Rather than teaching each subject separately, we often link them together within an IPC topic (International Primary Curriculum). This is both a good way of capturing the children’s interest, and an efficient use of valuable time. It also contextualizes learning for children which is more natural to them, especially at primary school-age.
Mixed Ability Working
We believe that teaching children with a range of abilities together has significant benefits for all, as the more able children can also learn through explaining concepts to less able ones who benefit from the modelling and support. Much of our work is done collaboratively in pairs or small groups, so the children are used to supporting and being stimulated by each other. Every child has strengths and abilities, and this provides opportunities for all children to experience helping and asking for help. Such an approach aims not only to develop a positive class ethos, but also to avoid the labelling of children by themselves and others, which can be so damaging to self-esteem and community cohesion. We do use ability grouping for our reading and maths groups, as we find this allows us to develop their reading and maths skills more effectively.
Differentiation is a way of pitching work at a number of different levels in a lesson so that all children are challenged, regardless of their ability. Teachers constantly review the curriculum, their teaching methods, resources, learning activities, and pupils’ needs so that they can differentiate effectively. The needs of individual children and small groups of children are addressed to maximize the learning opportunity for each child in the classroom. This might take the form of differentiation of work within lessons, differentiation by support, which means that children may receive directed adult support in a small group, or differentiation by outcome, which involves setting open-ended tasks where children are able to respond at different levels.
Effective support for all learners includes the provision of work that is appropriately challenging for each child. Every child, no matter their ability, is entitled to experience ‘struggle’ (i.e. challenge) at school and that their work is pitched at a level that moves their learning forward. We endeavor to provide challenge in areas where children excel at but also to challenge them laterally, so that they broaden their abilities and don’t limit themselves to areas they only feel confident and have natural ability in.
We believe that children need to know how well they are doing with their work so that they can make the next steps. We use a number of assessment techniques and so can tell the children verbally, as individuals or small groups, how they are performing whilst the work is still important to them. We also give feedback through the marking of children’s work.
Sometimes children might need some extra help to ensure that they are secure in their learning and ready to move on. There are times when we may need to take children out to class to give them one to one or small group support. This is a decision that is made by teachers together with the Inclusion Manager. When children spend regular time out of class, it may be with a specialist teacher or to take part in an intervention. Your class teacher will also be talk to you about this if you have any questions.