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 Post subject: Querying Y9 maths set
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:17 am 
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Some advice needed please - haven't had to deal with this before because dd1 is at a grammar school, but DD2 has been home educated all her life, and has just gone into Y9 in a comp. When the place was confirmed in the summer, they said to me that they would probably put her in the middle sets (for Maths, English, Science and Languages) and that they test regularly and do move students. I said then that she was good at Maths and that she had covered nearly half of the GCSE syllabus.

On Monday we went in to school to buy uniform and have a short chat, and I took in some Maths and Science KS3 SATS papers that I'd printed off the web and she'd done (on holiday. I'm not really a pushy mother from ****, honest) - she got about 97% on the level 5-7 Maths paper, and 90% on the 3-6 Science one. They said they would pass them along to the relevant heads of dept, and that her timetable hadn't been quite finalised yet.

Anyway, by Tuesday afternoon it had been, and she's had a normal couple of days since then. She does seem to be in middle sets for English, French (she has done no French ever - they told me they would put her in the bottom set!) and Spanish, but was in top set Science to her slight surprise. Which is fine. And then went to her first Maths lesson where she is again in a middle set.

I know the first lesson back is never going to be too demanding but she came home moaning about it being really easy and about lots of the class playing up. (They had a supply teacher so obviously worse!)

With the other subjects I'm happy that it will all be fine and that there's enough new stuff going on to keep her occupied. But I do know the Maths curriculum pretty well, as I tutor Maths privately and have had to get to know it! And obviously I know exactly what DD2 has done and that she has a good grasp of it. And I also know that if she has 3 hours a week of getting bored in Maths that she is going to hate it.

I'm also a bit worried because they stream them for the GCSE years, and she wants to get into the top stream, so I don't want to let this drift and then get told in February when they are choosing options that she can't be in the top stream because she's in the wrong maths set. But I do realise I might just be making up worries here! Am not normally a neurotic parent, lol, but am fretting a bit this week :)

So can I query this without seeming like a nightmare parent? Should I get in touch with someone straightaway or do I leave it to see whether they do have tests at halfterm and whether she does get moved? And who would be the best person to make first contact with? I was thinking her form tutor? Not that I have an email address for her.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:29 am 
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The supply teacher may not have been working to the usual standard and the same for the behaviour. I would wait until she has had a lesson with the usual teacher and then re-evaluate.

Our GS moves the maths sets annually based on performance in exams. Although I suspect they would be more flexible with new student.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:34 am 
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I think quite a few schools tend to ignore what has gone on at St Elsewhere's and rely on their own testing assessment when setting. Hopefully they will be able to do some shuffling if needed soon!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:43 am 
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Location: Berkshire
My son is at a comprehensive where he's in top sets, also in Year 9. He is reminded constantly that all work is monitored, and place in the top set is not guaranteed. He has seen some of his friends drop down, to be replaced by others moving up, and knows that it is up to him to keep up with the work or he will be moved down. I agree with the others, hang fire for a couple of weeks, maybe even a half term to see what happens, although I might be inclined to let them know that your daughter feels she is bored by the level of work, so that they know you are on the case

I can understand your worries, they are mine too. Behaviour does seem to deteriorate the lower down the sets you go, so distractions increase.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:39 am 
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.


Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:29 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
DS's school have only just started to set the boys this year (Y9) - in Y7, and in Y8 to a lesser extent, they are still trying to level the playing field as different primary schools may teach different aspects of the subject when you go beyond the National Curriculum.

In order to be put in the top set in Y9 boys had to achive L7 in the majority of end of topic tests during Y8 and the end of year exam. As your DD has only just joined the school it will take a while for the teachers to asses her strengths and weaknesses so I wouldn't be too concerned about the setting - it may well be due to something as mundane as there happened to be space available in a particular set at a time that fits well with the rest of her timetable.

As others have said, the behaviour may well be due to having a supply teacher but I would monitor this and raise it with the school if necessary.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:24 pm 
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Hi Aliportico!

I work in a school and, with all my pupils, I will try to wait until Half Term before pushing for any changes in sets or for any special support for anybody, or mention anything about any supply teacher. .... All teachers and supply staff are snowed under at present just trying to settle everybody down. In many instances, we do not have even a final pupil list for each class. (Last Wednesday, a parent new to the area came up to me at the school gate and asked if he could bring in his child, just like that!)

Schools really do not know enough about any new pupil. No test papers tell us that much. So the wise old heads just observe and wait, be it in Years 7 or 12 (with lots of pupils new to the schools) or anyone in your child's position. Also, we appreciate that it is an anxious time for the new pupil and for their family and, again, a few weeks can often make all the difference. In most cases, things generally sort themselves out and settle down well enough. .... A hitherto, or recently, home-schooled child may take a while longer to feel at home at a school.

In any case, even for some established pupils, the agonising over sets never ends. And, apart from the two sets at the very top and the very bottom, there is often very little difference between most sets. ... Personal chemistry can be a big factor.

Behaviour? ... There are challenges in all schools. Some schools are merely better at controlling the publicity than others. ... Non-selective state schools have always had particular issues and, I fear, these will get worse in the current economic and social climate. Please feel free to pm me if this specific concern persists.

Good luck to your child in her new school!

WH


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:00 pm 
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Thanks all, I needed a few virtual "there there"s :)

I want to ask if she can have her HPV jab with the Y8 girls this autumn (I was going to arrange it privately for her in a year or two if she stayed at home, but might as well get it done at school if I can), so need to contact her form tutor anyway. I thought I would also just ask in a low key way for a bit more explanation of how the sets work, how much movement actually occurs in practice, and whether it has any effect on the future - without talking about anything specific. Does that sound okay?

I'd already told my daughter that she would have to wait and see what it was like when the usual teacher came back (might not be for another week - her father is ill :( ), so I guess I now have to try and be patient and do that too :)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:43 am 
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If you think your DD could get an A* in gcse maths you could always tutor her at home and then put her in as a private candidate for the exam (linear or modular). We did this with our year 9 daughter this year because we were fed up with the teachers missing so many lessons.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:09 am 
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The school will not know whether the papers you took in were done under test conditions and so, rightly, they will be cautious.

However, I would not wait until half-term because, as you say, Year 9 is a key year for options. Ask to talk to the Maths Subject Leader about DD and how their setting works and when the first test is - or ask for DD to be given the end of Year 8 test that the others sat.

I would not take Magwich2's advice as the syllabus has undergone major changes for 2012 and you would need to be sure that your DD was comforatble with the new style of questions.


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