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Sets: how do they work and should DS speak to his teacher?

(19 Posts)
OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 09:57:36

DS#1 is 12 in yr8. He has always been middle of the road workwise. Clever but a bit lazy. He is in set 3 of 6 for every subject. Which is fine for most things and seems to suit his slightly-above-average-but-not-really-bothered vibe hmm. But science is his favourite subject. He can talk for hours about what they've done and is really enthusiastic. At the end of yr8 he was at level 6. The class took a test at the end of the year and they were told that the results of that would show whether they were ready to move sets. DS got top marks for the test. He didn't move up. Although subsequently other pupils did. Because he loves this subject he is feeling a bit miffed and wants to know why.

It is so refreshing for him to show enthusiasm over any subject I don't want this dampened. How does it work in secondary school? Would it be really pushy for him to approach the teacher and ask why, what he is doing wrong (if anything). Or should we do that? Or should we just leave it?

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 10:46:04

Can anyone advise please?

AMumInScotland Thu 01-Oct-09 11:25:47

I certainly think you should contact the teacher and ask - you were told the test was to decide if they should change sets, he got top marks, they haven't moved him - they ought to be able to explain why that is. There may be some valid reason, or maybe not - but the teacher should be able to explain it, or hopefully rethink it.

You're right to encourage him - if it's a subject he is keen on and doing well in, then he ought to be up in a set which reflects that, unless there's some major issue to do with timetabling etc.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 11:32:40

He should ask the teacher. Or (controversial here!) if he's going to find that difficult, maybe you could?

It could very well be a mistake - these things happen?

Is level 6 at the end of year 8 average or good at his school? What did his mates get?

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 11:32:40

Thanks mis. I wanted to hear that I wasn't being overly-protective.

Now....how to go about it as it seems impossible to get in touch with anyone outside of parents' evening hmm.

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 11:35:39

It's above average seeker. But not hugely so.

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 11:36:52

School has some kids that start with level 3 in yr 6 SATS hmm But it has high VA.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 12:00:09

So if it's above average, he needs to be at least one set higher, doesn't he?

Go on, ring the school now, then come and tell us what they say!

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 12:09:01

OMG! Ring the school? He'll kill me...

Not to mention I won't find anyone to speak to hmm Seriously we are pleased with the school so far - school-hating DS is enjoying it for a start. But communication is a real issue.

mumblechum Thu 01-Oct-09 12:12:24

Send them an email.

DS's school only sets in Maths as it's a grammar so I suppose there isn't that much variation. He's a bit pissed off at being kept in the bottom set in Maths despite getting 7a in his SATS in yr 9, but the thing is level 8 is the average in that school. If your school is a comp and your ds is above average I would have thought they'd bump him up unless there were a big number of above average levels in the tests.

JeffVadar Thu 01-Oct-09 12:44:14

I do think that you need to contact the school about this, and from the information available I think your DS is right to feel hard done by too.

It doesn't seem much of an incentive for his hard work.

In your shoes I would have a chat with your DS first, say that you think that this situation needs to be clarified, and I think you should encourage him to get involved with you in planning how to approach his teacher.

Hopefully, he will get a sympathetic hearing and also an explanation for this decision. Even more hopefully, he might be successful and get moved up! It could just be an oversight by a busy teacher, or they may have some other reason, but it would be good to know the thinking behind it.

I think that ignoring a niggly thing like this is, on the whole, a bad thing and that he (and you) will feel happier about tackling it head on rather than just letting it go, whatever the outcome.

I know it would drive me mad (usually when I woke up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep smile).

MintyCane Thu 01-Oct-09 12:55:56

You should say something they do make mistakes it happened to us. smile I would email rather than ring myself.

Docbunches Thu 01-Oct-09 12:56:20

I think your DS should perhaps ask the relevant teacher himself why he wasn't moved up a set as it certainly sounds as though he's been overlooked. If he doesn't want to do that, then I would be tempted to phone or email just to get some closure, iyswim. As MIS says, it could be to do with timetabling or balancing the class numbers (unfair, but it does happen). Either way, it would be good to know as it may be another year before they move them round again.

Your DS sounds quite similar to my own DS, with one difference being that mine would just accept the situation as he wouldn't want to draw attention to himself - not a good thing I know, but that's just the way he is!

Good luck - hope you get a good outcome.

OrmIrian Thu 01-Oct-09 13:06:31

Thanks everyone.

doc - that is what I am so pleased about - that he is sufficiently unhappy about it to mention it to me. A few years ago he'd not even had given it a second thought.

Docbunches Thu 01-Oct-09 13:39:53

Ah, that's great to hear! I think, at last, my DS (14) is very slowly improving in that area as well.

Anyway, I'll be checking back to this thread for updates.

roisin Thu 01-Oct-09 20:22:32

From a practical point of view, it might be that Science is timetabled against Maths or English or something, and so they can't have 'pure' sets, but have to have some kind of linking between the subjects.

I would query it though Orm, or get him to do so.

OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 09:28:31

Hi Roisin! Funnily enough the reasons were practical.

Yes DS did ask <faints then staggers back up again> On his own! With no nagging prompting <feels a bit wobbly again but takes a deep breath>. Apparently there were so many pupils that did really well and are at more or less the same level than there was no give in the sets - the top 3 sets are not really streamed anymore, just 3 classes of more or less the same ability level.

DS was happy with that. So we'll leave it until we get to parents evening.

Thanks for all your help everyone smile

Docbunches Fri 02-Oct-09 10:55:50

That's great news for your DS! Well done to him for asking, and I'm pleased to hear the reason was purely practical - at least you won't be worrying about it over the weekend now!

AMumInScotland Fri 02-Oct-09 11:22:18

Oh that's good - so he knows that he's in a good class for his ability level plus he's managed to speak to a teacher and get a positive response, which will help him feel more confident the next time he has to do something similar. Result!

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