Our aim is to encourage and enable the more able students to be challenged and flourish within their areas of expertise whilst developing their character and life skills.
With changes in the education system over recent years, the identification of students has varied from students having a level 5 in both maths and English at KS2, to our current system of identifying all students who are allocated FFT pathways 7 – 9. This is under constant review, but aims to identify the top 20% of students in each year cohort approximately.
We ensure that all staff are aware of these students and this leads to differentiated teaching and learning ensuring that the more able students are challenged in and out of lessons. Students are not just expected to excel in their areas of expertise, but to set the highest standards for themselves across the board.
We hold termly meetings for the Key Stage 3 more able students, where progress, efforts and attitudes are discussed. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate and encourage students to take part in other activities that will challenge them beyond the classroom.
There is an annual more able conference for the Key Stage 3 students run by an outside speaker who addresses a wide variety of topics such as public speaking, “it’s OK to be clever”; leadership etc.
In addition to the extra-curricular activities and clubs in areas such as music, drama, dance, sport and art. There are also in-school and inter-school events, trips and external competitions for a variety of curriculum areas. These include poetry competitions, thank you letter writing, dragons den, a multitude of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) competitions, visits to universities and other places of interest that would support raising student aspiration.
Students are encouraged to take all opportunities that are opened up to them, including our student leadership programme, EPQ, volunteering and service, DoE (Duke of Edinburgh) Bronze and Silver and activities week, to name just a few.
Parents of more able students
As parents, it is important to support your child in their endeavours and encourage them to try a variety of activities, even the ones that they are not good at, as facing fear and failure is a positive life lesson. Development of character skills such as stickability and self-regulation are as crucial as the facts and information they learn in lessons.
We hope you would encourage them to visit other places of interest such as galleries and museums; State houses and castles; cathedrals and other places of worship. Other ideas such as going to the theatre to watch shows and plays; travelling to see exhibitions and demonstrations at the NEC for example; even walking and cycling in the countryside (how many of them can read a map?) It is about stimulating their brains, peeking their curiosity, as well as encouraging them to interact in a variety of situations.
One of the most beneficial activities you can get your child to take part in is reading. It does not matter whether it is fiction, non-fiction, newspapers or journals, it is about processing what they have read and then be able to hold thoughtful conversations. So it is not just getting them to read, it is then getting them to hold a conversation with you – not the easiest task to achieve with some teenagers, but please persevere as the impact it will have on their written work will amaze you (and them).
Want to learn something new?
Future learn is a great website that has a huge variety of on-line learning courses all designed by universities, but written for all ages. They vary in length, but they tell you how many weeks, and how many hours per week are expected before you sign up. Try one, they are addictive.
NACE (National association for able children in education) http://www.nace.co.uk/
Tomorrow’s Achievers: https://www.tomorrowsachievers.co.uk/
MScience for gifted students: http://www.giftedkids.ie/science.html
Maths for gifted students: http://nrich.maths.org/
Please contact Mrs Ruth Jennings by email Jenningsr@kls.herts.sch.uk