'Placing children in groups according to ability is all about making classroom management easy and nothing to do with educational gain for children. It is management at the expense of performance. Grouping children by ability creates self-confidence issues for those who find themselves in the “bottom” group, over-confidence in those in the “top” group and a middle group that is often ignored by the teacher because he or she is much more concerned with ensuring challenge for the brightest and support for the weakest. The problems caused by this system are fairly obvious. No one child really gets what they, as an individual, needs. Groups tend to be formed by the end of Primary 1 (the first year of primary school in Scotland) and by Primary 7 these same groups are largely constituted of the same children – in other words, there is no fluidity within the groups. So, a child who finds themselves in the “bottom” group early on recognises this, thinks they are not clever and their entire schooling is based on the knowledge that their teachers have labelled them as weak.’ Rod Grant is headmaster at Clifton Hall School in Edinburgh. This article was originally published as a blog post on the school website. https://www.tes.com/news/grouping-primary-children-ability-indefensible What are your views? Is this good or bad classroom management? Is this beneficial for children? Are we limiting children’s potential by labelling them according to their ability or doing the opposite?