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Highly Able Learners

Achievement vs Growth

At Farringtons we regard the issue of nurturing our highly able learners as a matter of achievement versus growth. In some environments highly able learners achieve high grades in public examinations without ‘growing’ at all; our highly able learners will certainly achieve excellent grades at GCSE and A Level but will also have many chances to develop knowledge and enjoy experiences beyond the curriculum and opportunities to apply and challenge these in school and beyond.

Your child will undoubtedly be arriving at Farringtons with many talents already apparent: we look forward to encouraging him or her to develop these but take our responsibility to provide opportunities for new experiences and talents to be cultivated very seriously.

Our broad ability intake provides a balanced and healthy community in which pupils feel appreciated and their talents are known and valued by their peers and staff alike. Furthermore, the size of our community means that pupils do not get ‘lost in the crowd’ but develop positive relationships with staff which endure throughout their seven years with us.

Every autumn, Farringtons admits some Highly Able pupils to Year 7; every August, we have a number of pupils who achieve all A/A* at GCSE and every September, we are delighted to send our academically elite Sixth Formers on to Russell Group or Oxbridge colleges to study on the course of their choice. Recent destinations, which give a small sample of the range of the talent we nurture, include:

  • Exeter - History and Spanish
  • King’s College, London - Medicinal Chemistry
  • Nottingham - English Literature
  • Oxford, Somerville - Law
  • Southampton - French and German
  • University College London - Neuroscience
  • Loughborough - Mathematics

The size of our school also means that leadership opportunities are available to a greater percentage of our students in the Sixth Form, providing opportunities for our young people to take responsibility and guide others individually and in teams: valuable skills for life beyond Farringtons.

Excel Programme

Highly Able learners have a lot to look forward to at Farringtons.

Our Excel Programme makes excellent, personalised provision for pupils identified as Highly Able. These pupils are offered a range of extension opportunities by their subject teachers to challenge and stretch their learning and add breadth to the taught curriculum. Where appropriate, these activities will be made available to pupils operating just below this level, too, to ensure that all are challenged and aspirational in their learning.

Excel pupils will also be offered extension activities beyond the taught curriculum, including participation in House Events, and may include lunchtime or after school support for entry into local, regional or national competitions. These competitions may be related to their Excel subject(s), for example bright English students may enjoy Debating, Public Speaking, poetry jams and competitions; mathematicians the National Maths Challenge. Cross-curricular opportunities, such as the Citizenship Foundation’s Mock Magistrates Trials or Haileybury Model United Nations, are also available. Our staff love working with bright pupils and recent successes in external competitions include Kent Region Youth Speaks Intermediate Runners-Up 2015, Kent Region Youth Speaks Seniors Winners 2015 and Inner London Finalists – Debating Matters 2015.

Shine Mentoring

The brightest deserve to be secure that their needs will be met.

Pupils who are recognised as Highly Able in four or more subjects will be allocated a Shine Mentor: a member of staff who will meet with them once a term in Key Stage 3 and once a half term in Key Stages 4 and 5. The Shine Mentor will get to know your child, find out about their interests and discuss with them their school work, their extracurricular activities, possible career aspirations and courses etc. encouraging them to be pro-active and tenacious.

The ultimate aim is that the brightest pupils’ experience at Farringtons is stretching and stimulating and fully prepares them to meet future challenges.

Farringtons Challenge Award & Other Provision

Breadth at Key Stage 3 allows young people to approach knowledge and experience in an explorative way and discover and follow their own passions. Our Farringtons Challenge Award is a new addition to the range of challenge provision, which promotes this, enabling pupils in Key Stage 3 to extend their learning in a broad and independent way. Pupils with exceptional ability may, with parental agreement, be offered master classes with a specialist teacher and acceleration may be possible depending upon individual circumstances.

Extended Project Qualification

Many of our brightest students choose to develop and follow their own research interests through the Extended Project Qualification. The sheer diversity of these in recent years has been striking with subjects ranging from ‘The Columbian Government’s Treatment of its Indigenous Population’ to ‘The Brain’s Ability to Adapt to Trauma’ demonstrating the breadth of intellectual curiosity among our Sixth Form. Although the EPQ is available to all students regardless of ability, 83% have been awarded A/A*.

Tomorrow’s Sporting Heroes

We currently have a number of elite athletes at Farringtons, including, amongst others, a young footballer training with a Premier League club, a National Champion field athlete and a European Champion skier. We fully recognise the extraordinary nature of such talent and are able to accommodate requests to work around sporting excellence with a high degree of flexibility. Mrs Nancekievill will be happy to discuss such need on an individual basis.