At de Stafford, we are committed to teaching in a way which positively challenges all students and enables them to reach their full potential. We look to provide effective learning opportunities across the curriculum both within the classroom and through our enrichment programme.
One way we achieve this is through our work with ‘most able’ students and high aspirers.
What does the term ‘most able’ mean?
Essentially, these are students who performed notably well at the end of KS2.
They are identified at the start of their time with us using their end of KS2 data (SATs) and another form of accredited, baseline testing (CATs) which we do in school here at the start of Year 7.
These students are flagged using the label ‘most able’. We monitor this cohort throughout their school career to ensure that we are doing all we can to support them to achieve their potential.
How do we support these students?
- Regular pastoral and progress meetings.
- Access to opportunities through partnerships, for example, with Reigate College and Caterham School.
- A wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. These include clubs as well as excursions and school trips. Many of the activities and clubs listed on the Enrichment timetable are open to all students but would be particularly beneficial for ‘most able’ students. A small number of activities are run on an invitation basis.
- Subject-specific signposting to further reading and opportunities for high challenge in lesson time.
- Raising aspirations. This is done by talking about college or university courses and careers where subjects are relevant. By having links with companies and people from different industries students can see and hear firsthand where their hard work gets them.
- Most crucially, we work to ensure that our teaching is engaging and challenging for all students. We are led by research into the most effective teaching strategies; we share best practice; and we are accountable for the progress of all our students. We work hard to promote and develop higher order thinking for all students.
How can I support my ‘most able’ / high aspiring child?
- Encourage your child to try new things and step out of their comfort zone. It is important to learn to fail in safe environment and learning new skills develops resilience and problem-solving.
- Encourage creative thinking and curiosity. For example, think of “I wonder..?” questions and explore the answers. For example: I wonder when it became legal to…; I wonder who first discovered that these ingredients make cake; I wonder who invented…; I wonder how that works…?
- Board games are great for strategic thinking.
- Support them to read around and research whatever they are studying that is of interest to them. There are many articles available on the internet. Their teacher should be able to signpost some good further reading for them if they are stuck.
- Encourage them to read for pleasure. Research shows that this is incredibly powerful.
- Ask them about what they are learning and challenge them to remember details. This process is great for making sure that what they learn sticks.
My child is very bright but is not on the ‘most able’ list. What are you doing to support them?
The opportunities we provide for our ‘most able’ cohort are open to all.
The ‘most able’ label is in many ways for internal monitoring: it allows us to track a certain group of students through their secondary education as a guide for how we are doing as a school. Any student who shows aptitude and a desire to stretch themselves will be positively challenged and supported to excel, regardless of how they performed at the end of KS2.