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Stretching the brightest pupils

Discussion in 'Independent' started by WaltWhite, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    Hi all

    So I've just spent my first month in the independent sector after 15 years in the state sector. Its been pretty full on, lots of evening events, and just the general feeling of not having a clue what you are doing which comes with any new role for a while I suppose!

    My classes are mixed ability, but although the school is selective there are a few weak students in there mixed in with some generally bright pupils. Quite large KS3 (approx 25 pupils) but smaller going up through the school.

    My question is this: in each of my classes I have one or two super bright pupils. They are just getting through the work the other students are completing at a very high pace. And at a pace I have not had for any pupils I have taught before in the state sector to be honest.
    Just wondered what I could be doing to keep them stretched in my lessons. There isn't a lot of resources in the department that I can go to for this sort of thing. Im mainly talking about yr 8 to my year 10 IGCSE classes (General Science and Biology)

    Any advice for this newbie would be gratefully received
  2. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    Anyone?! :)
  3. Dave0301

    Dave0301 New commenter

    What about GCSE Olympiads? I know they exist for Biology and Physics. You could find questions that match the topics that you are covering. You could include them in the lesson as optional extension questions for everyone to attempt.

    For Physics, or calculation based work you could complicate the figures more by using standard form, or challenging prefixes.

    You could have articles that relate to the topic for them to read through.
  4. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Decide which topics you could extend them breadth-wise and which you feel they need pushing up to the next level. I know of a selective independent school where the Year 9s in the top Maths sets are working at iGCSE A* Level. If a pupil in Year 8 is capable of understanding work of a higher level, fly with them - it is a completely arbitrary decision as to what knowledge and skills pupils should have at any given age. Some can’t cope with the proposed curriculum, others could be years ahead of it.
    Don’t make the brightest children do all the steps everyone else does. You may sometimes need to prepare completely different and challenging work for them which they can approach independently. Or they may relish a research project on a topic they are fascinated in. They could present these to the class.
    Don’t be afraid to give them choices or to ask for their ideas as to how they would like to approach a topic - this can guide your preparation so they are engaged and learning.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    what about using articles from New Scientist magazine?
  6. Hican1980

    Hican1980 New commenter

    Thousands of bright children are being let down by state schools because they are not “stretched” in the classroom, an expert has warned.
  7. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    In state schools, stretching the brightest is well below managing the disruptives on most teachers' list of priorities. One of the many ways in which the system is failing both students and teachers.
  8. TheNaturalScientist

    TheNaturalScientist New commenter

    Hi. I've worked as a Biology teacher in the independent sector for 22 years. I've just posted a FREE DNA Structure lesson in my shop that would definitely stretch your more able Year 10 students while at the same time remain accessible to all members of the class - differentiation by outcome. It will hopefully give you ideas about how to structure some of your other lessons. Good luck!

    Here is the link:

  9. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I built a suite of adaptive materials which I kept on my desk and sat said pupils near my desk. Whenever there was student led work I would adapt it for them if required - often using the materials on my desk. Reference books, blank cards etc. Some of the answer is in differentiation theory. You should not be doing all of the personalisation, they should be doing some individualisation (adapting tasks for themselves through metacognition and self regulation). Between you and the children you can establish a two way relationship to keep the challenge optimised.

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