I wonder if this is to do with 'resilience'. I heard that there is a paper coming out this Autumn about well-being in young people (in terms of mental health). The pressures young people are under as they approach adulthood affect them unilaterally whether they are highly academic (perfectionalist etc) or lower achieving (poor esteem etc)? This is becoming better understood and documented.
As a parent, I favour setting from day 1 for the reasons stated - hard-working peers etc. But DS is already feeling the pressure - top set maths is galloping ahead with some extension work for the really able - GCSE standard - and anything less than top set not being good enough (wonder where that came from
). Does a 12 year old really need to be at GCSE standard though?! I don't think it is the fear of being with disruptive pupils, it is the punitive atmosphere you suddenly find yourself in with the beleagured teacher having to constantly play bad cop. This is the gist of what I have gleaned from DS setted for every subject except DT, Art, Drama, Music and streamed for PE.