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Secondary Education: Teaching Methods

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children in secondary schools were taught in classes with (a) streaming and (b) setting in each year since 1996-97; and if he will make a statement. (153953)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 6 August 2007:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.

Although I am unable to answer the particular question you have raised, I have set out in the following tables the data Ofsted has on the proportion of observed lessons in secondary schools from September 1996 to August 2007 which were taught in setted/streamed classes

The data are based on the use of streaming and setting in lessons observed during inspection. Some explanation of these figures may be helpful. Before September 2005, inspectors were usually informed about how classes were organised by means of pre-inspection documentation, discussion with headteachers or teachers' schemes of work or lesson plans. Under the inspection arrangements at that time, all full-time teachers were observed by inspectors. Since September 2005, the recording of class organisation has been based either on discussions with the headteacher or teacher by reference to the lesson plan at the time of observation. A much smaller number of lessons are observed than would have been seen under the previous inspection framework. Lessons seen may therefore not represent pupil grouping in the school as a whole.

From 2003-04 the distinction between streaming and setting was removed and instead data recorded on whether the class was mixed ability or setted/streamed.

Physical education classes have been excluded from the analyses as these are not usually setted for ability in the subject

A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the Library of both Houses.

September 1996 to August 1997

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

25,307

7

18

Year 8

25,263

8

33

Year 9

25,179

8

40

Year 10

22,758

4

42

Year 7 to 11

35,439

4

38

Total 7 to 11

133,946

6

34

September 1997 to August 1998

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

15,080

1

22

Year 8

15,016

10

35

Year 9

15,434

10

43

Year 10

15,690

5

41

Year 11

16,336

5

41

Total 7 to 11

77,556

8

37

September 1998 to August 1999

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

20,585

5

21

Year 8

20,057

6

38

Year 9

21,739

7

45

Year 10

22,483

4

41

Year 11

22,663

4

42

Year 7 to 11

107,527

5

38

September 1999 to August 2000

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

16,145

5

21

Year 8

15,443

6

37

Year 9

17,457

6

43

Year 10

16,977

3

41

Year 11

17,143

3

42

Total 7 to 11

83,165

5

37

September 2000 to August 2001

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

12,929

5

26

Year 8

12,391

6

43

Year 9

14,995

7

48

Year 10

13,622

4

44

Year 11

14,027

3

45

Total 7 to 11

67,964

5

42

September 2001 to August 2002

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

11,613

5

27

Year 8

10,643

5

40

Year 9

13,392

6

46

Year 10

12,109

3

41

Year 11

12,796

2

43

Total 7 to 11

60,553

4

40

September 2002 to August 2003

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage banded

Percentage setted

Year 7

10,406

5

29

Year 8

9,482

6

41

Year 9

12,259

6

45

Year 10

11,064

3

40

Year 11

12,060

3

42

Total 7 to 11

55,271

4

40

September 2003 to August 2004

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the average ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the lower ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the upper ability range within the school

Year 7

12,371

7

11

10

Year 8

11,136

10

15

14

Year 9

14,747

11

15

18

Year 10

12,874

9

13

14

Year 11

14,756

9

13

17

Total 7 to 11

65,884

9

13

15

September 2004 to August 2005

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the average ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the lower ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the upper ability range within the school

Year 7

9,351

6

10

9

Year 8

8,320

10

14

15

Year 9

11,572

11

15

18

Year 10

10,125

8

12

14

Year 11

11,897

9

12

15

Year 7 to 11

51,245

9

13

14

September 2005 to August 2006

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the average ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the lower ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the upper ability range within the school

Year 7

3,794

8

13

12

Year 8

3,679

11

15

16

Year 9

4,304

13

17

19

Year 10

4,387

11

16

18

Year 11

3,528

13

15

18

Total 7 to 11

19,692

11

15

17

September 2006 to August 20071

All (excluding PE)

Total lessons

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the average ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the lower ability range within the school

Percentage setted or streamed by ability where pupils are within the upper ability range within the school

Year 7

4,152

9

14

11

Year 8

4,160

12

16

16

Year 9

4,519

14

17

20

Year 10

4,766

11

15

17

Year 11

4,110

14

15

16

Total 7 to 11

21,707

12

15

16

1 These figures are provisional as some data may be missing due to a time lag between the actual inspection and the data entering our database.