Stretch and Challenge for All Learners


As a comprehensive school, at NLS we actively encourage staff to:

1.        take an approach to T&L which offers a balance of skill and knowledge;

2.        ensure that all learners are appropriately stretched and challenged according to their individual need.


While not proscriptive, the model we feel offers explicit stretch & challenge for ALL learners is Bloom’s Taxonomy.


Whatever “type” of learner, all NLS students across all year groups can relate to Bloom’s Taxonomy for cognitive, analytical skills and to see progress or stretch & challenge opportunities – it has assessment for learning (AfL) built in as the individual progresses up the skills hierarchy. For example, you might:


·         know the words to “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”

·         show comprehension by answering questions on it

·         make use of knowledge and comprehension by doing something with it – application

·         develop depth of thinking by analysing beyond the superficial: is it about exploitation?

·         compare or synthesise with another nursery rhyme, such as Mary had a Little Lamb

·         evaluate (or judge) which is the better and why


Across the curriculum, the nursery rhyme stimulus can be readily adapted for specific subject content.

While it can be suggested that Higher Attainer (HAT) students, for example, especially need to be able to access the Higher Order Learning Skills (HOLS) of synthesis and evaluation (indeed, these skills are often linked to “big mark” questions), it can also be argued that all students can access all of the skills so there is no cap placed on potential achievement – vital to any school but especially key in a comprehensive perhaps.

It is, though, also a question of developing confidence and a quality of response – here, the craft of the teacher and their knowledge of the student is key.

The explicit, hierarchical nature of Bloom’s Taxonomy can enable teachers to shape their teaching and learning and share Best Practice. Beyond that, there are psycho-motor (practical) and affective (pastoral, social & personal) models of Bloom’s Taxonomy that can complement this cognitive (thinking) model.

As suggested, the model is a stimulus and teachers actively explore their own models and methods – ultimately, though, we always ensure that we will stretch & challenge for all learners. This is reflected in our terrific academic outcomes – see elsewhere on this website.

The Bloom’s model, and the variations adopted, ties-in with:

1.        The Moral Imperative and NLS Key Values:  the CORE vision, “everyone is equal” and the comprehensive philosophy;

2.        Enhancing a Learning Culture for All: a culture of building success with no pockets of underperformance in any Key Stage – it can offer progress and continuity as a model relevant to all but capable of increasing depth;

3.        Key Success Indicators: it is vital for the school’s profile and continuing success for the students and their community in it that we stretch and challenge all

4.        The bigger picture of our provision as represented by:

a.        Our guiding strategic principles of: raising awareness; enhancing aspiration; offering quality enrichment; ensuring outstanding teaching & learning

b.        the school wheel (see elsewhere on the school website) which shows how elements of our provision interact


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