“Why do rich, thick kids do better than poor, clever children?
If you take exception to either the language or the sentiment, do not blame me. I am quoting the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, who also said that other countries are moving ahead faster than we are and it is getting worse.”
John Humphrys, BBC
In order to close the gap between the educational ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ there is a need to have greater expectations and offer appropriate levels of challenge to all pupils, not just those who are identified as gifted and talented. Some schools, particularly those working in disadvantaged communities, see G&T provision as a luxury, as not relevant to them or at least not as a key priority. However, evidence shows that schools which focus on provision to challenge and stretch pupils succeed in improving outcomes for all pupils and the school as a whole.
Raising Aspiration and Achievement is a brand new training resource that explains how you can use G&T practice and provision as a lever for whole school improvement to the benefit of all students. Drawing on the practices and strategies that made the greatest impact in the 64 National Challenge G&T Project schools, it demonstrates how to develop skills and expertise from interventions with a target group and then extend that to the whole school community.
Identification summary checklist
Improving learning by developing pupil skills
Engaging parents training notes
Building capacity with partnership presentation
Achieve whole school improvement using proven G&T strategies that improve outcomes for all.
This handbook with six training sessions shows how schools who want to target their disadvantaged pupils and close attainment gaps can use a G&T approach to add challenge, raise standards, raise the quality of teaching and improve outcomes for all learners.
It does this by providing tools and guidance to enable you to:
Evaluate current practice and identify improvement priorities and next steps against the quality standards for G&T.
Follow a practical ‘solutions’ approach using 30 minute activities, a planning framework and a checklist of possible actions, all with real examples.
Establish momentum for change by aligning g&t with whole-school improvement priorities and embedding it into a strategic school improvement plan.
Produce demonstrable accelerated progress with target groups using an evidence-based approach.
Transfer good practice from additional provision into the mainstream classroom by developing a wide selection of transferable tools and resources and using illustrations of strategies from project schools.
Build capacity by engaging those staff with the capacity, skills and mind set to develop improved practice and disseminate it more widely.
Create a fair and inclusive school for all pupils by narrowing gaps and tackling the inequity in the school system.
Raise aspirations and expectations beyond school with opportunities to engage and work with parents and partner schools.
Schools that successfully engaged the principles and practice described in this resource have changed the culture in their school to one of high ambition and aspiration for all.
Summary of contents
Raising Aspiration and Achievement is ideal for senior leaders struggling to achieve school improvement and G&T leaders working with disadvantaged groups of pupils.
It contains six sections, each with adaptable training powerpoints, and uses illustrations and strategies from schools in the National Challenge G&T Project (2009-11) and the Realising Equality and Achievements for Learners (REAL) Project (2006-8) to show how to take G&T from additional provision for a marginal group to good provision for the mainstream classroom.
Each of the six sections includes:
An introduction, principles, explanations and arguments for why this is an important focus area
Some of the challenges as well as the benefits of taking this focus
Examples from school contributors
A framework to evaluate your current position
Practical tools that will support work in that area
Suggestions for CPD with colleagues in school
Links to G&T quality standards*
A framework for planning next steps with a checklist of possible actions
PowerPoint slides and accompanying training notes for each section that can be adapted for use with individuals or groups
Further reading or references
*The content draws on and develops national G&T strategy developed until Mar 31st 2011
This publication includes contributions from the following eight schools who wrote about their practice because they have already made the journey:
The Bishop Bell and Causeway Partnership, East Sussex
Kenton School, Newcastle
Kingsbury School and Sports College, Birmingham
Kirkby Sports College, Knowsley
Phoenix School, Telford & Wrekin
The Robert Napier School, Medway
Sittingbourne Community College, Kent
St James School, Devon
Section 1: Leadership to establish the momentum for change
What do we mean by G&T education?
Where are you now?
Reassess what G&T means in your school
Develop a high-aspiration, high-challenge ethos in your school
G&T as a whole-school issue
Develop the momentum for change
From vision to action – aligning G&T with whole-school improvement priorities
From vision and plan to managing change and implementation
Plan for change: embed G&T into a strategic school improvement plan and
Roles and responsibilities – action and accountability
A word about curriculum pathways
Section 2: Identify target pupils
Unlock potential – why is identification an important issue?
Where are you now?
Who are we missing? Inclusive identification of G&T?
Identify a target group
Challenge perceptions of pupils, staff and parents
Target success: increase expectations and aspirations through ambitious targets
Personalist support: targeted intervention
Section 3: Improve learning for all – developing teacher skills
Where are you now?
How to use this section
Why is CPD an important issue for G&T and disadvantaged pupils?
Collaborative CPD in action:
A) develop an evidence base – mini action-research projects
B) Six-weekly cycles of change and improvement
C) The role of coaching to develop practice
D) Learning walks
E) Dissemination strategies the rondeval
What do we mean by ‘stretch and challenge’?
A whole-school model of good learning
What pedagogies will most effectively support the achievement of your pupils?
A) The questioning classroom
B) Developing academic language
C) Independent learning
D) Differentiation for challenge
Differentiation in practice
Section 4: Improve learning for all – developing pupil skills
Where are you now?
Why is this important for potential G&T and disadvantaged pupils?
From passive to active learner
Improve pupils’ academic language
Academic language development in practice
Further classroom strategies, resources and learning opportunities
The reflective, self-assessing learner
Independent study and extended projects
Take if further – supporting challenge for all
Raising aspirations through the extended and enriched curriculum
Section 5: Engage parents
Why is this important?
A word about roles: what is good parenting for academic attainment and how can the school support the parents of your target pupils?
So what are the barriers?
Get the process right: Develop an effective strategy for communicating with parents of target pupils:
Step 1: Develop an effective initial communication strategy
Step 2: Plan an engaging launch programme
Step 3: Offer parents some strategies and resources to use at home with their son/daughter
Step 4: Who will keep in touch?
Step 5: Review current progress information and reporting for fitness for purpose
Step 6: Offer parents a timeline for future meetings throughout the programme
Take it further – reach out to the wider parent body in your community
Section 6: Build capacity for change
Why is this an important issue for potential G&T and disadvantage pupils?
Partnership within schools
Make it work – the challenge of effective partnership beyond school
Build motivation for effective partnerships
Develop a common language and shared understanding
Share CPD across two partner schools
Learn from others – line management processes across two schools
Build capacity for shared enrichment opportunities