In primary school, children are split into small maths groups or ‘sets’ according to their ability. This is usually done within the same classroom and taught by one teacher, but each set has to complete different maths tasks based on their academic ability.
Being put in the wrong maths set can be demotivating for children, especially if they’re put in a set lower than they were expecting. However, the majority of primary schools try to disguise set levels by using group names such as red, yellow and green, instead of top, middle or bottom groups. This avoids unhelpful comparisons between children and parents.
Sets are important because, they allow the teacher to plan lesson content to suit the ability of the class and give each child the support they need at the right level. As your child gets older, sets can also help to determine your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses and help them to choose their GCSE subjects.
If you believe that your child has been placed into the wrong set for maths, Bassett House School have put together the following advice for parents…
- If your child seems bored of maths and begins to find the work too easy, it might be because they should be in a higher set. Alternatively, if they’re finding the work too hard and they’re frustrated when doing their homework, then perhaps they need to be in a lower set. It’s important for children to find their maths work a challenge, but not so much so that they become disheartened.
- Keep a close eye on your child when they are doing their maths homework to see how long it takes them to complete it. The quicker they complete the work, the more confident you will feel that they are in the right set, however if it seems too fast, they might be ready for something more challenging.
- If you are worried, make an appointment with your child’s maths teacher to discuss your options. Some schools won’t want to change sets until the end of the year when all children do a test or exam. Other schools are more flexible and may move children sooner.