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More Able and Gifted

Policy for Gifted Pupils

At St Mary’s School, we value all pupils equally and endeavour to ensure that each child should have the opportunity to realise his/her potential in a challenging and supportive environment. Our school will have, at any time, gifted pupils, some of whom may be exceptionally able and this may be in one or more areas of learning. We believe that we can make a difference in enabling these pupils to achieve the greatest possible progress and recognise the value and importance of identifying and celebrating their achievements and successes. We are committed to the extension and enrichment of the curriculum, in order to ensure the holistic progression of the most able pupil.

 

Aims

  1. To recognise the needs of more able pupils within a framework of equal opportunity.

  2. To implement the procedures and strategies that will address the needs of an identified cohort of more able pupils.

  3. To ensure that more able pupils are motivated to achieve to the best of their ability and set standards of excellence as an example for others to follow.

  4. To provide opportunities for more able pupils to work at high cognitive levels and /or to develop specific skills.

  5. To foster a culture of achievement by creating a climate of learning and excellence throughout the school.

  6. To work in partnership with parents/carers to help them promote children's learning and development.

  7. To make use of links with other schools and the wider community to enhance learning opportunities.

 

Rationale

All pupils need encouragement, guidance and support. All pupils should receive the education they are entitled to and if they require specialised or extra help because of a gift, they should have the same entitlement as pupils who find learning challenging and difficult i.e. pupils with special educational needs.

 

All pupils are individuals, unique in the sense that each pupil has special needs and requirements. More able pupils need to be identified, targeted, supported and challenged. Strategies need to be devised and implemented, and pupil progress needs to be monitored (in much the same way as DSEN children). In other words, the more able pupils are entitled to have their needs recognised and addressed.

 

Management of Gifted Provision

The Senco Mrs K Cooke and Assistant Senco- Mrs D Laing have the overall responsibility for the Gifted Coordinator role. The policy will be developed in collaboration with the SLT and Heads of Year to:

  • Identify pupils with high potential, recognising that whilst some pupils are overt about their abilities, some may actively hide it and others may not readily be able to display their ability due to the need to develop higher order communication skills in English.

  • Improve motivation and attainment of our most able pupils by ensuring that benefit from a coherent, co-ordinated and distinctive teaching and learning programme, which will provide a consistent challenge and which will be responsive to their individual needs.

  • Encourage pupils in developing their personal skills as well as their knowledge and understanding.

  • Encourage high learner self-esteem so that pupils can be confident and yet critical, and evaluate their own learning.

  • Monitor progress and achievement and to set individual targets for identified pupils in accordance to school’s policy and practice.

  • Promote aspiration and excellence in all pupils. Develop links with King Edward’s School, local universities and also Oxford and Cambridge Universities to raise aspiration.

  • Provide a range of out of hour’s enrichment and extension activities (in school or Cluster activities).

     

Identification

Most able pupils are pupils who have ability or abilities beyond the large majority of their peer group and consequently require a more challenging curriculum that is appropriate for the majority.

 

Gifted pupils are defined as those pupils with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group. Different areas may be English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and Languages.

 

The school also endeavours to identify any pupils who may have the potential to be gifted but are currently underachieving. Provision for these pupils is adjusted to help them reach their potential.

The more able pupils are identified using a variety of methods which include prior attainment (EYFS data, KS 1 SATs and KS 2 SATs), staff nomination, on-going assessment, scrutiny of pupil’s work and pupil/parent nominations. Only after consideration of all available evidence (based on previous performance and potential) should pupils be identified as ‘more able’.

 

Children in EYFS are identified for gifted if they are functioning a whole band above their chronological age in either and /or the Prime and Specific areas of the EYFS curriculum.

 

The identification process is flexible for new pupils, newly-arrived pupils and pupils who were not identified, to allow for mis-identified pupils to move out and in of the cohort.

 

Staff should be aware of the indicators of underachieving pupils when identifying the ‘more able’; the best in the class/target group are not necessarily the ‘more able’.

More able pupils are generally considered to possess the following characteristics:

  • Show great intellectual maturity and enjoy engaging in depth with subject material

  • Actively and enthusiastically engage in discussions

  • Show a passion for particular subjects and seek to pursue them

  • Ability to memorise quickly

  • Superior powers of reasoning (DfE Checklist)

 

As a school, we keep a record of any pupil identified as most able by teacher assessment. Every subject area that identifies a pupil as most able is required to make provision for that pupil in the given subject. The gifted cohort is annually reviewed and updated.

 

Teaching Strategies and Classroom organisation

Teaching styles for the more able pupils should be more open-ended and flexible. More able pupils tend not to respond well to ‘directed’ teaching and rigid learning structures. There is a need to allow the more able pupil opportunities to ‘take risk’ in their learning, and effective teaching for them will reflect this. More able pupils should be encouraged and given opportunities to think creatively and divergently.

In our school we have assessment for learning well embedded, along with provision for independent learning and thinking skills which will provide a positive learning environment for gifted pupils. A combination of the following methods of support will be given:

 

Enrichment 

Involves offering a wide variety of opportunities, both within and outside the curriculum, exposing the more able pupils to experiences not usually encountered as part of the curriculum.

 

Extension

Developing a deeper understanding through encountering more complex resources and materials, tackling more challenging questions and tasks, demonstrating higher levels of thinking, and presenting increasingly sophisticated responses.

 

Acceleration 

Involves fast tracking more able pupils in some subjects through the curriculum and through specialised study support, this:

  • Increase pace of learning

  • Adds challenge

  • Increase motivation

  • Raises the expectations of pupils, teachers and parents

  • Can add flexibility to the curriculum creating space for enhanced learning

 

It is the responsibility of the member of SLT and the Heads of Year to ensure that the entitlement of pupils is met within the teaching groups.

At St Mary’s School, we believe that the day-to-day learning environment is the most crucial area for the enrichment, extension and progression of the most able pupil. Therefore, every year group has the responsibility to reflect this provision in their planning. Awareness of higher order thinking skills, leadership opportunities, freedom to fail and ability-not-age based differentiation should be the feature of the most able pupils’ learning diet.

Within each classroom, work is differentiated to take account of learners’ needs so that all children are provided with opportunities to succeed. Targets in Literacy and Maths are also differentiated. In Literacy and Maths children are set into ability target groups from Year 2 to Year 6. SLT, Heads of Year and Curriculum Leaders are responsible for ensuring that class teachers have the resources and knowledge to provide for gifted pupils in their care. Also, the role of the Heads of Year is to support teachers and teaching assistants to develop good practice in the classroom. This includes: More creative teaching and learning; quality feedback and monitoring; use of visual resources and kinaesthetic learning; development of the Covey’s 7 Habits; ensuring appropriate reading material and spellings go home; creating opportunities for exciting use of Computing and more speaking & listening, with a focus on debate for the gifted children. The opportunity to enter children for Level 6 SATs is made available for those pupils who are ready and need to be challenged.

 

The school aims to provide every opportunity appropriate to the needs of gifted pupils. A range of school based enrichment opportunities and competitions allow More Able pupils to develop their skills outside of the normal school timetable. Some of these are provided in collaboration with other local primary and secondary schools or businesses. The Gifted Coordinator will source additional accessible higher level provision as appropriate. This should enable children to mix with like-minded peers and access specialist coaching and teaching. From there a route through to national and international competition and coaching can usually be found. Opportunities like this can be life changing and parents of gifted pupils are encouraged and supported in enabling them to attend. Achieve today – Excel tomorrow is part of the St Mary’s motto and we have high aspirations for our pupils, both during and after their time here. 

Enrichment opportunities are available outside the classroom with a wide range of clubs. The school has good links with its local secondary school and is able to use these for extra provision when needed. These links are well used during the transition between primary and secondary phases when staff from the secondary school prepare and deliver some lessons for Y6 children.

 

The Role of SLT

  1. Provide adequate resources to ensure that more able pupils receive a high quality education that meets their needs within the school framework

  2. Develop appropriate, accessible database systems for collecting, disseminating and recording information about more able pupils

  3. Monitor and evaluate the development of the policy in identified areas of the curriculum to ensure that more able pupils are correctly identified, that adequate provision is made for them and that their progress is regularly monitored

  4. Ensure HOY’s along with the SLT fulfil their responsibilities towards more able pupils by regular monitoring and evaluation (on a half termly basis). They also need to ensure that weekly lesson plans show differentiation to cater for the varying levels of ability within each class/target group and promote a variety of teaching and learning strategies

  5. Provide opportunities for staff development, as required, in order to raise awareness and develop skills in identifying, developing teaching and learning strategies and providing resources for more able pupils.

     

The Role of the Class Teacher/Target Group Teacher

  1. Ensure that weekly plans reflect the Whole School Policy and include class/target group and homework activities that are differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils (including more able pupils)

  2. Provide pupils with opportunities to extend their skill by regularly promoting problem solving, open ended and investigative activities

  3. Recognise that setting more work for pupils is not necessarily beneficial. More able pupils are more inclined to respond to higher level work that is more challenging, rather than more work of a similar level that is likely to be resented

  4. Incorporate opportunities within the curriculum to make use of Computing, including use of the internet.

 

Homework

In accordance with school policy, homework should be set for our most able pupils that stimulates, enriches and extends their learning in school.

 

Pastoral Care

St Mary’s School provides a strong personal and academic support through a well-developed structure. The role of mentors is an established and effective aspect of current practice.

 

Parental support

It is acknowledged that parental support is crucial to the access of additional provision. Effective communication with parents will take place through face to face meetings, parent evenings and letters. The school aims to actively encourage and support parents as partners in their children’s learning. For example in helping them access opportunities for their child and giving advice on how they can support their development at home.

 

Transition

The needs of gifted pupils will be considered and met during transition within the school and to secondary schools. This will be supported by the gifted profiles and the links which are developed with local secondary schools including the grammar school. Transition to secondary school is considered by the Gifted Coordinator, Head of Year 6, the Year 6 teachers and the relevant secondary school(s). 

 

Monitoring and Assessment

On-going assessment, recording and reporting is in accordance with current whole school policy. St Mary’s School has a well-established practice of effective target setting for all pupils in Literacy and Maths. Year groups/class teachers will continue this practice by enabling all pupils, including our most able, to be involved in their own progress. Review and progress against targets will take place on half termly basis by the SLT. Year groups should maintain a portfolio of good practice and activities. This should include data on identified pupils, their targets and progress. On Pupil Teacher target Setting Days, targets are set with pupils. Action Plans are devised with clear outcomes and progress is monitored and reviewed against actions on a half termly basis by the SLT. 

 

PROCESS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW

This policy and the success of the school’s provision for the more able pupils will be reviewed annually by the Gifted Co-ordinator and ratified by the Full Governing Body or a committee as directed by the Chair of Governors. The Full Governing Body shall then ratify the policy upon the recommendation(s) of the committee.

  

 

 This policy will be ratified by the Governing Body in October 2015

 

Signed …………………………………………… Chair of Governors        Dated ……………………..               

 

This policy will be reviewed on or before the following date:      October 2016