The Welsh Assembly Government has adopted the phrase ‘More Able and Talented’ to describe pupils who “require opportunities for enrichment and extension that go beyond those provided for the general cohort of pupils…the term ‘more able and talented’ encompasses pupils who are more able across the curriculum as well as those who show talent in one or more specific areas and strengths in leadership, team working and entrepreneurial skills.” (WAG, Meeting the Challenge, 2007)
Why have some children been identified as More Able and Talented?
All Students on entry to the school take C.A.T (Cognitive Abilities Test) when they start at the school in Year 7. This test assesses a range of skills, including vocabulary, problem solving and working with numbers. Those who achieved a score of 120 or above have been included on the school’s register of More Able and Talented Learners. Additionally, some pupils who achieved a score of just below 120 have been included on the register on the recommendation of teachers. Some pupils have been added to the register following their GCSE or AS results. Students who display talents and interests in the Arts, practical subject and sports have also been identified. Since 2009, Fischer Family Trust data has be used, combined with recommendations from teachers.
How many children have been identified as More Able and Talented?
In line with the recommendation of the Welsh Assembly Government, approximately 20% of the year group have been identified as More Able and Talented. In Crickhowell High School this is significantly higher at around 30%.
What does the school provide for children who are More Able and Talented?
The school will support your child in two main ways: in day-to-day teaching within the classroom and in activities outside it.
In lessons, teachers will ensure that your child is sufficiently challenged by devising extra learning activities which enable your child to utilise, practise and extend his/her talents. These activities will not simply be ‘more of the same’, but something distinctive. For example, a research project might be set on a particular topic. Teachers will also ensure that they ask more searching and challenging questions in order to test and extend your child’s understanding of what is being studied. At other times, your child may be grouped together with other More Able and Talented learners and given different or more challenging work. Some subjects, for example Mathematics and English organise pupils into ability sets. The intention is not to increase your child’s workload or to ‘pile on the pressure’, but to challenge and stimulate.
Outside normal lessons, several Curriculum Areas organise or facilitate extra-curricular activities for the More Able and Talented, for example the ‘Maths Challenge’, trips to the Hay Literary Festival and the opportunity for more able linguists to study 3 languages.
As a parent, what can I do to support my child?
There are many practical steps that you can take to support and nurture your child, for example by encouraging him/her to:
- Utilise the local library and the internet as learning and research resources
- Visit museums, science centres, nature reserves and art galleries
- Watch educational and current affairs programmes such as the news, wildlife/nature programmes and documentaries, and discuss them
- Read a quality national newspaper
- Discuss and debate topics, such as politics, the environment and the media
- Discuss homework and schoolwork
- Take part in extra-curricular activities
- Take an active part in family decision-making
- Listen to different types of music
- Read for pleasure, including demanding/challenging books
- Take regular physical exercise
- Socialise and relax in between work and learn to ‘switch off’
You can also support your child by:
Providing suitable learning resources such as books, encyclopaedias, magazines, computer software etc.
Organising day trips and visits to places of cultural, historical and educational interest
Building cultural experiences, trips and excursions into family holidays
What can I do to help the school support my child?
As a parent, you are the most constant and important factor in your child’s development. You, better than anyone else, know your child and you may feel that the school is ‘missing something’. If there is anything that you feel we need to know – for example, about ‘hidden abilities’ that your child may have which you think are not being catered for properly – please inform us. Parents, teachers – and, most importantly, children – all benefit from close school-parent liaison.
Where can I find further support, information and advice?
http://www.nagcbritain.org.uk/parents.php – contains much useful information and advice on how you, as a parent, can support your child.