More Able and Talented (MAT)

During October we were assessed for the NACE Challenge Award and passed with flying colours. The South Wales Argus had this to say...

AWARD WIN PUTS NEWPORT SCHOOL IN ELITE GROUP

A NEWPORT primary school is only the eighth in Wales to win an award for its work with talented pupils.

Mount Pleasant Primary School achieved the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) Cymru Challenge Award for More Able and Talented Pupils for its work in challenging all pupils, including those with high abilities, to achieve their best.

Cllr David Atwell, city council cabinet member for education, said the award spoke volumes about the dedication and commitment of staff and governors in ensuring every pupil is challenged to do the best they possibly can.

The award is given by the NACE, which exists to help the daily work of teachers providing for children with high abilities while enabling all pupils to flourish.

Auditors, who spent a day in the school, were impressed by its strong leadership and management of provision as well as the good support and challenge provided by the governors.

Assessors judged the quality of the school's work by observing lessons, interviewing the pupils, teachers, parents and governors and by looking at the pupils' work.

The award is given when schools demonstrate they meet the criteria and will remain committed to continuing to ensure high-quality provision for more able and talented pupils.

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The official feedback from the inspectors is detailed below.

 

  • There is a positive ambitious whole school ethos which is understood and shared by all.. Older pupils report that " everybody knows what they are good at" and " Everything is praised equally". Whilst younger pupils know that teachers " spot what we are good at." As a result, pupils accept and value their differing strengths and relationships are strong across all in the community . Parents are "fully involved and informed."
  • Leadership ensures a sustained focus through excellent use of shared internet access areas and well placed and relevant reminders such as 'Planning with MAT in mind'
  • The school actively searches for, values, and supports more able and talented children with equal commitment, effectively guided by regularly review discussions and policies. For example key skills are tracked across all aspects of school life, including after school clubs. Pupils comment on "good opportunities to become a leader or organiser."
  • The school uses a wide variety of systems to support identification and the register is regularly reviewed. As a result, there is an active fluidity that encourages staff to focus attention on MAT pupils.
  • The school's rationale of 70+% level 5 end of year 6 is systematically planned for to secure success. Leadership sets the unequivocal expectation that targets will be achieved. Targets, which include 'realistic' and 'challenging' for every child, are well informed, ambitious, and regularly reviewed by staff and senior leadership. Teacher " It's not that we can't do that, but how can I do that?"
  • Teachers and pupils reflect on individual learning. The Learning Diaries enable pupils to be fully involved in the target setting and assessment process by setting their own targets agreed with teachers. There is increasing evidence of teacher feedback that is focused on the next steps to achieve the targets. As a result, pupils become increasingly ambitious about their own learning.
  • Leadership is systematic in developing staff skills and knowledge to support provision for MAT and secure identified improvements. This is effectively supported by lesson monitoring. As a result, new initiatives are evident and previous ones have had an impact, for example the quality of questioning shows improvement and is now a strength as noted below.
  • The school identifies exceptionally able pupils and supports their learning through the use of individual plans. Outside expertise is effectively used to enhance the support provided. As a result, there is evidence of MAT pupils attaining level 6
  • There is an active partnership with parents. Parents are fully informed through a wide variety of media, resources, and meetings. As a result they work well with the school to support their children. Of particular note is the value placed on the web based resources and information provided by the school which is actively used.
  • Pupils have a real voice across the life of the school. They are contributors to the web site, participate in school council and eco council, plan their projects and have opportunities for independent learning and reflection.
  • School staff go out of their way to establish links with external organisations and individuals to enhance and enrich the learning experiences, provide examples of role modelling to inspire, and open the children's eyes to opportunities within the world of work.
  • Governors have an informed understanding of MAT provision and the ways in which the school celebrates achievements. Governors are linked to curriculum areas and meet with staff to discuss school practice to ensure that MAT provision is given appropriate attention. Governors are involved in regularly reviewing the policy
  • Teachers enthusiasm and skilled use of strategies ensure that pupils are motivated and engaged.
  • Teachers across the school use ICT interactive whiteboards effectively to motivate, focus, and support learning.
  • Teachers have high expectations balanced with a good rapport, with the result that pupils feel secure to explore their understanding.
  • All pupils have equal opportunities to participate and lead.
  • Teachers and children know and use a range of questioning techniques to extend and challenge thinking.
  • MAT pupils are encouraged to explain their thinking, modelling developing understanding for others.
  • There are planned opportunities for reflection and links to prior learning, making learning meaningful.