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The practice of dividing year groups of pupils in secondary education into bands or sub‐groups, according to their ability or learning needs. Each band may then be divided into a number of separate classes whose members may be selected according to ability within that band, or according to some other criteria, or simply at random. It was common practice in grammar schools in the mid‐20th century for the curriculum subjects provided to differ according to band. For example, pupils in the most able band of a girls' grammar school might study Latin, while the middle band might instead be taught an additional modern language, and the least able band might be offered instruction in a practical skill such as ‘domestic science’ or sewing. Such differentiated (and gender‐specific) provision would not be considered acceptable today, although decisions about the number and type of General Certificate of Secondary Education subjects for which a pupil is entered might well be based on which band they find themselves in.

Subjects: Education.

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