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Y7 maths: If you have a top set dc, what are they doing in maths now?

(72 Posts)
Iamthinking Mon 25-Apr-16 09:45:47

My dd was telling me in bed last night how disappointing maths is at secondary.

She did the Y6 papers for SATs and really enjoyed extra lessons. Now she is stressing that other people in schools elsewhere are overtaking her as she is not learning anything new. She says she is bored because they are doing things that she learnt in Y4 and as a result she doesn't like maths anymore.

I asked her what they were doing at the moment and she said that after about 5 minutes of practicing times tables, they are currently doing time calculations and time tables etc. She said when they do trigonometry they are being taught basic level stuff like 'what is an acute/obtuse angle'.

They do not have setting at her school, so there is quite a range of abilities (state).

TeddTess Mon 25-Apr-16 10:30:28

shapes - circumference and area of circles etc
now onto graphs

get a yr7 maths workbook and see what topics are in there.

it does sound like yr4/5 work she's doing, but many schools use yr7 as a general year to get them all up to scratch and cover all the basics. how are the GCSE results in maths generally? do they set them at all? unusual to not set for maths.

JustRichmal Mon 25-Apr-16 11:47:33

If I were you I would try to keep her interest up at home. Is her school doing the UKMT junior maths challenge on Thursday? It is a fun thing to do for children who like maths, adding depth rather than getting them further ahead. Their website has lots of past papers and mathematical puzzles on their mentoring section.
I cannot see how schools can teach classes with the whole spectrum of maths abilities grouped together and so by the sounds of it she is falling behind children in other schools. There are lots of websites like Hegartymaths and Khan Academy if she wanted to do maths at home. Dd had a similar situation through primary, where she was doing things she had just done years before. I just decided to teach her at her pace at home. Do not let her be put off maths. Girls need to know that stem subjects are for them.

Iamthinking Mon 25-Apr-16 13:11:00

Thank you for your replies. Y7 workbook is a good idea. I have just been onto the school's website and it actually has details of this year's curriculum, and I have to say it hasn't put my mind at rest.

Is the UKMT a maths competition? She came home with a sheet on it 2 weeks ago for homework, she had to do the first 15 questions. It was fun - we did it together - I don't know if anyone is entered for it though as I would have thought we would have had a letter..? She isn't aware - which is a shame and seems pretty lame.

She does want to do extra maths at home, she actually asked me about getting her a tutor, which is a bit weird. I said I'd look into it - but it is ££ and fewer tutors cater for KS3. But I don't know about getting her to effectively teach herself with Khan academy and Hegartymaths - which both look brilliant as back up support - I am not sure how dedicated she would be and that would make it more of a chore.

Eton2017 Mon 25-Apr-16 13:12:28

I have a Y7 DS in a prep school top set maths. He's doing a variety of things, including things from the UKMT as mentioned by JustRichmal , which I'd also recommend, and various scholarship papers. Many of these are freely available - might be a depressing comparison given the sound of what your DD's school is giving her, but also might be another good source of more challenging things for her to do for fun at home. Here are Eton's - Maths A is the easier paper, Maths B the harder, in both cases the main challenge is the fairly short time allowed. Other things worth looking at are Nrich, Alcumus, and Brilliant.

Do help her find some fun maths to do - she's right, she is losing out.

Sistersweet Mon 25-Apr-16 13:12:40

I've got a year 8 in the top set of a highly successful comprehensive. In year 7 the top set went way beyond any maths I could do. He had a 5 In SAT's as the primary didn't do any level 6 papers. He finished year 7 as a 6A in old terms and that was around middle of the set. In year 8 he's still around the middle of the set and around a 7A and he says that they are moving at a fair old speed. I'm not sure if that helps at all but he also wouldn't have been happy with the work
You mention in year 7. He got a silver in the maths challenge in year 7.

Lucsy Mon 25-Apr-16 13:16:02

More complex graph and associated calculations
Trigonometry basic and moving onto more complex stuff now

Lucsy Mon 25-Apr-16 13:17:27

Oh. State grammar. No sets yet

Eton2017 Mon 25-Apr-16 13:18:20

UKMT is the United Kingdom Maths Trust. It runs a whole bunch of competitions and does mentoring etc. as well. It's likely that what she came home with was a Junior Maths Challenge paper. Here's hoping she's entered for it - I don't think you would necessarily have had a letter. It takes place on Thursday. On their website you can get some practice material, and they sell booklets of past papers too. Maybe she'd like to have a go at another paper, including the harder questions past q15, between now and Thursday? Practice does help, and if she does well it may get easier to advocate for her. If she does really well there's a follow-on competition, the Junior Mathematics Olympiad, a few weeks later.

Potterwolfie Mon 25-Apr-16 13:29:06

Probability, sequences, complex (imo) algebra, indeces...much harder than I ever remember doing at GCSE.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 25-Apr-16 13:32:10

Selective school maths set since October half term. Dyslexic give her a straight maths problem fine, put words in can be a disaster.
Algebra, ratios, probability and trigonometry.
Enter for UKMT on Thursday.

Catmuffin Mon 25-Apr-16 13:37:37

I think the issue is the no setting. There are 5 sets in dd's comp. She isn't finding it too easy and seems to be working through exercise books at a rate of knots.

PiqueABoo Mon 25-Apr-16 13:41:23

At Y8 DD's middling comp maths was the only subject set in Y7 and the top-set had pretty much covered all the typical KS3-stuff by the end of Y7.

DD still enjoys it but the current Y8 is relatively slow with them ''spiralling" back through KS3 topics which DD doesn't need, but some will because there is still a significant spread of abilty in a roughly national top 25% set. They're also being used for lots of in-school maths teacher training and have even had the whizzier ones like DD planning and teaching an entire lesson (which I didn't mind but clearly indicates time to spare on their path to GCSE).

Our notably rubbish subject in Y7 was mixed-ability English, but that was set in Y8 and DD is reasonably happy with the subject again. You'd have to talk to the school, but there's still a chance you might get 'enjoy' back and in the mean-time do see if you can do something about keeping a flame burning at home. As above you can download lots and lots of past UKMT mentoring papers (and answers!) from their site.

ohtobeanonymous Mon 25-Apr-16 13:56:51

DD in a particularly able set (incrediby!) and her teacher said they had accelerated the whole class to cover most of the KS3 curriculum by the end of this year because their starting point was high level 5s / low level 6s across the board. in her last Term 2 assessment she achieved a 7b and this is apparently top end of the class, but not unusual. Not quite sure where that leaves them all for Year 8, though...
Apparently they tried a GCSE paper just 'for fun' (go figure) but unsurprisingly she scored less than 50%.
Who knew she was any good at maths? Something has obviously clicked with her this year (fancying her maths teacher might have a little to do with it, methinks...)
Have been pleasantly surprised by how the maths department at her school really seem to have tailored their teaching to the students they have...
She goes on a site called Khan Academy (which is free)for extra practise.

noblegiraffe Mon 25-Apr-16 16:12:02

Yes, she is being overtaken by students in other schools where maths is setted, this year is wasting her time if she is really going over obtuse/acute angles.

When are they setted?

Lucsy Mon 25-Apr-16 17:11:43

My son is settled next year - year 8. For maths only.

ErgonomicallyUnsound Mon 25-Apr-16 17:12:39

DS is at a SS in Y7 and I don't understand any of the Maths he's doing. There's some sort of spatial stuff - enlargement [snigger], probability, and lots of other stuff I don't even know what it's called. He got a L6 in SATs and is L7 now, I think.

var123 Mon 25-Apr-16 17:20:42

Go online and see the content of a level 5-7 past paper. I think the government must have tested throughout KS3 in the past because there seems to be level 4-6, 5-7 and 6-8 past papers (and solutions) for maths.

The marking scheme will tell you which are the level 7 questions. Those are the L7 topics. Does your Dd recognise them?

Stillwishihadabs Mon 25-Apr-16 17:23:23

DS also at a SS, last thing I saw was arithmetic but with negative and positive powers eg 3.789 / --10 to the power of 6. He has just told me they did scatter graphs and data types (discrete vs continuous, quantitative vs qualiative). His text book does say year 8 book 3 from the back looks like it's level 6-7 stuff.

var123 Mon 25-Apr-16 17:23:45

ohtobeanonymous - I have experience of what happens next. Level &A in year 7, level 8A in year 8 and then repeat L7 &8 with the rest of the class in year 9. Until they start GCSEs there is literally nothing else in the national curriculum to do.

So, they talk of mastery and UKMT. UKMT is very good. Mastery isn't unless you enjoy proving over and over that yes you really do understand this topic.

Catmuffin Mon 25-Apr-16 17:38:02

At dd's comp they set in maths after

Catmuffin Mon 25-Apr-16 17:39:02

About a month. Also in French and English. Science isn't set until year 8.

Iamthinking Tue 26-Apr-16 13:47:31

I just want to thank everyone for contributing - I found it unnerving to read but ultimately it has helped me a lot to think about what is going on with her, and how to take this forward. I had a call from the assistant head in the evening about something else, and as part of that I asked him if there were any plans to set in maths and he said they are talking seriously about it for year 8 but nothing is in writing. If that comes to pass I shall feel more relaxed about maths.
I am thinking I still need to make an appointment with the head to talk about the maths curriculum to help argue the case in favour of setting.

DD was really happy to do more of the UKMT last night, and is happy about doing the Khan academy but is really keen on getting a tutor still....

Thank you all

sunnydayinmay Tue 26-Apr-16 15:37:55

Good luck. I have to say, we picked ds1's secondary specifically because it set in Year 7. He is top set, and the work he is doing is way beyond anything I understand - level 7 stuff mainly, and beyond.

No other schools set at all until year 8, but that ds1 would have been hard going.

Sistersweet Tue 26-Apr-16 15:41:44

I would be very unhappy without maths being set. When you've children working from levels 3-4 up to level 8 how on earth can a teacher differentiate appropriately? I can it being far less of an issue in other subjects but not in maths. You will have some bored to death and others who never grasp the core concepts

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