and a boy-heavy bottom set. They didn't set until they got to GCSE.
But he was an idiot.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 08-Feb-16 20:49:34

Eugh. Even when there are sets the range can be quite large, especially in bottom sets. Complete nightmare trying to teach a coherent lesson when Sarah, who wants to do well, has finished two minutes after setting the task and Sue hasn't picked up her pen yet cause she wants to check her make up.

Intentionally not setting is fucking ridiculous.

MyBigFatGreekYoghurt Mon 08-Feb-16 20:50:10

I agree with timelytess

Turquoiseskies Mon 08-Feb-16 20:56:59

Is it something that's going to be happening in all schools btw? Presumably even the outstanding schools may struggle with the ability mix? Though maybe the behaviour will be better. Or can schools choose to continue to set.
At our local school ofsted commented that the clever boys were not achieving as they should so this can only be a backward step and they can't afford to go backwards.

Lucsy Mon 08-Feb-16 20:57:30

Is there really no other option?

Not even a bus ride away? Even after March 1, you can still appeal and apply for other schools if they have places.

Turquoiseskies Mon 08-Feb-16 21:11:55

There's a fantastic state school which is closer but if you aren't in catchment zero chance of getting in.
The other state schools may be slightly better but logistically a pain and I'm wondering whether the not setting is being rolled out through all state schools now.

timelytess Mon 08-Feb-16 21:16:47

I agree with timelytess
Frame that, please.

BackforGood Mon 08-Feb-16 23:28:22

So do I timelytess grin

HPFA Tue 09-Feb-16 07:05:46

Is it possible for you to go on the waiting list for your more favoured school? I'm not sure that non-setting will become widespread throughout state schools. Whilst I think its perfectly possible to have mixed ability humanities lessons in a well-disciplined environment I think it is very difficult in maths and science.
This school will be having close monitoring from Ofsted - if the new setting policy doesn't improve things I imagine it won't last long.

EvilTwins Tue 09-Feb-16 07:45:24

I teach mixed ability. Admittedly not a core subject, but the students I teach do well at GCSE and A Level, across the board, no matter what their starting points. I differentiate. I deal with any behaviour issues.

The poster who said it's down to the teacher is right.

My results are amongst the best in the school and this year I got more A and A* grades at GCSE than the local super selective grammar.

It doesn't HAVE to be a disaster.

Traalaa Tue 09-Feb-16 10:29:31

I haven't a clue if DS's comp is stopping setting, but I agree with EvilTwins, as DS seems to be doing as well/ enjoying the subjects he's not streamed for as for the ones he is streamed for. It's the teachers that make the difference.

From what you say, what would worry me is the combination of no setting and low level disruption. A good teacher can work out differentiated teaching, but if there's disruption too that's going to make it all ten times harder.

thecatfromjapan Tue 09-Feb-16 10:40:57

Put ds on waiting list for good school. Keep checking how waiting list is going. It might take a year or so but vacancies arise
On offers-day, all the popular schools are over-subscribed. A year later, children have left.
The mixed-ability thing sounds like one of a number of issues with this school.

thecatfromjapan Tue 09-Feb-16 10:42:40

Yy @ previous poster. 'Low level disruption' is whT sets my klaxons off.

neuroticnicky Tue 09-Feb-16 10:44:30

There is no logic in not setting. It may occasionally be OK if the standard of teaching is incredibly high as it is much harder to teach a mixed ability class.But normally setting leads to higher performance all round, as it challenges children of higher ability more and at the same time enables more attention to be given to at the bottom. When DH was at a top private school he was in the bottom set for maths which was given the best maths teacher. A similar system exists at DD's state primary school where those needing additional help are given the best (or at least best qualified) teacher.

redskytonight Tue 09-Feb-16 13:15:51

DS goes to a school that doesn't set (except for maths). The next closest secondary school sets rigorously in every subject from day 1.
The intakes of the 2 schools are virtually identical in terms of mix of high/medium/low achievers and family backgrounds.

The results (at GCSE) are also virtually identical.

The acid test (in any type of school) is whether your child is given appropriate challenge for them. Not whether the school has sets or not!

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 09-Feb-16 13:23:08

I understand the mixed ability is from the government and all schools are doing it. DD is set for maths only in year 7 and now maths and English for year 8 - hard going in English when some can't read -

Mixed for sport/home ed/wows work ict etc works ok -

neuroticnicky Tue 09-Feb-16 14:43:56

Your view may depend upon your own DC and the pupils in the particular school. I would be happy to send DD to our local comp because there is setting but would not send her there if there wasn't. This is because -since there is no grammar school in our area- there appears to be such a wide gap between the brightest and the least able pupils.

JellyTotCat Tue 09-Feb-16 14:44:45

All secondary schools are being made to get rid of setting? Have i understood that correctly?

multivac Tue 09-Feb-16 14:49:49

"All secondary schools are being made to get rid of setting?"

No, they're not.

JellyTotCat Tue 09-Feb-16 14:50:21

Good, thanks.

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