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More Able and Talented (MAT)


King Henry VIII school is committed to providing a challenging and wide-ranging curriculum for all students; this involves providing opportunities to identify, and in turn nurture, those who are ‘more able and/or talented’ (MAT).

We strive to ensure every MAT student realises their ‘potential’ through:

1.    Careful identification, management and mentoring of students

2.    Making sure MAT students are being challenged across all subject areas

3.    Providing meaningful enrichment opportunities

4.    Celebrating success across the school community 

As a school we have adopted the national definition of a MAT student which states: 

“Children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their peers, or with the potential to develop those abilities and to achieve at the highest levels through challenging learning opportunities and an enriched curriculum” 

The definition encompasses those learners already achieving and attaining the highest grades/levels/outcomes along with those who may currently be underperforming or who have barriers to their learning. 

How do we identify our MAT learners

Several criteria are used to identify more able and talented students and KHS is committed to collecting as much information as possible about students.

  • Information from partner primary schools about students’ abilities and talents.
  • Data – CAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) scores, national literacy and numeracy test results, internal levels, GCSE and AS/A2 results, Fischer Family Trust (FFT) targets.
  • Subject specific reference lists.
  • The professional opinion of staff
  • Outside agencies


  • The most able students are identified as those working at least two outcomes above the end of key stage/phase expectation in one or more curriculum area. This is approximately the top 2% of a year group.
  • More able students are defined as those achieving above the expected outcomes for their age and/or key stage in one or more curriculum area. This is approximately the top 20% of a year group.
  • Talented students are defined as having an innate skill and flair in creative, cultural or sporting contexts, either within or outside school. Personal and social qualities such as leadership skills are also recognised. 
  • Once a student has been identified as MAT, their progress is monitored and a review of MAT learners takes place every term.

How do we provide for our MAT learners

We provide for our More Able and Talented students in class through a culture of high expectations and aspirations. Students are stretched and challenged through activities in lessons that are not simply ‘more of the same’ but which afford opportunities to explore subjects in greater breadth and depth; challenge is given in pace (acceleration); independent enquiry is encouraged, together with opportunities for through reflection and evaluation.

  • Opportunities to stretch students are part of department planning, together with varied teaching approaches
  • Opportunities are given to encourage independent thinking and open enquiry, including supporting students to ask their own questions in longer tasks/project work.
  • Questioning techniques stimulate higher order thinking and opportunities are given for problem solving skills to be developed.
  • A MAT Coordinator for KS3 and KS4, together with a MAT and Destination lead for KS5, ensures that MAT students are identified, monitored and supported, with a review in each term.
  • Individual learning profiles are created for MAT students and all staff are aware of the names and needs of the Most Able (Exceptional) learners.

We also provide for our More Able and Talented students in a wide range of extension and enrichment opportunities.

  • Many departments run extra-curricular clubs and activities to facilitate learning beyond the classroom. You can find many of these in the list of KHS clubs/activities on our website
  • We work closely with specialist agencies such as NACE.
  • We collaborate with the Seren Network to provide opportunities for our Most Able students to raise aspirations and ensure that they achieve their potential and progress to the UK’s top universities.
  • Where appropriate, some students can study additional subjects, and do so earlier than other students in their school year.
  • Students are encouraged to take part in local and national competitions and residential courses, together with a range of educational trips.
  • Opportunities are afforded for students to work together in specialist workshops and in transitional workshops/mentoring sessions.
  • Regular recognition of excellent work/effort/achievements, including annual award ceremonies celebrate success.

What can you do to support your child if they are identified as More Able and Talented?

There are many general ways parents/guardians can encourage, nurture and support MAT students::

  • Be interested in and appreciate what your child is doing and learning.
  • Provide your child with a broad range of life experiences so they become confident in how to behave in a variety of social experiences.
  • Communicate and work with the school to plan how best to manage schoolwork load, rehearsals and practices if your child has a particular talent e.g. sports, music, acting, dancing
  • Communicate and work with the school to ensure your child’s learning should be stimulating and progressive not repetitive.
  • Support your child to understand that we all learn from making mistakes.
  • Allow your child to follow their passion and avoid pushing them in one direction.
  • Encourage your child to improve their depth of processing new information and skills by engaging in programmes that support them with note taking, revision skills etc.
  • Encourage your child, when the opportunity arises, to participate in workshops, master classes and university lectures
  • Encourage your child to try out new activities, such as taking part in an extra-curricular club or activity
  • Inspire interest by encouraging your child to explore a subject/topic further (using internet/books/watching or listening to programmes or films etc
  • Encourage your child to ‘switch off’ and relax in a way that suits them.
  • Avoid comparing them with siblings or friends.
  • Openly talk about mental health and wellbeing within the family home

Website information and Guidance for Parents, Guardians and MAT Students

You can also get excellent guidance and information for parents, guardians and MAT students from some of the publications and links included here:

You could also explore some of the following:

– The Historical Association provides solutions to history teachers and departments, in both secondary and primary schools, to help them meet their training and development needs.

– The GA is a UK-based subject association with the charitable objective of furthering geographical knowledge and understanding.

– The United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy.

– The Association for Science Education (ASE) is the largest subject association in the UK. As the professional body for all those involved in science education from pre-school to higher education, the ASE provides a national network supported by a dedicated staff team.

 – The Mathematical Association – Supporting Mathematics in Education.

 – The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners. To support this aim, members of the  NRICH team work in a wide range of capacities, including providing professional development for teachers wishing to  embed rich mathematical tasks into everyday classroom practice.

– IGGY is a no fee global educational social network designed to help gifted and talented young people aged 13-18 realise their full potential. They are part of the University of Warwick so their members have access to great educational resources and get to work with top academics and other gifted and talented young people around the world.


-A fabulous resource which gives access to a huge range of writers who give little masterclasses and 10 minute tasks on their writing.

-Oxford University provide a great wealth of resources for MAT learners


Old Hereford Road, Abergavenny NP7 6EP

01873 735373