Academically More Able (AMA)
We believe that all students, whatever their ability, deserve the chance to be challenged through their learning in lessons and from the wider offer at Regents Park.
It is central to our ethos that all students are treated as individuals and that we cater for their individual needs. This includes those students of higher ability. Teachers use detailed data – quantitative and qualitative – to identify students of higher ability and this is used to inform the planning of their differentiated lessons. Within the core classroom provision, there will always be opportunities for students to be stretched and challenged.
There are three basic ways of meeting the needs of academically more able students: acceleration, enrichment and extension.
Acceleration consists of enabling a student to access work which would typically be for older students, for example GCSE tasks set for KS3 students or the study of a literary text or scientific concept more commonly studied in KS4. For KS4 students this could be content or skills usually taught at A Level or even university. In some subjects, students are also accelerated by working in ability sets.
Enrichment consists of broadening a student's education. This can consist of targeted individual activities or opportunities provided outside of the normal curriculum, either in the school or at external locations, such as trips or excursions or even external visitors and presentations.
Extension occurs when students are encouraged to develop more sophisticated thinking and reasoning skills. This should take place in all aspects of our provision. All staff are trained in developing thinking skills through their teaching.
Examples of opportunities intended to develop the most able students are:
- Solent University Learning Mentors
- Southampton University trips
- Richard Taunton’s and Southampton Challenge Days
- Into University sessions
- Y8 GCSE taster booklet
What are the characteristics of Academically More Able Children?
Very often parents are the first to recognise that their child is bright for his or her age. There are many checklists of gifted characteristics. In general, they contain several common elements:
- has a wide vocabulary and talked early
- asks lots of questions and learns more quickly than others
- has a very retentive memory
- is extremely curious and can concentrate for long periods on subjects of interest
- has a wide general knowledge and interest in the world
- enjoys problem-solving, often missing out the intermediate stages in an argument and making original connections
- has an unusual and vivid imagination
- could read from an early age
- shows strong feelings and opinions and has an odd sense of humour
- sets high standards and is a perfectionist
- loses interest when asked to do more of the same
- No one child will show all these sorts of behaviours, but very bright children will fit a significant number of them.
The child of high academic ability may be identified by intelligence tests or SATs and CATs scores. They may, however, be gifted in areas in which intelligence tests are poor predictors.
They may, for example, be:
- an imaginative or creative thinker
- socially, or ethically gifted, with a well-developed sense of the moral implications of actions or situations
- good at drawing, building or designing though poor at writing
- a well-developed ‘high achiever’ who performs well in academic work but who scores poorly on
intelligence tests because their relevance is not immediately apparent to them.
We use a range of measures to identify our Academically More Able students including test results, and the professional judgement of staff. We have students who are talented across a wide range of academic subjects, to those whose expertise is limited to one area in which they excel out of school.
How can parents get involved?
Parents play an essential role in the development of their academically more able children, a role which the school supports but cannot displace. All parents are welcome to make an appointment to come into school and meet with us to discuss their child’s potential and what can be done to fully develop this.