Time to get real on setting

12th October 2012 at 01:00

Hasn't Brian Boyd done enough? Not content with ruining Scottish education for a generation with the appalling Curriculum for Excellence, he now seeks to sabotage it further by attacking the practice of setting ("Unnatural selection: why do we default to setting pupils?", 28 September).

Oh, to teach inside Mr Boyd's head: in this wondrous land, far removed from any experience of being in a classroom, all pupils behave because they don't want to jeopardise their chances of being successful citizens; since actual teaching was abolished in favour of overtaking experiences and outcomes, everyone is learning more; and, in this latest instalment, lower-ability pupils find themselves in the same section as higher-ability ones to the benefit of all.

Set groupings work because the teacher can tailor their course to pupils' specific needs; pupils are as aware as everyone else of the differences in ability between them and their peers, but here they are in a class that is suited to their level, and able to progress better, while those of higher ability can be stretched. Perhaps if Mr Boyd had had more actual experience of classroom life, he would remember what it was like, rather than the idealised version that exists (only) inside his head.

Has this joke not gone on long enough?

C.G. Fields, Glasgow.

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