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Another aspect I wanted to touch upon is streaming, a prime
example experienced was in secondary school, the core subjects of mathematics,
English and Science were all streamed; the allocation of children to groups on
the grounds of a fixed ability label.

My weak subject was Mathematics, where I was streamed into the
third set, out of a possible five groups. We were streamed in Year 7 and once
streamed; it was difficult to move into a higher stream- I felt as though I was
locked into my teacher’s low expectations of me. For the first two years of
secondary school, I had internalised this label of ‘average ability’ to a point
where there was no progress. However, in Year 10 when I realised I was about to
head into my GCSE examinations, that is when I started attending tuition and
realised that I enjoy challenging myself with higher levels of tasks and was
determined to achieve the best for myself. I started to reject this label and
worked hard enough and bought in my own work from home to show the teacher that
I am capable of higher levels of work, and this is when I finally moved into a
higher stream. In this higher stream, the teachers were more attentive and had
many more resources to widen my understanding. Gillborn and Youdell link this streaming to the
publishing of exam league tables which rank the school based on its exam
success, the higher a school is in the table, the more students and funding they
receive. The requirement to gain a good league table result drives the
educational triage in which a school invests their resources to assist a child
in passing; this is the basis of streaming and the ‘A-to-C’ economy. A good
example of pupils responding negatively by rejecting labels is Mary Fuller’s
(1984) study of a group of black girls where instead of accepting negative
stereotypes, the girls conveyed their anger about being labelled into their
education. This study shows that negative labelling does not always lead to
failure and does not inevitably produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. This
experience has shaped me into the person I am today as I try to constantly try
my best to achieve what I want.

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