More Able And Talented Learners at Aberdare Community School

Aberdare Community School has high expectations of all its pupils, and recognises that all have a right to an appropriate level of challenge as a part of their curriculum of opportunity. Accordingly, those pupils identified as being More Able and those who are Talented have a right to an enriched and/or extended curriculum which is integral to their programmes of study, and which is a part of the school’s drive to raise standards for all its pupils.

Definition/s of More Able and Talented

Ability and talent manifest themselves in many different ways, whether through traditionally academic, creative, practical or social activities and pupils may be identified across the board according to the distinctive skills and talents that they demonstrate over and above the norm. The Welsh Government’s chosen term of ‘More Able and Talented’ encompasses both pupils who exhibit a wide spectrum of abilities throughout the curriculum, and those who show talent in one or more specific areas. The Welsh Government sees these definitions covering approximately 20% of the school population. This policy recognises, however, that evidence of significant ability or talent may be fluid, and that pupils may be identified later in their school careers, or equally be felt no longer to represent an ability or talent over that shown by their peers.

The Most and More Able tend to be located as having skills across the curriculum for example in core subjects whilst some pupils have more specific talents in one or more areas, such as drama, music, sport or art.

Aberdare Community School recognises that each one of our learners has talents and skills which we aim to identify and nurture. It is our priority to develop the individual needs of all learners and an important extension of the aims, policies and ethos of the school is to recognise the needs of More Able and Talented learners and develop strategies for the identification, support and challenge of such learners.

The Welsh Assembly Government defines the More Able and Talented in the following terms: “There should be flexible provision for learners requiring enrichment and support in order to achieve their full potential. This provision should raise their aspirations and achievement by developing their:

  • Ability to learn
  • Range of knowledge
  • Core skills, e.g. problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Specific talents

The curriculum takes into account the needs of MAT learners through differentiation, extension and enrichment and this is built in to schemes of work in all curriculum areas. The recognition of and support given by the school to the pastoral needs of MAT learners will be of particular importance.”

Aberdare Community School aims:

  • To implement strategies for the identification of most & more able pupils and those identified as having specific talents;
  • To analyse attainment data, harness subject-specific professional judgements, and address self, peer and parental identification to support the identification of MAT pupils;
  • To analyse identified pupils against LAC and FSM data, and by gender to address under-representation;
  • To ensure that curricular and extra-curricular provision meets the needs of MAT pupils;
  • To facilitate the tracking of progress and monitoring of outcomes of identified MAT pupils against school, LA, predictive and national data by Departments, Pastoral leaders and Key Stage co-ordinators;
  • To support cross-phase transition of MAT pupils;
  • To support a culture of celebration in academic, sporting, musical, technological, artistic and social endeavour;
  • To ensure consistency of provision across all curriculum areas.

More Able and Talented Identification

It is recognised that talent and ability are diverse and that identification needs to be on-going via a cyclical process of review. It is important that the school uses a variety of identification strategies, both formal and informal, to identify MAT pupils. It is also essential that such identification is objective and informed, and both formal or informal.

The school will identify MAT learners from the following sources:

  • Teacher recommendation
  • Parents
  • Primary school recommendations
  • Prior knowledge of learners, identified during transition discussions
  • Records of effort and achievement, e.g. interim grades and reports
  • National Curriculum levels
  • Screening information, e.g. CATS
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Formal assessments, including LNF, GCSE and A/S results
  • The full range of abilities and intelligences
  • Predictive data, e.g. FFT

General and subject specific checklists of characteristics of MAT learners are drawn up by curriculum areas. Each departmental area identifies a member of staff who is responsible for ALN/MAT pupils, within that subject area or section of the school or curriculum. Pupils are included if they have been recommended by curriculum areas.

Curriculum Provision

The provision of challenging activities in the classroom must be at the core of the educational offer that we make to MAT learners.

Every curriculum area is expected to develop schemes of work which incorporate suitable extension, enrichment and challenge for the more able and talented.

  • Differentiation by outcome, task or pace
  • Ability grouping
  • Extension and enrichment activities that offer challenge and rigour over and above the normal curriculum opportunities available to pupils
  • Extra curricular provision during the school day and outside of normal learning hours through visits and educational opportunities

In order to achieve these objectives, Aberdare Community School aims to create a learning culture which:

  • Values learners’ own interests and styles
  • Encourages independence and autonomy
  • Supports learning using own initiative
  • Encourages learners to be open to ideas and initiatives presented by others.
  • Encourages learners to reflect on the processes of their own learning and understand the factors that help them progress.

All departments will have identified strategies and provisions for the enrichment and support of those pupils it has identified as MAT. These will be integral to schemes of work and departmental policies and will be seen as a key part of learner-entitlement, monitored by a Focus Group via Key Stage audit. Lessons will be differentiated and coherent extension activities facilitated to support pupils’ development. Where appropriate, early-entry policies will facilitate pupils’ undertaking examination courses via a fast-track route and for some, curriculum opportunities will include additional subjects such as Astronomy. For those pupils identified as talented in Music, Art or an area of Sport, opportunities will be offered to rehearse, practise or train with appropriate professionals.

Extra-curricular opportunities for MAT learners

The school offers a wide range of experiences in its extra-curricular activities. While many of these activities are not exclusive to MAT learners, they include many opportunities to offer such learners extra challenge and stimulus. Extra-curricular activities include lunchtime clubs and educational visits. Additionally, some curriculum areas offer extension and enrichment activities beyond the normal curriculum.

As parents and carers you can support your child through:

  • Utilising the local library and the internet as a learning and research resource
  • Visiting museums, science centres, nature reserves and galleries
  • Watch educational and current affairs programmes such as the news, wildlife and nature programmes and documentaries and discuss them with your son or daughter
  • Reading quality newspapers
  • Discussing and debating topics, such as politics, the environment and the media and its impact on them and the world they live in
  • Discussing homework and the work that they are doing in school and the opportunities that they are having
  • Allowing your child to take part in educational excursions and out of hours activities
  • Attending and listening to a variety of drama, dance and musical artistic performances
  • Reading for pleasure including works that are more challenging and demanding
  • Ensuring quality relaxation time
  • Providing suitable learning resources such as books, encyclopaedias, magazines and IT software
  • Building social and cultural experiences and opportunities into family visits, recreational activities and holidays

The information that follows is a celebration of the work being undertaken with pupils identified as most/more able and those who are considered talented in a variety of areas and disciplines. Opportunities are frequent and ongoing.

Year 6 More Able and Talented meet at the Council Rock.

February 17, 2015

Aberdare Community School is delighted to welcome a special group of more able and talented children from our cluster schools to literacy workshops on our Plasdraw site. Mrs Hayley Davies, the acting deputy head of Aberdare Park School, has coordinated the group in the cluster, liaising with local primary schools and making all the arrangements. 
The children participating in the workshops: Evie, Sophie, Eryn and Kierion from Aberdare Park; Chloe and Lowri from Capo Coch; Rusiru, Nia and Sam from Abernant; Ben and Kate from Cwmbach and  Lewis, Caitlin and Amelia from Cwmdare are all bright, enthusiastic and highly motivated young learners.                                                   

Mr Mark Jefferies has decided that the group will form a wolf-pack like the one made famous in Kipling’s “Jungle Book”. The pack of he-wolf cubs and she-wolf cubs will meet each week around the Council Rock in order to read and discuss  a range of great books featuring wolves.

wolves-at-council-rock-litho-3In fact the children suggested that Mr.Jefferies play the role of the Lone Grey Wolf from Kipling’s book !! Mr Jefferies has challenged the group to read 5 novels featuring wolves over the next ten weeks.

The young star readers have already read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. The novel is set in a past time that Aiken says “never existed” and wolves hunt in packs across a snowy, winter landscape and threaten any unsuspecting travellers.The young cousins, Bonnie and Sylvia, are treated with cruelty by their new housekeeper, Ms.Slighcarp and the new arrival at the house, Mr.Grimshaw is up to no good.

Mr Jefferies asked the children if the wolves in the novel have a representational or metaphorical significance. Evie from Aberdare Park said that ” the wolves could represent the stripping away of the children’s free will.”   Wow!! 

Kate from Cwmbach thought the wolves created a feeling of “jeopardy and desperation”. Lewis from Cwmdare said that “the real wolves of Willoughby Chase are Ms.Slighcarp, Mrs Brisket and Mr. Grimshaw.” The children are able to think with creativity, insight and resourcefulness. 

Rusiru from Abernant suggested that “the Council Rock is a sacred place where laws are made and disputes resolved. Mr.Jefferies has asked the children to track the role of the wolves in the novel and write an essay on their literal and metaphorical significance.
The children will also read: White Fang, Call of the Wild, The Jungle Book and Wolf Brother  This is an intensive reading course and Mr.Jefferies intends to stretch the children by asking them to think with independence, creativity and originality. 

Please come back to this News space and the School Life section of our website for updates from the Wolf-pack at the Council Rock.                                                       

Year 12 & 13 Stem Engineering – Mat Events Spring Term 2015

May 5, 2015

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The first was an engineering workshop which took place lesson 1 and lesson 2 on Tuesday 24th February. I had arranged for Jon Parton and Katie Evans to visit and run a digital engineering workshop with 15 engineering students (years 12 & 13). The pupils had the opportunity to have a virtual walk through of the new school development. They learned how to use Navis works and got to explore, alter and design different aspects of the new school building. This was a partnership with one of the engineers within Sobel called Rosy James that is currently building the new school.

The second was an engineering trip to Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of South Wales. The trip was with Year 12 and 13 that are currently undergoing Engineering level 2 and 3. This trip gave them a brilliant insight into one aspect of engineering itself, and future possible careers for them. The School of Engineering at the University of South Wales offered a unique one-day event to give students the opportunity to develop an electronic product – a traffic light sequencer. The students used industry-standard design tools to develop a circuit using schematic capture tools, along with developing the firmware (software) for the microcontroller. The students then fully simulated the designed the circuit along with the embedded software, before designing the printed circuit board. To complete the project, the students then fully assembled and tested the pre-manufactured PCB, to complete the design cycle. As a gift, students then had the opportunity to take their work home following the event. ​The date of the trip took place on the 18th March 2015.

YEAR 12 STEM EVENTS SPRING 2015_html_m39ca1da8

The last was a EESW competition that engineering has been working alongside with James Thomas in Science and Year 12. James Thomas organised the event and asked if we would be interested in getting involved, so therefore have been since last October. The competition took place on the 16th March and was held in the Celtic Manor. The year 12 pupils worked alongside BT, a leading supporter of the re-introduction of computing into schools. The problem that was set was to create a suite of educational materials that will educate children on computing. There were many examples out there already, but they wanted a suite of materials and examples that span the main areas of computing. They did this with Lego Mindstorms. These lessons were then trial ran on Year 7 pupils during lesson time and after school where the pupils were taught how to use the program.