An assault on mediocrity
With the appointment of two energetic heads of teaching and learning this year we have begun a determined assault on mediocrity in the classroom. The mantra this term has been to get pupils - of whatever ability - into their respective 'struggle zones':
Despite having recently redrafted our Gifted and Talented Policy we are slowly coming to the realisation that labelling pupils in this way may be unhelpful. Sure, we want the best to be stretched, but what we really want is for everyone to be stretched. One of the dangers with bolt-ons like a Gifted and Talented Policy is that it can divert attention from longer-term and more deep-rooted solutions to getting the very best out of pupils right across the school.
Our aim must be surely, to make sure that in all areas of the school, by whatever means are felt necessary by the resident experts, pupils are stretched and able to reach their full potential. This is easier said than done, of course, but the poem below, which I stumbled across on Shaun Allison's blog highlights just how important it is:
An average child
I don’t cause teachers trouble,
My grades have been O.K.
I listen to my classes.
I’m in school every day.
My parents think I’m average,
My teachers think so, too.
I wish I didn’t know that
’Cause there’s lots I’d like to do.
I’d like to build a rocket,
I’ve a book that shows you how;
Or start a stamp collection –
Well, no use starting now.
’Cause since I found I’m average
I’m just smart enough to see,
To know there’s nothing special
That I should expect of me.
I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.
By Mike Buscemi
A sobering reminder for us all.