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Step 1: Auditing practice in your department or phase

Differentiation in Practice / Unit 3: Leading differentiation

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Step 1: Auditing practice in your department or phase

As a middle leader, your approach to differentiation will be a little different to that of classroom teachers. With your additional responsibilities for teaching and learning, a large part of your role will be about supporting other members of staff to differentiate effectively - and accepting that this may look a little different for different teachers.


You could run this activity either between middle leaders of different departments/phases, or with the team of teachers you work with as a leader yourself:

What should you prioritise improving in your school's differentiation practice? Reflect on current teaching approaches in your school by completing the auditing differentiation practice tool with colleagues as a group exercise. The top-level questions will encourage them to think in the context of the whole department and identify where they fit within that.

The tool can be used to:

  • Collect and record the results as the basis for some collaborative discussion in a scheduled meeting slot.
  • Identify existing strengths and areas for improvement in the department or phase team and write each one on a sticky note.
  • Allocate one flipchart to strengths and another to areas for improvement, and attach the sticky notes to the relevant one.

Ask participants to look for:

  • a strength to match their area for improvement
  • recurring strengths – to celebrate what is working
  • recurring areas for improvement – to identify training needs.

This collaborative activity will promote the sharing of good practice and supportive improvement. It is also intended to encourage some thoughtful reflection from both leaders and teachers. If possible, try to get as many teachers in your department or phase as possible involved in this activity.

Step 1 question
Middle leaders need to support other members of staff to differentiate effectively.
Checkpoint quiz: 
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