Banding in Primary School

After streaming in primary school has been scraped, primary schools band their students based on their abilities and results at year end.  For my son’s school, there’s no banding in Primary 1 & 2. Banding starts when they are promoted to Primary 3. What the school does was to place the best 40 students in 1 class and the next 40 in the 2nd class.  Rest of students will be of mix caliber.    From then on, students would be “classified” based on their final year results.   As such, for example, if you are in the 1st class in Primary 3 but your overall position is no. 90 in school, you would be demoted to a “mix ability” class.  I can’t help but question “would the child’s confidence level and morale be affected?”

Frankly, I’m not sure if this is a good way of “classifying” the students. The teacher also pre-warned the parents before the school reopens that because the children are the “best” in their level, they would be “drilled” to do better.  My son commented that his class was too competitive and some of his classmates are very proud because they think they are the best.  Some of these students even called those who didn’t score more than 90 marks for their test / exams “stupid”.  Is that what the school aim to achieve? In addition, I felt that the students in the top two classes are placed with lots of unnecessary stress and pressure.  Is the school concentrating too much on their best students and “ignore” the rest?

While I understand that every school wishes to produce good results students especially top students in PSLE, shouldn’t we remember what is the main purpose of educating these children?