Posted by Iolanthe Rodman
When a school starts to look at what really works for ‘gifted and talented’ students, the temptation is to look for a quick fix or a set of requirements which, if implemented, will magically lead to effective provision for able students to attain the highest grades. In reality, schools that are really effective at getting the most out of all their students’ abilities start one step back from this and take as their starting point the purposes of education generally, the role of their school in maximising those abilities and how that relates to the students’ themselves.
Importantly, high achievement is only reached when the right opportunities are in place and when the individual student is confident and motivated enough to respond to them; this should be the case for all students.
Students are articulate and must be heard
If we are to maximise students’ abilities, we should listen to them discuss their learning. Their have views on their own learning and can help to shape the overall learning offer. This really works when these pupils are at the centre of the learning process taking responsibility for their learning. This is a personalised approach and in sharp contrast to the type of cohort led provision in which students are seen as being a homogeneous group with common needs and common issues. The overall requirements for the cohort which underpin this personalised approach are:
- Formal recognition of students’ abilities and talents
- Planned learning opportunities offering high levels of challenge on a daily basis
- Progress in learning in a way that reflects the stage of learning rather than the age of the pupil
- Access to enhanced learning opportunities offered outside of normal classroom provision
- To be seen as a child with social and emotional as well as intellectual needs