Having completed a group project with the top two year 9 English classes, their reaction to challenging tasks was interesting and worrying. We presented students with some challenging poems, the chosen poems were deliberately challenging as these students are used to predominantly mixed ability classes and therefore are often not extended in their learning. Their reactions? Many students were quick to throw their hands up in the air telling us they ‘didn’t get it’. Others had no idea as to how to begin research and look at the key areas of the task. Their lack of perseverance in research and indeed their lack of analysing their research findings did worry me. It is clear from this that I need to do a lot more work in the area of research skills and the critical reception of information. I am desperately trying to establish life long skills in students (a concept very important to me) but it is clear that more work needs to be done.