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BSL recognises, in line with English DfES guidelines, that More Able students are typically advanced in comparison with the average for their age group, but not significantly so. However, ‘More Able students are those who achieve or have the ability to achieve, at a level significantly in advance of the average for their year group’. An accepted differential between students of this cohort are that ‘gifted’ students demonstrate a broad range of achievement and capability at a considerably elevated level, matched with sophisticated and mature learning skills. ‘Talented’ students refer to those individuals who demonstrate particular skills in a specific discipline, such as sport, music,art subjects or drama, rather than across a wide breadth of subjects. In the UK, this is expected to consist of 5-10% of the student population.

However, the definitions above are exclusive, therefore a broader perspective is required.

‘Gifted behaviours may occur in certain people at certain times under certain conditions’ (Renzuli).

This all encompassing definition reminds us of the need to recognise, encourage and nurture sparks or moments of talent in all students and ensure that personalised provision is made to further develop this behaviour.

A More Able student is generally accepted to be one who demonstrates a significantly higher level of ability than most pupils of the same age in one or more curriculum areas, or in any of the following:

Physical talent

  • Artistic talent
  • Mechanical ingenuity
  • Leadership
  • High intelligence
  • Creativity

The More Able student could be one or more of the following:

  • A good all-rounder
  • A high achiever in one or more areas
  • Of high ability but low motivation
  • Of good verbal ability but poor writing skills
  • Very able but with a short attention span
  • Very able yet with poor social skills
  • Keen to disguise their abilities
  • A quick learner
  • Able to choose unusual ways and methods of working; may think divergently
  • Capable of high-order thinking and problem solving
  • A risk taker
  • Able to persevere when motivated
  • Able to grasp and master new concepts, aiming for perfection
  • Able to spot inconsistencies and illogical arguments/concepts
  • Unable to cope with constructive criticism or advice
  • Resistant to put pen to paper
  • Able to communicate a vivid and unusual imagination
  • Adept at finding patterns and relationships, reasoning, abstracting and generalising
  • Able to produce answers to a very complex question intuitively, without having to write it down; they can often not see the point of recording their methodology
  • Able to memorise with ease
  • Able to respond positively to challenges
  • Easily frustrated and resistant to repetitive tasks
  • An able communicator with a wide and sophisticated vocabulary