All parents/carers play an essential role in the development of children, a role which the college supports but cannot displace. There are a variety of ways in which you as a parent/carer can facilitate the development of your child but as each child is unique then factors which help one child to develop will not always be appropriate for facilitating the development of other children. Nor will it always be the case that a child is developing in every cognitive respect at the pace that would normally be expected. A child may well develop in some respects ‘faster’ than expected and in other respects ‘slower’ than is expected.
Below are a few general principles about how you can support the development of your child in respect of:
- General Cognitive Development
- Language Development
- Logic and Numerical Development
- Development at College
- Concerns about College
- Useful Websites
General Cognitive Development
There is increasing evidence that the intellectual development of children is supported particularly well when they are regularly exposed to intellectual stimulation which promotes a growth of knowledge and problem solving skills. But as equally important as the stimulation is the opportunity to experience unstructured ‘free time’ where children have the responsibility to amuse themselves and so typically develop your imagination and creativity skills.
You can support your children by helping them to encounter intellectual stimulation in reading and in new experiences through visiting museums, galleries or through interacting with other venues and situations with which they are less familiar. You may arrange additional formal studies for your children and that too can be helpful, although it is important to ensure that the children do not become intellectually exhausted. Sometimes the most effective support that a parent can provide may be actually limiting the number of engagements and formal activities that your child is exposed to, in order to ensure that the child has the intellectual space and ‘free time’ in which to play, experiment and develop hobbies and interests of his/her own.
High prior attaining children manifest a particular love of, and aptitude with, language. They enjoy learning new words and phrases and perhaps like to use unusual forms of expression. You can support your children in the development of your language skills by reading with them and in particular by talking about and discussing what they are reading.
Some children respond particularly well to different types of literature and colleges and libraries are usually only too pleased to offer advice about how a child’s reading can be broadened and varied. Some children enjoy and show an aptitude with oral language but are less interested in formal reading. Where this is the case the most effective support can be helping the child to gain in confidence with material he or she feels comfortable with, rather than in trying to move the child onto more complex material than he or she is ready for.
Logic and Numerical Development
Some students have a particular interest in numbers and logical reasoning. They will typically enjoy exercises involving these aspects and may well enjoy talking about problems involving calculations and conversions.
You can support your children by trying to ensure that they enjoy any additional logic and numerical work that they are doing at home. Making games and playing games are good examples of ways in which children can do this. It is also important to balance activities which acquire new knowledge and new skills with activities which provide an opportunity to strengthen already existing skills by focusing on ways of applying logical and numerical.
Development at College
College aims to support the intellectual development of children in a holistic framework which takes account of intellectual needs as well as their SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) needs. Some high prior attaining children have developed intellectually in terms of knowledge and understanding which would normally be expected of much older students. Other high prior attaining children can show significant reading or numerical abilities in circumscribed aspects of the subject whilst others can seem to be making significant process through curriculum materials but are doing so in terms of learning to perform functions and activities rather than actually understanding the material and its application.
As every child is unique there can be no single way of meeting the needs of a high prior attaining child, but in determining provision that is appropriate for your son or daughter, Minsthorpe Community College aims to ensure that the student is intellectually challenged and making progress in terms of understanding as well as knowledge whilst also working in an environment which meets your SMSC needs.
Teaching staff will use differentiation with high prior attaining students and you should be able to see evidence of challenging activities in your childrens’ exercise books. We have monitoring and tracking procedures to ensure that high prior attaining students continue to make expected progress.
Concerns about College
Sometimes you may feel unsure of whether we are really stretching your child at a pace that you feel is appropriate. Where this is the case it could be because we are trying to meet the student’s intellectual needs for a growth in understanding rather than merely an increase in knowledge. Sometimes it arises because we are trying to support a student’s SMSC needs as well as academic ones, encouraging the student to work in groups to develop communication skills, imagination and creativity.
Where you are concerned about the provision for your child it is very important to communicate immediately with us so that any misunderstandings can be addressed and resolved. In communicating with the college the most effective approach is to:
- Contact the class teacher first to register concerns and ask for the rationale underpinning the current classroom approaches. If as a result of discussion teacher and you feel that a slightly different approach would be useful then agree the precise format of the new approach and the time frame in which it will happen. It can sometimes be worth agreeing a formal review meeting later in the term at which progress with the new format can be discussed.
- If contact with the class teacher does not resolve parental concerns then the next step would be to contact the relevant Curriculum Team Leader.
- www.excellenceeast.co.uk – Offers a range of exciting courses, activity days, online resources
- www.tomorrowsachievers.co.uk – Provides specialist day and residential masterclasses for gifted children, in many parts of the country
- www.mensa.org – Mensa, the high IQ society, provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members around the world
- www.aquila.co.uk – A fun magazine which aims to get 8-13 year old children reading, thinking and asking questions
- www.suttontrust.com – A charity which aims to improve educational opportunities for young people from non-privileged backgrounds
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