Stretch and Challenge Training, INSET and CPD


Classroom stretch and challenge encompasses two distinct but related strands. First, there is stretching and challenging the thinking of all learners. Second, there is stretching and challenging more-able learners (also referred to as the most-able learners and, sometimes, gifted and talented learners). Both strands are important.

Stretching and challenging all learners means creating lessons where challenge is at the forefront of teaching and learning. This takes learners out of their comfort zone, encouraging them to push towards the outer edge of what is possible for them to achieve.

Over the course of a term, or a year, if learners are consistently experiencing lessons that contain a high level of challenge, they are likely to make more progress than if they experience a diet of low challenge. As teachers and leaders throughout the profession appreciate, learners will live up to the expectations we set them. But so too will they live down to the kind of low expectations that can be engendered (often inadvertently) by low challenge.

Stretching and challenging more-able learners means identifying this group of learners as a subset within the classroom and ensuring their needs are met through the provision of questions, tasks and challenges that go beyond that completed by their peers. Failure to do this can cause more-able learners to become demoralised and less keen to put in effort.

The term ‘the bored able’ was coined in the mid-2010s to explain the experiences many more-able learners have in mixed-ability classrooms when they are not sufficiently challenged. Many teachers fall into the trap of asking more-able learners to do more of the same, instead of giving them more challenging and more stimulating tasks and challenges to pursue.

When it comes to stretch and challenge training, INSET and CPD, Mike offers two options for schools and colleges:

  • Embedding Stretch and Challenge for All Learners
  • Stretching and Challenging More-Able Learners Across the Curriculum

Embedding Stretch and Challenge for All Learners focuses on helping teachers to raise the level of challenge in their lessons for every learner, including the most-able. This training looks at a range of different practical strategies teachers can adopt to enhance their practice and ensure all learners experience a high level of challenge in every lesson.

Stretching and Challenging More-Able Learners Across the Curriculum focuses on strategies, activities and techniques teachers can use to stretch and challenge the thinking and practical skills of their most-able learners.

Mike’s training always includes a large practical element, reflecting the fact that teaching is a practical business. He aims for an 80/20 split. That is, eighty percent practice and twenty percent theory. This means teachers leave Mike’s stretch and challenge training, INSET or CPD armed with a wide range of strategies, activities and techniques they can immediately put to work in their own classrooms.

In addition, all sessions are interactive. Teachers have plenty of opportunities to discuss ideas, reflect on their practice and try out new strategies, activities and techniques.

Whether you’re looking for full day INSET, half-day training or a twilight CPD session, Mike is happy to develop stretch and challenge training to meet the needs of your school or college. Get in touch today and Mike will get back to you by email or phone to discuss your needs.


Example Full Day Stretch and Challenge INSET – All Learners

  • Session 1: What does stretch and challenge look like for all learners?
  • Session 2: Embedding Stretch and Challenge in Lesson Planning
  • Session 3: Stretching and Challenging Learners While the Lesson is Happening
  • Session 4: Staff work in subject or year group teams to develop and implement ideas from the morning. Mike circulates and works with all teams at least once.
  • Session 5: Plenary session in which staff share their work, before Mike brings the day to a close.

Example Full Day Stretch and Challenge INSET – More-Able Learners

  • Session 1: Examining the Evidence Around More-Able Learners in the Classroom
  • Session 2: Building Additional Stretch and Challenge into Activities and Tasks
  • Session 3: Stretch and Challenge Strategies Specifically Targeting More-Able Learners
  • Session 4: Staff work in subject or year group teams to develop and implement ideas from the morning. Mike circulates and works with all teams at least once.
  • Session 5: Plenary session in which staff share their work, before Mike brings the day to a close.

Book an INSET or CPD Training Day for Your Teaching Staff

For more information on Mike’s Stretch and Challenge INSET, training and CPD then please get in touch.

Contact Mike Gershon