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High Potential Learners


Our vision is to create challenging learning opportunities which allow all children to flourish. We believe all children can reach  their highest potential through challenge, opportunity, self-belief and aspiration

‘A rising tide lifts all ships’ J F Kennedy. 


 At Penwortham we believe….

  • A high learning potential child will show flashes of brilliance from a very early age.
  •  A high potential learner needs opportunities, challenge, resources, encouragement to truly fulfill their unique potential; both in the home environment and the educational setting. 
  •  High potential learners thrive on learning and new experiences. 
  •  High learning potential is the very beginning and not the end product. Success and achievement are not determined by high learning potential alone. High learning potential is certainly a good start, but requires consistent support to fully develop. 
  •  High potential learners, like all children, are capable of change – nurture them and they will flourish, succeed and achieve. Ignore their potential and they will wither, underachieve and lose their 'spark'

Why ‘High Potential Learners’ not ‘Gifted and Talented’? 

The charity Potential Plus UK has observed that, in the UK, there is a social stigma attached to the word 'gifted', and that parents, teachers and children themselves feel that the word is limiting, exclusive and at times unnecessary to bestow upon a child, who has as yet to fulfill their true potential


High Potential Learning Identification 

Effective identification is the first step to appropriate provision. At  Penwortham we have a variety of ways to identify  high potential learners. 

These  include: 

  • Observation of pupils in and outside of lessons 
  • Questioning—individually, in small group, or whole class
  • Common characteristics of High Potential Learners 
  • Use of characteristic subject checklist


Teachers use a variety of steps to identify the High Potential learners, as just using attainment data on its own can miss able underachievers, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special education needs, who may not be attaining at the level at which they have the potential or cognitive ability to attain.


Common Characteristics of High Potential Learners 

The high potential learner in the primary phase often:  

  • Needs fewer steps to process things than others of his/her age  
  • Enjoys an increased pace of learning 
  • Needs less instruction and practice  
  • Thrives on independent study  
  • Copes with abstract tasks 
  • Likes open-ended situations 
  •  Needs to learn to fail 
  •  Responds to a wide variety of creative opportunities 
  •  Needs to be encouraged to take risks  
  • Needs to develop self-esteem in a supportive environment 
  •  Has a different intellectual level to their actual age



Whilst every learner will benefit from many of these strategies, it is proven that they are essential for high potential learners. 

Our provision includes:  

  • quality first teaching, encompassing assessment for learning
  • challenge through a mastery approach 
  •  Learning clubs to support learners to reach their potential
  •  regular opportunities for depth and breadth in subjects  
  • tasks and questioning to promote higher order thinking skills  
  •   opportunities for learners to develop self-regulation skills and use the ‘Learning Pit’ 
  • Experiences such as: 

                 -STEM days at the London Oratory School 

                 - Art Project with the British Council 

                 - Young voices 

                 - orchestra unwrapped 


Competitions such as: 

  • Primary Mathematical Challenge
  • Horror writing competition - Year 5/6 (led by pupil leaders)
  • ‘Proud to Be’ History/Art competition
  • Wandsworth Spelling Bee
  • 24 Competition  
  • Inter-school Quiz championship for Science and Maths  
  • Musical extravaganza 
  • Digital leaders for computing 
  • Royal Institute Maths masterclass
  • Poetry Slam
  • Winter and Summer Reading Challenges - KS2
  • General Knowledge Quiz Club (starting in Autumn 2)