Wave 2: Small-group provision
In addition to Quality First teaching, some gifted and talented pupils, particularly those with a 'spiky' profile (e.g. a mismatch between their cognitive ability and their basic skills), may benefit from existing, time-limited intervention programmes that provide additional challenge.
Crucially, Wave 2 support and challenge needs to be well integrated with whole-class teaching and help pupils apply their learning in mainstream lessons and in independent work.
Examples of Wave 2 interventions
The information below provides some examples of Wave 2 interventions, including both generic catch-up programmes and indications of tailored provision for groups of underachieving gifted and talented pupils.
Specific time-limited intervention programmes
These examples of existing intervention programmes are designed to put pupils back on track.
- Talking Partners: A programme to support speaking and listening in the early years.
- Early Literacy Support: A 16-week intervention programme for small groups of children in Year 1, led by the TA.
- Year 3 Literacy Support: A 16-week programme for small groups of 6 pupils.
- Further Literacy Support: A 12-week programme of support for groups of six pupils in Year 5.
- Springboard 3, 4, 5: Mathematics support programmes for small groups of pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5.
- Literacy progress units supporting pupils in Year 7.
- Reading Challenge for pupils in Years 7 and 8.
- Writing Challenge for pupils in Years 7 and 8.
- Mathematics Challenge.
- Study Plus – mathematics, English and science units for GCSE target groups.
Additional intervention strategies
Below are some additional intervention strategies to support identified groups of pupils.
- Social skills group sessions – some gifted and talented pupils find difficulty in working with others; this is particularly true of some underachieving pupils. In such cases a series of social skills sessions focusing on listening, turn taking, negotiating and sharing roles can be beneficial.
- Learning conversations can benefit all pupils. Those pupils whose attainment or participation is limited by their perceptions of themselves will benefit most. Topics for a series of learning conversations include: concentration, problem-solving, creative thinking, motivation and enquiry.
- Specific support for EAL pupils. Although gifted and talented pupils who are EAL pupils may appear to speak the language fluently, their results may be disappointing. They understand the basic words of a subject, e.g. in science: Bunsen burner, forces and evaporation, but they do not understand the academic key words, identified by the REAL project such as: analyse, compare, apply, select – words necessary for research and examinations. In order to realise their potential they may need additional and subject-specialist support in sessions to learn and apply these words.
- Occasional additional guided group sessions provide opportunities to work on objectives from later years or to discuss progress against targets.
- Masterclasses led by an expert can provide opportunities to group pupils by readiness and interest rather than age, with the education set at a challenging level.
- Lunchtime, after school and residential activities – an activity that is not the conventional 'school subject' – may be the spark to ignite an interest in a pupil who has disengaged from traditional schoolwork.
- Involvement in learning activities beyond the classroom – e.g. local networks, weekend enrichment classes, classes provided by the Excellence Hub or Regional Partnerships – can raise aspirations and offer support from others with similar interests and abilities.
- Pupil case study: Carly
Carly is a child of a service family and was accustomed to moving schools every two to three years. When her father's unit moved into the area, together with other pupils from the unit, she entered school U, a small urban primary school. Carly was socially awkward and working well below the expected level for Year 5. She showed little or no interest in schoolwork.
The school offers a wide range of after-school activities and residential opportunities to all its pupils. Carly's class was invited to attend a week's adventure course. Now in the same position as other pupils – on new and unfamiliar ground – Carly suddenly showed that she had strong leadership qualities. Her peers began to respect her and Carly began to believe in herself.
Back at school, she was invited to join the drama group where she showed outstanding talent and, a year later, she was entered for the city's Drama Festival where she won an award. The school invites sponsorship from local businesses and the headteacher acquired a place for Carly at Saturday classes at a professional drama school. The increase in her confidence and self-esteem was reflected in her academic work and she achieved well-above-average results at the end of Key Stage 2. Carly continues to flourish at secondary school.
- School case study: Secondary school L
Teachers at secondary school L were frustrated that a large group of bright girls had low aspirations, wanting to be beauticians or hairdressers. The Aimhigher coordinator decided not to try to change the girls' interests but to present higher goals, such as aspiring to study for appropriate degrees and then running their own salons.
The coordinator arranged for three ambassadors to visit the school: one was a former hairdresser who was taking a degree course in complementary therapies, another was studying midwifery and the third was a former pupil who was studying business. They talked to the girls about their subjects and avenues into health and beauty, such as foundation degrees in beauty therapy, hairdressing and salon management.
The sessions really motivated the girls to achieve success in their GCSEs so that they could consider going on to university in the future.
Adapted from The Extra Mile: How schools succeed in raising aspirations in deprived communities (DCSF, 2008), page 25