At Birch Copse Primary School, we believe each pupil is entitled to a curriculum which extends knowledge, skills and understanding and develops independent learning. We aim to offer to every child a level of challenge that leads 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 and by doing this, to develop their self-esteem and raise the general standards of the whole group.
What do we mean by High Potential Learners?
Birch Copse has taken the decision to use the term High Potential Learners (HPL) to describe the children whom we support, instead of the word 'gifted' or 'gifted and talented' or 'more able' or 'very able'; which are all terms that have been used in schools and the media in the past. We use the term “High Potential Learner” to mean those pupils who are capable of excelling academically in a wide range of subjects such as English, drama or technology. It also refers to those pupils who may excel in practical skills such as sports, leadership and artistic performance. A child could be identified as a High Potential Learner across many areas of the curriculum or within a specific subject or area. Some children are very significantly advanced in their cognitive abilities, setting them even more apart from other children their age. The characteristics and difficulties associated with high learning potential children will be even more extreme in children who are exceptionally or profoundly gifted.
Exceptionally gifted children are those with cognitive abilities in the top 0.1% of the population (or one in 1000)
Profoundly gifted children are those with cognitive abilities in the top 0.03% of the population (or one in 3333)
The identification of High Potential Leaners at Birch Copse is an ongoing process. Each year, teachers will be provided with two dedicated opportunities to discuss pupils and make amendments to the register. However, updates are not only restricted to these times and changes can be influenced by people beyond the teaching staff.
We use a variety of evidence to discover the strengths and talents of our learners. Effective identification is the first step to appropriate provision. Parents will be informed of their child’s abilities in an informal capacity, usually within the context of the termly parent/teacher discussions where the class teacher can discuss the range of opportunities available to develop individual potential and ability.
Methods of identification
All children are different, but it has been shown that many High Potential Learners share common characteristics because of their advanced thinking ability. Examples of these characteristics are detailed in our High Potential Learners policy. At Birch Copse, we use a range of methods to identify High Potential Learners eg:
Observation prior to, and once enrolled at Birch Copse Parent/Carer
- Peer nomination
- Self nomination
- Nomination by others
Strategies for supporting and challenging High Potential Learners
Able pupils have a range of needs and we should aim to provide a challenging curriculum throughout education. This is achieved through a variety of strategies:
- Individual Challenge Plans
The Class Teacher will plan a variety of opportunities for High Potential Learners. They will employ a range of teaching styles and create a stimulating learning environment. Planning for these pupils on the classroom should not always be seen as an extra task for the child. Work can be differentiated; extension opportunities identified and higher order skills (Blooms Taxonomy) developed in order to provide suitably challenging learning. Staff will obtain additional resources as appropriate and seek advice if necessary. Pupils may benefit from initiatives such as ability grouping across one or more class/year groups.
The school as a whole will provide extra curricular activities and curriculum initiatives to extend and develop the potential of the child.
As a school, we encourage positive parental involvement in a child's education. This can be used to support and extend more able pupils through:
- Parents working alongside individuals and groups
- Encouraging their child to join external organisations
- Continuing the home-school partnership, helping and encouraging children with homework and school related tasks
Please view our High Potential Learners policy here.