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Mixed ability groups in Y7?

(13 Posts)
ihearttc Sat 10-Sep-16 19:13:00

DS1 has just started Y7. All settled in well so far and really enjoying it. They don't set at all for the whole of Y7. DS loves maths and did quite well at SATS as he got 111 in Maths. Totally realise it's only the first week but all they have done is really basic maths which he covered in Y4 at Junior School (they had a Maths Leader as a class teacher!). How exactly do they differentiate work in a mixed ability class? Im less worried about English as although he enjoys it I assume it's easier to teach that to a mixed ability class?

multivac Sat 10-Sep-16 19:28:37

I'd ask for an appointment with the maths lead, and put the question to them - that's exactly what I did (our sons are at a school with no setting/streaming whatsoever and a strong emphasis on independent learning; I wanted a clearer idea of how this would work with maths, where the children 'don't know what they don't know', if you see what I mean, perhaps more than in any other subject). Suffice to say, I was thoroughly reassured that their learning will be genuinely personalised and aspirational. They really love maths, as well as being exceptionally able at it - they've only had one lesson so far, in which some basic addition stuff was covered, after which they were encouraged to 'learn something new', which they continued for homework. Older son was able to improve on his algebra, and younger son was chuffed to bits to work out for himself that any number to the power of zero is always 1. A good start then - but I'll be keeping an eye on what they're doing, nonetheless.

ihearttc Sat 10-Sep-16 19:36:35

We have been given the Math's teachers email address so I did think about emailing and asking but was worried about coming across as difficult. I might leave it a week or so and then see whether they are doing anything different.

Its really good to hear you had a positive experience of it. Although he really enjoys maths and likes a challenge he is also not particularly motivated so Im worried he will take the easy option if given half a chance!

multivac Sat 10-Sep-16 19:40:55

Yes, that was a concern for me, too!

One of the best things about the meeting was seeing for myself just how much the teachers themselves love maths; how exciting they find it as a subject. They were really happy to speak to me, and totally seemed to get where I was coming from. Waiting a week or so and then getting in touch if things are still the same seems like a good plan to me smile

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Sep-16 19:51:45

By 'really basic maths' do you mean numeracy?
Going over long addition, subtraction, multiplication and division has to be done in Y7, yes, even with the really bright kids. Many didn't get enough practice in primary and forget the methods, and a refresher is good anyway.

multivac Sat 10-Sep-16 19:54:00

Absolutely, noble.

ihearttc Sat 10-Sep-16 21:21:51

No I completely agree...it certainly won't do him any harm at all to go over the basics. I'm just worried because he is interested in maths and wants to learn at the moment...just don't want him to become disengaged.
I've actually got no idea what the maths is they have done this week-he said it was really easy and he finished it in about 5 minutes and got them all correct and they did it when he was in y4. Will ask him tomorrow. I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter...I just want the best for him.

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 10-Sep-16 22:08:43

I'd wait a bit. DD2 is also in year 7 and doing similar revision work. But her older sister is at the school and I know that the pace will pick up. Lots of kids do almost no maths from the May of year 6 to the Sept of year 7. I'm not surprised that they are making sure the basics are still sound. If it's still an issue by half term, that would be a more reasonable time to say something. But by then the Maths teacher should also have picked up what he is capable of.

jr2116 Sun 11-Sep-16 15:23:15

Back when my DS was in year 7 (he got a level 6 back in 2012) they spend a good few weeks going over the basic numeracy skills.

BackforGood Sun 11-Sep-16 15:50:12

Sadly, I kept having to go back to my dd's school again and again and again about this - the HofD had a 'philosophy' that meant they never set for maths.
So frustrating, and such a turn off for anyone who is relatively able at maths angry

BizzyFizzy Sun 11-Sep-16 15:55:32

All lessons need differentiation, even setted classes.

I would say that it is unusual not to set for mathematics (after the October half term), but it should be something you were aware of when researching the school. MIxed ability for English and Science is fairly common, but also normal to set.

I work in a selective prep school and we set in English, Maths, French, Latin and Science from Year 6.

ihearttc Sun 11-Sep-16 16:02:08

Bizzy-We did know of it when we applied for the school but we live quite rurally and it is literally the only High School around here. The next nearest one is another county and is massively oversubscribed and DS1 wouldn't have got in so we didn't have a huge amount of choice.

There is apparently a fantastic Maths tutor locally so if all else fails Im going to contact here and pay for extra tuition once a week...if for no other reason than to keep his enthusiasm.

Sadik Sun 11-Sep-16 22:06:42

I think tbh setting / not setting can be a bit of a red herring, and the key question is whether they're differentiating or not. Running through the basics at the start of y7 seems pretty standard - but equally it clearly gets pretty demoralising if you're spending several hours a week doing work that is far to easy. Perhaps give it til half term and see how things go?

Having said that dd is still waiting for things to pick up pace, and is now in yr 10 . . . (but then twas ever thus, I remember O level maths being stultifyingly boring and endless repetition of what felt like trivially simple problems).

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