A Wide Diversity Of Need Education Essay

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I work in an inner-city secondary school situated in a low socio-economic area, the intake consists of boys of ranging ability and various backgrounds; pupils are streamed in classes according to results in entrance examinations, with the possibility of movement depending on 'performance'. Irrespective of the intake in each year group, two 'Special Needs Classes' made up of sixteen pupils are created, in contrast to the 'higher ability' classes who generally have a different teacher for each subject, in their case, their form teacher delivers English, Maths and a number of other subjects.

My roles include Irish language teacher and Head of Department; I have been Head of Year 10 for the past four years, prior to this I was Head of Year 11 and 12 for four years.

My 'curricular' experiences have given me the opportunity compare and contrast the experiences of my own Irish classes, which span the ability range, as well as the classes of other teachers within my department. In my curricular role, I have had the opportunity to compare and contrast the experiences of pupils in other subjects and with other teachers.


In addressing the notion of how to respond to a wide diversity of need, I feel that it is necessary to analyse the following questions:

What are 'needs'?

How are 'needs' measured / pupils designated and allegedly met?

Do other children have needs?

Why do children experience barriers to learning?

How should I respond in my teaching?

It is my aim in this piece of work to:

Examine the thinking which lies behind the concept of Special Needs Education, researching its history and consequences, and examining how this compares and contrasts with my own experiences.

Use this information as a basis for future planning in order to implement changes which would be conducive to helping create an environment more conducive to meeting the diverse needs of all pupils in my classes.



As a class teacher, my first encounter with the term 'need', in any class group, will most likely be written documentation from the school SENCO, listing the names of children who are labelled as 'having Special Educational Needs'. While a small percentage (1% approximately) of children have definite 'disabilities', in more recent times, what are often referred to as 'New disabilities' have come to be recognised; these are broadly classified as either a 'Specific Learning Difficulty' or a 'Behavioural Need.' Within these are numerous other categories that have a vast and overwhelming amount of attached theories (e.g. 'Dyslexia', 'Autism', 'Emotional Social Behavioural Disorder' etc.) In attempting to understand the broad concept of 'Special Educational Need', it is necessary to explore the basis of the thinking behind the related theories.


Thomas and Loxley (2007, p77) states that: "One of the most enduring features of the world of special education is the construction and management of difference - the making of 'marginal identities' as sociologists would put it." Historically the thinking behind the concept of 'Special Educational Needs' has been based on the 'Medical Model', and this still underpins much of the recent thinking in this field. The basis of this model focuses on finding 'deficits' or 'fault' and 'diagnosing correctly'; pupil progress that causes concern is viewed as the outcome of the biological and psychological characteristics of individuals. Thomas and Loxley (2007, p75) explains that: "The perceived 'deficit' may be related to their emotions, or concern their cognitive ability" C6 p.67 puts this more bluntly, stating that thinking in education has been "dominated by an acceptance of the assumption that a proportion of pupils in schools have something wrong with them." Barriers to learning were defined as things 'inside children'. Linked with these deficit theories was the idea of "heredity"; Thomas (2007, p.250) disputes "assertions about the significance of natively endowed intelligence in children's differences and failure at school"

This model of thinking has had very real consequences for many of the procedures and practices of special education. Thomas (2007, p.251) discusses how this medical model, which has tended to follow what has taken to be the methods of science, is "deeply flawed for education generally ... and in special education it has had particularly unfortunate effects." Thomas (2007, p.253) goes on to explain how "Straightforward understandings have often been puffed up into something to look impressive and 'scientific'." In referring to the many attached theories behind these labels, Thomas (2007, p.254) states that: "Often, the 'knowledge' that has been constructed has distracted attention from more straightforward explanations for children's failure to thrive at school."

and goes on to explain how this thinking is based on the notion of alleged processes and sub-skills , for which there is no evidence of validity or existence, rather than whole learning experiences.

(See Appendix 1)

This is comparable to Vygotsky's concept of 'Social Constructivism', based on the belief that learning precedes development.



Thomas (2007, p.250) challenges the way in which intelligence was studied and measured, and how certain kinds of analysis and theories about teaching and learning were elevated. The thinking that 'needs' can be assessed objectively on an individual basis by 'experts' is flawed. Thomas and Loxley (2007, p67) questions the credibility of psychometrics and the compartmentalization of thinking and the subsequent use of tests to assess and categorize children. Ainscow (2007, p.3) articulates the shared concerns about the way in which students come to be designated as having special educational needs. NSIN Research Matters No. 26 (Autumn 2005, p.2) aims to: "both expose and oppose such dogmatic claims which have little or no basis in evidence and which may be doing harm to students of all ages by labelling them inappropriately." Further to this, Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.211) states: "Sometimes in the course of identification the wrong students were given the wrong labels." Norwich and Lewis (2001, p.315) discusses: "the broad and overlapping nature of currently used categories" and explains that: "the single label may not reflect the multiple nature of the pupil's difficulties." Hence where there may be 'slippage' between categories other 'needs' are ignored.

As well as sorting, the notion of 'measuring' is based on the same flawed ' deficit' thinking; the 'extent/degree/scale' of children's 'needs' cannot be measured/quantified.

IQ tests cannot detect or determine a young person's 'potential', indeed the notion of reaching a 'potential' or certain 'level' is questionable. NNS p.219 challenges "the fallacy of fixed ability or potential in education"; NNS p.220 states that: "Current reform initiatives do not explicitly state that 'ability' means 'fixed ability'; BJES p.153 outlines how the impact of educational reforms has been to reaffirm assumptions of differential ability.

C6 p.68-69 refers to the above processes as "drawing a line across pupils" Consequently this means that there are other children in the class with similar needs who are not acknowledged in this way. Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.211) refers to studies which showed that "deserving individuals fell outside the narrow definitions of impairment being used in the identification process." In my experience there are often other children who also have difficulties in the same area, indeed, sometimes it would appear to an even greater extent, yet these are not acknowledged or labelled.



Actions based on the aforementioned assumptions are very much open to debate. This thinking has allowed for the justification of the 'separation' and 'segregation' of pupils, which has led to the isolation of children. Thomas and Loxley (2007, p67) explains how this thinking results in the use of 'crude metaphors' to summarize and even explain children's difficulties, and how these amount to no more than a 'set of discriminatory features' which can then in turn attempt to justify separating out and catering differently for such children.

Pupils as a result are grouped in a variety of ways, e.g. streaming/banding, special classes for 'low-attainers'. Groups or individual pupils may be withdrawn from timetable for 'special/extra/remedial' lessons.

AB p.16 discusses how within the education system there remains a view that some students 'need' to be segregated because of their deficiency or defect, this is often accompanied by "a ladder of increasing specialised support " which may eventually lead to special school placement. Removal from mainstream education is in most instances, a one-way process. Thomas and Loxley (2007, p77) discusses the act of identifying and moving pupils to render the system more manageable, i.e. Special Education acting as a filtering device. Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.211) states that: "In reality, students with identified deficits were often excluded from the official benchmarking, which then allowed the system to remain unchallenged." C6 p.70 discusses the fact that: "Statements of Special Educational Need have been used as a means of excluding pupils from the requirement to participate in the national curriculum."



Effects of labelling children and listing groups has resulted in children being stigmatised. NNS p.219 discusses "ability grouping and categorising that research has shown has damaged so many young people and their life chances". C6 p.69 discusses how this labelling "becomes a form of stereotyping, involving generalisations about a group of individuals based on a small number of shared characteristics. The outcome is almost inevitable: the individuals are perceived as being similar and are treated accordingly." Such grouping undermines attempts to respond to the individuality of pupils; strategies are based on the incorrect assumption, that all pupils have the same limited potential for learning." These practices also run the risk of promoting self-fulfilling prophecy. Thomas and Loxley (2007, p77) states that to be labelled 'special' becomes a social identity and debatably can become part of an individual's personal identity.

There is no evidence to justify this thinking in any area; there is no evidence for improvement in educational attainment as a result, equally there is no substantiation for the need for a distinct pedagogy. According to LN p.2 and Norwich and Lewis (2001, p.313) there is no evidence to suggest that differences between learners (by particular special educational needs group) can be identified and systematically linked with learners' needs for differential teaching. Thomas (2007, p.251) states:

"The traditional paradigm of special education - characterised ... by scientism and separation - has had few notable successes. There is no body of research showing special education to have been more successful than mainstream education, despite the greatly increased resources directed to it ... Children with similar difficulties educated in mainstream or special schools leave school with similar results."

Lipsky and Gartner (1996) and Thomas and Loxley (2001) (cited in Ainscow, 2007, p.3) stress the fact that: "The appropriateness of separate systems of education has been challenged, both from a human rights perspective and from the point of view of effectiveness." AB p.16 discusses how a human rights perspective invalidates the argument that some children are best served in special settings, they see this placement as a neutral response to 'need'.

It is my opinion that while in many cases this Special Educational Needs thinking may have been well intentioned, as described in C6 p.67 as "an attempt to provide various forms of positive discrimination for these pupils," it has often led to limited opportunities and life chances, and the discrimination and exclusion of many pupils at a variety of levels. As an alternative I would advocate a shift away from 'deficit' thinking and a move towards the notion of 'Context-bound barriers to learning', in doing this should include the concepts of 'Entitlement' and 'Inclusion', which have some features within new educational systems.



C6 p.68-69 states: "Moreover, the difficulties of these pupils have tended to be analysed in isolation, thus distracting attention from a whole range of factors that might have significance in helping them to learn." AB p.17 also states:

"The special educational needs view of educational difficulty is deeply entrenched within policies and practices in schools ... it remains the dominant perspective... It absorbs difficulties that arise in education for a wide variety of reasons within the frame of individual defect."

More recent thinking advocates that children do not 'have' a barrier to learning and participation, and that these are, in fact, contextual, i.e. created by people and systems; it is therefore necessary to analyse school systems, cultures, policies and practices. Ainscow (2007, p.3) advocates a move away from 'explanations of educational failure that concentrate on the characteristics of individual children and their families towards an analysis of the barriers to participation and learning experienced by children within school systems." Thomas and Loxley (2007, p56) similarly discusses that not only are many educational and social policies based on tenuous theories, but also that "attention is distracted from the nature and significance of the school environment in itself constructing the difficulties."


Thomas (2007, p.253) advocates new ideas, concerned less with the needs-based thinking of the past, with ideals about equity, social justice and opportunity for all; "a new inclusive discourse and epistemology ", leading to changes to special education. The aim should be that children are not separated, stigmatised or compromised; Ainscow (2007, p.3) refers to the thinking of Vitello & Mithaug (1998) and states that "the aim of inclusive education is to eliminate social exclusion that is a consequence of attitudes and responses to diversity in race, social class, ethnicity, religion, gender and ability."

AB p.24 is of the opinion that inclusivity "involves the recognition and valuing of variety of identities, so that people are accepted for who they are." Further to this, the objective should be more than an accommodation of difference; the range of diversities should be embraced and supported.

Previously the concept of 'Integration' prevailed, where pupils were expected to adapt and fit into expectations; as teachers we should turn to social constructivist / cultural models of learning in caring for individual need within the mainstream school, it is imperative that we implement new ways of responding to difference / individual need within the context of whole-class teaching.



It is obvious therefore, that the challenge that lies before me as a teacher of classes with a diversity of learners, is to work towards developing a pedagogy that is inclusive of all learners. In order to begin to do this, it is important to explore the concept of 'Pedagogy'.

PEDAGOGY is a wider concept than just 'teaching'; it encompasses the ideas and philosophy behind act, i.e. its attendant discourses: purposes, values, ideas, assumptions, theories and beliefs, school knowledge, subject knowledge, teaching strategies and techniques. Alexander (2008, p.2) explains that pedagogy is not just what teachers do in classrooms, but why they do it; it means teaching with the bigger picture, accounting for its relationship with the wider world. Alexander (2008, p.5) states that pedagogy is "the act of teaching together with the ideas, values and beliefs by which that act is informed, sustained and justified." Similarly,according to Norwich and Lewis (2001, p.316), pedagogy encompasses a wide range of variables about teaching, including, for example, promotion of particular attitudes, selection of content, sequencing of lessons, grouping arrangements etc. I feel it is necessary to examine in greater detail, these broad and overlapping fundamental areas i.e. values, beliefs, knowledge and skills, and to examine how these apply to my own situation.


Teaching should be based on inclusive values, with the constant feature being that all children are of equal value. Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.211) states that teachers must,

"Ensure all students are valued members of the class". Before expecting this of pupils, I feel that teachers must demonstrate that they respect pupils in every way, making every attempt to separate pupils' actions from pupils' worth. As a result of experience, particularly in my own school, both in dealing with pupils and teachers, I personally believe that no amount of knowledge, skills or actions can compensate for this, nor conceal where this is lacking. I also feel that amidst the numerous 'conflicts' I have had with management issues and decisions, indeed many related to decisions/actions related to issues discussed thus far, this provides me with a means of accepting and making the most of things that I cannot change, in the knowledge that I feel that I have a better and more empathetic understanding of the experiences and views of our pupils and their parents/carers. C6 p.70 imparts the important message that children also need to learn the values and skills necessary for life:

"Responding to pupils as individuals does not mean that we should ignore the relationship each has with the wider social context in which he or she exists. A role of schools has to be to prepare young people to understand and accept their responsibilities as members of their community. Consequently they must learn that, whilst their individuality is respected and preferences encouraged, this occurs within constraints and guidelines that are there in order to protect the rights of others in the community of which they are a part."

I feel that it is important to reinforce the simple, clear message that nobody is any better or any worse than anyone else, and that pupils should not expect, not least, demand, preferential treatment, which extends to not accepting standard consequences. I feel that it is important to provide children with boundaries, trying to ensure that pupils can understand the need for these, and to be fair and as far as possible consistent.

It is imperative that teachers create the conditions where staff and pupils treat each other with respect. Where this is the case, classroom discipline is based on mutual respect, and pupils help each other. TTW p.57) in discussing learning communities states: "Effective instruction begins when educators intentionally create learning environments in which students learn to respect and value each other and everyone's individual differences, understand their roles and responsibilities, work in a self-directed manner, and participate in setting classroom rules." Teachers coming from this value base have better and continually developing relationships with pupils and consequently provide the foundations for an inclusive learning environment. Howes, Davies and Fox (2009, p. 26) states that "nearly all attempts to improve schooling come down to the way pupils relate to their teachers and vice-versa, and whether the relationship is one through which learning takes place." MH p.88, referring to McDermott (1999 p.16) describes how "learning is not in heads but in the relations between people" and extends this to stating that "learning is integral with the social world", and that "learning cannot be viewed in isolation, but only in relationship between the learner and the teacher (or other)." NNS p.220 encourages us to try to understand school experiences from the young peoples' perspective. I believe that one of the most important skills that we should have is the ability to listen; this is fundamental to the development of relationships with pupils. Ainscow (2007, p.3) advocates listening to hidden voices of "students who do not respond to existing arrangements." Alexander (2008, p.7) refers to 'dialogic teaching', analysing classroom interaction and discourse and "the talk that takes place in classrooms between teachers and students and among students themselves"

Working in collaboration with others is vital for inclusivity; the building of relationships also requires a partnership between staff and parents/carers, where local communities are involved in the school. Ainscow (2007, p.4) advocates drawing on "the knowledge and views of staff, students, parents and community members about barriers to learning that exist within their existing 'cultures, policies and practices' in order to identify priorities for change." Howes, Davies and Fox (2009, p. 31) discusses how learning from young people, teaching assistants, parents and junior colleagues is not just a source of ideas and understandings, but also a process of constructing a more inclusive community of learners.


I feel it is important to feel dismiss the notion that 'inclusivity' requires additional work or a complete shift in thinking, as often it justifies the use of our more natural, humane or instinctive responses, and it provides a vehicle for challenging 'prescriptions' in education. Rather, we should view 'inclusivity' as an opportunity to acquire new understandings and ideas, which will benefit both me and the pupils in our care. Ultimately, changing things for children who are struggling will mean improving things for everyone. Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.217) states that: "In many ways, catering to the diverse learning needs of students with cognitive, sensory, and physical impairment provides rich opportunities for a teacher to adjust the curriculum content to make it more relevant and interesting for everyone."

Teachers need to realise that circumstances are not 'fixed', where this is applicable to many complex areas of children's lives not just their 'learning; teachers should be constantly on the look-out, and allow for change.

Teachers should avoid viewing students as having a fixed and limited ability, based on their current achievements. NNS p.219 advocates "challenging the fallacy of fixed ability or potential in education" Dweck (1986, p.1040) states that ability can be conceptualised within either an incremental or entity framework. Within the incremental framework, pupils believe that ability can be extended or increased; alternately, within the entity framework, ability is perceived as fixed.

I feel that the notion of 'incremental learning' should be the fundamental belief of all teachers and the basis of all teaching, and that there would simply no logic in undertaking what would be the unfulfilling role of a teacher without purpose, who could make no difference to the lives of children. It is imperative that teachers have a passionate conviction that they have the power to change the lives of children in their care both in the present and in the future.

NNS p.219 discusses teaching approaches based on a more optimistic view of human educability. NNS p.228 goes on to discuss 'Transformability', stating how "it means that things have the potential to change, and that people have the power to change things for the better by what they do in the present."

Teachers must have high expectations for all pupils; where pupils are treated as though there is no ceiling to their achievements; pupils also have high aspirations about their learning.


C6 p.72 acknowledges the reservations of some teachers, that teaching children who have barriers to learning is outside their professional scope, it is advocated that what these children need is support, not experts. It goes on to advise that as teachers we should: "Give up approaches that concentrate our efforts on devising specialist teaching methods for small groups of pupils whom we have identified as being in some way different from their peers. Our efforts should be focused not on making separate arrangements but on helping to make all teaching more effective for all pupils."

Norwich and Lewis (2001, p. 316) refers to The Brooks Review, in stating that "'normal' teaching needs to be improved, rather than radically different approaches developed for 'slow' learners" and goes on to discuss the "advocacy of an amalgam of common teaching strategies informed by 'effective practice' across SEN and non-SEN contexts." Norwich and Lewis (2001, p.313) explains the 'unique differences' position which "rejects distinctive SEN teaching strategies and accepts that there are common pedagogic principles which are relevant to the unique differences between all pupils, including those considered to have special educational needs."

LN p.4 outlines that:

"In the 'unique differences' position, pedagogic decisions and strategies are informed

only by common and individual needs. Unique differences are in the foreground, with common pedagogic needs more in the background. General specific needs are not recognised... this means that particular pedagogic strategies are relevant or effective for all pupils, irrespective of social background, ethnicity, gender and disability."

"Differences between individuals are accommodated within this position, not in distinct groups or subgroups, but in terms of the uniqueness of individual needs and their dependence on the social context. Yet, for this to be so, common pedagogic needs have to be considered in terms of principles that are general and flexible enough to enable wide individual variations to be possible within a common framework. Those who favour a strong inclusive position to the education of pupils with difficulties or disabilities adopt this view."

Norwich and Lewis (2001, p.322) refers to Fuch & Fuch's pedagogical position as "one of a common pedagogy underpinned by this individual-oriented approach."

It is necessary for teachers therefore, to have a very good knowledge of their own subject area, as well as a wide variety of teaching strategies and techniques. I feel that I need to analyse where this applies to my own planning, preparing and teaching.

Irish Teaching - In my own classes and across my department


I feel that the thinking behind my department is in keeping with that of McIntyre, as discussed in Alexander (2008, p.2) where the aim is to "concentrate on remedying rather than explaining the problem."

C6 p.69

Student difference is used as a resource for teaching and learning.

The aim should be to respond to and celebrate the personal qualities and interests of all pupils, which would consequently be to the benefit of all pupils.

It is my opinion, and constant aim, that teaching is planned with the learning of all pupils in mind, lessons encourage the participation of all pupils and also develop an understanding and embracing of difference.


As I have already mentioned previously, the very nature of a language almost dictates the use of scaffolding and revising. I feel that knowledge and experience in my subject area has allowed me to choose the order of content and helped me to plan units and lessons effectively, feedback from pupils has given me ideas and opportunities to improve and develop my teaching and resources, which allow for many and varied activities across the four attainment areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. I have found that recommendations given by the SENCO on various areas of Special Educational Need have guided and helped my teaching in certain areas, e.g. the production of 'pupil-friendly' resources, however I feel that my teaching has not been directed by these.

I have, in fact, had issue with the fact that management have dictated that 'differentiation' has to be specified in units of work, as I feel that I have had enough evidence to argue that many children in lower-ability / SENs classes have reached levels of attainment similar to their peers. I plan to include some extracts from this piece of work for inclusion in our departmental handout; e.g. in relation to SENs classes it would be applicable to quote Norwich and Lewis (2001, p. 325)which states that subgroups "do not represent categorically distinct groupings, but a range of pupils along a continua of attainment and current cognitive abilities."

Norwich and Lewis (2001, p. 325) states that: "teachers have been shown to move on before low attainers have reached mastery", and refers to research that "indicates the need for more practice time." As a result of curriculum changes in our school in recent years, SEN classes no longer follow the Irish GCSE course, I have been able to shorten the course content for Year 10 pupils, i.e. remove certain topics; this has consequently allowed me to spend more time on fewer topics; these classes have proven to be able to learn the same content at a comparable level to their peers in higher ability classes.

AFL > better for all

TTW p.57

"Generally lesson plans identify the theme of a lesson, the purpose of the lesson, how the lesson will be conducted, what students are expected to accomplish, and how those accomplishments will be measured."

"identify the big ideas that all students should learn from the lesson or unit".

C6 p.68

"Our aim as teachers must be in "finding ways to help pupils to understand the nature and purpose of the tasks and activities in which they are engaged."


BJES p.153

"to establish frameworks for teaching consistent with an anti-determinist view of individual potential"

Theories of learning: Pupils not in isolation, Learning is a social activity, Learning is a cultural activity

MH p.88

Diagram - positions - Views of Learning / Views of mind

Students in isolation - learning is an individual activity

Sudents not in isolation - learning is a social activity

Students not in isolation - learning is a cultural activity

Norwich and Lewis (2001, p. 316

"evidence that lower attaining children, in particular, benefit cognitively and linguistically from mixed attainment workgroups in some literacy and problem-solving tasks."

mixed-ability co-operative groups using group goals and individual accountability

Norwich and Lewis (2001, p. 316

"evidence that lower attaining children, in particular, benefit cognitively and linguistically from mixed attainment workgroups in some literacy and problem-solving tasks."


Languages - no sen column

Learning styles

- over-rated phenomenon - no diagnostic / pedagogical power, no independently verifiable claim to validity or reliability

NSIN p.2

p.7 assuming pupils have a fixed learning style that cannot be changed ... may label themselves and restrict their potential for learning in a wide variety of ways.

Cover obvious needs and all possibilities

e.g. Multi-sensory teaching - meeting needs of dyspraxic and dyslexic children > beneficial to all.

Ranging teaching and learning activities - L, Sp, R, W

TTW p.42

Universal Design for Learning - ensuring that all students can access content information and provide evidence for their learning through more than one means - multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement - these require flexibility i.e. individualisation.

Learning depends on presentation , the amount and type of help given.

Reinforce to strengths - self esteem and enjoyment


Assessment contributes to the achievements of all pupils

Homework contributes to the learning of all



Motivation and reward - getting it right, going back and then getting it right - drill and practice

TTW p.57

..."developing systematic ways to collect information on student progress for use in planning future lessons."


Do - Review - Learn - Apply - Repeat

Howes, Davies and Fox (2009, p. 39

the concept of reflective practice, 'a focus on the teachers as learner in the context of complex everyday processes, with reflection both during and after engagement with pupils providing a significant route to development."

C6 p.73

"Try to learn from and with your pupils

Teachers within the department plan and review in partnership.


Ainscow p.4 details the benefits of teachers sharing detailed aspects of their practice with one another, and why having the opportunity to see colleagues at work is crucial, not least in encouraging re-thinking.

.. p.6) summarises this as "allowing good practices to be identified and shared."


TTW p.59 discusses how earlier models were reactive - "they responded to a student's failure, did not seek to prevent the failure, and did not increase the intensity of interventions to head off potential failure experiences."

Ashman and Elkins (2009, p.211) states: "Students often had to fail before they could be identified, and powerful preventative approaches associated with early intervention were underused." As teachers our aim should be a more preventative approach and early intervention


Howes, Davies and Fox (2009, p. 28) states that: "Inclusion requires teachers with an orientation towards pupils as persons, rather than as performers." However NNS p.220 how: "The new emphasis upon target-setting and value-added measures of effectiveness means that from the earliest stages of education teachers are required to make explicit predictions about future levels of achievement. C6 p.70 and NNS p.219 & 220 discuss how tests and examinations influence classroom practice and the fact that government initiatives to raise standards have placed more emphasis on the need to differentiate by ability, reinforcing the belief that it is essential to categorise and group pupils by ability. Differentiated teaching for 'more able', 'average' is expected to be made explicit in schemes of work

NNS p.220 - Gillborn and Youdell (2000) point out that "constantly requiring teachers to predict future performance can only be justified if it is underpinned by the assumption that current differences in children's learning reflect stable, measurable and relatively unalterable differences of potential."

Alexander (2008, p.3)

"pedagogy is still very much work in progress."