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Teaching Methods

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of lessons in each school year were set in the latest period for which figures are available.[Official Report, 10 July 2008, Vol. 478, c. 11MC.] (202073)

Ofsted collects data on the use of streaming and setting in lessons observed during inspections, the latest period for which their data indicate the proportion of lessons in each school year which are set by ability is 2002/03.

Lessons set as observed by Ofsted, 2002/03


Year 7


Year 8


Year 9


Key Stage 3


Year 10


Year 11


Key Stage 4


Overall Secondary


Until 2002/03, Ofsted recorded lessons observed during inspections as being set, streamed, mixed ability or otherwise organised. For clarity, ‘setting' is the term used to describe the organisation of pupils in classes on the basis of their prior attainment in the particular subject being taught. The term ‘banding', which is very similar to streaming, is used when the decision as to which pupils are included or not in a class is based on the prior attainment in a range of subjects.

From 2003/04 the distinction between streaming and setting was removed and Ofsted now record data on whether classes they observe are mixed ability or set/streamed. They no longer record data on setting alone. It is therefore not possible to provide data on the proportion of lessons which are set for the period from 2003/04 onwards.