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Building capacity for excellence: Engaging the whole school community

Schools that want to provide rich support and engagement in learning throughout their community find opportunities to engage non-teaching staff, governors and partners in providing support for gifted and talented learners. Librarians, learning support assistants, higher-level teaching assistants and adult or peer mentors may be able to provide useful support to gifted and talented pupils.

Cameo of practice 1

A small school that was struggling to provide intensive support for a group of gifted and talented under-achievers approached some of their learning support assistants (LSAs), all of whom were engaged in higher education, or had already achieved a degree. They were delighted each to be tasked with three potential gifted and talented learners, to mentor and support weekly. The task was to complete a Pupil learning log (Ref: 00994-2009DWO-EN-01) and work through some Progression skills modules that met their mentees needs.

Cameo of practice 2

A different school dedicated a mentor to working with gifted and talented pupils, to help raise their aspirations and promote positive attitudes to learning. The pupils became noticeably more pro-active with their teachers and began to seek out additional support and extra work. The pupils became a strong self-supporting peer group and, in pairs and threes, provided good feedback to each other and shared study methods and resources. This spurred one boy on to challenge and then exceed the targets he had been set in mathematics.

Key questions to consider

  • Which non-teaching members of your school community could provide support, advice and guidance to gifted and talented pupils?
  • Which pupils most need this form of support?
  • How would you plan and oversee the support programme?

To explore another of the five key areas for development of an excellence programme visit Meeting the challenge of Excellence for All.