Gifted & Talented
At Stewards Academy, we believe that all children are entitled to an education that will enable them develop their potential. We are committed to providing a sufficiently challenging curriculum for all of our pupils.
We define pupils who possess a general academic learning ability that is significantly greater than their peers as ‘Able and Gifted’, and those pupils who show an exceptional talent in a practical area such as Art, Music, PE, Dance & Drama are recognised as ‘Talented’. Additionally, we are now looking at and acknowledging pupils who exhibit strong leadership skills, have a creative imagination and show social maturity.
In 2011, Stewards was visited by the *National Programme Director for Gifted and Talented and Education to examine the provision for Able Gifted and Talented young people and to accredit the work we were doing. This involved meeting staff, parents and governors, observing lessons and talking to many students. As a result, Stewards exceeded the requirements for leading practice and became a Lead School for Gifted and Talented, recognising expertise, not only within the school, but also in terms of outreach work in support of other schools.
‘There is an ethos of aiming high that is shared by staff (who want to be outstanding teachers) and pupils who want achieve’. (*Carol Singh, National Strategies 2011).
The Academy has maintained a successful partnership with universities under the Widening Participation Scheme, offering an insight into life and experiences for students from families with no previous experience of a university education. In addition, we continue to be successful in obtaining places at university summer schools providing fantastic opportunities for students to experience a taster of university life during residential stays.
HOW IS MY CHILD IDENTIFIED AS GIFTED AND TALENTED?
You may have been told by your child’s previous school that they were on the Gifted and Talented register, but many of you may have not been aware. No one method of identification can be entirely accurate, therefore we endeavour to obtain as much information as we can about individual pupils. We gather and use the following information:
· Information from primary schools
· Internal and external assessment and testing i.e. SATs and CATs data.
· Staff nomination by subject area.
· Parental Interviews.
Parents have a vital role in their children’s development including the encouragement to read, an introduction to new and stimulating experiences, and the opportunity to have access to their own space in which to experiment and develop interests in their own time. It should be remembered that perhaps the greatest influence on any child is that of their home circumstances.
Some of the following areas may allow you to make a tentative judgement about a child’s potential:
• Thinking skills: e.g. developing faster intellectually than would be expected of children at that age; quick and accurate recall; understanding of abstract concepts.
• Motor abilities: e.g. early awareness of left and right; ability to put together new or difficult puzzles; ability to make interesting shapes or patterns.
• Speech/language skills: e.g. Early comprehension; ability to modify language as appropriate; advanced vocabulary.
• Social skills: e.g. bringing their experience to their play; leadership skills; early interest in social issues.
• Emotional and behavioural characteristics, e.g. very sensitive, intense and responsive; perfectionist; non conformity.
Advice on Identification and Assessment:
We realise that success in school and in life is not down to ‘ability’ alone. We know that self-confidence and self-belief, determination, willingness to work hard and personal motivation are very important. Opportunities to find out what you are good at, to know what future opportunities are available, and the encouragement and support of others are also vital. Stewards are committed to ensuring that your child is given every opportunity to reach their full potential.
Research shows that good links between parents and school improve their enjoyment and chances of doing well. The more you know about what your child is learning, the more you can offer support.
PROVISION FOR ABLE, GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS.
Stewards is committed to providing a whole school approach and a whole school understanding of how to meet the needs of Able, Gifted and Talented pupils. We seek to create a climate where achievements of all are valued and success is celebrated. This commitment is an intrinsic part of the Teaching and Learning Policy and is reflected in all policies of the school.
We encourage a ‘growth’ mindset and believe that intelligence is not fixed, and with this in mind, we recommend that all pupils seize the opportunity to become involved in the extensive number of clubs and events that go on within school. Unless something new is tried and practised it is difficult to identify a flair for it.
Celebrations of success of our high achievers are seen in assemblies and ceremonies and include prize giving that acknowledge abilities and achievements as well as activities of those who demonstrate a particular talent or ability in an area outside the curriculum. The policies adopted are culturally and socially inclusive. Displays of photographs from the many visits undertaken and of pupils’ work can be viewed in public areas of school where they can be appreciated by staff, students and visitors alike.
The provision supporting Able, Gifted and Talented pupils is the responsibility of all staff and includes the principles of equality of opportunity.
GIFTED AND TALENTED STAFF TEAM MEMBERS
• Miss T O’Neill - Coordinator/Assistant Headteacher.
• Mrs H Sherwood – Lead Teacher/Head of Sociology/PSHE
• Mr G Cooper – Student Mentor/Guidance Officer.
Please feel free to contact the school either by phone or preferably email to Mr Cooper with any concerns or questions you may have.
GCSE Results Day:
We were delighted to receive our best ever GCSE results this summer with over 50% of students achieving 5 or more A*- C including English and Maths, and over 80% with 5 or more A*- C grades. There were outstanding individual performances including all the students pictured here. Congratulations to the outgoing Year 11, to staff for their hard work, and to parents for their support. We have now raised the bar and look forward to another very good year in 2012-13.
Support Evening for Parents of pupils in Years 7 and 8 Wednesday 17th October:
This evening was very well attended and the audience had the opportunity to listen to the views of pupils George Strachan, from Year 10 and Ellie Thompson from Year 11 (both of whom are part of the Gifted and Talented cohort). The pupils talked about the many opportunities that there are to get involved in and to challenge themselves here at Stewards. They also mentioned the importance of reading and how this has helped them in their English oral examinations.
Mrs Sherwood gave a presentation that revolved around her work as a GCSE examiner and Advanced Skills Teacher for Literacy within school. Her message was to really focus on the development of communication skills and to get involved in reasoned arguments, weighing up pros, cons and consequences.
Mr Cooper spoke about being prepared for the future and encouraged students to start thinking about option choices and prospective careers.
All in all, the theme was about pupils achieving their best through a partnership between pupils, parents, and Stewards staff.
Many thanks to all who attended and participated, and we look forward to working with you in the future.
Support Evening for Parents of pupils in Years 9 and 10, Tuesday 4th December
The evening was extremely well attended and the audience was welcomed by Miss Terry O'Neill, the Assistant Headteacher and Gifted and Talented Team Coordinator.
Miss O'Neill gave an overview of the Gifted and Talented provision at Stewards Academy, designed to stretch and challenge those students identified to be supported, to perform to the extent of their potential.
Two of our current Year 11 students spoke, Dennis Perry and Aiden Warwick. Head Boy Dennis told us how he felt he had 'coasted' in his earlier years at Stewards, but had been inspired to strive to be the best he could and has now raised his expectations to include A*s, which he is dtermined to achieve, and is relishing the additional resonsibility and pride his position has given him.
Aiden is determined to go on to a Russell Group university in due course, and has carried out his research of the subjects and grades required. This investigation into his future plans has shown him the importance of starting early as he now realises that his original thoughts on proposed subjects may have been incorrect.
We were pleased to welcome back ex pupil Sharon Schirra, who left Stewards in the Summer to begin her A Levels at rhe Herts and Essex 6th Form in Bishop's Stortford. Sharon spokeof the benefits of being part of the Gifted and Talented National Challenge Group, meeting weekly for breakfast sessions of discussion and mutual support. Sharon told us 'how it was' and gave a real indication of the dedication needed to meet the demands of an A Level course but furthermore, how she was enjoying the challenge of continuing her learning.
Stewards has recently formed a partnership with other academies in Harlow and which includes the 6th Form of St Mark's West Essex Catholic School. Mr Taylor and Mr Bendall, representing St Marks, explained the benefits of a good education through A Levels and onto university, including higher expectation of income, greater likelihood of employment and even of life expectancy. St Marks have again improved their A Level performance this year with another increase in the percentage of their students going onto university. The new partnership is seen as an opportunity to take the best of all the schools and to continue the pastoral care that is important to all.
Steward's English teachers, Mr Greenaway and Mr Nestor gave a briefing about the importance of reading and discussion, and the new iGCSE examination.
The Careers and Work Related Learning Team consisting of Mr Harman, Mrs Hampstead, and Mr Cooper delivered items relating to 'Preparation for the Future'. Mr Harman explained the new Raising of the Participation Age in schools, which now affects all school leavers, and who must now stay in education or training, or employment with training, until the age of 18. He also covered the entry requirements to further education opportunities and the guidance and support that is available from the team. Mrs Hampstead explained the importance of the Work Experience programme which is offered at the end of Year 10 and the need for prompt and accurate completion of associated letters and applications. Mr Cooper outlined the Information, Advice and Guidance delivered thriough Key Stages 3 and 4, as well as explaining the importance of collating items of achievement for student's Personal Portfolios.
Mrs Sherwoood is a GCSE Examiner for Sociology, an Advanced Skills Teacher and Lead Teacher for Gifted and Talented. She involved the audience in some exercises linked to her role as Sociology teacher which everyone enjoyed as a taster of the types of challenges that students meet in her classes and examinations.
Parents were given Support Packs linked to the evening's contributions, and responses indicated that it had been an important, and hugely informative event, highlighting the Gifted and Talented provision atr Stewards Academy.
• The National Association for Gifted Children, www.nagcbritain.co.uk
• The DCSF website for parents, www.parentcentre.gov.uk
• www.gridclub.com, lots of ideas to support able pupils.
• www.bbc.co.uk/schools (Look at for touch typing, Science and revision).