The More Able Students & the Herons stream
To ensure the more able pupils & students (MAPS) strive to make outstanding progress with nothing less than good progress expected. These students should strive for academic excellence. They need to understand their potential and fulfil it! This will enable these students to have access to the top establishments in further and higher education resulting in an increased range and quality of job opportunities. The overarching aim is to create learners who are resilient and aspire to the most skilled professions and become leaders within their own profession.
What classifies a More Able Pupil & Student (MAPS) at Herne Bay High School?
The Herons Stream
“Fly High Herons”
At Herne Bay High School, we value the success of every individual and offer all students an academic experience in line with their ability and interests. All students, regardless of their grouping, will benefit from the same curriculum, quality of teaching and access opportunities throughout their time at the school. This enables us to create a truly personal approach to education.
In Year 7 the most motivated and academically able students are identified on transfer from their primary schools and taught in discrete classes, called Heron Groups, for all their academic subjects in order to provide them with an enhanced pace, a higher level of challenge and an appropriate educational experience. Students within the Heron groups will be highly motivated and aspire to making outstanding progress at Herne Bay High School as well having high aspirations
Within all subject areas Heron’s work will be closely monitored to ensure that they are reaching and maintaining appropriate standards befitting to the Heron ethos. Any slippage of academic work or behaviour will result in swift intervention to enable them to get back onto the right pathways.
Part of being a Heron is that we ask them to build an academic and personal profile which is commensurate to their potential. At Herne Bay High School, we pride ourselves on the many opportunities available to all students outside of the classroom. Therefore, the expectations for Herons is to maximise their potential fully by ensuring they develop all of their aptitudes, not just in the classroom. We strongly suggest that Herons students engage in the following activities beyond the classroom.
Students will be considered, for a place within the Heron Groups, based upon:
In year 9 all the Herons students will choose options for their studies at Key Stage 4 based around the (EBACC) pathway. Hence all Herons students will be strongly advised to follow the EBACC pathway which includes studying a humanities subject (geography or history) and French alongside their English, mathematics and science.
Some of the Heron students who are have a talent in Science have the opportunity to start the triple science (i.e. separate biology, chemistry and physics lessons) in Year 9.
What Parents have said about the Herons…
“My son has the best of everything; a place in the Heron stream within a school of the most amazing facilities, but most importantly the excellent teaching staff and the smile on his face at the end of each day!”
“Our child has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Herons over the past 3 years and we are pleased with the individual feedback we receive. Herons has helped him grow in confidence and the academic stretch has been invaluable.”
“Being a Heron is the best thing that has happened to our daughter. It has inspired her to always strive to do her best and she has renewed enthusiasm for school and learning. We are very proud of what she has achieved through being a Heron and we are extremely happy with the high standards set by the Heron stream as it is inspiring for the children.”
The More Able Students
The more able students are young people who show academic promise at Key Stage 2 and enter the school with end of Year 6 test scores that are high (based upon their Key Stage 2 Prior attainment). Historically the vast majority of these students enter the Heron stream. We work closely with our partner schools and upon entry all our students sit the Cognitive Abilities Test (CATs) and subject specific baseline tests to ascertain any gaps in their knowledge and assess their potential and place them in suitable teaching groups.
Within the new assessment framework, each Key Stage 3 students has target based on their prior attainment. The more able students will often have a GCSE target grade range of between a B and A* (or the new grading systems of 6 to 9) for all their subjects that they study. This GCSE target grade range will allow the school, child and parents/carers to track individual student’s progress as they take formal assessments. If students look like they are going ‘off-course’ then interventions will be put in place to remove their barriers to learning and get them back on track. If a student’s progress looks like it may go higher then this can be adjusted accordingly and appropriately.
This year we will be embarking on a programme of university links and trips specifically for our MAPS and we are aiming to improve our transition even further by working closely with our main feeder primary schools to enable subject and curriculum planning at KS3 that further sustains their KS2 progress.
More Able Students for whom the school receive Pupil Premium
Regardless of circumstance we believe as a school all young people should the same opportunities. Thus if any students suffer hardship then we have systems in place to ensure they don’t miss out academically or outside of the classroom. This is also the case for the MAPS. Through detailed identification systems we know all students in detail and each student, through the Pupil Premium policy, has a ‘Pen Portrait’ which is updated regularly. Pupil Premium funding is allocated to the more able students on an individual basis and depending on their needs. If circumstances change then further information can be gained from contacting the school.
More able students in our 6th Form
We offer our students the opportunity to go to university summer schools under the widening participation agenda. We have a link with a local grammar school should we have an Oxbridge candidate who would benefit from any additional support. We have an annual 6th Form conference that all our 6th form attend which xxx. We take our students to the University Exhibition at Medway and we also have close links with University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. Within PSHEE lesson students are guided through higher education and given heightened support where needed especially those more able students applying for the Russell Group of universities.
Gifted & Talented students
Each subject area goes through different processes to identify their subject-specific talented students. This identification process can be multi-dimensional such as in PE & Sport, a talented student may not be one who is just an excellent performer or athlete rather they may present as a particularly good leader or official. Likewise, in performing arts, it may be a student who has good choreographic skills and potential. These students who are identified as gifted and talented in subject areas are guided towards extra-curricular and community involvement to further extend their potential. This could include opportunities such as the sports leaders, the Boys Dance Company (BDC) or science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM) competitions. Many subject areas also offer transitions day & events for gifted and talented Year 5 & 6 students.
Aims for 2016-18
1. To raise the bar of expectations, inside and outside the classroom, so that an ethos of excellence is championed by all.
2. To develop teaching & learning that will enable all staff to stretch the MAPS and lead to academic excellence.
3. To develop systems that allow leaders at all levels to improve the standards for the more able pupils & students.
Mr J. Hopper – Assistant Principal.