FAQ’s- How do I find out which ability group my child has been put in and what this means?

A lot of parents worry about their child(ren) being put in ability groups in school. Other parents are not aware that this is happening. This is where pupils at the start of a school year are put into groups based on their previous academic achievements. In secondary school, these are often referred to as ‘sets’ or ‘settings’.  In primary schools, pupils are often organised by ability around where they sit.  Most ability grouping is done around English, Maths and the Sciences.

Although people have mixed views on whether this is beneficial to the pupil, many teachers believe they can tailor their lessons better to the abilities of the pupils when put into groups like this. Another argument is that pupils can be given lessons by which they are not overwhelmed or by which they become bored. However, one of the concerns of those who argue against grouping by ability is that placement in the bottom groups/sets has a negative impact on pupil’s self-concept of ability. This can have a longer-term effect, such as disengagement from learning, lower attainment and wanting to leave school after the age of 16.

If you had any concerns about the set/s that your child has been put in, or to even to find out what set your child is in, it is best if you make an appointment to speak with their class teacher (primary) or form teacher (secondary).  As a parent, you can ask for your child’s academic tracking record. Every school has this information as this is a requirement for OFSTED-inspections. You may then be able to better understand why they have been put in that particular set. Also, by speaking to your child’s class/form teacher, you can express your views and ask what support you can give as a parent or for your child to be given additional work to do at home.


Before you meet with the teacher, it is best that you speak with your child first, if your child is not the one who talked to you about it. Speaking to your child will help you to understand whether the set/group they have been placed in is best for them or not. You could ask them how they feel about the level of difficulty of the work has been set with and if they are comfortable with it. If they are not, it is important that you address this with their class/form teacher to resolve any issues so that they can make the most amount if progress in school whilst enjoying their education.

For more information, Please follow the link below http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/ability_grouping_at_secondary/

We hope you have found this post helpful. If so please don’t hesitate to comment below or ask questions.

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