Activity 6

Pupil Grouping and the Learning Environment

Another influential factor in determining the character of the classroom ethos is the way in which pupils are grouped, both within the classroom and within the school more generally.

In an article in the module 1 readings booklet, Peter Kutnick and his colleagues report on the findings of an extensive research study of the prevalence and impact of different kinds of pupil grouping in primary and secondary classrooms in England.

The report indicates that there is no evidence to support the view that any particular grouping strategies lead to significant improvements in attainment. It is further suggested that there is only “limited evidence that pupils or teachers had received training or support to work effectively within their classroom groups.

READ: Kutnick, P. et al. (2006), Pupil Grouping Strategies and Practices at Key Stage 2 and 3: Case Studies of 24 Schools in England, Brief No: RB796, Nottingham: DfES.

REFLECT: Why do you think that pupil grouping practices vary so widely across different age phases, subjects and teachers? To what extent do both teachers and pupils need support in using group work effectively?

INTERVIEW: Interview two teachers with differing approaches to pupil grouping. Base your interviews on the findings in Kutnick’s report and write up a summary of the key responses in your reflective journal for future reference.

WRITE: Write about your own preferred approach to pupil grouping in the classroom. Explain how you believe that this preferred approach will contribute towards a stimulating and safe learning environment.

(Allow 30 minutes)