Higher Prior Attaining Students

How will we meet the needs of pupils with a high learning potential at The Henry Box School?

At The Henry Box School, we believe in the importance of providing challenging and stimulating learning experiences for all students and creating an ethos of striving for excellence.


What does the research tell us about pupils with high learning potential?

There is very little research on what works for pupils with a high learning potential (Crocket 2020). Research on streaming suggests that this makes no difference to the attainment of these pupils. There is some research to suggest that some setting (e.g. in Maths) and some grouping within a classroom can have a positive impact on the achievement of pupils with a high learning potential.


What is our philosophy and rationale for pupils with high learning potential?

This strategy provides guidance on how we will meet the needs of pupils with a high learning potential. We aim to achieve the following objectives:


  • To identify pupils with a high learning potential
  • To address the needs of pupils with high learning potential by providing support and teaching which makes their learning challenging, engaging and enables them to reach their full potential
  • To provide enrichment activities outside the classroom to support self-reliance and independent learning
  • To raise aspirations of pupils with high learning potential
  • To liaise with parents of pupils with high learning potential


How will we identify pupils with high learning potential?

Our pupils are identified through various sources of information, including:

  • KS2 GPVS Scaled Score Key Stage 2 Validated Result
  • Accelerated reader reading tests
  • Reading tests administered by the School Leader: Inclusion
  • GCSE results for Year 12 and 13 students
  • Recommendations from subject teachers


This information is collected and made available to all staff. The top 30 pupils in each criterion are included.


How will we provide for pupils with high learning potential?


In-class support

High quality teaching for pupils with high learning potential is the same as high quality teaching for all our pupils. These strategies are outlined in our main Teaching and Learning policy. Strategies include:

  • Ensuring there is clear progression within our curriculum model.
  • Checking pupils have the knowledge base to succeed. In order to do this, all teachers need to ensure they have outstanding subject knowledge. This is achieved through our professional development programme.
  • Identifying what excellence looks like in each subject area and sharing this with pupils.
  • Assessing students according to our curriculum model. Have students learnt what we wanted them to learn?
  • Encouraging students to work in their ‘struggle zone’. This may be through the content of our lessons, encouraging students to elaborate and explain their thinking during questioning or through feedback which enables students to learn from their mistakes.
  • Avoiding cognitive overload by presenting material in small steps.
  • Encouraging pupils’ metacognition and teaching pupils how to learn effectively. For example, using visualisers to live model teacher thinking and teaching pupils about the importance of retrieval practice and organisation.


Academic monitoring

All pupils have a mentoring session with their tutor, through our vertical tutoring programme, once every five weeks. Tutors discuss progress and identify targets in these sessions and will be aware of the pupils with high learning potential in their tutor group. Also, once per year in Years 7-9, tutors meet individually with parents and pupils for a 20-minutes where they discuss pupil progress in more detail and have a chance to look at their child’s work.

Tutors should pay attention to pupils with high learning potential who may be underachieving and discuss and target with them the barriers they may be facing.


Academic enrichment

There are a specific range of trips, clubs and programmes available to pupils with high learning potential. Here is a small example of what we have offered previously:

  • The Scholars Programme: In Year 9, pupils with high learning are invited to apply for a highly-competitive place on The Scholars Programme. At least 50% of the pupils are from a disadvantaged background. This may include pupil premium pupils, pupils whose parents do not have experience of higher education in the UK, and pupils who live in disadvantaged areas of Witney, as identified by postcode. Scroll down to read the first-class assignments from the 2021-22 Scholars Programme cohort.


  • UKMT Maths Challenge: High attaining pupils in mathematics are regularly entered for the UKMT Maths Challenge. This is a national mathematics competition organised by The University of Leeds. We enter pupils into the individual challenges, as well as entering pupils for the Maths Team challenge events at a regional level. Many pupils achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates in the individual challenges, and a few go on to participate in the more advance stages of the competition. Lesson time is dedicated to helping pupils prepare, through modelling and discussing strategies, whilst looking at an array of problems. Pupils are also invited to further preparation sessions if they are entered for subsequent rounds.


  • Shakespeare Festival 'Bard @ the Box': Normally the Drama department produces a Shakespeare Festival every other year featuring pupils from Years 7-10. In the alternate year, the Drama Department joins forces with the Music department for a whole school production. Unfortunately, we have missed being able to hold public performances over the last two years, however GCSE and A level exam performances have gone ahead behind closed doors during this time. This year we are hopeful that we will be able to showcase the talents of more pupils across the school with a public performance of The 39 Steps. For now, pupils with high learning potential and a curiosity for performing arts are encouraged to attend the Year 7 or Year 8 and 9 Drama clubs.


  • Science Department: The department organise a number of events to support pupils with high learning potential. For KS3 pupils, the department organise a STEM robotics challenge in Term 5, an RAF workshop in Term 4 and an Oxford University Christmas Lecture for KS3 pupils in December. KS4 and KS5 pupils will be invited to enter the RSC Chemistry Olympiad, the British Biology Olympiad or the Senior Physics Challenge between January and March. With the aim to challenge and inspire, these unique opportunities encourage pupils to push themselves further and excel in science.


  • Oxplore: Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from Oxford University. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. Oxplore aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity. Pupils at The Henry Box School are encouraged to discuss these questions in their tutor groups.


  • EtonX: Eton X are online courses run by Eton College. Last year, five of our pupils in Year 11 followed a course on ‘Essay Writing Skills’ and one pupil followed a course on ‘Making an impact’.


How will we support parents in meeting the needs of pupils with high learning potential?

At the Henry Box School, we have designed a super-curricular activity booklet for parents to support pupils with high learning potential. These activities have been carefully selected by subject teachers to enhance curiosity and challenge our pupils beyond the classroom. Scroll down to view our super-curricular booklet.


How will we raise the aspirations of pupils with high learning potential?

At The Henry Box School we have worked hard to establish and maintain links with some of the UK’s top universities. Pupils with high learning potential are encouraged to attend university-led sessions throughout their time at school. In previous years we have:

  • Year 7: all pupils attended a university visit, coordinated by our School Leader: Sixth Form to Oxford Brookes University.
  • Year 10 and 11: Pupils with high learning potential are invited to a talk run by the University of Oxford’s Outreach Programme which aims to discuss the skills and qualities that Russell Group Universities are looking for.
  • Henry Box Alumni: We have many Henry Box Alumni who are either at university, doing apprenticeships or are now working and have offered help to any of our pupils who need it. They have supported our pupils with high learning potential with applications, personal statements, or mentoring.


How will we continue to meet the needs of pupils with high learning potential at Sixth Form?

We have high aspirations for all our Sixth Form pupils and support our pupils with high learning potential in applying to Russell Group Universities. This support includes the Extended Project Qualification which allows our pupils to embark on a largely self-directed and self-motivated project. Pupils must choose a topic, plan, research and develop their idea and decide on their finished product.


We encourage creativity and curiosity. A project topic may be directly related to a pupil's main study programme but should look beyond the specification. A finished product may take the form of a:

  • research based written report
  • production* (e.g. charity event, fashion show or sports event)
  • an artefact* (e.g. piece of art, a computer game or realised design).

*A written report must accompany these options.

Pupils must also record their project process in their Production Log. The process of recording and completing a project is as important as the finished product. Both the Production Log and Product will be assessed. The EPQ is equivalent to half an A level and is co-ordinated by our School Leader; Sixth Form.

In addition, we offer the following opportunities to pupils with high learning potential at Sixth Form:

  • Individual help with UNIQ Summer School applications
  • Visits to Oxbridge link colleges
  • Preparation for Oxbridge Entrance exams and mock interviews
  • Regular academic mentoring from tutors
  • Parent tutorials with Trinity College Oxford about applying to competitive universities

Updated October 2022





Page Downloads Date  
Scholars Programme 2022 07th Jul 2022 Download
Super-curricular activities 2022 17th Oct 2022 Download