Taking the lid off – stretch and challenge in the classroom

Teaching for stretch and challenge is vital. Tom Sherrington advocates a ‘teach to the top’ approach for all pupils. He offers some practical guidance

Although I fully understand the critique of the wider impact of selective education systems, a perspective I have is that, when I worked at a highly selective grammar school for several years, I saw forms of teaching that I had rarely seen before and I’ve rarely seen since. It remains the case the many of the best lessons I have ever seen were at that school.

The key ingredients in those lessons were very simple: confidence and high expectations. In that undoubtedly privileged context, teachers developed habits around high challenge, high trust and high intellectual demand that were fully embedded in the culture.

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