Within the context of the broad, rounded education we provide for all our pupils, we try to stretch the most able by providing them with opportunities that challenge and stimulate them and encourage them to aspire for excellence.
In KS3, pupils may be invited to join the Aspire Programme. Sixth formers are encouraged to take part in our Super-curriculum to prepare them for the increasingly complex and rapidly-changing world they face beyond school.
Gifted and Talented pupils are identified by the raw ability tests taken in Years 7, 8, 10 and L6. Heads of Departments may also make recommendations for individual pupils to be included in the programme.
Those pupils who are identified as Gifted and Talented are enrolled in IGGY, a social network designed to help gifted young people between the ages of 13-18 realise their full potential. It is run by the University of Warwick and gives members access to great educational resources and encourages them to work with top academics and other gifted young people around the world.
The Aspire Programme was established to give pupils in Years 9 – 11 designated as ‘Gifted and Talented’ a collective identity.
Much as the best rugby players aspire to play in the 1st XV and likewise hockey players the 1st XI, it is important for those who are academically gifted to have their own ‘club’. Pupils in these three year groups who demonstrate strong academic talents and an exemplary work ethic are invited to join.
Coordinated by our Director of Learning, the group meets once a week in order to discuss topics that one would not ordinarily find on a GCSE or even an A level syllabus. The weekly seminars are taught by members of staff with specialisms in the topic areas and pupils are required to do further independent research, preparation and essays. For example, under the broad banner of the 18th century, the pupils covered from the birth of the novel (Robinson Crusoe) to the presentation of women in Jane Austen, and from Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’ to the French and American Revolutions were studied. Also JJ Rousseau’s ‘Social Contract’ and Kantian ethics (with some utilitarianism thrown in for good measure), Rococo art and the Virginian woodcutters.
Regular trips outside school are organised, including visits to art galleries, exhibitions, the opera and theatre. Each year the group visits either Oxford or Cambridge University, to provide members with an opportunity to find out what these top universities are looking for and what they might gain from studying there.
Our enriched and engaging sixth form programme reaches beyond the requirements of a student’s A level studies, feeding their interests to explore areas they may wish to study at university or in future careers.
Students have the opportunity to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), providing the opportunity to develop some of their own independent research and enquiry skills, which are important for study at university.
MOOCs, Headstart programmes and a wide range of courses provide by universities are available for students to study alongside their A level and BTEC programmes. Each of them give more insight into their future.
Work experience, volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh and community projects are all available and encouraged to develop initiative, resilience and awareness of the wider community.
There is also a wide range of clubs and societies at Giggleswick, providing a wealth of opportunity to develop essential communication, leadership and life skills. Our Curriculum for Life programme is tailored to ensure students build the necessary skills and knowledge to lead independent lives at university and in the workplace.
We use MidYIS, Yellis and ALIS baseline tests and value added data to assess our students and to measure their academic progress against their raw ability. The CEM Centre at Durham University provides us with national data and is an officially recognised Educational Research Unit.
All pupils sit a raw ability test at the start of the academic year in Years 7, 8, 10 and L6. The feedback we receive enables us to set realistic, yet challenging targets for our pupils. We have a monthly assessment system in which staff review students’ progress in terms of meeting their target grades.
The CEM Centre also provides value added data on a school-wide, department-wide and individual pupil level. This allows the Director of Studies to compare our teaching and our pupils’ progress against the teaching and progress in other schools. Our aim is for every pupil in the school to achieve better than expected results.