The school is divided into three ‘mini-schools’ with separate classrooms, teachers and even different uniforms. Pupils are assigned to particular schools depending on their performance at primary school and in exams. There appears to be very little movement after the initial assessment.
While there have been many criticisms of mixed ability teaching, I can’t imagine that many teachers who have taught in both systems would want to return to this kind of inflexible streaming which does not take account of individual strengths and weaknesses or rates of development but determines a child’s future on the basis of results at age 11.
The Head Teacher said
“I think it was Mrs Thatcher who said you can’t ignore the market, you have to respond to it. If we had a system that really recognised value added, it would be different. But we have a system that increasingly focuses on results. If you have a really hard-nosed view and want your school to succeed, this is what you have to do. We wouldn’t have attracted the students otherwise.”
In other words, the main motivation is giving middle-class parents what they think is best, not what is best for the pupils.