UKEdMag: Stretching your students by @aknill

Some Practical Ideas by Andy Knill

After returning from a recent parents evening with Year 11 it was clear that the prime topic of conversation was intervention… closing the gap, call it what you will, and it is an important topic which every teacher must tackle.

So how am I stretching students in my department?

  • Key Stage 3: Using solo taxonomy and hexagon scaffolding practically, we are looking at developing answers that link facts so PEEL /Relational answers. By moving ideas around there is the flexibility to try ideas out before coming to a final decision before committing to a final answer.
Click Image above for original blog feature

Developing extended answers and writing – collecting facts through a mind map and brainstorm task than adding to the network using additional connectives. This might include using Andy Day’s (@andyphilipday) solo word mat. Developing my co-operative learning skills – a favourite of mine in my new post. Encouraging greater pace and student independence. Reducing teacher talk.

  • Key Stage 4: Revision – nothing revolutionary about that, meeting skills through a range of VAK styles to help a range of students. Exam answers, using mark schemes, examiners reports.
  • Supergroups – for A / A* candidates – providing an identified group across a range of option groupings to enable awareness of fellow high achievers. They meet with the Head of Department from time to time but develop a group identity. Develop differentiated resources that enhance higher-level exam skills and provoke discussion with a link to post 16 options. They also look at the use of Twitter and social media networking contacts.

This short article originally appeared in the November 2014 Edition of UKEdMagazine. Click here to freely view. The online version of this article was updated in 2020 by UKEd Editorial in accordance with website and policy changes.

Andy Knill is Head of Geography at The Albany School, Hornchurch, Havering. Find him online at and on Twitter at @aknill & @globalsolo.

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