Ryhill Junior, Infant and Nursery School values all children equally and endeavours to ensure that each child should have the opportunity to realise their potential in a challenging and supportive environment. All children should fulfil their potential and be given significant challenges to bring out the best in themselves and develop to a high standard of their ability. Not only depth, but also breath will enable them to unlock and use their high level of thinking skills.
Our School ensures that we meet the needs of all our pupils. All children have the right to make good progress. We ensure Quality First Teaching, robust assessment systems and inclusion of greater challenges in lessons enable pupils to develop all their aptitudes and abilities.
At Ryhill Junior, Infant and Nursery School children are classed as Higher Attainers if they are working above age related expectations at the end of the Key Stage. Within the curriculum, these children are described as working at greater depth. The most important aspect of meeting the needs of higher attainers is the day-to-day experience in the classroom. This can be best achieved through a combination of:
- incorporating breadth across the whole curriculum;
- increasing depth within the subject;
- accelerating the pace of learning.
In order to meet their needs, we ensure that children working at greater depth have opportunities to explore the relevant subject areas at a level suitable for them.
High expectations within lessons
Just as too low a level of expectation results in boredom and is demotivating, so too can unrealistically high levels of challenge produce stress and frustration which, in the long run, can be counter-productive. What is most important is finding a level of expectation that makes the learning experience motivating and challenging. It is in a learning environment that encourages ambitious but realistic expectations, and where there are no fixed ceilings on learning, that more able pupils are most likely to thrive.
Providing opportunities for challenge and higher order thinking
It is important to find opportunities to increase the use of the higher order thinking skills which encourage more able pupils to ‘think about their thinking’ and to question their own learning. By explicitly introducing more able pupils to the concept of higher order thinking skills, pupils will see that ‘thinking’ can be taught and learnt, rather than being something that might just happen.
Encourage failure and perseverance
As well as developing higher order thinking skills, more able pupils also need to develop their ability to persevere. Failure, especially if it is public, is something that more able pupils find difficult to embrace, given they are generally seen to be the ones who always get the right answer, and quickly. However, they need to experience failure, so they become aware that, along with success, it is a consequence of exploring different avenues of thinking and there is no disgrace in it. They also need to come to appreciate that there is often no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.
We carefully track and monitor more able children’s progress in order to ensure they achieve their true potential. All the higher attainers are part of a school context sheet which is cross referenced with our pupil premium register. Higher attaining children are a focus of regular pupil progress meetings.
In terms of provision the following strategies may be employed, as appropriate to the need of the child:
- Specialist teaching from subject specific teachers or learning mentors
- Involvement of outside agencies
- Interventions in place in order for children to reach their full potential
Monitoring Greater Depth
Ensuring that this group of pupils are receiving effective provision, making appropriate progress and reaching their full potential is not the responsibility of one person in school. A range of people will be engaged in monitoring & evaluation activities which will inform the full picture. The Headteacher, Inclusion coordinator, key stage leads, assessment and data coordinator and class teachers all keep an equal focus on Higher Attaining pupils to ensure that they do not become vulnerable. Children who are eligible for Pupil Premium are identified in accordance with the schools tracking systems and reporting. Provision is identified to further enhance opportunities for these children in both social, emotional and academic attainment. The school is proactive in identifying this vulnerable group and endeavours to provide a wide range of diverse opportunities to inspire and engage all children in their learning.