Unlocking challenge for all learners with the new Teachers’ Standards

30 October, 2012

Gifted and Talented

In my earlier Blog, I offered some thoughts about effective use of the new Teachers’ Standards through changing the Standards’ statements into questions. These then become a ‘thinking frame’ for you to tell the story of your effective and reflective practice in the everyday classroom. Thus enabling you to provide evaluations, not merely assertions, about your work.

So, taking Standard 5 again, here are some suggested ‘answers’ (from a real school!) to the questions posed. These describe evidence-based practice which can be used in your appraisal/performance management and CPD discussions.

Standard 5: Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

Aspect 1 What range of differentiation strategies do I use, in planning & provision, to enable my ‘aspiring’ and ‘perspiring’ AG&T pupils to learn effectively?

“In our school, team/subject leaders have discussed and agreed a core range of differentiation strategies, which we use as a thinking template for planning and provision across topics, units and schemes of work. As a result, all teaching staff are now using more than ‘by task and by outcome’ and expectations in the classroom, especially in the lower part of the school, have risen. For example … Strategies implemented include:

Challenging By Task; Challenging By Outcome; Challenging By Support; Challenging By Pace/Time; Challenging By Pupil Expertise; Challenging by Organisation; Challenging by Talk/Questioning … and several more (x-ref to T&L Policy) ”

Aspect 2 What range of everyday classroom approaches do I undertake so as not to inhibit my actual and potential AG&T pupils’ ability to learn?

“ Our G&T school policy focuses on 3 major areas for provision, for which we have agreed whole-school key questions to indicate effectiveness. The impact to date includes a more specific focus on practical strategies and their impact in our ongoing learning walks.

For example: General overall approach in the classroom:

– How does our planning differentiate effectively, including how our AfL feedback and feed forward supports and challenges ‘actual’ and ‘potential’ AG&T?

– How do our pupil groupings work? How effectively do we use support staff to challenge ‘actual’ and ‘potential’ AG&T?

– How do we use higher order questions (verbally AND visually) effectively across the school?

– How do Challenge Corners cater for the ‘actual’ and ‘potential’ AG&T and with what impact?

– What range of activities… across the school … do we use consistently to develop research/study skills, problem-solving, decision-making, analysis, synthesis (creative thinking), speculation, evaluation?”

 Aspect 3 How effectively do I use my knowledge and understanding of the physical, social and intellectual development of my pupils, in the context of our school’s T&L and AG&T policy statements, when planning and providing for the learners in my class/es?

“Our school policy for G&T is linked closely with our transfer and transition policy, agreed between us and our partner schools. When deciding on whether our AG&T pupils should be ‘accelerated’, we take into account both their intellectual ability and potential and their physical size and social/emotional development. As appropriate, we ‘partially accelerate’ some pupils. As a result, for example, we no longer experience situations in which pupils have been accelerated into older age-groups and then have not progressed due to their lack of confidence … etc”

Aspect 4 How do I evaluate the teaching approaches that I use to engage and support my ‘actual and potential’ high ability pupils in the context of the stretch and challenge needs of all my pupils?

“Our school policy statement, ‘AG&T : Stretch, Challenge and Opportunity for ALL’, is clear re roles and responsibilities of ALL staff, not only the senior G&T Lead, for monitoring and evaluating our classroom approaches and their impact on outstanding teaching and learning . The impact to date is demonstrated by all curriculum team leaders now taking responsibility for ‘actual’ and ‘potential’ AG&T provision, sharing good practice and distributed leadership.

For example: Roles and Responsibilities:

The G&T Leading Teacher: reviews provision for AG&T using self-review recording sheet; monitors the AG&T register and provision for those on it; collates work samples; liaises with the AG&T governor, head teacher and curriculum leaders, SENCO and ASTs; completes and oversees an action plan as part of SDP.

Curriculum Leaders: monitor progress and provision of registered AG&T pupils; ensure schemes of work and planning contain challenging tasks and opportunities to provide challenge for ALL pupils; monitor differentiation in practice; source resources to stimulate and extend pupils’ thinking … etc.”

In conclusion, the new Teachers’ Standards can, I am sure, also be further adapted to form both a self-review framework for Lead Teachers/Coordinators of AG&T and even an up-to-date, clear job description for that role. Watch this space!

Ann Bridgland- Osiris Educational presenter Ann Bridgland November 2012

If you are interested in attending one of the G&T courses run by Ann Bridgland please click here for more information.

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