At Woodside Junior School, our aim is to provide excellent teaching and an outstanding learning experience for all our pupils. We recognise that more able pupils need access to excellent teaching with challenge, depth and an enriched experience which allows them to develop as fully well-rounded individuals.
Although there is no set definition of the terms ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’, these are terms used in schools to describe children who have developed one or more ability significantly beyond what is expected for their age (or have the potential to do so).
'More Able / Gifted' refers to a child who has abilities in one or more academic subject, such as English or maths. However, we recognise that some more able children can struggle in other ways (for example learning to read).
‘Talented' refers to a child who has skills in a practical or creative area such as music, sport or art.
More Able, Gifted and Talented pupils can be identified at any age or stage of their time with us. Children develop at different rates as they progress through school. Intelligence is not static and different factors can affect children’s development.
Class Teachers, extra-curricular teachers, specialist teachers, club leaders (including outside school), parents and pupils themselves may identify areas of strength and identify pupils who are more able, gifted or talented.
All pupils, including More Able, Gifted and Talented pupils, receive excellent teaching and a range of opportunities to extend and challenge them as part of the Woodside experience. Planning a range of engaging learning opportunities, that includes a differentiated curriculum, is an important way of ensuring an appropriate pace and level. Challenge is an important feature of teaching and learning at Woodside. The development of critical thinking skills and independent learning is enhanced through lesson design as well as our development of growth-mindset and our school values. Enrichment and extension are an important part of curriculum planning.
Examples of Support at Woodside
Bebras is an international initiative aiming to promote Informatics (Computer Science or Computing) and computational thinking among school students at all ages. Every child has the opportunity to take part in the initiative and then those who score highly are supported to go further onto the next stages of the competition.
At Woodside all our maths lessons are differentiated to challenge every child at their level. The most able are challenged and extended using a variety of additional targeted resources (Maths in Motion, Brain Academy) and well as being given the opportunity to attend enrichment days and competitions at other local schools. We also benefit greatly from being able to access a wealth of mathematical knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm from a volunteer who works regularly in some classes with our more able mathematicians.
At Woodside we believe music has an important role to play in enriching learning. For able musicians and those wishing to develop their talent, we have peripatetic music teachers from Bucks Learning Trust, who provide weekly tutoring at Woodside. Singers are invited to join our school choir, who meet weekly and have opportunities to perform throughout the year.
If we recognise a musically talented child, we invite them to perform during school assemblies to develop their confidence, and they may also bring their own instrument to whole class music lessons. To develop musical ability we encourage parents to contact the Amersham Music Centre, part of Bucks Learning Trust, who provide opportunities for children to participate in a variety of musical groups and attend musical events.
To contact the Amersham Music Centre directly, telephone: 01494 586530, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our regular use of professional sports coaches enables us to deliver a range of sports at a high level. Often these coaches will identify more able pupils and are able to signpost them towards clubs and centres where their talents and skills can be further developed.
Additionally, children who compete at county and national levels, regularly share achievements and medals in assembly.
Science lessons are differentiated to stretch and challenge the more able. They are encouraged to understand and use scientific vocabulary, design investigations, make plausible predictions and apply their mathematical knowledge to look for patterns in the results.
Pupils from Year 5 & 6 are given the opportunity to attend the ‘Big Bang’ enrichment days, which is a programme based around exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) activities.
Parents can support in the following ways:
Notice changes in their development and discuss these with your child’s teacher.
Support children with their school work or extra-curricular learning.
Guide their learning - perhaps by ensuring they learn about a wide range of subjects and read a range of books.
Feed their enthusiasm - arranging visits to places of interest to help them develop their love of a particular subject (art, music, animals, science).
Above all, encourage their love of learning as this is perhaps the most important lesson you can teach them.
More Able, Gifted and Talented pupils can often expect perfection in themselves and can find it difficult to cope when they get something wrong. Encourage your child to stay positive when they make a mistake and learn from it rather than see it as failure.
Parents are welcome to speak to their child’s class teacher and any senior members of staff about their child’s abilities and progress.
The following organisations can support parents of pupils who are More Able, Gifted and Talented: