Traditionally, more able teaching at my current school has been implicit and not something that is talked about or particularly tracked outside of individual teachers. In my new role as more able leader, my aim for this year is take more able teaching back into the classroom and place it at the forefront of our school’s thinking.
I have put identification back into the hands of teachers and their professional opinion, rather than just data. This is then collated and put into 4matrix, our data tracker, which then separates the pupils by subject and allows each teacher to track their own more able and compare them across the board.
Secondly, I gave each department a mini budget of £50, which they could spend on any item which they thought would improve more able provision. For example, Music wanted equipment to resurrect old instruments and vary what pupils are playing. Geography purchased a weather station to help with the weather and climate topic for years 9,10,11 and Art got a skeleton for ‘life’ drawing among a very varied list of items. Each thing is then given a couple of months to be used in lessons and the following review sheet is then completed so that other departments can share the toys and share good practice across the school, hopefully enabling a slightly more open format structure to planning in a cross curricular sense. (This has started to come to fruition as IT are now embedding GIS lessons in year 7 topics to allow development of IT programs as well as just coding and basic uses.)
I am promoting a range of activities as more able provision, debating competitions, sports tours, musicals, recitals, maths challenges, anything to get pupils, staff and parents thinking and talking about the more able work in school.
Along the parents line, I have also started to put more able tasks in the school newsletter to allow parents to see the level of challenge in certain subjects and so they can have a go themselves!
Hopefully, these ideas will seep into the fabric of the school and every single lesson will be a challenging area for our more able pupils.