Most of us had been trained to believe that the outstanding classroom must have children grouped according to ‘ability’, with teachers providing each group with its own differentiated work. Naturally, we had some concerns that by switching to the whole class approach we might not meet all of our children’s learning needs. Would the struggling learners grasp a full and deep understanding of the concepts being taught? How would our advanced learners be stretched? But, we also had concerns about our current model, which clearly wasn’t closing the attainment gap between struggling and advanced learners.
As we started to read and research this topic, we found that our instincts were right; the research indicated that whole-class teaching could be the way forward, and more importantly, if set up carefully, could maximise gains for all children.