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DD1 not moving to Set 1 :(

(50 Posts)
blackeyes72 Thu 05-Jul-18 20:30:11

DD1's one strong subject has always been maths - she struggles with English and all literary based subjects but maths since very young she has always been in set 1/top of the class in most schools she has moved to.

This year she was moved to set 2, the teacher said this was because in one of her assessments she didn't do as well, which was fine by me. DD1 worked hard and got 88 per cent in her end of year assessment which thy marked as borderline 8/9.

Today she came home really upset as she was told that she is NOT moving to set 1. Apparently set 1 had a "not great teacher" so even though some children got 70% or below they are staying put. I would rather the whole set thing was scrapped than her not understanding why she is being kept down in her one strong subject.

Seems terribly unfair to me! I have written to the teacher, but I know I will get fobbed off, so just venting.....I really hate this system!!!

OP’s posts: |
blackeyes72 Thu 05-Jul-18 20:31:19

PS she is in Year 8

OP’s posts: |
ragged Thu 05-Jul-18 20:32:41

What school yr is she in now?
Usually the sets are supposed to overlap in ability. So they can adjust for social reasons, too. In set2, is she not being taught material that the set1s get exposed to?

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Thu 05-Jul-18 20:35:03

In our school sets one and two do the same things. Set one just do it faster.

toomanyeastereggsurghh Thu 05-Jul-18 20:50:54

Lots of parents think their child should be in the top set because they’ve always been brilliant at Maths or top of the class at their previous school. However in a different environment in a different cohort they might not be the best, also children learn at different rates, as the challenges increase they might not find things as easy.

Most schools don’t change pupils’ sets based on one test, it tends to just be part of a bigger picture: homework, how they are in class etc Being in the top set is not everything, it is more important that your child is in the right place for them to learn best, for some that is at the top end of a second set rather than being stretched too far or going too quickly in a top set. In most schools the top 2, 3, 4 or more sets sit the higher paper and therefore all have the chance of achieving the top grades. Why do you feel your daughter must be in the top set? Trust her teachers to know the best for her, they are the experts.

Also where did you hear set 1’s teacher was “not great”? From your daughter or her friends? Sounds like gossip to me.

blackeyes72 Thu 05-Jul-18 20:58:59

Probably gossip and the fact she can't understand why she has not moved up.

In fairness the teacher at parents evening told me that she thought my dd1 should be in set 1 as has a natural ability in maths and is very fast/gets it before everyone else.

I am not a pushy parent and have four children all in different sets for different subjects but my gut feeling is that pusher parents have meant the wets are not moving, as I can't think of a reason.

Dd1 got the highest possible midys score in maths too and has always been a maths person, I wouldn't bat an eye lid for any other suject.

OP’s posts: |
deary Thu 05-Jul-18 21:00:32

I was in set 1 and got moved down to set 2 at high school.
In set 2,I got it and got 100% consistently in maths- in fact I was in the top 2% in the country at something or other.
I was asked if I wanted to move up and I said no. I got my set 2 teacher, I understood her teaching (and I liked being top of the class.)
If she is doing well, why does she need to move? Just for the vanity of being top set?

blackeyes72 Thu 05-Jul-18 21:09:07

Thanks for calling a child vane

I didn't come on here to have my child insulted

She has huge issues with visual stress and has struggled reading writing all her life, she has always been proud of doing well at maths and being in a set that feels right is important to her. I personally hate sets and went to a highly academic school with no sets at all, I would get rid of them all personally.

OP’s posts: |
ragged Thu 05-Jul-18 21:13:24

mmm.. it's good she still has something to prove.

blackeyes72 Thu 05-Jul-18 21:20:57 could go either way though and just give up trying. I hope she doesn't though. I hope the teachers talk to her as she is really disappointed and upset. I suppose at least she cares...!

OP’s posts: |
toomanyeastereggsurghh Thu 05-Jul-18 22:50:00

Well if she really wants to be in top set then she needs to keep working hard, get high marks and prove that she should go up a set. Mention your concern to teacher and monitor, but trust they do know best.

I taught briefly in a school that didn’t set for Maths - complete nightmare! Not beneficial for the majority of kids.

Also “the highest possible Midyis score for Maths” how do you know this? Do you know what the other children in the top set got? I am not a big fan of the Midyis tests anyway having seen lots of children with high Midyis struggle when they get to GCSE.
Plus saying a child at the end of year 8 is level 8/9 is pretty meaningless - how can they possibly tell, given this is a GCSE grade and the child has likely not yet covered most of the GCSE syllabus?

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Jul-18 23:16:44

most schools she has moved to.

Has she moved around a lot? Perhaps she has gaps in her knowledge? Also sets vary from school to school according to intake, I know students who would be top set in another school might be low set 2 in mine, as my school has a more high-achieving intake.

It sounds like from your OP that she was in set 1, then moved to set 2 recently? Generally kids yo-yoing between sets based on single assessments isn’t a great idea and consistent performance over more than one assessment/classwork is usually required.

If you’re wondering why she hasn’t moved sets, then phone the school and ask for the reasons, rather than trying to guess based on speculation about the ability of the set 1 teacher. Set 2 obviously hasn’t done your DD any harm if she has done really well on the assessment so try to keep plugging that line with her.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 05-Jul-18 23:29:45

My dd was a bit disappointed initially not being in the top set, but actually her teacher has been a lot better. Top set teachers (noblegiraffe excepted I am sure) don't need to teach and explain as clearly because at year 8 the top set will 'get it' anyway. Often the teachers teaching lower sets will have to work harder and explain more clearly to get the good results. At least this seems to be true in her school. I don't think she would want to go up now.

Does she have glasses for the visual stress? We have found that they have really helped.

W0rriedMum Fri 06-Jul-18 06:51:53

OP - the flaw in sets is that movement is very hard. The top set goes faster, covers more material and becomes "uncatchable" as the gap widens. This is based on material covered as much as raw ability. It can seem very unfair to a child. I say this was someone who is a fan of setting overall.

I'd go in to have a low stress chat with the head of maths and discuss what her gaps are in maths.. Explain that she is really focused on moving up so needs guidance. But don't go in demanding a move or they will shut down!

Imagine if this was work and the OP was saying she was measurably doing better than her superiors but no-one would give her a promotion?

LadyPenelope68 Fri 06-Jul-18 06:56:05

Yes, she might be really good in maths and that be “her thing”, but, there could be others who are just acmuch higher ability than her, so they would take the places in top set. They can’t have an unlimited number. I think you and your daughter need to see that being in the top set is the becall and end all.

BarbaraWarpecker Fri 06-Jul-18 07:02:53

It doesn't sound 'fair'. She went down a set based on one test? ( Did she also have the 'poor' teacher who has been used as an excuse NOT to move other children down?).
Then she has aced the latest test, yet not been moved up?
I would politely query with Head of Dept by email. Perhaps they need one more good test result for her to go back up? Perhaps the stability of being in the same set for a while would be better?
I can barely imagine a school where an 8/9 puts you in the second set.

sashh Fri 06-Jul-18 07:06:31

If she is working well and progressing in set 2 then that is the set for her.

Way back when I was at school a friend was in set 2 with me, she crashed and burned in an end of term exam. The school actually put her up into set 1 because previously she had done well with the set one teacher.

Another thing to consider is her weak English/literacy. If she is copying down notes or reading questions she may be taking longer than the set 1 students eg if set one students have 5 mins to write down and solve a question it will take most 2 ins to read and copy and have 3 mins to work on the problem. Your dd may take 3.5 mins to write the problem down and then have far less time to work on the problem. She may well cope with that in year 7 and 8 but not as she progresses.

BTW I was terrible at written subjects (undiagnosed dyslexic) and good at maths and computer studies. I am NOT in any way saying your dd is not as bright or as talented as anyone else in set 1 or 2 just that there are more reasons than test results to keep a group together, split them, move a single or a group of students.

RoseDog Fri 06-Jul-18 07:08:34

Has she been properly assessed for her visual stress? Is she getting the correct support in school? My dd is severely dyslexic with irlens visual stress, she is shit hot at maths too but her major failure is problem solving type questions, reading the questions and then picking out the actual maths! The school have measures in place for helping her with this. We are in Scotland so the system is slightly different and she is in a smallish supported Nat 4 class but working to Nat 5 level and should sit her Nat 5 exam.

elephantfan Fri 06-Jul-18 07:14:00

My DD engineered her exam result so she could stay in set 2 for maths because the set 2 teacher was so much better than the set 1 teacher.
She still got A* for GCSE and A for A level.

I don't think it matters in the long run. In many ways being comfortable working at the top of set 2 with a good teacher is a good place to be.

Trampire Fri 06-Jul-18 07:22:45

Set 2 is great!

My DNeice is currently going a Degree in Aeronautical engineering.
She was always much happier in Set 2 for Maths. She was put up a few times and hated it, saying that she couldn't keep up with done proper geniuses in there. She was happier at the top of set 2.
She knew wanted to do engineering and had to work at her Maths.
There's really no need to be in the top set to achieve anything.

sashh Fri 06-Jul-18 07:23:33


Has your dd tried BUGging the question?

It's designed for English subjects but can be used to a limited way in maths.

To BUG a question you

BOX - put a box around the main thing you are being asked to do - usually in a bright colour with a marker or felt tip
UNDERLINE - anything relevant/necessary for the answer
finally you GO BACK and tick off as you answer.

As I said better for English subjects.

Sociology example

Explain one way in which sociological research might help governments to design policies to support lone parents in Britain.

So you would BOX - Explain
UNDERLINE one, sociological research, governments, policies, lone parents, Britain.

As you write the explanation you tick off each word. If there is a word unticked then you need to write about it.

CuckooCuckooClock Fri 06-Jul-18 07:26:08

You sound quite rigid in your thinking of her as only good at maths.
Could it be that her sense of identity is tied up with this label and being in set 2 is threatening that?

Lepetitpiggy Fri 06-Jul-18 07:28:24

My soon to be year 8 dd puts herself under huge pressure to be in ALL the top sets which is horrendous. She is very bright and probably capable of it, but I would much rather she was in set two for those subjects (sciences) that she is less brilliant at - or even just 'good' at. Its much more important for their psychological well being that they are taught at the pace the teachers honestly believe they are better at understanding. So much pressure on kids to be the 'best' and in her case it is a bit of vanity to be fir!

Parky04 Fri 06-Jul-18 07:28:53

My DS was in set 2 throughout secondary school and still got A* in Maths. He was miffed as well but just used it as motivation to do better than the kids in set 1!

Sunnymeg Fri 06-Jul-18 07:32:52

At DS's school Maths set 1 took GCSE statistics at the end of year 9 and also sat the Further Maths GCSE in year 11. If it is a similar case at her school, they have probably been zipping along with the Maths work in set 1 to make room for the statistics syllabus and be too far ahead of the other sets for a child to catch up to the rest of the set. At DS's school, if you weren't in set 1 at the beginning of year 8, you were never going to get there. Do you know if any children have moved up at all? Or if set 1 will be taking statistics? There will be a good reason why your DD has not been moved up. You may not like it, but the school will be able to justify their decision to leave her where she is. If she is making progress and has a good teacher then she should do well regardless.

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