The Shine Initiative

Here at Selwood Academy we aim to have high expectations of all pupils all of the time and provide them with opportunities to let their light shine before others, by encouraging and supporting their academic development. Our ambition is to provide a challenging and stimulating learning environment for all, which offers the opportunities for students to shine and develop an enthusiasm for learning. 

During this term, Selwood Academy has been updating its Most Able register to facilitate the introduction of a new initiative that we believe will become an exciting opportunity to stretch and challenge our pupils that demonstrate exceptional ability. The Shine initiative, as it will be known, is aimed at the Most Able pupils within the school and are recognised as the top 5-10% within their year group that show or have the ability to show a significantly higher level of attainment than others in their year.

For the summer term your child will be invited to participate in challenges and activities by the most able lead in each subject area. This may be through a lunch or after school club or through material on google classrooms. Keep an eye out for these activities. 

Although school may be aware of your child’s ability in an activity in which they excel out of school, it is possible that there is something we do not know. We would like to know and if you feel strongly enough that your child should take part in the initiative then please contact the school whereby a discussion can be had. 

To meet the agreed criteria, a Most Able child must have proven exceptional ability and perform at a high level for their chronological age. For example, representing the district or county in a sporting activity would qualify. 

If you feel you would like your child to take part in the Shine initiative please complete the parent nomination form below which can start the process.


Most Able Frequently Asked Questions


What does being most able really mean?

The DfE and Ofsted define the most able in terms of those whose progress significantly exceeds age related expectations. The National Association for Able Children in Education describe, ‘exceptionally able pupils are those who have the capacity to achieve or perform at the very highest levels’ across the curriculum subjects.

How are the Most Able students identified?

At Selwood there are 3 ways to being identified: 

  • Teachers highlight around 5 % -10% of their class who they feel qualify as most able students. However, sometimes this might be more or less. 
  • Parents can nominate their children as being most able as they may have an external qualification or interest such as a Music exam, Drama scholarship, Part of a local Sports team
  • Prior assessments. Students that have performed well in previous assessments may be highlighted as most able

Characteristics that may be shown include:

  • Keen powers of observation.
  • Learn or read very early, often before school age.
  • Reads widely and rapidly. 
  • Well-developed vocabulary – takes delight in using unusual and new words.
  • Has great intellectual curiosity. 
  • Absorbs information rapidly – often called sponges.
  • Be interested in topics which one might associate with an older child
  • Communicate well with adults – often better than with their peer group
  • Have a range of interests, some of which are almost obsessions

Why might my child be identified?

The reasons learners are identified as most able might be for their abilities as outlined in point 1. They could of course be identified for more than one area.

Why is my child not on the register?

There are occasions when learners have not been highlighted as most able by the class teacher, but as a parent you feel they should be. Please contact your child’s class teacher, where you can discuss your concerns and share any areas of ability the school might not be aware of.

What criteria are used for identification?

Schools have the discretion to decide how best to identify their most able learners, but are likely to obtain the best results by drawing on a wide range of information. There are no official identification criteria for children but we use a recognised list of criteria and make a
judgement based on an analysis of various sources of information including:

  • Teachers’ Observations, discussions with learners, work scrutiny
  • Test scores e.g. SATs /diagnostic spelling, reading and Maths
  • Parent, teacher nomination

Will my child always be on the register?

We feel that if a student has been marked as being one of the most able students then they should stay on the register. Students level of progress may not always be consistent but with your support we want your child to make the maximum progress over their time here at Selwood. However, if they are not willing to put in the effort then a discussion may be had with your child and yourself about continuing on the register.

How will I know if my child is on the more able register?
Parents will be informed that their child is on the register as and when that register is updated and at the start of each academic year. 

How will my child be supported?
After the identification process, every teacher has a clear understanding of those learners in their class who have been identified as well as the reasons for this identification. When teachers plan, every lesson has specific activities, questions or expectations for those learners who are on the more able register, as well as for other specific groups of learners. Also, Most Able students will be invited to join the Shine initiative, more able clubs and workshops throughout the year to develop certain skills. 

Who should I contact if I don’t feel my child is getting enough support?
If after speaking to your child’s class teacher you still feel that they are not receiving the appropriate support, please make an appointment to speak to the MA Lead teacher. 

How can I support my Most able student at home?
As each child is an individual and you know that individual best but here are just a few ideas to help:

  • Read with them, even if they are good readers 
  • Able children enjoy learning new words – have a new word of the week at home. 
  • Extend their general knowledge with a fact of the week.
  • Encourage physical activity to develop co-ordination and general fitness. 
  • Do not always focus on your child’s obvious skills – encourage them to sample new activities.
  • Puzzles, crosswords, logic games, word games, card games, board games all help to develop the thinking skills and social interaction.
  • Learning a new language together. 
  • Use of adult language. 
  • Give children a broad range of experiences
  • Sometimes the most effective support that a parent can provide may be actually to limit the number of engagements and formal activities that their child is exposed to, in order to ensure that the child has the space and ‘free time’ in which to play, experiment and develop hobbies and interests of his/her own. 
  • Above all – learning should be fun and enjoyable.
  • All children, including the most able need to develop self-esteem and confidence, to be given praise and encouragement.

What will happen when they go to secondary school?
 At secondary school, they still identify about 5% of each year group as most able. It is important to note that this may result in children who have been identified at Selwood Academy, not appearing on the register at Secondary School or vice versa. 

Where can I get more information?

Further information regarding more able learners can be found at:




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