TEACHING GROUPS AT RPA

Organising students: Setting & Streaming (and Banding!)

The organisation of students into groups for teaching can seem very complicated. AT RPA, we carefully consider each cohort in order to ensure we optimise students’ opportunities for success and enjoyment. Students at RPA are divided into ability groups from the beginning based on: 
  • SATs results
  • Teacher feedback
  • Cognitive Assessment Tests (which test literacy, numeracy and non-verbal intelligence). The CATs also generate a likely SATs outcome, based on the child’s three test results.
Each year, we look carefully at the data and group the children accordingly. In 2014, we divided the groups thus:
  • Three parallel fast track groups. These differ only inasmuch as one group is stronger at maths than English, and two are stronger at English than maths. These students study Latin and either French, German or Spanish
  • Three parallel mixed groups. These are completely identical in terms of ability Students study literacy instead of Latin and either Spanish (x1) or French (x2)
  • One consolidation group who also do extra literacy and learn Spanish as their foreign language
The number accorded to the group - 1, 2 or 3 - does NOT refer to an ability level. Its role is to allow the computer to distinguish the groups. Students are divided into all subjects except technology, PE and form period. These groups are mixed to ensure all students get a chance to socialise across a range of classes.

Grouping students is not an exact science. Some children may perform less well than they could have done in their tests; some mature later in the year; some make huge progress because they work really hard. Therefore, we regularly review and reorganise the groups. Parents/carers, however, will understand that we try and cap the group sizes at 30. Groups are always re-evaluated at the end of each school year.