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 Post subject: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:39 am 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13772918

I'm surprised it's not higher than 1 in 6. I thought most primary schools sat children according to perceived ability. We have discussed before how mobile (or not) these sets are and their predictions for the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:50 am 
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scary mum wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13772918

I'm surprised it's not higher than 1 in 6. I thought most primary schools sat children according to perceived ability. We have discussed before how mobile (or not) these sets are and their predictions for the future.


Streaming is not the same as setting though.

All primary schools differentiate according to ability. Often this is acheived through putting the children in ability groups within a class. Sometimes schools decide to 'set' for certain subjects, usually maths but also sometimes english. Other schools choose to 'stream'. My school used to do this from Y4-using the children's Y3 optional SATs maths scores as the basis. You would then have three classes-a 'top'. 'middle' and 'bottom' class, irrespective of their english ability. This caused all manner of problems and was scrapped. We now set for Maths in Y4/5 and for Maths and English in Y6.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:52 am 
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Ah, I see. I must admit I don't know of any school that have different classes rather than sets. It makes sense now.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:01 am 
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No I don't know of any schools who have different classes, certainly not so young. But I would have thought that the different sets if done too young, or badly could have had the same unintended bad effect if children aren't all exposed to the same learning opportunities. Bit like the **** spelling groups ----- if you are always given a dim set of words which you always get right without hardly any work, how is your spelling going to improve? You don't have to be in a different class to have your learning opportunities cut down. Or being put into a lower group for guided reading where you read a pathetic book, and are only sent pathetic books home to read ------- all these things and more have happened to us, we can't be the only ones. If it happens to someone who doesn't know any better they are doomed from the start. Or think their child has some kind of special need when they patently don't.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:37 pm 
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Mystery, I agree. Children rise to the expectations you set them. My son was constantly given dim spellings and desperately wanted to be in the set above. I asked for him to get two spelling lists each week, his and the set above. Then he asked the teacher, if he got 10 out of 10 in every test for a term could he be moved up? He was eventually, but it took a bit of prompting. The fact that the idea and urge came from him seemed to impress his teacher, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:07 pm 
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I'm going to try again with the spelling thing, but I'm definitely onto a loser ........ the headteacher is the one who seems to dole out the spellings in this particular class, and it's also the head who thinks that level 5s are golddust ...... she'd think 50% level 5s was an impossibility despite having come from a school which had higher level than that.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:26 am 
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I had a similar problem with spellings for my son when he was in year 3. He was in top set for spellings and got all of them right every single week. They had a small prize at the end of each term for the child that got the most spellings right each term and my son won it every term.

I lost count of the number of times I went in to complain that he wasn't learning anything from them - words such as 'come' in year 3 for goodness sake! I was just told that he can't rush ahead as he needs to learn the 'basics' of spelling!!!???????


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:27 am 
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Personally, I don't think there is any problem in 'setting' children once they start Junior School (year 3 onwards) as long as there is the potential for them to rise to higher set. In my DSs school there are three sets for spelling and if you get all your words spelled correctly three weeks in a row, you move up a set - and if you make a mistake for three weeks in a row, you move down. Keeps the children trying all the time as there is a constant possibility of improvement.

From year 5 onwards they are streamed for maths - ie, actually mixed with the other classes in the year (3 in total) and split into 3 ability groups. I do not believe in a 'one size fits all' approach to education - if my DS had to sit in a maths class with the children in the lowest ability group, he would be bored and switch off. This way all the children get taught at a level they can understand and with termly reviews, there is the possibility of moving up/down as necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:03 am 
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Yes, our school is exactly the same, and it seems to work, although they do get to a certain point (certainly in maths) where theoretically they can move up a set, but if they do they will have missed a lot of work. My son has moved down (& up :)) within his maths set, ie a "table" within the set, but there is little movement between the two sets (which are mixed up from the two classes). Spellings are a little more fluid. I think the article (I missed it when I commented too) was about having completely separate classes for different sets. They are unlikely to move children around classes on a frequent basis. Also, how do they set ?- my DD would be in the top stream for literacy, the middle stream for spellings and the bottom stream for maths!!


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 Post subject: Re: Streaming at age 7
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:10 pm 
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Our school used to have a system whereby there were 4 Maths 'groups' to cover the whole of Key Stage 2. This meant DD skipped year 3 Maths and went into a group with some 'able' year 3s, a lot of average year 4s, and a few struggling year 5s.
They changed the system back again when she was at the end of Year 4 so the 'top' 20% of the class ended up repeating Year 5 Maths while the 'bottom' 20% never got round to covering most of the Year 4 work until they went back to 'fill in the gaps' in Year 6.
Confused yet? DD and I certainly were.

Streaming doesn't work, in my opinion, because if you don't allow children to move up through the streams you are denying them opportunities for learning just because they were slightly later to 'bloom' than others of their age group, but if you do allow them to move up they can end up with crucial gaps in their education.

I skipped Year 2 at school so I never mastered times tables or joined up writing. :lol:

Actually - that says a lot about education in the 1970s. My son's in Y2 now and most of the children are still printing their letters and using jazz hands to do their 5 times table. :(


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