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'Mixed-Ability' Classes – the future of teaching? ​​​​​​​

As the new Head of English and Drama, Mr Tom Sackey-Ambler, introduces 'mixed-ability' classes to our Year 10 English Language pupils, we take a look at the teaching practice that is growing in popularity.

Over the years, there has been copious amounts of research highlighting the advantages of 'mixed-ability' classes. The concept, which focuses on teaching a group of pupils of widely ranging abilities, is believed to ‘improve the equality of opportunity by providing all pupils with equal access to a common curriculum, teachers and resources.’

This year, our Year 10 English students will be taught in 'mixed-ability' classes. Mr Tom Sackey-Ambler said:

“The staff in the English Department will always seek to ‘teach to the top of the class’ and we aim to ensure there is sufficient support for those who require it, while keeping expectations high.”

Research into 'mixed-ability' grouping also found that students with lower targets may benefit from having high attaining role models, especially in relation to their attitudes and behaviour.

In order to ensure that the most gifted and talented students are stretched and challenged, the English Department ensures extension work is pre-prepared for every lesson. Additionally, there is the provision of specialist clinics every week to ensure all pupils are being stretched to their full potential.

Year 10 pupil, Lucy Gratton said:

“As a Worksop College student I have begun to grow a real passion for learning English Language. I feel that the 'mixed-ability' group is quite beneficial, because no matter how high the target, we all work to the best of our ability. In English lessons I feel pushed hard so that I can produce fantastic work to match the high expectations. I also like that if the worksheet isn't full marks, you get one that will help you get it right next time; whereas if you do it well, you are handed an extension sheet which is quite difficult.”

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