Thank you.Just the words I needed to hear this am.Love this site!

Making these kinds of distinctions and then acting on them really does seem a zero-sum game and one that is subject to the – the more able get more able, the less able get, comparatively, less able as a consequence of how they are treated in the classroom. Children don’t get access to same resources, opportunities and support. They’re treated differently. My favourite way of thinking about differentiation is that everyone should be expected to struggle, no matter their ability. This doesn’t mean everyone should be treated the same, but it does suggest we shouldn’t make school easy for anyone.

Thank you for another poigniant inspirational Jane. And thank you Maddy, I enjoyed your comment.

to ask a really basic question, what is this differentiation of which you write? I mean how does it make lesson delivery look, or indeed what does a lesson look like when it is absent?


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Zari Kammaliza Kabisa Utakoma Mwenzangu

Based on this, I decided to take the drastic step to not sit with and constantly help all of the IEPs in my class. Instead, I encouraged all to just ‘have a go’. The result has been a dramatic increase in writing quality and quantity amongst the lowest achievers (over and above what I have analysed over their previous years). I basically forced them, for the first time ever, to think for themselves. Believe me, it was concerning to others that I was not producing special, differentiated ‘scaffolds’ for them to fill in (so that they wouldn’t have to write as much). These children had also somehow assimilated the assumption that all adults were their personal help-meets. Still, I have stuck to my guns and it has paid off.


This is way better than a brick & mortar esnmtlishaetb.

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This is the model of differentiation that I support.

I won’t bang on about discipline–I can’t stand Wilshaw, but to give him credit he has shown what can be achieved in inner-city schools. Until we flip two fingers at the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child and their Platonic ideal of the child, real existing children will suffer because adults abnegate their responsibilities.

I Have decided there are two competing truths.

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John Cale’s Paris 1919 is worthy of a book.

Yet in the end, Scruton was right: bright kids lose out because we’re still playing the zero-sum game. Any society which fails to educate its most able children is doomed; somehow, we don’t seem to worry overmuch about this.

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Another major factor is our obsession with higher-order skills. Even though it is finally beginning to trickle through that you cannot teach all-purpose ‘critical thinking skills’, we still believe that schools’ major task is to teach children to think. So long as this is the case, we will always have a problem with children who have either a low IQs or an impoverished knowledge base. Even though the former are entirely capable of learning declarative knowledge and can learn simple algorithms and techniques that allow them to solve some problems, the pre-mature emphasis on higher order skills will leave them demoralised and frustrated–especially when they are taught by a low-ability teacher! I should add that I firmly believe that all children should study an academic curriculum until age 16; shunting them off on vocational courses might be workable were it not for the fact that most vocational education is a complete waste of time. I doubt that Alison Wolf has had time to cleanse that vast Augean Stable.