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Welsh Government / ESTYN Documents 

October 2012
The More Able and Talented Training Pack (NACE/Welsh Government) was sent to all state schools in Wales on 18th October 2012. You can also download the pack from the Learning Wales website.

Supporting more able and talented pupils in secondary schools
This report makes recommendations for schools in relation to transition; using data and assessment; providing enriched opportunities and appropriately challenging provision; ensuring that MAT pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds receive specific support to overcome barriers to their learning; provision of mentoring for MAT pupils; training and networking and improving parents’ understanding of how they can better support the education of their MAT child. It also recommends that local authorities should use data to evaluate trends over time in the achievement of MAT pupils.

Click here to find ‘Supporting more able and talented pupils in secondary schools’

Supplementary Guiance for Inspectors: More Able and Talented Learners (September 2010)

This document provides guidance to inspectors on MAT

Click here to find Estyn’s publications which relate to the topic ‘more able and talented’

Estyn report on Supporting More Able and Talented pupils in the Primary Schools, July 2011

 This report concludes that, overall, most more able and talented (MAT) pupils are not challenged enough and too few pupils achieve above the expected levels at the end of key stages 1 and 2.  It states that, in the few schools with the best provision, thorough analysis of data and assessment outcomes helps to identify MAT pupils.  In these few schools MAT pupils are supported through a range of additional provision and their progress is tracked and monitored carefully.  In addition, parents understand the school’s approach to providing additional support for MAT pupils.  It was found that MAT pupils gain most in schools that promote individualized or personalised approaches to learning and that they benefit particularly from having control over what and how they learn.  Concern is expressed that transition arrangements between Primary and Secondary schools often do not provide enough continuity and progression in the education of the MAT pupils.  Also, it was evident that few LAs use data to monitor the progress of MAT pupils or promote the sharing of best practice between schools.  School Improvement officers rarely discuss MAT pupils during their visits to schools. 

Estyn's report on supporting More Able and Talented pupils in Primary School
The Welsh Government's response to ESTYN's report

ESTYN's report on The Blue Skies Project

A Curriculum for All Learners

This document stresses that there will be a group of learners who require extending, regardless of how they compare to MAT pupils in other schools.  It notes that the needs of MAT pupils cannot be separated from the move to raise standards for all learners, quoting Renzulli (!998) ‘A Rising Tide Lifts all Ships’. The document states that provision which challenges more able learners must be an integral part of schools’ curriculum design and notes that the following factors contribute to improvements in attainments for all learners:

  • the provision of a learning environment that will permit and encourage learners to develop their potential
  • a climate that values and enhances intellectual ability, talent, creativity and decision-making
  • opportunities to develop thinking, including analysis, synthesis and evaluation

It is stressed that the best provision for MAT learners is made by extending that which is available to all learners.  The teacher uses his/her professional skills and action research methodology – carefully monitored – to make adjustments based on evidence. The link is made between this approach and the Welsh Assembly Government’s work on Developing Thinking and Assessment for Learning, which has potential to improve questioning and develop higher-level thinking skills, reflection and evaluation for all learners.

Appendix 1 in this document clarifies that pupils who are more able and talented are NOT considered to have ADDITIONAL LEARNING NEEDS unless they have SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS or they have, for whatever reason , greater difficulty learning a particular subject or skill in comparison with the majority of persons of the same age who are not able and talented.

A Curriculum for all Learners


Meeting the Challenge

This guidance from the Welsh Assembly Government notes that the term ‘More Able and Talented’ (MAT) encompasses pupils who are more able across the curriculum and those who show talent in practical, creative and social fields.  It provides a clear framework of ten standards which can be  used as a tool for development, auditing/planning actions and for self-evaluation, depending on the stage the school has reached in terms of its whole-school strategy in relation to MAT pupils.  Schools with well-established provision and action-planning systems can use it to be assessed for ‘The Challenge Award’ quality mark based on the standards.

 The standards are summarised in the attached WORD Document:

Meeting the Challenge

The 10 Standards


A Curriculum of Opportunity 

This document, produced by ACCAC for the WAG in 2003, is the first to state that the term ‘More Able and Talented’ (MAT) will be used in Wales to ‘describe those pupils who require opportunities for enrichment and extension that go beyond those provided for the general cohort of pupils’.  It is emphasised that the identification of MAT pupils is linked to context and that approximately 20% of the school population may be more able, while 2% could be considered ‘exceptionally able’.  The document also emphasises that the needs of more able pupils should be met ‘in the classroom through high quality day to day provision’.  Guidance is provided on the identification of more able learners, ways of organising and grouping learners and of extending and enriching their learning which is still relevant.

A Curriculum of opportunity


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