What is Wye School?
Wye School was set up by the proposers as a comprehensive, not a high school. This means we cater for students across the ability range. At least 85% of our first year’s cohort should achieve A*-C with English and Maths in all subjects and this figure is 90% for our second year’s intake.
Why would anyone not choose a selective school?
In this area, it may have felt to some that there was no other choice for a bright child and this was an automatic route. It may well be that this is so and that is the best choice, but it is worth considering an alternative. There are many reasons parents have for this.
- are ideologically opposed to selection
- want a mixed sex environment
- do not want the stress of a summer cramming for tests
- want to avoid notions of success / failure for young children
- want a different, often less formal, atmosphere
- believe their child would benefit from being at the top of the ability for one school, rather than lower down in another.
Grouping of More Able Students at Wye School
For all core subjects – English, mathematics and science – and MFL, we group students by particular aptitudes, with A group for those strong across all disciplines, V for verbally strong students, Q for those quantitatively strong and S, for those needing support across all subjects.
The A set comprises students with Level 5 or above for all (or virtually all) KS2 assessments and / or mean CAT scores of about 112 and above. All students sit these tests on arrival and they are used to finalise groups. Our A sets include: students who have passed the Kent Test, those who are able enough but chose not to take it; and some near-misses. The A set timetable includes an additional language.
The Classroom Matters – Gifted and Talented Learning at Wye School
Ability grouping does of course make planning to challenge the most able easier, but we do not stop there. Whatever the group, by ability or mixed, there is always a wide spread of ability. Our Wave 1 classroom based approach (detailed in our policy) is focused on developing higher level thinking, providing student choice and creating independent learning projects with no ceiling. We provide clearly differentiated work for the most able in every class.
Beyond the Classroom – Opportunities for the Most Able
Our daily compulsory activities programme allows children to choose termly from a wide range of activities. These are highly diverse and allow students to pursue their own interests. There are activities specifically designed to appeal to the more able, such as Greek Philosophy, additional languages, like German and Latin, and chess. Some activities are by invite only, such as the Science Crest Award, We Social Action group and Maths Code-breaking.
Our Student Voice in Action group gives students a choice to devise and realise ideas which would normally be the reserve of teachers. Our students have planned and organised our transition events, devised our behaviour and reward systems, ordered our library, designed their social area and organised numerous events.
Doing it Differently
It is clear to us, even at this early stage, that our differences are exciting and challenging for our most able learners. Such differences include:
- promotion of public speaking in all classes;
- no hands policy so all participate;
- active and topical approaches to learning;
- banning detentions and other negative behaviour strategies, in favour of high expectations for all;
- Independent Learning Projects each term, with considerable flexibility and freedom to be brilliant.
Our Future Curriculum
With our able profile, as noted above, virtually all of our learners will follow a traditional curriculum of GCSEs and A’ Levels, with many going on to universities, including Russell Group and 1994 group university.
This is the parent of an exceptionally able child who chose to transfer to us from a selective school.
‘Our son started at Wye school at the end of October 2013, at the end of the first school term, and the decision for him to move to Wye School was one of the most difficult, but one of the best we have made as his parents.
All of the staff at the school are happy, supportive, inspirational and able to extend learning for our son when needed, and he is therefore suitably challenged academically, and this has meant that he is continually motivated to do his best and has made excellent academic progress in his first year at secondary school. Our son has always found the teaching interesting, motivating and challenging.
During his time at Wye school, he has had opportunity to take part in some amazing events such as the first UK WE day and the Salter's festival at the University of Kent. These experiences have really enriched and enhanced his learning both academically and socially.
As we have said, the learning environment at Wye is very motivating and challenging, but it is also exciting, inspiring, nurturing and supportive.’
Most importantly, our son is extremely happy and confident at Wye school, and feels able to be himself. Thank you for providing such a great school with dynamic and exciting learning opportunities for our son.’