More Able Provision

Provision for the Most Able Students


At The Downs School we are committed to providing outstanding learning opportunities for all our students. We aim to ensure that all students, including those who are very able, are challenged and stretched in their learning every day, in every lesson. We aim for provision for our most able students, post Covid, to be embedded in all aspects of school life.

Who is ‘Most Able’?

Identifying the abilities of all our students is a continual process. Some students have been identified as ‘gifted and talented’ at their primary schools; however, we acknowledge that students’ abilities develop throughout life.  As such, identification is ongoing.

We will work with students to discover and develop their talents throughout their time with us.  This will be through:

  • Identification by faculties and subjects.
  • Identification by teachers offering enrichment activities.
  • Identification from primary school or previous school.
  • Information from parents.
  • Information from students.
  • Information from organisations outside school such as clubs and teams who have identified particular abilities.

Post Covid and its challenges, for this year only, we have focused principally on CAT testing to give us an unbiased idea of our most able cohort and focused on the top 5% of students in the school to ensure that a bespoke programme is started again, and this will be widened from September 2024.

We record and provide identification lists for staff to assist them in providing appropriate levels of stretch and challenge for More Able students.

What will we provide?

Differentiation in lessons that includes provision for the Most Able, such as: independent study; choice in home learning tasks; and challenging lesson content and questioning to develop higher order thinking skills.

A rich and varied curriculum and extra-curricular provision including residential and day trips, visiting speakers, fieldwork, conferences, masterclasses, clubs and activities, performing arts productions, sporting opportunities, including swimming, enterprise and work-related learning, and Duke of Edinburgh Awards. 

Local and national competitions, within and beyond school, to develop specialist areas of interest and ability.  These will include the Mock Trial (which we will enter again this Autumn), debating, Maths Challenge, creative writing, and a range of county sporting events.

The chance to apply for a full range of leadership development positions, such as Form Captains, Sports Leaders, House Captains, Student Council Representatives, Prefects and Librarians.

We will re-start our Subject Ambassador Programme in the Summer Term of 2023 to ensure that where appropriate, subjects can offer positions to students in all year groups.

The opportunity to undertake an Exceptional Education Project (EEP), in Key Stage 3, which is a substantial research project culminating in a presentation on an area of interest, working with a staff mentor. This work prepares students for the rigours and requirements of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which we offer alongside A Levels and BTEC Level 3 courses during Key Stage 5.

Flexible pathways into the Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 curriculum.

How do we use assessment?

We aim to ensure that our assessment and feedback policy reflects progression routes within subjects, and that the purpose of assessments and success criteria are shared with the students. We provide a range of types of both formative and summative assessment to ensure appropriate levels of challenge and reward for even the most exceptionally able. We engage students in assessing their own and others’ work against clear criteria and enable students to take responsibility for their progress through formative assessment. 

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