The majority of subjects throughout the College teach students in mixed groups. This decision is supported by research that indicates that the majority of students make better progress in mixed groups than sets.
Throughout Years 7 to 9 the students are split into two year halves which are determined by the language they study; a French side and a Spanish side to each year.
For Year 7, these mixed groups are carefully formulated upon transition to ensure there is a range of students within in each group. We attempt to ensure these are balanced in terms of prior attainment, primary school attended, sexes, and this is coupled with advice from Primary schools. These groups are designed with the best interests of the students in mind.
When moving into Year 8 these groups do change and adjustments are made based on the performance of students, attitudes to learning, the behaviour and relationships of the students and staff professional judgement. Sets are introduced into languages, science and PE. These are based upon the same criteria used for creating our mixed groups, and these groups will study the same topics with increased level of support or challenge as appropriate. PE use different sports to deliver their skills to different groups.
Moving into Year 9, the whole year group are timetabled to study maths and options subjects at the same time. Within maths, students are moved into higher and foundation tier* maths groups during the summer term which continue into Years 10 and 11. These groups continue to study the same topics, going into greater depth at higher, and movement between these tiers is possible.
In Years 10 and 11 science and core PE are the only other subjects that do not teach mixed groups. They are organised into four groups for combined science (two mixed higher and two mixed foundation tier*) and two groups which study the three sciences as separate GCSE subjects (triple science, higher tier*). PE use a similar structure for Key Stage 4 as they do for Key Stage 3 with three mixed groups for the triple scientists and four mixed groups for the combined scientists. All option subjects are mixed groups as these are dependent on the combination of subjects each student selects.
*Higher and foundation tiers only exist in maths, sciences and languages. Foundation tier allows students to achieve grades 1-5 , and higher tier allows access to grades 4-9.