My DS is in the top set for maths at his school. It has approximately 1OOOish students on roll, is an academy, and has an intake which is skewed to the upper end ability wise.
Although he is top set, he is very much the lower end ability wise within that set, he is by no means a maths whizz and won’t be sitting further maths. He is in a class of 34. Apparently this is fairly common practise, top set having such large classes. The teacher is fantastic, and does their best I’m sure, but it’s a huge workload for that teacher, and I know that there is still a large ability range for those predicted (hopefully!) 7,8,9.
Just wondered what other people’s experiences are, teacher or parent?
Yes, but it will be a lot easier than the 1, 2 3 level that colleagues are teaching. 34 well motivated and well behaved students should not be too bad. Not ideal, but perfectly acceptable. Possibly better than being in the group below however it all depends on the quality of the teacher. If they are excellent then there should not be a problem. After all the Chinese have double that number!
My top set GCSE group are pretty easy tbh, I chuck stuff at them and they work it out amongst themselves, sometimes I feel pretty redundant! 34 is very large (although I have taught 34 before), the main issue isn't with the number of kids in the class, but the amount of marking.
The group I have that's the hardest work only has 14 in.
I guessed as much. I know at least one of the other local schools does the same regards top set high numbers. DS actually enjoys the class and challenging environment, even though it’s not his favourite subject, I do think 34 too large though!
Dd1 was top end of top set in maths, ability range 7 to 9. There were 24 of them. Dd2 in year 10 is in a similar top.set but they have split the entire year into 2 and each has a top set. It was the only way they could manage the timetable. Her group is about 22 and she is top end of the middle.
Dd's top set maths year ten has 32 in and will stay at 32 next year. Dd's TA is in there with her as well so another pair of eyes and hands I suppose but there isn't ever a general TA in top set groups in dd's school.
My DCs were/are in fully mixed maths groups . It serves neither of them. DC1 was bored. DC2 can't keep up and is frustrated by being left further behind. I'd have been happier with larger classes that suited them better.
My son was in year 11 3 years ago and was top end of a top set with over 30 kids (think it was 34/35) and said he was basically his table’s second tutor. I think it’s common because, as a PP said - it’s much easier to have a big group of well behaved, motivated students than a big group of struggling/rebellious students.