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Lower set maths dumped wit poor teacher

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by TurpinOil, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. TurpinOil

    TurpinOil Occasional commenter

    In a bid to get highest grades all the best teachers are being targeted with top sets leaving struggling pupils with little or no hope of improving.

    I'm an SEN specialist. This annoys me so much. What happens at your schools?
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    To play devil's advocate - perhaps that is the most effective way to maximise the best results for the largest number of pupils... And, anyway, those who are good teachers of able pupils aren't always good at teaching SEN.

    As you're an SEN specialist, perhaps this the role for you?
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    A big mistake to assume that all students with SEND are lower achievers ! Any decent school optimises the chances of success for all co horts by ensuring that there is a corporate responsibility re attainment.
  4. TurpinOil

    TurpinOil Occasional commenter

    Interesting points. I'm not a maths specialist. Our best maths teacher is actually the best at teaching SEN. Now they are given non specialist teachers or supply. They know when they are given up on.
  5. TurpinOil

    TurpinOil Occasional commenter

    Yes agreed. I am talking about bottom set maths some of whom are not SEN.
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Scandalous when someone 's 'worth ' is attributed to their 'ability.' Distinct lack of empathy in this setting.
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    What do you mean by "best teachers"? It does make sense to ensure that top sets taking higher GCSE get teachers who actually understand that material and know enough to motivate the more capable mathematicians to continue to A-level. In other words, top sets need good Mathematicians to teach them. Teaching a bottom set needs less mathematical knowledge, but demands other skills - it could be said that somebody who does well teaching a bottom set is a better teacher than one who can only cope with more able students.

    What is sad is that we don't have enough decent Maths teachers to make sure that everybody gets one.
    jarndyce, shamsh and wanet like this.
  8. KelRilon

    KelRilon New commenter

    I have the lowest set, due to the fact that I'm the most experienced teacher. I'm good at it and frequently get given these groups. I get the results and my classes tend to feel very confident and happy with Maths (..bless them..). I'm no good with proper SEN, though, and I had a top group last year...which was such a lovely change. They did fantastically well, blew all expectations out of the water and were a joy to teach. Most schools I've worked at seem to think that the "best" teachers should have the most difficult groups. I'm in Year 6, though. (My own A-level Maths teacher was terrible...)
  9. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Difficult to define "best teacher".

    Rare to have teachers who really are outstanding with every age group at every level.

    Some are great at turning As into A*s. Some are expert at getting Ds to Cs.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which is just one class in one school. If they have a supply teacher it is because their teacher is absent, that is just bad luck not a school policy. Non-specialist teachers can often manage the maths in a bottom set year 10, but the top set subject content is beyond them. It isn't about giving up on the lower sets, just organising specialist and non-specialist staff sensibly.
    The best maths teacher may also be the best at teaching the top set, the middle set, the bottom set, the next to top set, the..... But they can't teach everyone!
  11. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Bottom set - I hate this term. Lower attaining surely ? I think all teachers should be adaptable and skilled enough to work with all students and get the best out of them though I accept in the real world there are massive compromises to be made. I know from experience of working in very challenging schools that Maths teachers who were also excellent practitioners were hard to come by - often difficult to attract and recruit. Some were not so great and I know that on many occasions some of the less talented students were no more than' babysat ' with a Maths specialist TA or two to help crowd control.
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Years ago, we had to have 3/5 of our year 7 sets taught by non-specialists. We put them on the middle three sets. The top set need someone who knows how to challenge the top end. The bottom set need someone who knows exactly how to break things down, through their training and experience. Both sets require rather more differentiation than the ones in the middle.

    I suppose that nowadays, the argument would be that the top and bottom sets make no difference to the C/D borderline. Will Progress8 be different?

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