A report on the BBC website by Angela Harrison today highlights the impact of streaming pupils at an early age.

The report, by the Institute of Education at London University, suggests that “by the age of seven, those born in September are three times as likely as those born in August to be in the top streams.”

The author of the report, Tammy Campbell, said “If teachers place younger pupils early in their school career in lower ability groupings, and older pupils in higher groupings, this hasty (and potentially premature) sorting may have a significant impact on subsequent differences in educational attainment.”

The study found that 97% of the children in the study were grouped by ability by the time they were seven – within their year, class, or both.

About a third were grouped within their year for English or maths and nearly 80% were grouped within their class for all or most lessons.

The report goes on to highlight that the research also suggests grouping by ability had a bad effect on children in the lowest groups.

This is thought to be because behaviour of both pupils and teachers can be affected and that such children might get fewer opportunities and be de-motivated.

My question is it a chicken or egg situation? Are children put into the top stream at a young age because they are older or more clever?

Our experience as teachers and parents of two children, one the youngest in her year, one the oldest is very interesting…. read on later.