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 . 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?
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.
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.
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 ).
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!
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.
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.
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!