Our Challenge for all Abilities
We utilise systems that challenge all of our students to do well and be well.
At The Highcrest Academy we are fully comprehensive in every sense of its meaning, with our admissions policy ensuring we have an ‘all ability’ intake. We are unique in welcoming a balanced range of students from ‘all abilities’, which is representative of our community, and have a setting and support
Our aim is to provide an acutely, personalised and inclusive curriculum, that challenges students of all abilities and creates independent and autonomous learners who are physically, digitally and academically literate.
We pride ourselves in offering progression to both academic and vocational routes, truly serving the varied needs of our students, whilst maintaining our outstanding support to narrow the gap for those who may find some areas of school challenging. Indeed, there are a vast range of intervention programmes that take place across all year groups, ensuring that every student is able to experience and celebrate success.
We have highly qualified, committed and enthusiastic teaching and support staff. Teachers constantly improve their skills through further training and this in turn impacts positively on teaching in the classroom. In fact, as a teacher training academy for postgraduates across Buckinghamshire, we are at the forefront of developing first-rate practitioners. Careful and innovative lesson preparation ensures that all students are given appropriate yet challenging work. Assessment is rigorous and parents are regularly kept informed of their child’s progress.
We hold the NACE Challenge Award for our commitment to challenging all ability learners. To further challenge our most gifted students comprehensively, we identify three groups among them: Most Able, More Able and Higher Prior Attainers – collectively referred to as Excelling Students. The selection for the cohort takes place either during the admission process, from key stage two assessments and other information provided by their respective primary schools as well as work they produce during the school year. Our Most Able students are identified by members of staff for their continued dedication to a specific subject. All of our departments plan schemes of work and run specific projects, clubs and a variety of events to challenge this cohort of students, who are also encouraged to take part in University taster days and work with our industrial links with worldwide corporations such as Johnson & Johnson. They also have an opportunity to work through Challenge Maps that run alongside of their schemes of work across all subjects and years to further develop their skills and knowledge in the areas of their interests.
Challenge maps are a series of project based independent extended learning opportunities that are in line with our current schemes of work. The challenge maps are designed to stretch and challenge students that have been identified as most able in a specific subject area. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to be involved in extra curricular projects and take responsibility for their own learning journey.
Below are examples of challenge map tasks produced by the English as Additional Language (EAL) department and a fantastic project completed by a Year 10 student showcasing different cultures.
Miss S Leonard, Teacher of Science & Challenge Coordinator
Support for Learning
Some of our students will require additional support during their time at Highcrest. We are able to offer a range of interventions, tailored to meet the individual needs of our students. These interventions include our LINC (Learning Inclusion) groups that have a higher teacher to student ratio and focus on developing core skills. Our Learning Support Team will either work alongside classroom teachers or withdraw small groups of students for additional personalised support. For those who require a highly differentiated curriculum, we have our specialist support group that offers a unique approach within a mainstream setting.
Inclusion and beyond
At Highcrest, we are one of around 100 schools in the UK to have achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark Flagship Award This prestigious award recognises schools for their outstanding commitment to an all-inclusive practice. Indeed, this award is only achieved, if all students, of all abilities, are stretched to perform to the maximum. You can only imagine how proud of this we are!
Our extensive and experienced team strive to provide effective support, no matter what difficulty our students are facing. Their dedication and ability to develop strong working relationships, means our students feel confident to bring life's difficulties to them, knowing they will be listened to and supported. Our far-reaching network of outside agencies allows us to refer to specialists, when required, knowing that this, combined with our high levels of daily pastoral support, give our students the best chance of overcoming difficulties and going on to find success.