In some subjects boys may be assigned to groups according to their ability; in the initial stages a boy might be misjudged, but then the grouping would be adjusted: the aim is that each boy should be in a set which is stretching and yet within his reach. There are frequent tests and assignments which all boys in a Grade do and which provide an objective framework on which to judge each one’s ability relative to the others.

Of course, what really matters is whether a boy is doing as well as he can, not whether he is doing better than others; many subjects, either for pedagogical or for timetabling reasons, do not have streamed sets. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that working with more able kids can help others to raise their game – and we also believe that the abler ones have a duty to try and help others. For these reasons streaming is not always applied, or a department may use a blend of that with mixed ability grouping.

For timetabling reasons Gr 8 and 9 classes are the same for all subjects except English, Afrikaans and Maths, so no streaming is possible except in those three subjects. In senior grades, streaming is only possible in those subjects where all boys are taught the subject simultaneously, which means English, Afrikaans, Maths and Physical Science. Sets in the other subjects are made up in a way that depends on subject combinations.