At Portishead Primary School we understand that all children, including the more able pupils, require support and challenge in their learning in order to make progress and reach their full potential. We strongly believe that engaging teaching and learning for all is the key to securing achievement for every child. Through our teaching and activities the more able pupils are given a wide variety of exciting challenges and experiences, developing the ability to question, explain, persevere, communicate their thoughts and take risks in their learning whilst building relationships.
What is a more able pupil?
At Portishead Primary School we use the term more able pupils to refer to children who are working above our expected outcomes in one or more areas of the curriculum or displaying a particular ability in a specific area.
More able pupils may display characteristics such as:
- Intently focused
- Asks insightful questions and has a curiosity
- Imaginative, providing creative and original solutions
- Rapid learner
- Learns a new skill easily and readily
- Shows initiative
- Able to apply their learning to other areas and solve problems
However, all children are unique individuals and this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean a child is necessarily more able if they display some of these features.
How do we identify more able pupils?
Methods of identifying more able pupils are varied. We recognise that using only one method may be insufficient therefore we gather as much information about individual pupils as possible. These may include:
- Teacher assessment
- Observation and assessment
- Data tracking and formal assessment
- Consulting with professionals such as Sports Coaches
- Parent information
- Through curriculum opportunities eg open-ended tasks, problem solving, creative challenges
More able pupils will be identified twice a year in terms 3 and 6. We expect children will be added to and taken off the more able register at different times as they develop and change during their time at school.
How do we provide for more able pupils in the classroom?
All of our pupils are expected to ‘Learn without limits’. There is an ethos that we can and we will achieve and exceed expectations. Our teaching is:
- ü Child-centred, valuing and utilising pupils’ own interests and learning styles;
- ü Establishes what pupils can already do or have already done so that we are not wasting time repeating previous learning;
- ü Encourages children to use a variety of stimuli, ideas and resources;
- ü Fosters a climate of problem solving, debate and risk taking;
- ü Provides a challenging learning environment which allows pupils to question and access higher order thinking skills;
- ü Promotes and celebrates creativity and original thinking;
- ü Encourages children to challenge themselves and discuss their own learning
What role do parents play in supporting more able pupils?
We aim to work in partnership with the parents of our more able learners. We recognise that parental input is hugely influential in children displaying a positive attitude to their learning and achieving more in school. Parents have a vast amount of information about their child and are encouraged to share this with the school where they feel it is appropriate. We welcome the opportunity to celebrate children’s achievements of things taking place out of the school environment.
To further support your more able child at home you may like to:
- Encourage your child to ask questions and find out the answers together;
- Support the development of imagination as much as the pursuit of knowledge;
- Let your child experiment and accept that making mistakes is part of the process of improving;
- Foster a love of reading by giving access to a wide variety of books;
- Provide resources to support learning at home such as the internet, books, maps;
- Use the local area to provide a broad range of experiences eg visiting museums, galleries, sports events;
- Arrange experiences with children who share interests in a similar area to your child;
- Finally, allow your child to play, relax and enjoy being a child!
The following are some ideas for family based enrichment activities which may support your child:
- Play Scrabble or Boggle together
- Invent 10 new uses for a household item
- Plan the itinerary for your next holiday, researching places on the internet
- Involve your child in writing letters and emails questioning or supporting local issues
- Record ‘a day in the life of’ your family using video or digital photography
- Investigate the family tree
- Discuss a favourite TV programme and create a new plot
- Condense well known stories into twenty words
- Solve crossword puzzles, anagrams and Sudoku puzzles together or construct one for others to solve
- Play strategy games like chess
The websites below may offer some extra support and advice.
www.nagcbritain.org.uk National Association for Gifted Children offer a wide range of advice for parents/carers.
www.nace.co.uk offer a range of publications
www.aquila.co.uk This organisation publish a fun magazine for lively minded children aged 8-13