Provision for Highly Able Students

How does The Dorcan Academy identify Highly Able learners?

A range of information has been used in this process including information from our primary feeder schools, students’ Cognitive Ability Test scores and KS2/3 results, together with teacher assessment of students’ ability in the different subject areas. For Year 7 and 8 students, we have also considered where students were identified as Highly Able following their KS1 SAT results.

Highly Able (HA)

At Key Stage 4 this group consists of those students with either:

  • A KS2 Level 5 in English Reading and Maths
  • A KS2 Level 5a or 5b in English

At Key Stage 3 this group consists of those students with either:-

  • A KS2 Scaled Score of 110+ in English Reading and Maths
  • A KS2 Scaled Score of 115+ in English Reading
  • A CAT (Cognitive Ability Test) Score of 110+   

High Learning Potential Group (HLP)

This group consists of the top cohort of students in each year group who have been identified as having a talent and aptitude in a specific subject(s) in the curriculum.

How often are these groups reviewed?

The Highly Able groups will not change.  The High Learning Potential groups will be reviewed on a yearly basis. Parents will be informed if their child is in one of these groups at the beginning of the year.

The role of the Highly Able Co-ordinator

The Highly Able Co-ordinator; Mr A Robinson, plays a pivotal role in meeting and exceeding the needs of the Highly Able students. Please read letter which is sent from Mr Robinson to the parents of Highly Able students:

Dear Parent

It is wonderful and challenging to be the parent of a Highly Able student. You want to support them so that they achieve their potential, challenge them so that they aspire to great things and achieve their dreams, but at the same time not push so hard that they give up or collapse with exhaustion. The Dorcan Academy realises that it has a duty of care to these students to ensure that they achieve their potential. It is my role to support your child, you and the teaching staff at the Academy so that they do very well indeed. To that end please feel free to contact me at if you have concerns. If we all work together, I am sure that your child will make themselves and us all very proud indeed.

I will also, among other things, raise the profile of Highly Able students at the Academy and support teaching staff to ensure Highly Able students are challenged in the classroom.

Thank you in advance for all your support.

Yours faithfully

Mr Robinson

How does The Dorcan Academy provide extra challenge and support for Highly Able learners?

Beyond the many subject specific activities offered there are extra-curricular enrichment opportunities.  We organise skill sessions, encourage participation in local and national initiatives, visit top Universities and discuss with students their needs and listen to their proposals for enrichment activities. 

It is also important to mention that not all Highly Able/High Learning Potential students will be invited to participate in every enrichment activity. Rather, students may be invited to certain events which will aim to target the specific areas in which they excel.  

Students who are not part of the Highly Able or High Learning Potential group may also be invited to take part in an event or trip if they have aspirations in this area or if it is going to be of benefit.

Our Extended Pathway was introduced to support the accelerated progress of our high achieving students who have shown an aptitude through the curriculum and is designed to stretch and challenge through working at a faster pace, the study of additional subjects and the delivery of more complex content. Students will study Combined Science, treating each of the three subjects separately in preparation of the opportunity to study Separate Science (Triple) at GCSE and two Languages from Year 7 along with a range of other academic and vocational options.

Upcoming events for our Highly Able and Higher Learning Potential students 2023-2024

The following are being planned by Departments to address the needs of our Highly Able and High Learning Potential Students in the Academic year. These activities are above and beyond the normal high-quality teaching expected in the classroom. This list will grow as the year progresses.

  1. United Kingdom Mathematics individual and team challenges for years 7 to 10.
  2. Swindon maths league for years 7 and 8.
  3. Visit to universities for year 9 and 10.
  4. National Young Mathematicians award for years 7 and 8 and problem solving for year 10.
  5. Cooking competition.
  6. British Physics Olympiad.
  7. Visit to the Museum of National History, University of Oxford for the Christmas lectures.
  8. Talks from guest speakers through Speakers4schools.

Extension opportunities undertaken in 2022-23

In Maths:

UK Maths Challenge

In PE:

Competing in County Athletics competitions

In Science:

A presentation by Professor Inada-Kim, Consultant Acute Medicine.

Visit to Museum of Natural History Museum for Christmas lectures.

The Dorcan Academy
St. Paul’s Drive
Covingham, Swindon
Wiltshire SN3 5DA
Switchboard: 01793 525231
Fax: 01793 431461
The Dorcan Academy is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under company number 07831414. The registered office is St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 5DA.