Stretching the More Able at Moyles Court Senior School

“The school provides well for more able, gifted and talented pupils…” Inspection report, November 2012

Average class sizes of 15 and excellent facilities provide ideal learning opportunities for all pupils. The GCSE Options system divides a pool of no more than 22 pupils into three classes, creating exceptionally focussed and supportive learning groups.

View our 2017 Results

Opportunities to extend and challenge are built into all Schemes of Work for stretching the more able.


Subject Specific Detail

Geography: Geography is a dynamic, ever changing subject involving a complex series of interrelationships – pupils at Moyles Court are regularly encouraged to think “outside the box”, whether on fieldtrips and visits to areas of local geographical interest or investigating current events around the world.

Geography also lends itself to decision making and problem solving exercises which encourage higher order thinking skills. Year 8 recently planned their responses to a volcanic eruption, for example, whilst Year 9 have been thinking about solutions to debt and poverty around the world.

History: Teaching strategies for stretching the more able are incorporated into the History Department’s schemes of work and lesson plans. Planning incorporates clear objectives, effective differentiation by content, learning process and outcome, and a range of teaching styles. Lessons aim to develop a sound understanding of the Historical context and encourage creative and analytical thinking through an enquiry-based approach.

The most able students normally work within their peer cohort, but specific opportunities are also provided to allow extra challenges to take place e.g. by providing differentiated worksheets, extension exercises and suggesting additional reading or viewing as appropriate.  Due to the small class sizes at Moyles Court it is possible to tailor lessons to suit individual students.

While provision for the most able history students is usually achieved within the classroom, the history department offers a number of opportunities for these students to develop as historians beyond the classroom such as our Moyles Court Murder Mystery Meal. It is worth noting that these enrichment activities are designed for a wide range of students and not exclusively for the most able. The RAF Ibsley revivial day is a good example of this.

The creation of a History Club which meets weekly during term time has been of immense value in stimulating interest and enthusiasm and for providing an outlet for the more able student. In August 2012 the Year 11 GCSE History group benefited from a trip to the First World War battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. Read the GCSE History trip report.

Design Technology Resistant Materials: The department uses creative open ended design briefs that allow students to respond according to their abilities. This could include developing designs that are more complex, or may have a multi-functional element. For senior pupils in year ten and year eleven the workshops are opened after school and at weekends to facilitate extension work. The department has been awarded a Good Schools Guide award for the best results for girls’ short course GCSE in an English school (state and private) every year since 2007 (correct as of June 2012).

To see where Design Technology can take you, take a look at “Working Wood” a short film directed by former pupil Mali Griffiths.

Physical Education: We run a full sports fixtures list that has enabled the more able pupils to participate in competitive matches with their own age groups and in some cases a year or more above their age range. We also continued to have some of our more gifted and talented pupils playing for clubs outside of school and in some cases playing at district and county level. Two girls have been placed with our local ladies netball club. We support the more able with differentiated tasks within the structure of normal PE lessons.

Modern Foreign Languages: In the MFL Department our more able linguists are provided with real material such as magazines, newspapers, books and DVDs. We also encourage our most able Year 9 linguists to take two languages, French and Spanish, at GCSE level.

In Year 9 pupils take the Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education. In the Senior school, we made provision for a Year 10 student who demonstrated particular talents by inviting him to sit his French GCSE a year early and our Year 11 French students were able to extend their knowledge beyond the syllabus by going to Paris last February.

As for our more able Junior linguists, they were given the opportunity to join a French club after school as well as studying Spanish during the week. We also offer a Mandarin Chinese club.

19Music: The Music department runs a number of enrichment activities on a weekly basis to develop, challenge and stretch the more able. We currently run a training band and a Senior band, a Junior and Senior choir and a Musical Theatre Club.  Curriculum lessons enable gifted pupils to explore practically and theoretically a wide range of musical elements, influences and devices and to make use of Music Technology to aid them in their composition and performance work.

We have several computers running Cubase Elements and Noteworthy music programmes, and some advanced keyboards with 16 track built in sequencers, allowing students to capture and record their ideas and develop and manipulate them further using overdubbing, cycling and production techniques.

Textiles Technology: Pupils produce practical work which demonstrates a high level of creativity and technical ability and they are encouraged to use their initiative and provide more in-depth written coursework in support. They are developing their interest further with extra-curricular activities including reading, visiting exhibitions and attending fashion events. Some pupils are using their practical textile skills in other subject areas, including Art and DT.

English: More Able pupils in English have had a significant number of opportunities to be stretched and challenged this year. This has included a visit from local author Kay Woodwood, a live Webcam broadcast with the author Charlie Higson, theatre trips to support the learning of texts such as ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘War Horse’, entry into Creative Writing and Poetry competitions and regular provision of extension work.

Pupils have seen their work published in the ‘Mini Sagas’ publication this year and a Year 10 pupil won the Independent Schools Association National Essay writing competition in 2011. The introduction of Kindles e-readers in 2012 will provide even greater opportunities for all pupils.

Oliver rehersalsDrama: In Drama this year More Able pupils have benefitted from working with the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, taking part in the BBC’s Shakespeare ‘Off By Heart’ heats in London, going to the theatre to support the learning of texts, for example ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Oliver’ and enjoying working with a visiting Shakespeare Workshop.

Art: After school, evening and holiday workshops are provided by the art department to stretch, encourage and extend the more able pupils. The department also has strong links with local artists and pupils attend their studio workshops as well as travelling to London with the GCSE Photography students to visit the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

The Department has been recently awarded a ‘1 in 10’ National award by Edexcel Examination Board and the Good Schools Guide ‘Best School in England’ Award for Boys GCSE Art results in both private and state sectors. In the last academic year the department has also achieved three National Independent Schools Association Art awards and four at regional level.

Maths: The school takes part in the UK Maths Challenge, a wonderful opportunity for the More Able pupils to compete against other pupils nationally. This year five silver awards and three bronze awards were awarded in Years 10 and 11. Extension clubs are offered after school and drop in clinics at lunchtimes give pupils every opportunity to do their best. There is setting by ability in mathematics.

ICT: Programming Club is offered as an after school activity, helping to develop the pupils knowledge of programming using Python. The more able pupils can generate very complex programs including having a conversation with the computer and creating a number guessing game. The GCSE course is based on ICT for Business and Communications, motivating pupils in real work contexts.

moyles-court-LulworthScience: Field trips, for example a visit to Lulworth Cove as part of the year 8 scheme of work enables the pupils to access the course in interesting ways for all abilities. Students have access to lectures as live feeds via the internet. The beautiful and diverse outdoor areas around the school are used to enhance pupil learning, especially in Biology. Setting during the GCSE years gives the more able students the attention and focus required to attain top grades.

After School Clubs: Many clubs are offered covering a whole host of activities including French, Chinese Mandarin, Mathematics, Drama, Music, Creative and Sports activities. Most of these are at no extra cost (click here for the current list).