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Year 11 Top Set GCSE Maths class sizes

(20 Posts)
Tripilates Tue 28-Nov-17 15:38:53

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?

BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 16:39:52

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!

noblegiraffe Tue 28-Nov-17 17:18:33

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.

Aliveinwanderland Tue 28-Nov-17 17:22:40

Top sets usually have 32 children in- they are much easier to manage than the 12 I have in my bottom set year 11!

SweetSummerchild Tue 28-Nov-17 17:31:32

Sadly, 34 in a top set is not that unusual. Financial pressure mean that our school has had to cut the number of sets per year. There were three options:

A) Have massive top sets (34) and maintain small bottom sets
B) Have bottom sets with 22-24 kids in (very hard work)
C) Have mixed ability teaching

In the end in our subject they went with option C. The labs just won't seat more than 30. In maths they've gone with option A.

In a neighbouring LEA, one of the poorest funded in the country, they've gone with classes of 45. Two top set groups 'share' a teacher and have a support assistant for the remainder of the time.

notsomanky Tue 28-Nov-17 17:37:29

DS1 is in top set, he has 30 in his class.

He probably is about middle of the tops set.

The teacher is fantastic, but is pushing them hard. DS has a target of an 8.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 28-Nov-17 19:47:55

My DD's school also top loads the top maths set. I couldn't tell you how many are in it though, as DD isn't anywhere near it.

Tripilates Wed 29-Nov-17 14:36:47

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!

pointythings Wed 29-Nov-17 15:55:27

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.

goodbyestranger Wed 29-Nov-17 20:37:25

DD is in Y11 top set and there are 32 in the class. It seems fine.

Noodledoodledoo Sun 03-Dec-17 20:43:42

Our sets are normally 32 at the top dropping down to 15 at the bottom - was 10 classes a year group, due to funding cuts we have had to switch to 9 classes per year and all sets have got bigger.

Our current yr 11 top set is 34 as well.

fleshmarketclose Mon 04-Dec-17 15:34:28

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.

somewhereovertherain Wed 20-Dec-17 07:34:49

Would have thought 34 top set motived kids easier to teach than 20 bottom set can’t be arsed. My Dd has about 30 in top set in a 3 set school with 68 in the year in total.

BringOnTheScience Wed 20-Dec-17 09:13:21

My DCs were/are in fully mixed maths groups sad. 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.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 20-Dec-17 09:22:22

DS2 is in the top set - there are 27 of them. These are able children; last year nearly everyone in the top two Y11 sets got a 9.

However, there are several with SEN (DS2 has ASD and ADHD and is not the only one in the set with these diagnoses) so I don't think it would be much fun for the teacher if they had more than 30.

BackforGood Thu 21-Dec-17 22:10:36

Pretty normal to 'overload' the top set, as they tend to be populated by motivated pupils, far easier to teach than a much smaller group of non motivated pupils.

Alexandrite Fri 22-Dec-17 08:55:58

Our school is keeping sets but making them bigger because of the funding cuts. I don't know how many are in each.

CauliflowerSqueeze Fri 22-Dec-17 09:01:08

Yes 34 is too big. I think there should be a max of 28 in classes. Anyway. That’s the budget cuts for you. Be grateful that there’s someone qualified in the subject!

TabbyTigger Sat 23-Dec-17 19:49:28

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.

TabbyTigger Sat 23-Dec-17 19:50:17

Actually, come to think of it, both my DDs are in top sets in year 9 and 8 and I think their classes are also huge.

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