Provision for High Potential Learners
Once high potential learners have been identified, the most pressing question for teachers is how to ensure that school provision meets their needs, not only to maximise their educational outcomes, but also to nurture their social and emotional well-being.
Most of a learner’s time in school is spent in the classroom, so it is essential that the provision provides them with opportunities for challenge, to go outside their comfort zone, to take intellectual risks, and to build resilience; as well as being inspired to learn.
Supporting High Potential Learners
High potential learners need support because they often lack regular challenge, leading to the underdevelopment of learning skills that are essential for success. There are also some sensory, social, emotional or special needs issues that may affect learning and can also lead to underachievement if not addressed. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers, teaching assistants and high learning potential lead teachers in primary and secondary phases. It covers why high potential learners need support and what kind of support is needed.
Planning for Challenge: Proforma Lesson Plan
The key to effective provision for high potential learners is in planning lessons to ensure all learners are challenged. This advice sheet offers a proforma for use in planning lessons that encourages high expectations, with reminders to plan for the use of higher order thinking skills in a sequence that encourages experiential learning. Further, there are Assessment for Learning, literacy and numeracy, and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development prompts.
Challenge Plan for High Learning Potential – Student Proforma
This advice sheet provides teachers and others within the education environment with a template to use when developing a challenge plan for a high potential learner. This form can also be used by lead teachers and others with responsibility for high potential learners as a basis for a conversation with the learner.
Challenge Plan for High Learning Potential – Teacher Proforma
This advice sheet provides teachers and others with an example of a challenge plan for a high potential learner. It can be used by lead teachers or others with responsibility for high potential learners as a basis to develop similar plans for their own learners.
Empowering High Potential Learners to Take Part in Planning Provision
Planning effective personalised learning to motivate and challenge high potential learners can be tricky and time consuming for teachers. So many children with so many diverse needs and interests yet so little time… Involving high potential learners in lesson planning is a highly effective, efficient way to plan strategies that really work. Who better to understand the requirements of excellent, challenging learning than the learners themselves? This advice sheet is aimed at teachers who are interested in providing genuine leadership opportunities and at senior leaders who would like to support trainees, NQTs and a range of teachers in refining their practice in the classroom through the co-constructing of learning.
Evaluating Staff Development Needs in Relation to High Learning Potential Provision
There are many demands on the professional learning needs of teachers, but few have the potential to have a greater impact on achievement for all than developing teachers’ knowledge, skills and expertise in the provision for high potential learners (HPL). This advice sheet outlines a range of strategies schools can use to identify the professional learning needs of teachers so that resources, including time, can be targeted effectively. It will consider how to identify the needs of the school, as well as strategies to identify the professional learning needs of teams and individuals.
Learning Communities to Develop Staff Skills in High Learning Potential Provision
Learning Communities can be a powerful and cost-effective model for professional learning, providing the opportunity for large numbers of teachers to learn together about best practice in a specific area of classroom focus, across year groups and subject specialisms. The Learning Communities model provides a structure for learning and innovating collaboratively over a period of time so has the potential to make a significant impact on outcomes for learners. Focussing on provision for high potential learners (HPL) has the additional benefit of promoting high levels of challenge in secure learning environments which will raise achievement for all learners and create a culture of risk-taking and high expectations.
Teachers Developing Talent
What characteristics does a teacher need to develop in order to nurture talent in young people? This advice sheet looks at what qualities teachers who develop talent have and what can be done to increase motivation in students. It is aimed at school leaders, high learning potential lead teachers and classroom teachers.
Motivating High Potential Learners
This advice sheet highlights some of the reasons why high potential learners struggle with motivation. To try to increase the motivation of high potential learners, eight strategies are suggested for teachers to try in the classroom. It is aimed at teachers in both the primary and secondary phases.
Helping High Potential Learners to Develop Self-Regulation Skills
Self-regulation is the process of taking control of one’s learning through planning, monitoring and evaluating. High potential learners may struggle to develop self-regulation due to a lack of consistent challenge. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and other educators so that they can support learners in this area.
Handwriting Difficulties and High Potential Learners
High potential learners who have difficulty with handwriting can sometimes be misunderstood in school, especially if ability and achievement are being assessed in written work and tests. If learners have difficulty expressing their ideas, opinions and knowledge on paper, it might be assumed that they have little knowledge or have not learned from the lesson. It is important for these learners to have opportunities to also present their knowledge in other ways. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and others in an educational setting to suggest ways that this might be addressed.
Tackling Underachievement in the Secondary Phase
High potential learners in secondary school are at risk of underachievement because of their different pace of learning, particular learning style, barriers to learning or social isolation. In order to combat these problem areas, five types of support have proven to be effective for high potential learners. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and senior leadership team members in secondary schools and it shows how these types of support can be provided in the secondary school setting.
It is essential for high potential learners to be challenged with an appropriate curriculum. These learners usually pick up concepts and make connections very quickly, and so need opportunities to embed their learning through the application of rich and sophisticated problems and tasks, rather than ‘more of the same’. Teachers have a huge impact on the learning experience of these learners by ensuring that the curriculum provides both depth and breadth of learning. In a minority of cases, it may be appropriate to introduce topics from later year groups or for learners to work alongside older children.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy)
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) are types of learning that require higher cognitive processing and have more generalised benefits than Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS). Bloom’s Taxonomy sets out cognitive processes from lower to higher order skills and can be used to think about creating opportunities to challenges learners at all levels. This advice sheet is aimed at lead teachers and teachers at all phases of education. The sheet outlines the different types of thinking skills and the kinds of questions and tasks that can be used for learners at each skill level.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Resource
This resource suggests question cues and tasks at every level of thinking skills in Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. It can be used by class teachers to set tasks and questions at the different levels of thinking.
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Resource
This resource shows how tasks might be set using digital technology at every level of thinking skills in Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. It can be used by class teachers to set digital tasks and homework at the different levels of thinking.
Enquiry-based learning gives learners the opportunity to ask questions and investigate topics through researching and finding out for themselves. It encourages high potential learners to learn at their own pace: building upon their existing knowledge by starting at their own point of understanding or awareness. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and covers what enquiry-based learning is, the benefits for high potential learners and how to go about facilitating enquiry-based learning.
Finding ways to engage and extend the learning of high potential learners can be a challenge. SOLO Taxonomy (Biggs and Collis, 1982) can be a useful tool in understanding the complexities of thinking required by a task. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers, and parents who home educate. Its objective is to help ensure that high potential learners receive appropriate challenge in their education tasks.
Often associated with creativity, divergent thinking refers to how we generate ideas beyond usual expectations; how thoughts can diverge from the norm. Divergent thinking aids problem solving and helps us to see beyond artificial limitations, which has positive impacts in students’ work, aspirations and personal lives. This advice sheet, aimed at teachers and teaching assistants, sets out what divergent thinking is, how cultivating these skills can be beneficial for high potential learners and the types of activities that help to develop them.
In addition to classroom-based activities, many more able students welcome and benefit from the challenge provided by specific opportunities that can be offered beyond the classroom.
Schools can organise activities for more able children to work together in a pull-out session within a year group or from several year groups, offer an open after-school/lunchtime activity that will be of particular interest to more able learners – such as a chess, creative writing or science club – or get together with other local schools to run an enrichment activity for more able learners.
As well as organising these kinds of opportunities themselves, schools may be able to tap into events offered by outside organisations or local universities. They can also keep parents and carers informed about other opportunities beyond the classroom.
A confident, happy, thriving learner; working towards his or her potential, is what every school aims to nurture, support and educate. Sometimes, however, high potential learners can be in more need of social and emotional support than others of their age. If these needs are not recognised and supported, high potential learners may find it difficult to achieve both academic success and emotional well-being at school.
Here are some common reasons why a high potential learner may benefit from pastoral support:
Social and Emotional Needs of High Potential Learners
Educating happy, well-rounded and successful learners is important for every teacher. As social and emotional issues can appear frequently among high potential learners, this advice sheet looks at the cause of these and offers some advice on dealing with them in the classroom. This advice sheet is aimed at lead teachers and class teachers so that they are aware of and can understand the particular social and emotional needs of high potential learners.
Wellbeing and High Potential Learners
The wellbeing of high potential learners can be affected by a number of issues, beyond those exclusively concerning their education. It is, therefore, important to take a holistic approach to supporting the wellbeing of such learners. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers, classroom staff and high learning potential lead teachers. It explores the different ways in which a high potential learner’s wellbeing may be affected, as well as how to support them.
Asynchronous Development in High Potential Learners
Asynchronous development, whereby a learner appears to be ‘wise beyond their years’ but in many ways is still very immature, has been described as the defining characteristic of exceptionally high potential learners. This advice sheet explores the issues relating to asynchronous development in high potential learners and provides useful strategies and guidance to teachers on how to support learners who are developing asynchronously.
Perfectionism and High Potential Learners
Perfectionism and the fear of failure are common traits among high potential learners that can impact negatively on their education and prevent them from reaching their potential. This advice sheet focuses on how teachers can help high potential learners overcome perfectionism, the fear of failure and how to encourage them to attempt more challenging tasks.
Supporting High Potential Learners with Transition to Secondary School
Transition into secondary school can be both daunting and exciting for many learners. High potential learners can be particularly sensitive to this change so extra care should be taken to ensure that the practical and emotional needs of these learners are understood and met. This advice sheet, aimed at lead teachers and school leaders will help with preparations for the arrival of high potential learners and enable schools to meet their needs with confidence.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
This advice sheet explains the levels of questioning, gives question cues and example activities for all levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating and Creating.
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
This advice sheet shows how each of the levels of thinking skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy can be applied to activities using digital media.
Questioning for Challenge
This advice sheet shows how questioning can be used for extension activities, using Six Types of Socratic Questions by R M Paul and Five Types of Questions by Leslie Owen Wilson.
Collaborative and group activities are proven to benefit the educational achievement of high potential learners. This is a resource of collaborative challenges to use in the classroom.
This is a resource of over 20 different activities to provide extension and challenge in the classroom.
Higher Order Activity Examples
There are four different sets of examples to give guidance on types of activities that can be used to extend higher order thinking and verbal skills in the classroom.