Taking a mastery approach, differentiation occurs in the support and intervention provided to different pupils, not in the topics taught, particularly at earlier stages. The National Curriculum states:
Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.’
There is little differentiation in the content taught but the questioning and scaffolding individual pupils receive in class as they work through problems will differ, with higher attainers challenged through more demanding problems which deepen their knowledge of the same content. Pupils’ difficulties and misconceptions are identified through immediate formative assessment and addressed with pre-teach or rapid intervention. – commonly through individual or small group support later the same day.
In years 1-6, ‘NFER’ assessment is used termly to identify misconceptions which then inform future planning.