Stretch and Challenge

There are two ways to interpret the phrase “stretch and challenge”. On the one hand, it relates to whole-class teaching and the importance of stretching and challenging every pupil’s thinking. On the other, it relates to individuals and the importance of pushing the thinking of the most able pupils. Both interpretations are equally valid and essential components of great teaching. — Mike Gershon

Whole school aims

At Khalsa Secondary Academy we aim to have high expectations of all students all of the time, by encouraging and supporting the learning of all students. This policy underpins the concept of ‘Being the best we can be’ and is an integral part of the school’s broader development of inclusion of educational opportunity for all students and states our commitment to providing an environment in which all students are enabled to think deeply and engage with healthy struggle.   The best provision for more able and talented students and their peers is one that challenges them and extends their thinking, knowledge and skills. Many of the ways of extending the thinking and learning of more able and talented children constitute good practice for all students, when pitched at the appropriate level of challenge and, therefore, will impact on raising standards overall.   At Khalsa Secondary Academy we also believe that students with particular abilities and talents must berecognised and supported to be stretched – intellectually, emotionally, aesthetically, socially and physically. Our ambition is to provide a challenging and stimulating learning environment for all, which offers the opportunities for students to shine and develop an enthusiasm for learning.   Through this policy we aim to achieve a whole school ethos where achieving at a high level is an expectation, by implementing effective identification and monitoring of the more and able students on the basis of their academic abilities and potential. This will include:

  • Identification of students with particular abilities
  • Teaching and learning strategies that meet the needs of the more able
  • Procedures for monitoring and evaluating intervention and provision for the more able
  • Information and guidance for all staff to support the more able

We work together to celebrate diversity, challenge prejudice and promote equality. Our provision for the more able recognises the need to actively encourage and motivate certain groups of students by targeting support and opportunities. We are aware of some of the inequalities that exist in our society within attainment of different ethnic and social groups.  Identification of the more able cohort aims to reflect the social and ethnic makeup of the school.   Identification process This is a complex issue from which no definitive answer has emerged to date. It is further complicated by a range of terms used both locally and nationally, e.g. ‘highly able’, ‘more able’, ‘gifted and talented’. At Khalsa Secondary Academy we use ‘more able’ to recognise that all students have abilities and acknowledge that the highest attainers have particular abilities that need nurturing. Definitions – Types of Ability  The DfE defined the group as: “Children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities).”   A More able student is one who demonstrates a higher level of ability than most students in their cohort in one or more curriculum area. These learners could be described as having the ability to excel academically in one or more subjects such as intellectual aspects of language, mathematics and science.   A Talented learner will show marked aptitude in any curriculum area. Identification of talented students will take place in curriculum areas through their own selection criteria. This could include:

  • Creative (e.g. aspects of science, design and technology, creative writing)
  • artistic (e.g. art, music, drama)
  • practical (e.g. technological and ‘hands-on’), vocational
  • physical (e.g. sports, dance, movement)
  • social (e.g. personal and interpersonal, leadership qualities)

Provision The school and teachers will provide a challenging and enriched curriculum to enable our more able students to emerge, be recognised and developed. Pastoral Leaders, supported by the Stretch & Challenge Coordinator, Ms Rosato will provide enrichment opportunities to challenge and stretch their cohort further. Having high expectations means that students are encouraged to engage in their own learning by being active participants in lessons and taking responsibility for their own learning, grasping the initiative where possible. The emphasis will be on increasing the depth before breadth of the curriculum for more able and talented students rather than providing an accelerated curriculum.   Enrichment Khalsa Secondary Academy provides a variety of extra-curricular clubs and activities, allowing for both enrichment and extension. Sports teams, music and drama clubs and many opportunities for performance are organised. Language days, reading clubs, theatre visits, field trips, community projects/performances, and debating competitions are also available. Enrichment activities provide opportunities for students to work with those of different ages, but similar interests and abilities. Specific stretch and challenge opportunities in the new academic year will include:

  • Khalsa Talks
  • Links (incl. workshops and visits) with Russell Group Universities
  • Membership of International Gateway for Gifted Youth IGGY 
  • Bright Sparks
  • Arts Award