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Charles Darwin School

High Prior Attainment/High Learning Potential

Parents and students may be familiar with the terms ‘Gifted and Talented’ or ‘more able’ from previous schools. Students who have High Prior Attainment have achieved KS2 SATS scores of 110 or higher, placing them in the top 10-15% of learners nationally. These scores can be estimated for students missing SATS and having a CATS score instead. Students with High Learning Potential are students who may have not scored as high as this from primary school, but have shown aptitude and excellence through hard work and are performing at a high academic level, potentially at grade 7-9 for GCSE.

In year 7 students are identified in this group and take part in the weekly extra-curricular ‘Rising stars’ programme, learning about a range of subjects, both through curriculum and work-related learning. This year, as students had missed this in the pandemic, we continue the programme for year 8 students.

HPA students are tracked and monitored through our CAPP reporting system throughout years 7-10. We aim to provide as many HPA students, especially those who have come from backgrounds where no family member has gone to university, or the family claims free school meals, a university visit in year 8, 10 and 12. Currently students in year 10 and 11 are having online mentoring through the National Tutoring Programme and we are working with the Mayor of London’s GT Scholars programme to support HPA learning in years 9 and 10.

Of course, High Prior Attainment learners potentially have the furthest to fall. There are many ways in which this can happen, so it is important as families to recognise the signs of this. All HPA students are monitored and some might need a little bit of intervention, possibly being put onto the Aspire Tracker for short period of time. Parents are always consulted through this process.

HPA and HLP students take part in a number of activities to develop wider skills such as Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication, through the subject curriculum and through trips, visits and visiting speakers. Specific revision workshops at GCSE target HPA learners and students at the end of year 10/start of year 11 have a ‘raising attainment meeting’ with a Senior Leader and can have an academic mentor. Students in year 8 and 10 who are HPA and claim free school meals are part of the UNIConnect programme. We have specific links with local universities – Roehampton and Kingston, as well as 7 other specialist universities across London, as well as good links with Oxford University – Mansfield College and Cambridge University – Caius College.