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To set or not to set?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by derbydek, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. derbydek

    derbydek New commenter

    We currently have two Y6 classes of approximately 30 children. Currently the bottom end have been separated for Literacy and Maths to create a 'Lower Set' leaving 2 parallel groups of around 24 children.
    Our head has now decided that he wants to set 3 ways for maths by replacing the two parallel groups with a top and middle set.
    Personally I don't see the need at the minute for this as I feel I am meeting the needs of all within my group. Also the lack of a 'Level 6' (in old money) paper makes me question the need for a top set.
    What are other people doing in Year 6 with regard to setting in Maths and how do you feel about it?
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  2. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    Personally, I like the idea of sets but the research shows that it only really benefits the higher ability children and does nothing for the middle / lowers....
    JaquesJaquesLiverot likes this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Year 6 is too early to set for Mathematics in any way as the larger part of it should be spent consolidating, with significant levels of direct instruction, the skills & knowledge students will need in Year7. Many in Primary appears to be blissfully unaware of how badly they prepare their students for their Secondary education.
  4. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    You could argue that Secondary schools are blissfully unaware of how to ease children into the world of discrete subject teaching...
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If a Primary school isn't teaching discrete subjects then it needs to be shut down and its staff replaced.
  6. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    I think that illustrates my point...
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    No, it doesn't. The converse, in fact. Primary exists as a preparation for Secondary. Secondary does not exist to perpetuate Primary.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  8. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Primary does not exist to prepare for secondary that is ludicrous. Schools work together to prepare children for life. Education should be looked at from 4 years old to 18. Perhaps secondary schools who teach children mathematics work for the whole of year 7 that they have done the year before should be closed down?

    In terms of discrete subjects surely children need to learn to apply a variety of skills across all things they do. When working in history do secondary schools not expect the children to write using skills learnt in literacy? Are mathematics skills not applied in DT or science? This them and us attitude between secondary and primary is damaging to the children.
    archerpuss likes this.
  9. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    Surely, Secondary schools exist to build on the learning in Primaries and prepare children for adult life giving them a variety of life skills?
    archerpuss likes this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Why do you think it is called Primary? Tell me, what is the point of Year 5 if not to prepare children for what they will need to learn in Year 6?

    In the round, yes, but still it is the role of Primary to prepare children for Secondary, just as it is the role of Year 5 to prepare children for Year 6.

    This is unnecessary when Primary teaches Year 6 Mathematics correctly. Too frequently, however, Year 7 cohorts arrive still counting on their fingers.

    Subjects and skills are apples and oranges, e.g. being able to write cursive does not imbue a child with historical knowledge.

    There is no 'them' and there are no 'us'. There are only those teachers who lose sight of their purpose and those who do not.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Yes, but this can only be done if Primary have laid the correct foundation upon which Secondary may build. Secondary does not exist to polish and grind that foundation.
  12. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    I certainly did not go into teaching with a core purpose of preparing children for Secondary. I can also say in all the interviews that I have given I have never had a teacher tell me that they came into teaching to prepare children for Secondary School.
  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I expect they wanted to "make a difference". Vince has made some very cogent points.

    OP, why not have a look at the research on setting, see what effects it has, decide how robust the consensus appears to be, and go with that if your pupils are broadly representative of the groups studied.

    Still, Vince is largely correct imo.
    derbydek likes this.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I can overlook your poor taste in music.
    Scintillant likes this.
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    This just in: Your job is not about you. Pictures at Eleven.
    Scintillant likes this.
  16. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Cursive, to assist younger readers, is the name adults give to what some people call joined-up writing and which Primary once taught as a discrete skill but which is now rarely seen in newly arrived Year 7 cohorts.
  18. SchoolBoyError

    SchoolBoyError Occasional commenter

    If I'm honest, I would say that Vince has made some stupid points. In Primary we are talking about young children who are taught in a cross curricular way. That means, where appropriate, all of the subjects will be linked around a common theme and will transition smoothly between. There is no need to pigeon hole subjects into fixed areas of the timetable in Primary. The children are engaged and can see how skills and knowledge can be applied across the curriculum.

    I will add that I have not said at any point that there is no discrete teaching, there of course is a place for this. But, the majority of work is done around a theme perhaps if this was incorporated into Secondary for Year 7 (11-12 year olds.....) it might make this transition smoother...
  19. derbydek

    derbydek New commenter

    Thanks for returning to my original post, it seems there are arguments for and against setting at Primary level. The bottom line is that it is workable regardless of the decision that is made.
  20. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Were this the view of someone who knew what they were talking about then I might consider thinking about being hurt, but it's yours.

    There is no statutory requirement for Primary to teach around 'themes'. Primary teachers who do this are simply trying to make their own jobs more interesting at the expense of real teaching & learning.

    It is a statutory requirement for Primary to teach discrete subjects.

    If the majority of subject teaching in your school orbits cross-curriculum 'themes' then your school does not understand the government's guidance on cross curriculum references.

    You have it the wrong way round again. It is the role of Primary to prepare students for Secondary, not the role of Secondary to perpetuate Primary, especially where Primary is done wrong as in the case you describe.
    Scintillant likes this.

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