Stretching Strategies

Ideas for challenging your most able students

Re-branding G&T

The term G&T is becoming outdated as it seems elitist and exclusive when we want all leaners to be challenged and be supported in achieving their potential. To address this we are introducing the Aspiration, Challenge and Excellence programme (ACE!). This programme will run outside of lessons, be targeted towards all year groups, and, crucially, be open to all pupils. We are starting with:

- BBC Schools Report for years 7 and 8

- Running an extended project competition for years 9 and 10

- Delivering a lunchtime seminar series for year 11

In addition to this, we will be looking to update the register inline with regulation, but we will now be referring to the cohort as Accelerated Learners. In the next few weeks, I will be emailing to ask for subject nominations for the new year 7s as well as asking you to review the existing lists to check for any additions or removals.

Ofsted Report

In June, Ofsted released a report into the progress made by the most able students in non-selective secondary schools (click 'Ofsted Report' to view). The findings show that the most able students are not achieving as well as they should do in these settings, with 65% of students who achieved a Level 5 or above in English and Maths at the end of year 6 failing to attain A* or A grades in these subjects at GCSE.

The report highlights the importance of having high expectations of all students, finding flexibility in the curriculum to allow students to be challenged and extended, purposeful homework as well as identifying and tracking pupils early and meticulously.

One strategy which incorporates these ideas is 'teaching to the top'; this practice involves displaying the full complexity of the topic before breaking it down in to smaller chunks, modelling and celebrating sophisticated language and using open ended tasks so that the most able students can be fully stretched. Read more about this on Tom Sherrington's blog -

Your Thoughts

I will be collecting ideas for stretching our most able students in and out of the classroom and would be really interested to hear of strategies that have worked well for you. Please email me, leave a comment or mention them when you see me!

If you have any ideas about projects for the ACE programme or would like to be involved in delivering an aspect of it, it would be great to hear from you!