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Supporting the Learning of the Most Able

As teachers we will, as a matter of course, strive to provide for individual needs as best we can. There is an expectation at NTS to differentiate in lessons as part of one’s normal teaching and inevitably our provision will fall somewhere between whole-class teaching at one extreme and one-to-one tuition at the other.

However, we try to go one step further in order to celebrate, increase, formalise and monitor our support of the most able.

Subject-by-subject provision for the most able:

Art

  • Students from KS4&5 are able to get involved in additional activities for example painting the scenery for the school play, ceramics club and artist led workshops.
  • Pupils are encouraged to enter competitions e.g. Rotary Club and Young Cumbrian Artist (which we have been very successful in recent years).
  • Lunchtime provision for exam group students to complete work and gain additional staff support.
  • Lower school Art club for pupils with a keen interest in the subject.

Business Studies
(Year 10-13)

  • Support sessions run at lunchtime to help the most able Business Studies students.
  • Students have the opportunity to stretch themselves at after school revision sessions in both Business and Economics
  • Advanced resources (e.g. A-level textbooks) are used/available for the more able pupils.

Computing

  • A most able Computing pupil is able to analyse, abstract and automate a problem in a precise and unambiguous way using a range of techniques including simple flow diagrams and pseudo structure charts, diagrams and descriptive paragraphs.
  • They are able to identify the “shapes” of algorithms when implemented in code so once they have grasped the basic sort and search algorithms they will be encouraged to try and code other algorithms and in different programming languages.
  • Pupils are encouraged to undertake independent programming activities to improve their problem-solving and de-bugging skills.
  • Pupils can take part in after-school Computing club which will look at increasing confidence with a range of programming environments and will also apply skills to a range of problems particularly involving sensing and robotics.
  • Pupils are encouraged to join in with the University of Southampton cypher challenge in the Autumn term which involves using decryption tools to crack secret messages.

English

  • Most able pupils are encouraged to attend drama club.
  • Most able pupils are encouraged to attend theatre trips and to attend stretch and challenge events outside school.
  • Star performers/ extension tasks set in class and as homework; pupils are directed to complete these.
  • Star performers task menu supplied to most able pupils as a further means of providing opportunities for extension work.
  • Focus groups of most able and top ability pupils are created within classes and tasked with stretch and challenge activities different to the rest of their class.
  • Most able pupils used as learning leaders and experts in some lessons, where appropriate.

Geography

  • Year 8 & 9 most able pupils work on separate schemes of work for short periods of time. These are based on AS level standard topics (population, tectonics, and coastlines) and are aimed to enhance vocabulary and technical understanding of the most able pupils.
  • Most able pupils plan and lead Geography lessons in French.

History

  • A level resources and text books are used with top set lesson (Years 8-11) to enhance their vocabulary and broaden their historical knowledge.
  • Strategy games club after school.
  • Sixth form students are encouraged to submit essays to national competitions.
  • Year 13 Personal Enquiry. Pupils use a selection of degree-level text books to enhance their research skills in preparation for undergraduate historical research at university.
  • Sixth form students are used as learning mentors in lower school lessons.
  • Most able pupils are recommended websites and books to look at in order to enhance and broaden their knowledge.
  • Specific activities incorporated into Curriculum Enrichment and Activities day to target the History most able pupils. Examples include debates and mock parliament discussions alongside visits to museums and exhibitions.

PE

  • Key Stage 3, most able pupils take part in a leadership programme, taking warm ups or teaching small practical sessions to other members of their class.
  • Most able pupils take part in judging, umpiring and refereeing other school based sporting events including the Year 8 summer sports & Year 9 Inter-house winter sports events and SSCO primary school leader (Year 9).
  • After school Clubs in a variety of different sporting disciplines, most able pupils encouraged and invited to attend clubs to push ability.
  • Most able pupils encouraged to attend county and district trials and sporting events.
  • We enter teams and fixtures in a wide range of sports at district, county and national level to push our most  able pupils.

Modern Foreign Languages

  • French and Spanish are from Year 8 to most able to encourage dual linguists.
  • Conversation classes at lunchtimes.
  • Grade 8 and 9 Year 8 and above have “STAR” books with extension language and tasks.
  • The most able students lead bilingual lessons in other subjects, in French.
  • STAR texts are available in every Key Stage 3. These are independent translation tasks with glossed new language.
  • Basic TOPCAT designed at bronze, silver and gold levels in order to direct the most able pupils to the most complex and structure.
  • In every KS3 module, independent questions are included for grade 8 and 9 to attempt, using their prior knowledge. This is beyond the taught language.
  • In KS4, almost all objectives have Grade 6 and Grade 8 differentiated language in addition to the core learning.
  • In KS5, Oxbridge style weekly tutorial with our specialist Language Teaching Assistant for intensive speaking practice and language intervention.
  • Latin and Greek are and other clubs on demand are available for the most able students in addition to French and Spanish.
  • Asia Club for all.

Maths

  • The most able pupils take part in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust’s individual Maths Challenge at junior, intermediate and senior level.
  • Year 8 and 9 pupils work in teams of 4 to prepare for the Mathematics competitions run by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust which take place off site against teams from other schools.
  • A team of Year 12 and 13 students take part in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust’s Senior Group Challenge which take place off site against teams from other schools.
  • Year 10 pupils have the opportunity to take part in the Maths Feast competition, an event in which pupils work in groups of 4 to compete in rounds against teams from other schools and is organised by the Advances Mathematics Support Programme.

Music

  • There is a wide range of extracurricular activities at lunch time and after school.
  • Individual instrumental lessons are available (piano, strings, woodwind, brass, drum kit, guitar).
  • Opportunities for pupils to perform in concerts and events throughout the year.

RE and Sociology

  • Sixth form receive peer led sessions as part of their normal lessons.
  • A level most able students are given an additional reading list to broaden their knowledge and understanding.
  • A great deal of emphasis is placed on developing thinking skills during lessons using P4C (Philosophy for Children) strategies. most able pupils are encouraged to focus on the more demanding aspects of these skills such as analysis and evaluation.
  • Discussion or research based activities are incorporated into lessons to encourage the more able to work independently.

Science

  • Use of GCSE and A Level content at Key Stage 3 to provide stretch and challenge for the most able in Years 7,8 & 9.
  • Guest speakers. Local scientists are invited into school to talk to pupils about aspects of their science career. Examples include doctors, dentists, radiographers, chemists and physicists from Sellafield, dietitians and vets.
  • Most Able Reading Scheme. There is a range of books available in the library that pupils will be encouraged to read; both fiction and nonfiction.
  • Lower school STEM events run by STEM ambassadors from Innovia, both in school and at the Research & Development centre at the factory.
  • Encourage Year 11 and 12/13 most able students to apply for Science bursaries based on their ability and potential to pursue Science related subjects at A Level or degree level. These are provided by the REACT Foundation.
  • A Level Chemistry and Physics students are involved in ‘real life’ research projects at Innovia. After producing a report and presentation on their work students can achieve a CREST gold award.
  • A Level students are encouraged to attend talks and seminars put on by distinguished scientists and lecturers in the local area.

Technology

  • Pupils of all abilities (inc. most able) have the opportunity to get involved in the following external events and competitions: The Arkwright scholarships for Engineering, Track 4X4 NAV challenge, Rotary Challenge for Key stage 3, React Foundation, and STEM activities.
  • Young Enterprise Club aimed at Key Stage 3 pupils.

Cross Curricular

  • International mentors: pupils have the opportunity to become international mentors who develop their leadership skills by helping with international activates and running Asia Club.
  • Weekly debating club is offered for pupils in KS3.