Estyn’s latest MAT thematic report, Supporting more able and talented pupils – How best to challenge and nurture more able and talented pupils: Key stages 2 to 4
, examines standards, provision and leadership in meeting the needs of more able and talented (MAT) learners in primary and secondary schools in Wales.
Following on from Welsh Government’s announcement
of fresh funding to support MAT learners, the report underscores the need for a renewed focus on MAT provision. It also provides clear guidance on and examples of effective provision and practice – including many drawn from NACE members and Challenge Award-accredited schools.
Here are 7 key takeaways for schools…
1. Strong leadership at all levels is at the core of effective MAT provision.
The quality of MAT provision and standards achieved is dependent on leadership with a clear vision for MAT and an emphasis on improving standards and provision through highly successful whole-school approaches and strategic planning, together with monitoring and evaluation which ensures that provision meets the needs of MAT learners.
2. Support for MAT learners should consider overall wellbeing, as well as academic factors.
Success in school relies on learners having belief in themselves, persistence and positive attitudes to learning. At NACE, we promote a range of approaches which can support all MAT learners in developing these attributes alongside effective learning for high achievement.
3. Strong subject knowledge underpins high-quality teaching and learning for MAT learners.
Teaching MAT learners effectively requires strong subject knowledge and an understanding of effective MAT pedagogy which deploys a wide teaching repertoire and skilful use of practices such as questioning and assessment.
4. Effective provision is grounded in high expectations and broad and varied learning opportunities.
High expectations correlate strongly with learners’ motivation and achievement, as does learning which enables them to develop to a very high level in academic, sporting, creative and technological skills.
5. Stimulating and challenging learning experiences should be planned with the specific needs and abilities of MAT learners in mind.
Teaching and learning activities should promote learners’ independence, problem-solving, decision-making, thinking and evaluative skills effectively and also develop literacy, numeracy or ICT skills to a high level.
6. Robust analysis of performance, monitoring and target-setting approaches informs effective MAT provision.
This includes clear and systematic procedures for the identification of prior attainment, current achievements and strengths using a wide range of information; the setting of appropriately challenging targets and learning experiences; and monitoring and tracking progress and achievements over time.
7. Staff professional development must support effective provision for MAT learners.
Teachers are at the heart of effective MAT provision. This is at the heart of NACE’s core principles and informs our approach to supporting schools. With a well-established track record in contributing to national policy, guidance and practice in Wales, we are currently strengthening and extending our work in all Welsh regions around the key issues highlighted by Estyn and the Welsh Government MAT policy.
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