Four facts and fictions about AG&T

Article taken from issue 12 of the G&T Now! eNewsletter published in association with NACE, written by Education Consultant, Ann Bridgland.

1. We have to identify the top 5% or 10 % of our school cohort Fiction. This edict was initially really only applicable to the G&T strand of Excellence in Cities, many years ago, and was not statutory otherwise. Whilst looking at a percentage has helped some schools start a dialogue, the key question remains that, if, for example, a teacher only provides for 10% of the pupils in their class of 30, does this really mean that only 3 pupils will have access to high-quality provision? AG&T is set in the context of stretch, challenge and opportunity for all pupils.

2. We have to keep an AG&T register Fiction. In fact, there was never a legal requirement for schools to have an AG&T register. It is true that the schools’ census used to have a G&T column (this was no longer applicable anyway after 2010), but this was not linked to any requirement to have a register. Indeed, many schools clicked on the G&T census to say they had AG&T pupils, but a question remained about what the schools were actually doing to provide effectively for such pupils. Some schools did not click on the G&T section, because they could not distinguish, on the census, between the ‘G’ and the ‘T’. Other schools registered no G&T at all on the census, and yet were doing great things to provide for their ‘aspiring’ and ‘perspiring’ AG&T pupils, in the context of stretch and challenge for all. However, if you do choose to keep an AG&T ‘register’ of some kind, you need to be clear about your rationale for doing so and, perhaps even more importantly, how you are using the information in it.

3. Ofsted will want to know who our ‘most able’ pupils are and how we are catering for them Fact. The June 2013 Ofsted Survey report on the ‘most able’  does indeed highlight how schools are providing for such pupils. Although the report was targeted at secondary schools, almost all, if not all, of the recommendations apply to primary schools too.  The Ofsted Framework (from September 2013) also highlights the ‘most able’ as a focus for scrutiny. All schools, however,  will have ‘perspiring’ and ‘aspiring’ AG&T pupils .... those who are obviously more able than others, yet also those who may be hiding their light under a bushel and/or for whom, so far, the ‘learning climate’ in their school or classroom does not provide sufficient stretch and challenge to enable them to show what they really can do. “From January we are going to systematically report in every single school inspection what the school is doing for their most able”  Matthew Coffey, Regional Director, Ofsted, Meridian News, featuring NACE,  8 November 2013

4. All teachers are teachers of AG&T; all school leaders are leaders of AG&T Fact. Joseph Renzulli (inter alia) stressed the importance of ‘the rising tide that lifts all ships’. High expectations with the AG&T in mind surely leads to high expectations for all learners. As a teacher, how do you know whether you have any ‘expert underwater trumpet-blowers’ in your classroom, if you do not give all the pupils the opportunity to ‘blow their trumpet underwater’?  As a leader, at any level, how do you know that your team has high expectations for all learners, if you are not including monitoring and feedback about high-quality provision and practice for all, in your team meetings, learning walks, PM discussions, etc? Author: Ann Bridgland, Education Conultant Want to read more like this?

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