Session 186: Vertical learning: how to make it happen?

Vertical Learning ImageDate: Thursday 23rd January 2014

Host: Laura Jones


As with any discussion relating to Gifted and Talented students questions were first raised as to which qualities define this group of students and how they can be identified. Unsurprisingly it transpired that different schools use different methods, with some creating bespoke checklists for subject teachers to use and others employing a data-driven approach. Due to the term’s lack of clarity there was some scepticism about the usefulness of labelling students as Gifted and Talented and the implications it could have for their learning and mind-set.

Bringing students together from across different year groups in vertical learning scenarios was felt to be advantageous on the whole. The desire to impress older peers and develop leadership and social skills were highlighted as reasons to make such opportunities available for Gifted and Talented students. However, some contributors warned against the unintended consequences of isolation and arrogance among such a cohort. Some raised the point that vertical learning should extend past the school gates into higher education and professional environments to provide further inspiration and enrichment opportunities for students.

The logistics of vertical learning can be challenging and the question was raised as to whether this approach is practical within a mainstream school following the national curriculum. In answer to this some contributors felt that the national curriculum should not be allowed to prevent opportunity and should not be seen as a strait jacket. Away from one off projects and drop down days others shared their experiences of work between feeder primary schools and secondary schools, vertical tutoring between year groups and cross-year teaching in maths.

Contributor @numpty_teacher kindly volunteered to set up a dropbox account to share Gifted and Talented resources and reading for further exchange of ideas and strategies.

Notable Tweets from the Session:

Gifted students over complicate the answers to simple questions #ukedchat

The determination to perform well in front of older / brighter students may help retain focus. #ukedchat

I think it’s hard to find a balance between extending and not isolating from peers #ukedchat

We can do what’s right.The Natcurric shouldn’t take all of our teaching time #ukedchat

#UKedchat Not sure x-year learning breeds arrogance. Often a more natural fit for interest-led learning, academic or not

unfortunately at our school some of our students did get a bit arrogant and the ones left behind felt worthless..

20 years of mixed age teaching, good differentiation ensures age is never a consideration

At my prev sch our maths teachers visited our feeder primaries with KS3 work for brightest Y6s. #ukedchat

good for confidence of younger ones who work with’peers’ and helpful to all in explaining/helping each other

At my prev sch our maths teachers visited our feeder primaries with KS3 work for brightest Y6s. #ukedchat

narrower focus in lessons. Stimulating & healthy competition. Pride. Attitude. All of the above so year 5 chn will be close to level 6 at end of year this year. #ukedchat #gifted

my last school vertical tutored y7-10 – it was a huge success. Also had 2 staff per form. Family system- brilliant #ukedchat

#ukedchat vertical tutoring on its way in my school. Not sure I like the idea. What can I expect ?

Tweet of the Week:


About the Host:

Laura Jones – @TeachTweetJones
G&T coordinator, English teacher & Teach First participant on the hunt for new ideas. Currently reading: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
Bow School, Tower Hamlets.


Archive 186

Archive 23 Jan 2014

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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