Thursday 07 February 2019
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture is introducing new policies to help stretch high-attaining students and to support lower-attaining students.
The Committee is committed to working with schools to promote the highest possible academic standards during and after the transition to one 11-18 school operating in two colleges at Les Beaucamps and St Sampson's sites.
In recognition of the fact that Guernsey is to have its first all-ability cohort in secondary schools from September 2019, the Committee has introduced a policy directly relating to the highest-attaining students. The new policy is intended to ensure that such students are challenged and supported to meet the highest levels of achievement throughout their education. Staff focus groups across the four mainstream secondary schools have provided input into the policy, and Head Teachers have been consulted.
The Committee's policy directive distinguishes between high prior attainers and students with high potential. High prior attainers are to be identified by baseline data from the end of Year 6. Students with high potential are to be identified as those who show a particular aptitude and interest in any area; including academic subjects, sport, and the arts. A flexible approach is to be taken in relation to all students, reflecting the fact that they develop at different paces and performance can vary during a school career.
From this September, all of our secondary schools are preparing to meet the needs of a wider ability range. Schools will provide an appropriate level of challenge for every student, with high-attaining students stretched and lower-attaining students supported. In some subjects and in some year groups, students will be grouped according to prior attainment so that teaching can be adjusted to the specific needs of students in a narrower attainment range. Each school is to be given discretion to determine how students are to be grouped. Monitoring of students' needs will ensure that appropriate adjustments are made as and when required thereby ensuring all students attain as highly as possible and fulfil their potential.
In addition to the approach on ability grouping, a number of complementary measures are also to be implemented:
- Improvements are to be made to the sharing of information across primary and secondary schools. One key benefit of this approach is that the risk of students repeating work is reduced, with the Key Stage 3 curriculum designed to build on Key Stage 2.
- Schools will increase their monitoring of students' progress using detailed internal tracking systems and consideration is being given to where progress can be externally benchmarked. These measures will allow Guernsey to ensure that its students are performing at least as well as, or better than, peers in other jurisdictions. Identifying and tackling underperformance will also be assisted by the changes.
- For those students with high potential across the full spectrum of interests and subjects, a pilot scheme is to be launched aimed at providing high quality support to nurture and develop those talents. The support may include additional tuition for those students displaying particular passion for a certain subject, coaching for those gifted at sports, or extra opportunities for those with aptitude for arts, music and drama.
Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee forEducation, Sport & Culture, said:
"Everybody in education locally shares the objective of empowering every child to reach the highest possible academic standards. We want to support our schools in their ongoing efforts to ensure that academic attainment is part of their cultural fabric and part of what they are known for. It's important that we have clear policies in place to help support schools in this work."
Liz Coffey, Executive Head Teacher for Secondary Schools, said:
"This policy is welcome in setting the direction for schools to ensure they are supporting the needs of all students, regardless of their starting points, including providing sufficient levels of challenge for those who have achieved most highly. Schools should provide bespoke support for individual students with particular gifts, talents or aspirations, without creating a catch-all policy which can often fail to meet individual needs."