The support of a student’s family and the wider community play a significant role in student attainment. Research suggests that even parental acknowledgement of a student’s high ability can have a profound impact on their achievement and also their self-esteem. While we appreciate it can be difficult for parents/carers to support students academically, in all areas, we would encourage you to talk through what is being studied at school so students have the opportunity to retrieve what they have learnt and practice subject specific language.
For subject areas you do not feel confident in we are currently devising an online list of helpful resources, soon to be published here, on our website. This way, your son/daughter can independently access resources for further academic support and higher level content than what is explicitly offered through the core BCCS curriculum. Subject teachers will also be able to give guidance in this field.
Extracurricular activities also have the potential to develop both academic skills, and essential life skills which can help highly able students to succeed – such as confidence, motivation, resilience and communication skills. Taking part in extracurricular activities has been found to be associated with higher academic attainment and greater future earnings (1). However, it is suggested that low-income students are less likely to have access to such activities. (2,3) Therefore, interventions and free extracurricular activities through school can ensure that disadvantaged highly able students have access to activities that could potentially help to close the gaps between these students and their better-off peers. At BCCS we offer a range of after-school clubs and lunch time activities. Studies have also raised concerns that highly able students may not want to engage in programmes or interventions because they want to continue to fit in with their friends and wider peer group, who are not as able (4) and that students may drop out of programmes because of these worries. Please support the school by reinforcing the value of school interventions and extracurricular activities.
Ultimately, students need to know that parents/carers are proud of who they are and not just what they achieve. Their ability should not become the centre of the relationship between parent and child. Students need to be allowed to ‘fail’ and make mistakes – they are a necessary part of growing up and learning to embrace a growth mindset. Indeed, parents should facilitate reflection on ‘failures’ to encourage a resilient approach to learning.
1 Potential for success. Fulfilling the promise of highly able students in secondary
schools, Dr Rebecca Montacute , July 2018
2 Birdwell, J., Scott, R. & Koninckx, D. (2015) Demos: Learning by doing.
3 Olszewski‐Kubilius, P. & Lee, S. (2004) Parent perceptions of the effects of the Saturday enrichment program on gifted students’ talent development. Roeper Rev. 26, 156–165
4 Stormont, M., Stebbins, M. S. & Holliday, G. (2001) Characteristics and educational support needs of underrepresented gifted adolescents. Psychol. Sch. 38, 413–423.