King’s is proud of its academic record and we are committed to ensuring that all of our pupils fulfil their potential and make the most of all the opportunities available to them. One of our core aims is ‘to develop lively and enquiring minds’ and we have an inclusive approach to challenge and enrichment: we want all of our pupils who seek challenge to be able to access it and we encourage them to do just that.
Gifted and talented pupils
At King's, our provision for gifted and talented pupils is co-ordinated by our Head of Challenge & Enrichment who works alongside our Deputy Head (Academic). Our enrichment provision is a broad programme of activities, both inside and outside the classroom, to really stretch the most able. Every lesson contains a degree of extension, which can take the format of tasks of increasing difficulty, opportunities for higher order thinking such as evaluation, and leadership roles within the classroom. We want to ensure that all our pupils enjoy a classroom experience where their curiosity is sparked and they are enthused to want to know more.
We also accept that there are some pupils who are particularly able or gifted in certain areas. Where this is the case, we closely monitor their attainment to ensure that they are reaching their high potential. Our staff will have high expectations of these pupils in all their class work, homework and assessments. Our bespoke tracking and monitoring systems allow our staff to closely monitor attainment and effort in line with a pupil’s ability and we have a number of intervention strategies to ensure that the exceptionally able remain challenged, engaged and motivated in all subjects.
Within the classroom
All departments contribute to the school-wide enrichment provision. Staff plan and deliver lessons which ensure that all pupils are intellectually challenged. Many lessons are enquiry-based, with problems and questions that are open-ended so that more able pupils can be encouraged to push their learning even further and go well beyond the normal confines of a subject/topic. Questioning is used to encourage pupils to apply their knowledge to new areas or to think deeply and broadly about a given subject.
Our teaching styles are varied and highly engaging, so that pupils take an active role in their learning and are encouraged to go beyond the confines on the curriculum. Pupils will be taught not just about their strengths, but also where any weaknesses may lie so that they can be taught how to overcome these. Lessons will involve a variety of different approaches to learning and may take the form of debates, workshops, guest speakers and visits beyond the classroom.
Our focus on developing learning habits in our pupils also encourages them to be more independent and to question the knowledge they are presented with, as well as to reflect on their own learning and thinking processes. A programme of independent projects, with one each half-term in Year 7-9, further allows pupils to work under their own initiative and to go beyond the taught curriculum. A recent audit of King’s development of learning habits by an external consultant concluded that our provision for independent learning put us beyond nearly any other school.
Online Challenge & Enrichment Platform
Not only do we provide enrichment in school, we also feel that our students should be able to develop their studies independently from home if they wish to push themselves even further. King’s students have access to an online platform where they can access enrichment activities at home or using any device with an internet connection. The platform allows students to choose a subject and select from a wide range of engaging and thought-provoking tasks which, once completed, can be submitted for staff to review. Teachers will mark the work and provide feedback to the pupils, who can work towards achieving their Bronze, Silver and Gold Challenge and Enrichment Award.
Enrichment outside the classroom
Many of the academic clubs and societies that take place at lunchtime and after school allow pupils to develop their talents and interests. These include Debating Society, Electronics Club, Chemistry Club, French Film Society, STEM Club, etc.
We regularly enter pupils for a range of national competitions, such as the National Maths Challenges, Maths Olympiad, Cipher Challenge, Linguistics Olympiads, Model United Nations, Latin Challenge, and a variety of writing competitions – and we have had many successes and medals won. These all help to develop pupils’ abilities on a bigger platform that extends beyond school.
King’s is a member of the ‘North West Gifted & Talented’ organisation and, as such, we host events each year that offer broader opportunities for not only our most able students, but also those from across the North West.
For those who are talented in sport we have a range of highly successful teams (in some cases of world-class standard) and have a high representation in county teams. Our Sports Department is made up of more than 20 highly trained staff, who are often high achieving athletes themselves. Coaching is to a very high standard and pupils are supported with strength & conditioning sessions, nutritional advice, mentoring and access to physios.
The range of music ensembles, bands and orchestras means that any talented musicians will be more than catered for. Our Music Scholars are encouraged to get fully involved in the musical life of the school and to perform concerts and recitals. There is a full calendar of performances which take place locally, regionally and internationally, with annual concerts in Chester, Liverpool, Cartmel and tours to Wales, Italy, Prague and France. Pupils have access to our huge range of music instrumental teachers. Musicians also support our talented drama and theatrical students with our musicals, shoes and pantos. Students may study for LAMDA (speech, drama and acting qualifications) in school and public speaking is developed through a range of lessons, clubs, debating societies, assemblies and other events.
Leadership & Speaking
At King’s, we also place great emphasis on leadership skills: after all, we are preparing the leaders of the future. Pupils are encouraged to develop their public speaking skills through our TED-style talks, assemblies, debating and presentations. Visiting speakers, lectures, university-style seminars and visits to universities encourage our pupils to think beyond the confines of the school curriculum.
Our Speakers’ Programmes allows leading figures from a range of professional disciplines and industry sectors to speak to pupils about their roles and careers. It is aimed at broadening the horizons of our pupils, inspiring them to consider a range of possible futures and routes into professions. Recent speakers include one of only 200 female pilots employed by British Airways, the Head of Translation for the United Nations, a dentist, a barrister, an orthopaedic surgeon, a Chief Inspector, a Chaplin and the Professor of Medical Education at Manchester University. Our pupils leave us with a real sense of curiosity and confidence, well-equipped to make choices about further academic study and beyond.
In the Sixth Form our ‘Aspire’ programme prepares students for university entry with a series of sessions designed to challenge those who wish to apply to the more competitive universities or most competitive courses such as law, medicine and veterinary medicine; one of the reasons why we have had such success with Oxbridge offers over recent years. The course is wide-ranging and involves speakers, seminars, mentoring and interview practice relevant to a student’s career aspirations. In short, at King’s we want to challenge every pupil at their own level and the most able or talented will find plenty to stir their passions.