Pupils ‘should receive tailored teaching’

A major review of teaching has recommended every child should receive an education tailored to their own individual needs.

The report from the 2020 Vision group wants teachers to focus on personalised learning to ensure no child is left behind and the brightest are stretched.

Any child that falls behind at school should be entitled to one-on-one tuition and each child will have a learning guide for their entire school career to help identify pupils who need the extra support.

The report authors want to see “a system in which teaching and learning responds to the needs of children, young people and their parents or carers, and in which a child’s chance of success is not related to their socio-economic background, gender or ethnicity”.

This could see children taking national SAT exams early or boys and girls being taught separately.

The report also suggests schools should consider grouping pupils by attainment rather than age.

Chairwoman of the report Christine Gilbert said: “By 2020, today’s four-year-olds will be entering higher education, training or work, and today’s trainee teachers will be school leaders.

Ms Gilbert, who is also head of the school inspection authority Ofsted, said: “Personalised learning is a considered response to the opportunities and challenges of the future.”

Education secretary Alan Johnson commented: “We need to make sure that no one is left behind at any point – from the most gifted and talented children at the top of the class to the uninterested child at the back.”

However, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Sarah Teather said “More of the same with some new buzzwords thrown in is not going to bring about the change we need.

“Rhetoric about ‘personalised learning’ is only going to have an impact in the classroom if it is matched with resources allowing teachers to spend more time individually with each child.”

The report has received a mixed response from teaching unions.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The report could have unintended consequences that spawn overly bureaucratic processes and workload intensive responses from some schools.”

Philip Parkin, general secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers, said: “We had hoped for fewer statements of the obvious and for more challenging ideas and more detail.”

But John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Exciting things are happening in the development of learning in schools. This report represents an opportunity for them to be more widely shared.”