At last term’s NACE member meetup at the National Maritime Museum, attendees had the opportunity to exchange approaches and resources to support working in depth for more able learners. From the plethora of fantastic ideas exchanged on the day, here are seven to try in your school…

1. Going SOLO

NACE associate Heather Clements opened the discussion with an overview of SOLO Taxonomy, and several attendees also shared examples of how their schools are using SOLO. Ideas included showing the SOLO verbs on class walls with colour-coding by taxonomy stage, to develop learners’ language and motivate them to move up a level, and incorporating the taxonomy in marking webs at the start and end of units.

2. TED breakfast club

Shared by Rachel Bellfield at Capital City Academy, this breakfast club provides a filling and stimulating start to the day – with mental fodder provided in the form of subject-related TED talk recordings. Participating learners make notes in a journal, keeping a record of links to their lesson-time learning.


Recommended by a number of NACE members, this website run by the University of Oxford aims to engage 11-18 year olds in complex ideas and debates that go beyond their school curriculum. Users can take on the site’s “Big Questions”, watch videos, test their knowledge, join live online events, and pose their own questions.

4. Really short stories

To challenge learners to focus on the quality of their vocabulary and precision of language use, Fran Pett at John Ruskin Primary school suggested giving tight parameters for written tasks – such as a 16-word limit for short stories, or a maximum number of sentences per paragraph.

5. Headteachers’ challenge

At Oakleigh House school, learners are challenged each week to take on the headteachers’ challenge, posted up on the Aim High board. Responses are shared in an assembly, with outstanding work showcased on the board.

6. Questioning for parents 

To help parents and carers develop their use of questioning, Salcombe Preparatory School runs workshops on this topic, featuring practical demonstrations by staff and students. These events are supported by a booklet on questioning for parents and carers, and aligned with other events for maximum reach.

7. Model United Nations 

Finally, Nathan Wooding at Edge Grove Preparatory School recommended participation in the Model United Nations as an inspiring and engaging way for learners to develop a whole range of skills, including independent learning, project work, research, critical thinking and negotiation.
How does your school support working in depth? Add a comment below or contact us to share your ideas.

The next NACE member meetups will be held at the English-Speaking Union on 6 March, and Shakespeare’s Globe on 8 June. For full details and to book your free place, visit our events page.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018