MAT Wales

More able and talented

“There are a lot of talented learners in Welsh secondary schools whose potential is not being developed fully enough. Schools need to consider whether they are offering children the full range of experiences and opportunities that will enable them to reach their potential and prosper.” Ann Keane, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.

This website has been created to support schools (as part of the Pembrokeshire More Able and Talented Professional Learning Community) to feel more confident in their ability to both recognise and challenge their most able learners, to ensure that they are exposed to rich tasks across the curriculum which challenge and extend their thinking. The term ‘More Able and Talented’ encompasses approximately 20% of the school population and is used to describe pupils who require appropriate curriculum structure, enriched and extended opportunities across the curriculum in order to develop their abilities in one or more areas.

These learners respond to high expectations and high cognitive challenge; and cognitive challenge is added by increasing complexity and diversity, not volume. Significantly, by improving the quality of learning and opportunities for more able and talented pupils we raise standards of achievement for all pupils. This initiative is routed in an inclusive agenda aimed at meeting the needs of all learners;

“In the few schools where more able and talented pupils achieve particularly well, all pupils tend to achieve high standards. This is because the teaching and learning strategies that are having a postive impact on the more able and talented pupils also improve standards for pupils of all abilities.” Estyn (2011)

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More able and talented learners require opportunities that offer stretch and challenge. They like to understand ‘the big picture’; to know the context and purpose of their learning. Investigative tasks where outcomes are not fixed or limited provide valuable and stimulating learning experiences. These opportunities can be provided by offering experiences that provide breadth of learning and go beyond the prescribed curriculum. Providing more able and talented learners with these types ofenrichment activities […]

RELEVANT DOCUMENT AND LINKS Underachievement – Overview of what is meant by underachievement, how it can be identified and how the issue can be addressed. Common characteristics of able pupils – List of characteristics commonly shown by able pupils. Identification methods – strengths and limitations – Assessment of the different methods commonly used to identify more able pupils, showing the strengths and limitations of each approach. More able children with a learning difficulty – More able children with […]

The phrase ‘think about it’ is often heard in the classroom, but if learners are not taught how to think, how do they know what is expected of them? Thinking skills are comprised of different types of cognition; information processing, enquiry, creative thinking and reasoning. Schools take different approaches to teaching thinking skills, either introducing them within the curriculum as a discrete unit, or instituting them through the use of […]

More able and talented learners need and enjoy variety and challenge. This requires that lessons be variously differentiated by: outcome (learning objective) task process (the method of teaching) pupil grouping tailoring the content of the lesson for the individual (personalised learning agenda) provision (access to specialists) choice and self-direction learning style. These enrichment activities may be delivered by the school, by experts or be extra curricular. It is important however, […]

“Good learning starts with questions, not answers”. Guy Claxton, Professor in Education and Director of CLIO Development University of Bristol. Questioning enables teachers to check learners’ understanding. It also benefits learners as it encourages engagement and focuses their thinking on key concepts and ideas. This questioning needs to inspire more able and talented learners to embrace cognitive thought at a higher level and is easier to achieve when using open […]

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND LINKS Managing and developing the learning culture – Consider how to cultivate the most effective learning environment possible with the ideas presented in this document. Mentoring more able and talented students – Reasons for mentoring MAT students as well as a key to successful mentoring.  – BBC Radio 4 – Mind Changers, Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset

The most effective lessons for more able and talented learners are those that are planned. Here is some useful guidance for lesson content: breadth – going beyond the prescribed curriculum depth – within the curriculum and increasing the level of challenge acceleration – covering work quicker than others independence – link to personalised learning agenda reflection – making understanding explicit The lesson structure should display key teaching skills: differentiating work setting […]

Teachers need to respond to the learning styles of their students. Failure to take consideration of these differences can lead to a curriculum that is neither accessible nor engaging. How do you acknowledge different learning styles in the way that you teach? Those who understand how their pupils learn best are likely to provide effective and interesting lessons that encourage independence. Recognising one’s own learning style helps to influence the […]

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