At Outwood Primary Academy Bell Lane, we encourage all of our children to excel in every activity they undertake. It is often the case that some pupils excel at certain activities and therefore will benefit from further extended learning opportunities.
In order to celebrate children’s strengths in all subjects, we hold termly Curriculum Talent Awards. Children are nominated for these by their class teacher; subject leaders then interview all nominees, discussing their learning, in order to select a winner for the subject. This then cumulates in a grand award celebration.
All lessons have such opportunities “built in” as a part of our success criteria and differentiation. For example, some children who excel in an aspect of PE, such as gymnastics, may have a different task to complete than the rest of the class. The way their level of success is measured will also be different: the criteria we look for in their work will be more precise, technical and require greater skill to achieve. This concept is apparent in all lessons.
In maths lessons, we use the first part of our “split” lesson to teach a core skill, such as addition of fractions in year 5 and year 6. During this phase of the lesson, teachers may notice (or have planned for children who grasp a concept quickly) that some children are repeatedly successful and find the work quite straightforward. The teacher will therefore adapt the questions which those children are doing - in the example of addition of fractions, this may mean adding mixed numbers or fractions with different denominators.
The second part of the maths lesson is for independent learning. Teachers have planned 3 or more tasks for children at this stage. We “pitch” all lessons so that “silver” is work which is “age-related”. However, in respect of pupils who are “more able”, we expect them to access and succeed at the “gold task”, which is often a multi-step or more-complex task.
In literacy lessons, the bronze/silver/gold concept is the same, with gold being skills, knowledge and success criteria which are in the “greater-depth” areas of learning. Typically, success criteria are increasingly difficult to achieve: the gold success criteria are taken from the “working at greater depth” areas of the national curriculum. On some occasions, they are taken from the year above.
In other subjects, such as PE, geography or music, we have two levels of outcome and success criteria - silver and gold. Silver demonstrates that the child is accessing ‘age-related’ learning and gold is ‘working at greater-depth’.
We regularly assess pupils in all subjects, and always make the harder outcomes available to everyone as research shows that pupils of all abilities benefit from the more complex thinking required to access.