South Wilts awarded prestigious Lead School status

South Wilts awarded prestigious Lead School status for outstanding provision for able students

South Wilts Grammar School has been designated by the DCSF as a ‘Lead School' for Gifted and Talented Education. This prestigious status, achieved by only one other school in Wiltshire (Hardenhuish School), recognises the excellent provision South Wilts offers its Able, Gifted and Talented learners.

In our unique context as a Grammar School we acknowledge that all of our students in another school might be identified as Gifted and Talented. We therefore have a clear focus on providing ‘Challenge for All' students.

As a Lead School we work closely with the Local Authority to contribute to, and lead, the Wiltshire Able, Gifted and Talented Network. On behalf of the Wessex partnership, we run Newly Qualified Teacher professional development in effective teaching and learning for AGAT pupils.

South Wilts is also a key member of the Salisbury Able, Gifted and Talented Network. We run a range of enrichment activities for the Salisbury Schools, one example being a Drama and Science simulation day focusing on developing environmentally friendly transport. In addition we run taster days in out collaborative 6th form with Bishop Wordsworth School for students form Salisbury schools.

We work very closely with local primary schools through our specialist schools community programme, running enrichment events in our specialist subjects of Maths, Computing and Science. We provide specialist teachers in these areas who visit our partner school to provide innovative specialist teaching for the most able students. Likewise students from our partner primary schools visit South Wilts to take part in exciting learning opportunities including launching rockets and forensic investigation.

As a member of the South West Academic Trust we collaborate with similar schools across the region to share and further develop innovate practise that challenges our able students in our unique context. We run subject networks in all subject areas at least once a year and hold a Gifted and talented network to share good practice across these high attaining schools. This year we are holding Student Conference in July to unpick the key elements of challenge within a Grammar school.

We focus on 'Challenge for All' because we believe that all learners are entitled to an education that meets their needs. Furthermore, national research has shown that focussing on challenging more able students leads to an overall raising of standards in schools.

What we do for Able, Gifted and Talented pupils

South Wilts Grammar School aims to:

  • have an inclusive philosophy where a wide range of abilities, gifts and talents are recognised
  • deliver challenging and stimulating learning in everyday lessons
  • provide a wide range of exciting extra-curricular activities
  • offer opportunities for students to show exceptional ability in a range of academic areas
  • support the involvement of our pupils in regional and national gifted and talented initiatives
  • closely monitor and track the progress of able, gifted and talented students to ensure they fulfil their potential
  • provide for emotional and pastoral needs of our able, gifted and talented students
  • celebrate success in assemblies, awards evenings and newsletters

Learning opportunities inside the classroom

Fundamental to our effective provision for students is to focus on delivering challenging and differentiated lessons during the normal school timetable. Lessons are planned to develop high level thinking skills, independent learning and creativity. We are committed to developing a flexible and differentiated curriculum. This includes introducing challenge through breadth (enriching learning through additional material beyond the core curriculum), depth (extending learning by asking students to delve deeper into a certain topic) and pace.

Learning opportunities outside of the classroom

We offer a regular, varied and on-going programme of enrichment activities taking place outside timetabled lessons as a key component of our provision for able, gifted and talented students, all of which are open to all pupils. These opportunities range from our popular Science Club to the English Speaking Union, not to mention the huge range of musical groups and concerts including regular performances at Salisbury Cathedral, various high quality drama productions, and local and national competitions. Similarly, our students have many opportunities to attend trips that aim to motivate, inspire and reward achievements. For example, our talented sports students compete at local regional and national level at venues including Crystal Palace. Various competitions are also run during the year, one being the ‘Citizenship Mock Trial' in which a group of our Year 8 students compete against other Wiltshire schools to conduct a trial at the Salisbury Court House. As part of our Lead School programme, South Wilts is hosting local schools at our forthcoming Scientists in School Day.

South Wilts has developed close links with local universities and outside agencies so that our students benefit from a range of opportunities beyond the school, such as a forensic science day for Year 10 pupils at Bath University and a Maths enrichment day at Exeter University. Many of our able, gifted and talented students attend other residential courses at Kilve Court. We also take our able, gifted and talented students in Year 12 to visit Oxford and Cambridge Universities to provide an experience of a top university and set high aspirations. As well as this local professional employees are welcomed to the school to give the benefit of their knowledge in a variety of careers through our Industry Days in year 9, Citizenship Day for 6th Form and mock interviews.

Created: Sunday, February 07, 2010 | School News Page

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