More Able and Talented
Recent research on school improvement has identified that a focus on the most able children within all lessons raises expectations and achievement of all children. With changes to the new curriculum, there is now a strong focus on children mastering their curriculum, by broadening and deepening their learning.
The school aims to provide effective learning opportunities for all pupils;
- when planning teachers set high expectations and provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve
- all staff are aware that pupils bring to school different experiences, interests and strengths which will influence the way they learn
- teachers plan their approach to teaching and learning so that all pupils can take part in lessons fully and effectively
- specific action is taken to enable the effective participation of pupils with disabilities
Ability is multi-dimensional and developmental; therefore there is no universally accepted definition of high ability. At Barnwood, most able and talented students are identified by making a judgement based on an analysis of various sources of information and begins when the child joins our school. Identification is used to raise the questions – what opportunities do we give to allow children to reveal their abilities to us? How do we nurture these abilities once they are revealed?
Some of the sources of information used to identify children include:
- Test scores and Teacher assessment (end of key stage data; NVRQ scores)
- Teacher nomination (based on classroom observation, termly meetings with assessment co-ordinator, discussions with pupils, work scrutiny)
- Peer or self-nomination
- Predicted test/ examination results
- Reading ages Observation of learning behaviours
- Observation of learning behaviours towards problem solving and creativity
A register for children identified as ‘talented’ in foundation subjects is regularly reviewed and updated by the most able and talented leader. Children identified as ‘most able’ in Reading, Writing, SPaG, Maths and Science are identified on teachers’ termly assessment as having achieved ‘greater depth’. These children are discussed at termly assessment meetings with the Senior Leadership Team
Ability at childhood doesn’t always translate into adulthood, therefore it is important to realise that children identified as most able and/or talented may change from one year to the next.
Organisational and in-class approaches/ Provision
Staff use the identification documents to plan for and provide opportunities for children to develop their abilities and talents fully. Each year teachers review their provision by completing provision maps for key subjects and identify the opportunities they have put into place and address any areas where further provision is required.
Important strategies include:
- The coherent management of pupil groupings (whether in mixed ability groups or ability sets)
- Additional/extension activities in lessons to ensure challenge and opportunities to work at ‘greater depth’ are provided.
- Differentiation (by depth) within subject areas.
- The development of independent learning by allowing pupils to organize their own work, to carry out tasks unaided, evaluate their work and become self-critical.
- The development of learning behaviours to allow children to become independent, confident learners who are keen to challenge themselves further.
- Building in opportunities for higher order thinking skills; analysis, creating, evaluation
- Providing open ended tasks with little instruction,
- Offering opportunities for high level questioning
- Engaging children in their own learning – What do I already know? What would I like to know? What have I learnt?
- Emphasising the importance of developing language, hard work and practice.
- Use of formative assessment to move all pupils forwards in their learning, at a deeper level of understanding.
Out of class activities
The following are offered on a regular basis and, although these benefit all pupils, they are particularly apt for ensuring that pupils who have potential in these areas are given opportunities to practise and extend their skills.
- Enrichment/theme days
- Residential experiences & class trips
- School clubs
- Musical and sporting activities.
Learning is further enriched through regular homework activities linked to the work being undertaken in classes. This offers teachers a further opportunity to set work at the level of individual children. The children also have the opportunity to experience a range of educational visits that further enrich and develop learning.