Focus on ‘brightest pupils’ too, state schools are told

The Telegraph is reporting that the new government white paper says schools must focus on improving the grades of their brightest pupils as new funding to identify new ways to help the most academically able is announced.

Reforms have so far have largely focused on helping the lowest-attaining pupils in areas where underachievement is rife…

And the Department for Education (DfE) has now said it wants to do more “to open doors for the most academically able from all backgrounds”.

The white paper says: “We will ensure that all schools can stretch their lowest-attaining and most academically able pupils by increasing the focus on, and supporting approaches aimed at, boosting their attainment.” 

Under current proposals, the Government is set to increase funding to maximise bright pupils’ potential.

The paper adds: “This could include developing new, prestigious challenges and competitions at key stages 2 and 3, like UK Mathematics Trust challenges. These would be open to all able pupils – wherever they go to school. And they could aim to provide both additional content that stretches these children outside school. “We will also look for opportunities to extend the approaches used in Isaac Physics and the Cambridge Maths Education Project to other A-level subjects.” 

Commenting on the proposal, Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “It’s very fair that schools need to focus on getting the maximum progress for all pupils across the full range of abilities not just disadvantaged but also those who are highly able…”

More at: Focus on ‘brightest pupils’ too, state schools are told


It’s not clear where this extra funding is coming from (or how much it is), but in the full Telegraph article Malcolm Trobe suggests it may be linked to a budget announcement about extension activities.

More broadly, do you think it the case that schools have sometimes failed to develop their brightest students as well as they might because of a focus on the lowest-achieving?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Read or download the full white paper: [pdf-embedder url=””]


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  1. TW

    (a) Government wants to narrow the range of attainment between upper and lower performing pupils; (b) Government wants to increase the range of attainment between upper and lower performing pupils; (c) Repeat.

  2. thiskidsthinkin

    Can we just have a policy where we do what is best for each pupil at whatever level/ability they are at? I’m pretty sure that is what teachers want to do anyway!

Let us know what you think...