Close this search box.

Teachers’ Standard 5: Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

The headings on this page are the statements in the Teachers’ Standards that all new teachers must meet. The series of questions for each statement are prompts for new geography teachers to think about. They should use these prompts to discuss their training with their geography mentor and evaluate their progress. These questions are not intended to be a further set of ‘standards’ to be met.


To adapt geography teaching to respond to the needs of all students, whatever their stage of development or ability, you must do the following:


Know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively

  • Do I always ensure that all students have access to a rich geography curriculum?
  • Do I always consider students’ learning needs in my planning and match learning activities to account for their needs?
  • Do my lesson objectives reflect the needs and abilities of different groups/individuals in a class?
  • Do I set goals that provide appropriate challenge all students and avoid setting lower expectations for some?
  • Do I use, a variety of strategies to adapt my teaching to support student needs and use intervention appropriately? Have I considered pre-teaching for critical aspects of geographical knowledge?
  • Do I adapt my teaching responsively to increase students’ success? Do I always provide targeted support to students who are struggling?
  • Can I reframe questions to support or stretch students?
  • Am I sure that students know their strengths and ways to ways to develop areas which they find more difficult? Do I give students SMART targets based on this knowledge?
  • Can I reframe questions (both oral and written) to scaffold learning or stretch students, as appropriate?
  • Do I use learning support assistants effectively in my lessons (when they are available)?


Have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these

  • Am I finding out about, and developing, the students’ personal geographies?
  • Do I make my geography lessons a relevant experience for students?
  • Do I give all students confidence that they can improve in geographical learning?


Demonstrate an awareness of the physical, social and intellectual development of children, and know how to adapt teaching to support pupils’ education at different stages of development

  • Do I always find out about any potential barriers to learning for students in the classes I teach?
  • Am I effective in finding out what students already know and are able to do in geography? Do I use this information in my teaching?
  • Can I apply my understanding of how students learn to support students?
  • Do I use formative assessment effectively to adapt my teaching?
  • Do I monitor the impact of my teaching on different groups of students, particularly low attainers?


Have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them

  • Do I know how to use the SEND Code of Practice and from where I can get support from special education professionals?
  • Do I always consider students’ individual learning needs when I plan lessons?
  • Do I always stretch the gifted geographers?
  • Am I confident that I understand the needs of the SEND students I teach and support them in geography?
  • Do I adapt work appropriately for students for whom English is an additional language (EAL)?
  • Do I actively engage all students in my lessons?
  • Do I ensure that all the students I teach have access to a rich geography curriculum?
  • Do I make effective use of teaching assistants when they are available?


Where to find support?

For support in achieving this Standard, start with Inclusion and adaptation.

You will also find these webpages useful:

Discuss meeting the needs of all students in geography with your geography mentor. Also discuss your professional responsibilities for meeting the diverse needs of students with the person who has oversight of SEND (special educational needs and disabilities). There may be a different teacher responsible for more able students in the school.

Teachers’ Standard 5: Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils