Able and Inspired
As a selective grammar school, there is already an assumption of your son’s ability built into his obtaining a place here at King Edward VI Aston. However, our Able and Inspired students are those students who go beyond mere attainment in lessons and demonstrate significant passion for learning a subject beyond the level of their peers. This inspiration to go beyond the curriculum, and beyond classroom learning, reveals a higher level of independence and intellectual curiosity which it is our job as teachers to nurture and support. However, we do not want to stifle a student’s personal inspiration with rigid structure and impose a specific programme of learning on those students identified as being Able and Inspired. The fact that the inspiration component is self-motivated is central to what distinguishes an A&I student from a merely able student: we expect the highest academic standards and attainment of all Aston students; but our Able and Inspired students are those who do not need their teachers to hold their hands to get there, or spoon-feed them subject content they are resistant to learn for themselves. An Able and Inspired student at Aston is not just someone who gets good grades in a subject, but someone who is likely to study that subject at A-level, or at University. To be a future Historian, Mathematician, Scientist, Philosopher, Musician, Geographer, Linguist, etc. because they have a love for a subject, or set of subjects, that cannot be constrained by the school curriculum.
As a school, as teachers, we can support your child’s inspiration, and we can nourish it, but our job in supporting your Able and Inspired child is to facilitate that independent passion and ability and enable their inspiration to flourish. This could take the form of helping them start up a new student club for the particular subject; pointing them in the direction of further reading, websites, documentaries, etc. to enjoy in their spare time; planning trips relevant to their inspired interests, including university masterclasses or conferences; connecting them to fellow Able and Inspired students throughout the school in the form of subject mentors, or even across the King Edward Academy Trust; providing enrichment and extension opportunities on the school’s VLE, including access to relevant MOOCs. Or it could be a more formal route, such as encouraging sixth form students to pursue an EPQ on a topic of their choice, or participation in the whole school Mastery or Leadership Awards.
Examples of this in recent years include:
- Year 10 Philosophy Morning in conjunction with Warwick University for A&I identified Philosophy students.
- Creation of a Junior Debating Society and participation in Solihull School’s Junior Debating Competition for A&I identified students in years 8 to 10. Participation in Oxford Schools Debating for A&I identified year 11-13 students.
- Mastery and Leadership “Ambassador” roles, for A&I identified students to roll out the Mastery and Leadership award to the whole school.
- Allowing A&I identified students to organise and host a Student Council Conference for all schools of the King Edward Academy Trust, organising sponsorship, event management and logistics, presenting ideas, and running the all-day event successfully by themselves.
- CERN trip for A&I physicists.
- Masterclasses at Oxford University for A&I computing students.