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Does your child have mixed ability English sets? Y9??

(13 Posts)
calzone Thu 24-Mar-16 21:40:31

Had an email to say that they are trialling mixed ability English lessons in y9 to see if there is a positive impact on the learning.

Anyone any experience of this?
Does it work?
Isn't it a bit late in the year to trial something? Wouldn't it be better to start in September in y7???

pointythings Thu 24-Mar-16 22:04:05

I think it probably can be done. My DDs' school doesn't do it, but I think it's possible.

It does depend on whether the school has very, very strong behaviour management. English is one of those subjects where differentiation can be done within a lesson, especially when it comes to things like literature analysis and writing skills. However, it is essential that disruption of any kind is not tolerated. At present, pupils in lower sets are often 'written off' and allowed to get away with stuff. If this was not tolerated then I expect they would actually achieve a great deal more without the more 'able' students being held back in any way.

But those are big ifs.

ChalkHearts Thu 24-Mar-16 22:06:55

It can work very well. Because your ability to discuss things is not related to your literacy level.

AgadorSpartacus Thu 24-Mar-16 22:27:51

DS is year 9 and his school are mixed ability for everything except Maths.
It works really well. They differentiate within class just like primary. DS is flying at school and is at no disadvantage as a result of this.

DrWhy Thu 24-Mar-16 22:40:24

Depends as someone said up thread on behaviour management. I was in a mixed ability yr 9 English class and the memories are still with me 20 years later! They would fairly frequently pair someone from the top table with someone from the bottom table and so on. Sometimes it worked brilliantly, a couple of the girls I worked with were bright but unsupported at home or lovely people just not academic (or had unrecognised SN I suspect) - they learnt from me and I learnt from them too and also developed some coaching skills, on the other hand one of the boys would just bounce a ball (football or basketball if I remember rightly) off the floor, wall, desk and occasionally my head - delightful!
The class teacher had absolutely no ability to control the class and was then irritated with me that I did less well in English than maths and science which were set. Interestingly humanities subjects were never set and this sort of drama didn't really occur - no idea why English was so bad for it.

howabout Thu 24-Mar-16 22:41:14

Ours don't stream till y10. Agree with pp that English is one of the easier subjects to differentiate and some of the less traditionally academic are better at verbal communication than their more book bound peers so with good management everyone benefits. My y10 is now streamed for English and Maths and I don't think it has made any difference to her. At her school, for good or bad, the bright DC are every bit as disruptive as the not so bright.

I can see that it could be more of an issue if previously streamed DC are unstreamed at this stage though.

IHeartKingThistle Thu 24-Mar-16 22:56:55

In my first school I taught English in mixed ability groups up to Year 9. I loved it.

Statistically, it doesn't do any harm to the more able ones, and it has massive benefits for the less able ones. Anecdotally, it was wonderful to see lower ability students realising they were coping with Shakespeare and participating in discussions. And then I would watch them hit Year 10, get put into a bottom set and, mostly, fall victim to that awful self-fulfilling prophecy. But not always. And at least they weren't in bottom sets from age 11. I have taught these too and am very very against it.

As others have said, differentiation and behaviour management are key, otherwise it can be a disaster. We trialled mixed ability at GCSE once and that just didn't work. But at KS3 I would applaud a school that did this and did it well.

calzone Fri 25-Mar-16 07:59:04

Ds's school start their GCSEs in y9. Seems an odd time to start trialling things.

If pairing up a lower ability child and a high ability child, how does this help the high ability child?

JeanPadget Fri 25-Mar-16 08:31:11

The new GCSEs in English and Literature are both untiered utter madness so this may be why the school has decided to trial it. It's not necessary now to have separate sets doing F and H, which had slightly different content and skills.

ReallyTired Fri 25-Mar-16 08:39:05

At my son's school children with signicant special needs are taught seperately for English. They learn phonics in a tiny group and focus on actually bring able to read and write. I can see that mixed ablity English lessons would work where everyone in the class can read and write. Schools in wealthy areas have mostly high achieving children and the sets are not truely mixed ablity.

redskytonight Fri 25-Mar-16 18:54:59

DS's school has mixed ability in most subjects all the way to Y11.

Their GCSE results are virtually identical to a neighbouring school with similar intake who set in everything from Day 1 in Year 7.

shoxinsox Sun 27-Mar-16 22:37:53

Yes they do mixed ability for English all the way through including GCSES in the school my children are/were and will be at. Ds2 got A at gcse and A level, Ds2 is on target for A* so, it doesn't seem to pull higher ability kids down. Hopefully those who find it more difficult benefit too. Both have had the same, very good teacher, most of the way through.

shoxinsox Sun 27-Mar-16 22:41:50

Sorry ds1 first. Ds2 hasn't done his exams yet.

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