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Y8 - maths sets being merged into mixed ability groups - is this normal?

(14 Posts)
perimuppet Fri 04-Sep-20 18:46:54

DD's school put students into 5 maths groups last year based on ability. This was initially based on tests and there was a bit of movement based on performance during the year but we were told that by year 8 maths groups became a bit more 'set in stone' and that science in year 8 would be taught in those groups.

DD came home today and explained that the groups have all be merged so her maths and science sets are now a mixture of the people in the set 1 that she was in last year plus students from sets 2-5. (She showed me on google classroom so I don't think there's any question of her misunderstanding.)

There has been no communication from the school about this and I just don't see how it's going to work. It's a comprehensive school with a huge spread of ability, plus there are girls now in her set who have done absolutely none of the work set by the school for them to do remotely since March. Obviously I have sympathy for those kids and the fact that they have a lot of catching up to do but I can't see how putting them in with kids in the top set is going to help.

Is this kind of thing happening in other schools too?

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KoalasandRabbit Fri 04-Sep-20 18:56:05

Ds is going to year 9 and its same sets as last year - not sure what's happening for year 7 and 8 as they are in class bubbles. DDs maths is just blank spaces on timetable at present but she's year 10 now so must be set would imagine. Mine start back on Wednesday, y8 are in from Tuesday.

KoalasandRabbit Fri 04-Sep-20 18:57:35

So DS is in ability based set unadjusted from last year, on timetable said he had been moved down to set 3 but checked and timetables are wrong and still set 1.

Nibor1991 Fri 04-Sep-20 18:58:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cansu Fri 04-Sep-20 18:58:39

It will be due to the school needing to follow covid guidelines. In my school, we have moved to mixed ability in order to reduce movement around the school.

Springb0ks Fri 04-Sep-20 18:59:47

We have done this at the school I work in, it's in order to meet Covid guidelines. Due to constraints in rooming, teacher and student numbers. It is easier to manage mixed ability than our normal streamed classes.

perimuppet Fri 04-Sep-20 18:59:49

I don't think this is a class bubble thing because it's a mixture of kids from across the year group (whereas some subjects are taught in the form group).

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perimuppet Fri 04-Sep-20 19:01:11

Thanks to those have posted. But if they are able to mix them up for other stuff e.g. DT, art, music are all in groups made up from across the year group, and some stuff is taught in the form group, why would they need to do this for maths, science and English

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perimuppet Fri 04-Sep-20 19:13:51

@Nibor1991 Thanks for posting. I find it really disappointing to be honest. I just can't imagine how they are going to differentiate the work effectively.

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lanthanum Fri 04-Sep-20 19:18:12

There are some schools which manage to teach maths in mixed ability groups very effectively. However it's not easy, and just to leap into doing it is probably unwise - it would be better to start with year 7, and work it through.

There will be some who have been forced into it because of covid, and I'm sure they'll do their best with it, but they're going to find it tough to make sure everyone is catered for effectively.

It might be that they're only planning to do things like this for a limited time, and will be using the time to do some assessment and find out where everyone is at after lockdown, before re-setting. Arguably that might be better than having everyone back in their old sets and then demoting those who have fallen behind. There are some topics that might work better than others for mixed ability teaching, so they might focus on those in the meantime.

cansu Fri 04-Sep-20 20:02:03

Possibly this will mean that they need less staff to run these classes than if they had sets. They probably need to do some catch up and revision work. It is very hard to understand the reasons without having information about the whole school constraints etc. They won't have changed this without a great deal of thought and unless they needed to. It may well be temporary. Try not to make problems before they have even started! There will be less than ideal scenarios for a while. Try and be positive and can do about these changes with your dd or she will be looking for negatives too.

TW2013 Fri 04-Sep-20 20:08:01

Dd is taught maths in mixed ability classes. It seems to work quite well as the work is explained and set at the beginning of the lesson. The more able students crack on with it leaving the teacher able to concentrate more on those who don't fully get it. I am not sure though how that would work with social distancing. Those who really struggle are in one smaller set together. Further up the school they do separate into foundation and higher groups.

Constanttaxiservice Fri 04-Sep-20 20:31:36

my daughter is taught in mixed ability groups-work really well.

Pegase Fri 04-Sep-20 21:04:40

There is low evidence that setting makes any difference to children's progress overall. Having said that, of all subjects, it is usually Maths where setting occurs and I know many Maths teachers do prefer it that way.

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