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I've been given nearly all bottom sets - is this right?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by captain_picard, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. captain_picard

    captain_picard New commenter

    Last year I had a variety of ability types. Gradually, however, I have ended up in a situation where except for two middle ability sets, all my classes are low ability.
    I have 2 bottom set Year 10 classes.
    I now have 2 bottom set Year 11 classes (I did have a set 2, this has changed as of this week)
    Middle set Year 9 doing GCSE English in one year.
    Middle set Year 8.

    So apart from the 2 KS3 classes, all I teach is bottom set GCSE. Is this right? No one else in the department has a timetable like this. Are they trying to say something to me?!?
     
  2. captain_picard

    captain_picard New commenter

    Last year I had a variety of ability types. Gradually, however, I have ended up in a situation where except for two middle ability sets, all my classes are low ability.
    I have 2 bottom set Year 10 classes.
    I now have 2 bottom set Year 11 classes (I did have a set 2, this has changed as of this week)
    Middle set Year 9 doing GCSE English in one year.
    Middle set Year 8.

    So apart from the 2 KS3 classes, all I teach is bottom set GCSE. Is this right? No one else in the department has a timetable like this. Are they trying to say something to me?!?
     
  3. I think that is very unfair, currently I have 3 bottom sets, another has 2 and the HOD and last staff member has 1 each. I am at my end and refuse to carry the three on my own. It should be shared but I am not sure how to deal with it?
     
  4. Why are you telling us? We don;t know why you've ended up with bottom sets!
    Ask your Head of Department straight!
     
  5. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I'd rejoice. Your marking load will be very light.
     
  6. Yes man, show a bit of enterprise.
     
  7. That is unfair and I would hope most departments operate a fairer system. I would definitely complain about the situation in which you find yourself.
    Which subject do you teach?
     
  8. Would you really like a timetable like that?
     
  9. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Haha that is true! I was given all bottom sets when i went back after maternity leave....I was NOT impressed! I prefer top sets, even though you have more to mark!
     
  10. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    That's the kind of timetable I asked for!
    Not what I got, naturally...
     
  11. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I've taught a timetable like that several times. 2 years ago I was teaching:
    Year 11 set 11 (out of 12 - set 12 were Entry level)
    Year 10 set 5 and 6 (two bottom sets of that year)
    Year 9 two sets 6s (both bottom sets)
    GCSE Media (one group, mixxed ability).

    This was back when we were teaching coursework and my marking load was far less that it has been this year. My timetable consists this year of top sets in year 9 and 11, plus a middle ability (inflated targets of Bs and Cs) year 10. I find far more pressure teaching the C/D borderline.
    Having top sets is no guarantee of good behaviour. With bottom sets, the classes were much smaller, I normally had at least some amount of TA support and pupils produced far less lengthy written work.
    Moreover, because all of my classes were of similar ability, I duplicated much of my planning with only slight tweaks.
    It'll be hard slog at first with any potential behaviour issues, but once you 'crack' a bottom set it can be very rewarding.


     
  12. I totally agree with that! It can be rewarding once you *bond* ( for want of a better word!!) with them.
    True, but generally the behaviour is better and you get your reward there in the form of their progress and ultimate success.
    The sort of timetable the OP describes would be like a desert, tbh.

     
  13. In which alternative universe is this a good idea? Who benefits from this?
     
  14. Your HoD might not have had much choice - how many NQTs have you got? And they might not have realised the spread they have given you. Or they are selfish and they have all the top sets and everyone else has to take the rest!
     
  15. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    many years ago when i worked in a comp i used to have 4 bottons sets in year 9. 3 in year 10 and 3 in year 11.......oh the funand games i rememeber .
     
  16. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    Maybe your HoD was so impressed with the great work you did with the current bottom set Yr10 that they want you to work your magic again. Take it as a compliment.
     
  17. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    There are often many factors involved in setting the timetable (unless the person setting the timetable has given themselves all of the top-sets - not an unknown occurance).
     
  18. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I once went to a course on timetabling .and i was amazed how difficult it was to timetable a whole school to both subject and teachers availability.it is possible you are the 'best fit' for the time.....but you should really be negotiating with your HOD>
     
  19. This situation is commonplace when teaching part-time!
    (I've twice had 0.5 positions where it was obvious I'd been employed to mop up all the classes no-one else wanted.!)
     
  20. True but life isn't fair and you need to change your tack with 'bottom' sets, as opposed to top sets.

    Have you conveyed this to the HOD?

    I advise against choosing this wording, say you will find it difficult and ask for support, for instance is there any TA time available.

    Personally I think you may well be onto a loser as far as getting the group allocations changed.
    If your middle set is doing GCSE English in 1 year then I think they are quite able.

    I would work on how you approach the 'bottom' sets. Focus on having a good learning environment, improvement rather than pointless comparisons to those far more able.
    Personally I have had many many lower achieving sets. In many instances it has been deeply rewarding to see their progress.

    I find suitable educational games to play at regular intervals. If your school has any reasonable positive discipline system you should engage it fully. Personally I aim to give out some housepoint/credits every lesson.
    Has any pupil in a bottom set brought in a gun to school? No? Well try not to dwell on your poor deal.
    Convey your disappointment to your HOD and make it clear that you expect a max of 2 'bottom' sets next year and someone else can have 3 'bottom' sets if that is how it has to pan out.
    Good Luck.
     

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