Challenging Our Most Able Students

Most able students at a mathematics enrichment activity at the University of Liverpool

At Ridgeway High School we believe in the importance of providing appropriate learning experiences for all students, regardless of ability.

We have a significant number of students who are most able in at least one area of the curriculum. Our planning ensures that these students are given appropriately challenging opportunities in the relevant subject area(s).

We therefore define being ‘most able’ as having the top average point scores at the end of years 7-9. These students are expected to strive to achieve the highest Attainment 8 scores.

Most-able students are identified through various sources of information including:

  • Initially through key stage 2 SATs
  • CAT data in year 7
  • Data input from all staff at each assessment point

Whole-school approaches for most-able students

In 2018 a gifted band was introduced into year 7. This consists of 22 students who were identified through KS2 and CAT data. The gifted band is taught by expert teachers who stretch and challenge students in every lesson. Students are also afforded the opportunity to take part in an extended learning project which requires them to work independently and read around a variety of topics.

Our most-able students benefit from smaller class sizes. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) suggests that the range of approaches a teacher can employ and the amount of attention each student will receive will increase, improving outcomes for students.

Ridgeway High School has a partnership with Edge Hill University and the most-able students in years 9 and 10 are part of their HE Futures Plus Programme. The HHE Futures Plus programme is an extended programme of outreach provided by Edge Hill University. It aims to support students in finding our more information about university, raising aspirations and encouraging them to identify their future selves.

In-class approaches for most-able students

Key strategies include:

  • The management of student groupings (whether mixed-ability or ability sets)
  • The provision of opportunities for most-able students to collaborate with others of the same ability
  • The mentoring and additional provision for most-able students
  • The provision of enrichment/reach tasks which develop learning
  • The development of independent learning through assessment for learning strategies to allow students to organise their own work, carry out tasks unaided, evaluate their work and become self-critical
  • The provision for most-able students in lesson planning
  • Encouraging students to strive to achieve 7-9 scores in all subjects at GCSE
  • Appropriate homework tasks
  • The use of digital technology

Out-of-class activities for most able students

The following activities are offered on a regular basis and, although they sometimes benefit all students, they are particularly apt for those who have potential in certain areas as they provide opportunities to practise and extend their skills further:

  • Charter Days
  • Visits to FE and HE
  • Residential experiences, including in the UK and abroad
  • House competitions
  • School clubs
  • Musical, drama and sporting activities
  • National competitions
  • Mentoring by specialist staff
  • Relevant work experience
  • Year 10/11 Saturday School
  • Futures events
  • Futures Fair
  • Walking Talking Mocks
  • Year 11 most-able tutor group