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Gifted and Talented

All students possess gifts and talents that can be nurtured and developed through application, practice, and expert teaching. At Furze Platt Senior School, the terms ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’ are applied to those where these gifts or talents are already particularly pronounced. Through having high expectations, aspirations, quality teaching and learning, all students have access to the opportunities which will help them ACHIEVE.

The School’s Gifted and Talented coordinator, Ms Inwood, is responsible for ensuring that students are given the opportunity to stretch their learning. 

“...the way to secure performance at the highest levels is to create a system that expects significantly more from more pupils; in so doing, we would succeed in raising the performance of the whole school population.” – Deborah Eyre

All departments are continually developing and providing an enrichment programme for more-able students and adapting their teaching materials to meet the needs of gifted and talented learners. As part of our inclusive ethos, all lessons are ‘taught from the top’, where challenge is presented at every level and support offered to help all students access the higher-order thinking skills and concepts. We ensure that our students are supported in maximising their academic progress and talents, as well as their emotional well-being.

What does it mean to be a ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’ student?

A ‘Gifted’ student has a recognisable ability to grasp difficult concepts quickly, and to engage in high level reasoning. In this sense they are the academically most-able students. ‘Gifted’ students have an unusually high level of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and/or non-verbal reasoning, including the ability to make connections, see patterns, think logically and creatively, and solve problems).

A ‘Talented’ student has an unusually high level of ability in sport, music, drama or art. Some may be considered as exceptionally talented dependent on their external commitment to developing their talent.


How are students identified as ‘Gifted’ or ‘Talented’?

Gifted students in Years 7-11 are identified on the basis of exceptionally high and consistent academic achievement. We also take Year 6 SATs scores and Cognitive Abilities Test data into strong consideration. By Key Stage 5, Gifted students are identified on the basis of their GCSE grades and their A-Level target grades.

Talented students are identified by teachers from the PE, Music, Drama and Art departments, or by recommendations a result of achievement in these areas outside of school.

The registers for Gifted and Talented students are live and can be adjusted accordingly.


The academic curriculum for Gifted and Talented Students

We offer a strong academic curriculum across all Key Stages, particularly at GCSE and A-Level. We emphasise the importance of engaging with such a vast curriculum and our students appreciate the level of commitment from teachers in delivering the curriculum and aspects beyond the curriculum. Our curriculum is designed to stretch the most-able students. For example:

In Years 7 and 8, students take two foreign languages, studying for 4 hours a fortnight in each.

All Year 9 students take the full English Baccalaureate, consisting of English Language and Literature, Maths, two or three sciences, History or Geography, and at least one foreign language. Students can also take a rich variety of challenging option subjects.

Many sixth form students take the ‘Extended Pathway,’ consisting of three academic A-Levels plus an AS-Level in Maths, Further Maths or Psychology. They can also take the Extended Pathway Qualification: an independent piece of research, written in the style of a dissertation on a topic of interest with guidance from a member of staff.


The Super Curriculum

The school also offers a significant range of extra-curricular activities that provide further challenge and fulfilment for our very most-able students:

  • Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Psychology GCSE (accelerated)
  • Mandarin
  • Maths Challenge and Maths masterclasses
  • Greenpower
  • STEM
  • DigiGirlz at Microsoft
  • Hackathon at Reading University
  • Lessons from Auschwitz
  • Science lectures

For further activities to widen your son/daughter’s interest, please check out the super curriculum activities list.


Higher Education

Since 2010, 18 Furze Platt students have gained a place at Oxford and Cambridge University, particularly for Medicine and Natural Sciences, with others reading History, Economics, English and Psychology. Over the past few years the number of students gaining a place at top Russell Group Universities has increased.

We are therefore dedicated to provide a strong preparation programme for all students to strive for success at Oxbridge, Russell Group Universities and other Higher Education Institutions.

In particular, we work closely with local grammar and independent schools in providing interview preparation and additional resources as part of a structured after school programme to develop our students into the strongest of applicants. We have close links with both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, which provide workshops and visits in preparation Oxbridge application process. These workshops are intended to encourage debate, critical thinking and evaluation of their reading and current affairs to open their mind and enrich their academic potential. Oxbridge applicants, along with those applying for particularly competitive subjects such as Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry, are given specialist support with their university examinations and plenty of university interview practice.


Provision for Talented Students

Students with sporting, musical, theatrical and other talents are well supported. The school is especially strong in tennis, rowing, football and swimming, and students regularly continue their chosen sport either at University in Britain or in the US, or professionally. Many students also combine school study with participation in amateur or professional regional and local productions.

For students who spend a considerable amount of time involved in their talent, we offer a school-home partnership and regular mentoring from teachers and other members of staff. This programme ensures students are up to date with their studies and to offer organisational and academic support for those who need it. Where appropriate, at GCSE, time is allocated in Raising Achievement so that these students can work with our fantastic team on a one-to-one basic to keep their academic progress on track.


Supporting your child at home

  • Read- Reading encourages the development of literacy skills and boosts concentration. It introduces students to new vocabulary, which can then be transferred to their studies. Encourage your child to use the local and school library.
  • Encourage your child to take an interest in current affairs. Newspaper articles and TED Talks are a great introduction to key topics in the present and patterns for the future!
  • Visit galleries, museums, places of historic interest and encourage your child to reflect on the experiences.
  • Encourage him/her to try new activities and to participate in extra-curricular activities.
  • Try some puzzles such as crosswords, brain teasers, anagrams and Soduko to enhance problem solving skills.
  • Encourage him/her to look up courses at a variety of universities they are interested in and then find out about some of the content they will cover there. This can then be researched.


Useful websites and resources:

The following websites are great for finding stretch and challenge activities: - offer a range of residential courses where they can meet and learn with other youngsters who share their enthusiasm for taking on new ideas. - Brilliant is for anyone who has an interest in mathematics and science. Dive into advanced, creative problem solving and improve domain knowledge and critical thinking skills. Learn how different domains, like number theory and computer science, are interconnected. Discover how core math and science concepts apply to modern topics. - The National Association for Gifted and Talented Children runs a support network to help parents. - provides specialist masterclasses. The courses are affordable for all and cover a wealth of different topics - including science, technology, maths, philosophy, virtual reality, literature and the arts - in ways which involve and challenge the most-able students. - TED is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. – Free Online Courses designed to encourage independency by exploring subjects beyond the curriculum. – Mensa, the high IQ society, provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members around the world. – a charity which aims to improve educational opportunities for you people from non-privileged backgrounds and increase social mobility. It offers support for access to university, particularly where students are first generation applications. – a fun magazine aimed at KS3 students. Encourages children to read, think and ask questions.

Finally, if you have any questions about our provision for Gifted and Talented students, please do not hesitate to contact our Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Ms Inwood at