Challenging All Students

Challenging all students.            ‘More able and talented cohorts.’

A St Joseph’s Catholic high school, we believe that children can be ‘more able’ or ‘talented’ at academia, sports, the arts, languages or other significant skills.

In line with our school ethos, we recognise and value children’s individual development in all areas and work with individual children and their parents to enable them to reach their maximum potential according to their needs. This includes those who are more able and this personalised agenda is at the heart of our learning and teaching.

Through consultation with parents, staff, children and governors, we have developed the following two simple definitions for our work with more able children.

More able children are those who possess a high level of academic ability across a single or a wide range of subjects above national peer expectation.

Talented children demonstrate exceptional ability in a particular curricular or extra-curricular area. For example: performing arts, sporting achievements or music. Talents such as leadership, creative imagination, problem solving and social maturity should also be acknowledged.

At the beginning of every academic year, we review all children in school to identify those who are ‘more able’ and separately those we would identify as ‘Talented.’ We, as a staff team, use the above definitions to identify children for the more academic subjects and let parents and children know how we will support them through the year.
At this initial stage, we write to all parents seeking any information that they may have that would identify their child which school would benefit to be aware of, for example a sport, drama or music achievement outside of the curriculum. Staff throughout the school will use the resulting list to ensure children are challenged and stretched with additional opportunities being offered and incorporated into the curriculum, meeting individual children’s needs.

In order to take into consideration, the children’s thoughts and opinions around the subject of the ‘more able’ we include questions in the annual pupil survey.

Curriculum:

We endeavour to deliver a curriculum that will enable learners to develop their full potential, be that intellectual, physical, aesthetical, creative, emotional, spiritual or social, finding appropriate challenge in our learning environment.

In all subjects across the school, we aim to ensure that talented students achieve the highest levels of attainment and make exceptional progress in their time here by:

We do not have a set list of the activities that support ‘more able’ and talented children as we aim to be creative in meeting their individual needs, however below are some typical ways in which children’s needs can be met:

  • Quality first teaching, ensuring that teaching and activities in lessons is matched to children’s needs
  • Small group work in lesson time with a teach
  • Individual pupil challenge work in lesson time
  • Small focused groups with Teaching assistants, focused on higher order skills
  • Sign posting children and parents to extra-curricular activities
  • Promote clubs and external groups within school
  • Link to outreach events with other schools and colleges and universities
  • Buddying children and classes throughout the school where appropriate
  • Paired reading events across all years.
  • Current projects

There are currently some exciting projects occurring within the school aimed at and involving ‘more able’ learners:

Year 7

Buddy schemes to help year 7 settle into secondary school life and paired reading takes places weekly with the year 11 prefects.

Year 8

Mock Court trails competition: Mock Trials are an effective way of helping young people understand how the legal system works. Teams of school students in years eight and nine go head to head in local Magistrates’ Courts.

Year 9

Dragon’s Den Project :
Talented learners have been given the opportunity to set up their own business. It encourages learners to develop their thinking, problem solving and leadership skills. The design could potentially be funded through a local business if this is good enough.

Mock Court trails competition: Mock Trials are an effective way of helping young people understand how the legal system works. Teams of school students in years eight and nine go head to head in local Magistrates’ Courts.

Links with the Universities of Newcastle and Cumbria.

We have links and educational excursions with the above universities to provide and form aspirational career paths for students.

Years 10

Dragon’s Den Project :
Talented learners have been given the opportunity to set up their own business. It encourages learners to develop their thinking, problem solving and leadership skills. The design could potentially be funded through a local business if this is good enough.

Year 11-13

University links. Careers events and mock interviews preparing students for the work of work.

Whole School:

Jeff club: ‘Jesus everlasting faithful followers group. Meeting weekly.

School council
This society meets weekly to discuss philosophical and topical issues. The council encourages learners to develop their public speaking skills and to form coherent arguments.

Lego club. This club meets weekly each Wednesday.

Newspaper club and BBC News school report:

Giving G&T students from Year 7-13 leadership roles and the ability to take part in creating a termly newspaper about topics which they are passionate about. To also encourage students wishing to follow this career path develop their passion and understanding of media.

Catch up Homework club:

Allowing students to develop their organisational skills, as well as their study skills, in a fun and challenging environment.

Reward systems and praise for the ‘more able’ cohorts:

Paired reading with year 7,8,9 and Year 11 prefects. KS3 groups read with a year 11 prefect to better their reading skills and comprehension.

More able prefects are appointed based upon their contributions to school life.

Library monitors help out daily to ensure the library runs smoothly and productively.