At Birch Copse Primary School, we believe each pupil is entitled to a curriculum, which extends knowledge, skills and understanding and develops independent learning.
The West Berkshire LA Policy Statement on the more able child says:
"We should offer to every child challenges leading to the highest standards of personal achievement through recognition of individual needs according to ability and aptitude. Our aim is to develop the potential of all pupils whatever their abilities and talents. By doing this it develops their self-esteem and raises the general standards of the whole group. Helping the able child in early life will benefit us all in the future as they bring the benefits of these talents to the whole community later in their lives."
What do we mean by the more able child?
More able, gifted and talented children are those with a particular need because of their high ability in one or more aspects of school life. This constitutes about 20% of children at school, including 2% who are exceptionally able.
More able and exceptionally able children should be identified at an early age. There is an assumption that 'more able' refers only to academic ability however we recognise that this is not always the case. We also understand that whilst developing the talents of the more able child in a specific domain there should also be regard for developing the 'whole person'.
At Birch Copse, a child can be recognised as being more able in many different areas. It can be recognised as a strength in a whole subject or a specific skill. A child may be identified as more able in the following areas:
- Physically talented
- Artistic talent
- High intelligence
- Personal and social skills
Methods of identification
There is a range of methods that can be used as no single approach can be completely accurate and this will also depend on the individual 'talent' or ability of the child. Therefore it is important to build up an evidence base from a range of sources. At Birch Copse, these sources can include:-
- Individual or collective teacher nomination
- Use of checklists
- Head teacher recognition
- Curriculum specialist identification
- Information from previous teacher/school
- Parental nomination through parent/ teacher discussions and end of year form
- Testing and teacher assessment
In our school there is a range of formal tests and assessments that can be used to assess academic ability.
How can parents/carers support their Able child?
- Encourage your child to ask questions and answer them fully and honestly.
- Admit to uncertainty when you do not have a full answer.
- Encourage fantasy and imagination as much as the pursuit of knowledge.
- Encourage experimentation, showing that failure in this context is no disgrace.
- Give your child the opportunity to evaluate their own work and behaviour.
- Encourage the expression of fears and anxieties and discuss these supportively.
- Share play but also make room for solitary play/hobbies.
- Encourage contentment with incomplete knowledge and understanding.
- Allow open discussion but do not give up responsibility for making decisions.
- Allow discussion of all subjects and encourage personal decision-making when appropriate.
- Use adult language structures and vocabulary in conversation.
- Beware of pressurising your child.
- Encourage your child to recognise that performance will always differ according to circumstances/subject, etc and that this is ok.
- Give the emotional support for your child to feel good about being different.
- Encourage tact, tolerance and understanding of others without similar abilities.
- Use community facilities (e.g. museums, galleries, concert halls, sport venues) to give opportunities for your child to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.
- Encourage the love of reading by giving access to a wide variety of books.
- Where possible give your child access to educational games to allow the development of a broad range of skills and talents.
- Try to arrange contact with other more able children and with adults who have expertise in any area where your child shows signs of aptitude
Miles Tunnicliffe - 2010