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I'm posting here because I've recently been trying to sort out my dc's sets at school.
Feel really unhappy as I was misled by a teacher telling me that all English sets were mixed ability as I was a little concerned how my dc had suddenly gone from doing really well all through Primary to dropping to a low set in year 8.
I double checked again this week and turns out they are not mixed ability. Why I was told this I do not know but had I known we would've questioned more and found out more where we could help.
Dc has worked very hard over the last year and got some good marks, some as high as friends in top set and still in same low set again this year.
Dc is now lacking confidence as friends have moved up set and dc hasn't. Not for want of trying.
Anyone know why this might be the case?
I've looked in to extra lessons as dc wants to do a job at that involves a good English pass rate and to be honest we feel very let down by the school.
Dc is very quiet and I sometimes wonder if maybe just doesn't get noticed much.
Has he just started y9?
What did reports say / score for end y7 and end y8?
Who told you each time whether they were mixed ability or not? Are you sure it wasn't correct first time and wrong this time?
Please could you clarify something for me? Are English sets this year ability based or mixed ability? I understood from teacher X when I asked last week they are set, is this correct?
If so I am concerned about DS's progress. In his primary SATs he scored 115 for reading, greater depth for writing and 110 for SPaG. But now he appears to be in set 5?
Does this mean he is not really making expected progress? Are there particular areas he needs support in? This doesn't seem to tally with the end of year reports we have been receiving.
Thank you for any clarity you can give me, as obviously English is a core subject and we want to support him as best we can.
It was the same teacher. That's what has especially annoyed me.
DC is now year 9. Like the letter you've drafted and will write something similar. Feel I was fobbed off as can't see any other reason to tell me that.
Was told at parents evening that DC had received some good scores - some above many others.
Always been good at English but obviously struggling. I'd kept in touch with the teacher last year and didn't seem to mention any issues.
It is possible that they were mixed last year and set this year.
Our school flits around all over the place.
If he has same teacher this year and last then I'd start by writing to them not the HOD, as teacher should have a better handle on what's going on specifically with your DS.
It's a different teacher this year. It was the Head of Subject that I spoke to last year and this year re sets.
This time they said only year 7 is mixed. Last time they said all years are mixed.
Looking at extra tuition but slightly begrudgingly because I think the school is letting DC down.
Could it be possible that they are keeping him in this set because he is doing so well? You mention he has done as well as friends in top set. It's often better to be the best in a lower set than the worst in a higher set. Mid and top set are normally doing the same thing but mid set just a bit slower.
I'd love to think so but I haven't been led to believe that. Although I agree better to be top of a lower set in some respects.
Not sure how the school is letting DS down when he's getting as good marks as friends in other (I'm not going to say "top" as I'm not sure you actually know this) sets.
Agree with others that schools change the way they organise all their classes all the time, so your DC may well have had a mix of mixed ability, partially setted, fully setted ... Are you sure even now that he is in a low set? The school may have several sets at the same or overlapping levels.
I would stop focusing on the set though - the crucial thing is working out what DC has to work on to improve.
It probably has more to do with timetabling of classes than there being “sets”.
How big a school is it?
I feel letting DC down because there clearly are areas to work on and they haven't. Even though I've stayed in touch.
No, the sets are fixed above year 7.
I've looked in to it all and sadly my DC has gone from achieving very well to where we are now.
Sets unfortunately determine where they're at. The School made that very clear to me.
What did his report say at the end of last year?
Very impressed with work this year.
It might depend on CATS tests and their final target grade. Maybe their target is not as high as their friends?
You do need to go back to Head or Department and get more clarity.
Try to focus on their progress rather than what friends are doing. If they are doing well in current set then it might not be best for them to move just because friends have.
“Very impressed with work this year.“
No grades, scores or predictions?
Converseandjeans - Thanks. I've found your response really helpful. I think because DC has also had some bullying issues recently I'm just in general quite concerned about where they are heading and what's going on.
But I will get more clarity and appreciate your reply.
BertandRussell - yes some high grades and some middle I would say. Predicted grade at present to me certainly doesn't seem like they've put DC in right set to challenge.
So he has good predicted grades and he is doing well? Is that right?
Yes and no. For obvious reasons I don't want to discuss personal things on here more than I have to.
It's almost impossible to predict grades in English language. Success GCSE wise is down to culture of reading, debate and discussion at home as much as what is being explicitly taught in English lessons. The grade boundaries shift each year so I wouldn't get hung up on outcomes. The social aspect is tricky but being in the (perceived) top set might not solve that. I'd go for a chat with the Head if Year before the Head of Subject.
Fair enough- although considering how many school parents there are on here i’m not sure if you need to be so very cautious. It’s very difficult to offer any help or any suggestions without more information.
Cat0115 okay thanks. The thing is DC is extremely eloquent and used to love English and look forward to tests! Now doesn't and feels sidelined.
I think I'm more concerned about having been given wrong information about sets as it just confuses the matter more.
Thanks again for your advice.
BertandRussell DC was always top at primary school in tests etc. Think because of DC's shy nature and past bullying issues, maybe found a bigger school hard in terms of not wanting to speak up at times in class.
What I've found frustrating is that I don't feel the school has helped her with that and I can only do so much from home.
I'm sad the school doesn't recognise past high achievements and why DC is now not getting those anymore. Although did last year hence my concerns. Hope that makes sense.
“Although did last year hence my concerns. Hope that makes sense.”
Honestly? No it doesn’t really. It sounds as if your main concern is the number of the set she’s in. She’s doing well and has good predicted grades but you just don’t like that she’s not in Set 1. And i’m pretty sure that’s not the problem, but I’m finding it impossible to work out what the real problem is. Can you give a bit more information?
I'm finding your responses a little aggressive and you are not getting it at all even though I've explained.
I've no problem about set 1.
This is the last time I will reply to you.
I was honestly trying to help. But fair enough.
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