Gifted & Talented
"Meeting the needs of the gifted and talented is about building on a good general school provision, not something entirely different"
- Professor Deborah Eyre
What do we mean by gifted and talented?

In every school and college there are students with a range of abilities. Gifted and talented is the term applied to those young people who are achieving, or who have the potential to achieve, at a level significantly beyond the rest of their peer group. This refers to the upper end of the ability range in most classes/cohorts. It’s important to recognise that gifted and talented students are individuals, with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. A student may be very able in some areas, but may appear on the Special Educational Needs (SEN) register in recognition of behavioural, social, physical/sensory or specific learning difficulties.

We at The Hastings Academy have called our gifted and talented programme the Falcons programme.

Identifying our Falcons students

Falcons student are identified using a variety of methods. The specific procedure will vary but includes elements of the following:

  • Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs)
  • KS2 Attainment (APS)
  • Teacher nomination
  • Assessment results
  • Self-nomination
  • Peer nomination
Students will be identified as Falcons if:
  • They have a KS2 SAT level 5+ in English, Maths or Science
  • They have a CAT score of 115 in one of the categories of verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning
  • They have an average CAT score of 120
Provision for our Falcons students:
We have a three strand approach to ensuring the greatest provision for our Falcons students.

We ensure that daily teaching and learning is meets the needs to all students through planning of lessons, questioning, groupings and tasks. Every member of staff has seating plans and profiles of learners (including prior attainment data) which ensures that they can provide the right amount of challenge to secure good progress. We have a highly effective Feedback for Learning policy to ensure that every learner receives informative feedback and has the opportunity to act on the feedback and improve their work. It is paramount here at The Hastings Academy that every students is clear on what aspects of their work is good and why and what they need to do to improve their work. Amongst our students this is known “Medals and Missions”. To secure good to outstanding progress, the feedback loop is closed through the use of DIRT (Directed Independent Reflection Time).

Refer to our Feedback for Learning policy

Questions that stimulate higher order thinking

Questions that stimulate higher order thinking
Thinking Skill Explanation Key Words Key Questions
Analyse The learner breaks down learned information into its component parts, makes inferences and finds evidence to support generalisations conclude, contrast, classify, divide, discover, examine, group, infer, inspect, simplify, sort, test for

Why do you think...?

What conclusions can you draw?

How would you categorise...?

What is the function of...?

Can these ideas be grouped into three categories?

What motive could there have been to...?

Synthesise The learner creates new information and ideas from previous learning choose, compose, construct, develop, devise, imagine, improve, modify, predict, propose, solve

What would happen if ...?

How could you change ...?

What facts can you compile?

Can you predict the outcome of ...?

How could you estimate the result of ...?

Evaluate The learner makes judgements about learned information on the basis of established criteria agree, assess, choose, compare, criticise, defend, determine, interpret, justify, recommend, review

What is your opinion of ...?

Would it be better if ...?

How would you justify ...?

How would you compare ...?

Why did [name] choose ...?

How would you prove that...?


We offer a range of enrichment opportunities outside the normal classroom which enable our students to widen their experience and develop specific skills. Some of these opportunities are linked to the curriculum whilst others are ‘one-off’ events and visits.

We have an extensive extra-curriculum timetable of clubs and societies which take place after school. All our Falcons pupils are encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities as indeed are students who have talent in specific subjects.

Our enrichment programme includes:

  • Interschool competitions
  • Deep Learning Days
  • Mini Enterprise Projects
  • Competitions
  • Museum Visits
  • Theatre Visits
  • Geography Fieldtrips
  • Photography and Art Fieldtrips
  • Career Speakers
  • Sports Training
  • Business and Community Projects
  • Debating Club
  • Residential Trips - Paris, Austria, Lille, Barcelona, Madrid
  • University Visits
  • Villiers Park
Challenge Lectures

Challenge Lectures are a new and exciting part of our enrichment programme at The Hastings Academy. The aims of these Challenge Lectures are to broaden understanding and inspire interest in the topic being presented. Challenge Lectures take place after school and are open to students, parents and staff. The lectures will last for around 30 minutes and will be on a variety of topics.

Please refer to our Events page for more details on the upcoming lectures.

PRIDE Dissertations

In this, the most able year 7, 8 & 9 students are supported to complete a research project of their choice. This project is run in conjunction with Villiers Park and Sussex Coast College.

  • Students learn research skills and methods
  • Students deepen knowledge in an area of interest and develop a love of learning
  • Students learn organisation skills needed to plan and deliver a long-term academic project
  • Students develop confidence through completing interviews in their expert areas.

Once each student has selected a research question the Villiers Park Scholars and teams of Sussex Coast College students will provide twice termly academic supervision to assess the progress of the research; question and guide the future direction; signpost reference materials and support the writing of an academic research paper.

Between supervision sessions the Villiers Park Programme Manager and Learning Mentors will run academic surgeries fortnightly to ensure that all students have the chance to discuss their project.

Following the completion of the research papers the students will take part in a Viva Voce (oral examination) to present their work and answer questions on the findings and research process.

Villiers Park
We are working in conjunction with Villiers Park Educational Trust. Villiers Park work with students who are identified as having high academic potential, to promote the fair access to university of under-represented groups from Hastings and Bexhill, through the Scholars Programme. To widen the benefits of the programme they have developed Villiers Park Involve; a method of working through Scholars, to share advantages that come with the Scholars Programme, with a greater number of students with high academic potential in the area.

Scholars’ Support Sessions and hand-in dates
Scholar’s Support Sessions will take place on either a Monday or Tuesday at least once per term. To help us ensure you meet up with your scholar please ensure you attend on the day that you originally selected, i.e. Monday or Tuesday

Session Dates (Mondays and Tuesdays) Time Location Content
1 30th & 31st January 3.15 – 4.15pm Firehills Research priorities
Research methods
2 27th & 28th February 3.15 – 4.15pm Firehills What is in a name?
Structuring an essay
3 27th & 28th March 3.15 – 4.15pm< Firehills Supported writing task
4 24th & 25th April 3.15 – 4.15pm Firehills Supported writing task
5 22nd & 23rd May 3.15 – 4.15pm Firehills Editorial and review

Students will be asked to hand in their completed dissertations in term 6. We will confirm these dates in due course.

New for 2016-17 – Mentoring and Coaching

The final strand of our Falcons programme is to provide coaching and monitoring to our Falcons students. This is our next phase. In small group our Falcons students will look discuss the following themes:

  • What is it like to be gifted and talented?
  • Independent learning
  • Study skills: how to be the best learner
  • Leaderships
  • Revision strategies and exam practice
  • UCAS and University