The Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School

Stretch and Challenge for High Ability Students at HTS


As a comprehensive school our mission at Holy Trinity is to educate all, by ensuring equality of opportunity and promoting success for every student.  This is why we identify and target students who have specific needs; whether they have Special Educational Needs, Disabilities, are Pupil Premium or have learnt English as an Additional Language.

Therefore, highly able students also need our special care and attention.  Our aim is to ensure that all high ability students at Holy Trinity are given the encouragement, support and tools they need in order to meet their great potential.


Teachers at Holy Trinity will recognise high ability students, using their professional judgement, and will challenge them accordingly in their subject areas.

We also look at prior attainment to determine which high ability students will join our ‘High Achiever’ register, to be monitored by the school’s High Achiever Coordinator to ensure they make the progress they are capable of at Holy Trinity School.

We have taken a flexible and comprehensive approach to identifying High Achieving students, informed by government and Ofsted expectations, as well as what we feel works for our community at Holy Trinity. We seek to achieve this by having two key groups and criteria:

  1. High Achievers:
  • - Students identified as High Achieving have an average of a 5C in Maths and English, if taken before 2015, and a score of 108, if taken after 2015, at KS2 (subject to slight variation from year group to year group). 
  • - For Sixth form students, we identify them as High Achieving if they have an average of a GCSE grade B (or grade 6).

 Exceptional Subject Achievers: 

  • - Departments are given the opportunity to develop their own criteria and student lists for those who are exceptional in their particular subject. 
  • - The flexibility of this system allows students to be recognised at different stages of their school career. 
  • - These students are therefore given the opportunity to be fully recognised and supported, even if their exceptional ability is within one specific subject area. 


Within the Classroom:

- Teachers are expected to identify all categories of High Achieving students on their seating   plans and to make specific provision for differentiation through stretch and challenge.

- Teachers should employ questioning strategies to encourage the highest levels of engagement.

- Extension tasks should be readily available, alongside more challenging routes through the work set.

- Extended projects as homework.

- Extended Project Qualification opportunity at KS5.


The school offers a range of extra-curricular activities and trips in which High Achieving students are encouraged to participate. These include: -

- Accelerated Reader competition to read the most words

- Art High Achievers club (KS3)

- Basketball Academy

- BBC Newsday

- Brighton Med School

- Creative writing competitions

- Coding Club

- Debating Society

- Drama Club

- Maths Challenge

- Oxbridge and Russel group Open Days and activities

- Orchestra

- Poetry Club

- Reading Corner (Year 7)

- School Council

- School Productions

- Scribes Creative Writing Club

- Spring into Dance

- Strafford Upon Avon Visit

- Textra – Design and Technology

Staff Training and Support:

- High Achiever Vision and Guidance delivered to whole school

- Regular Teacher Enhancement Program training sessions on Stretch and Challenge 

Staff Roles and Responsibilities

 Senior Leadership Team:

  • - Promoting whole school approach

Lead Practitioner for High Achievers

- Promoting whole school approach

- Supporting staff

- Developing strategies

- Promoting opportunities

- Villiers Park

Curriculum Leadership Team

- Recruiting High Achiever Champions

- Developing criteria for Exceptional Subject Achievers

- Developing and promoting opportunities for High Achievers within the subject

- Data Analysis

Directors of Learning, Pastoral and Support Staff

- Awareness of students who are High Achievers

- Monitoring their progress

- Ensuring they have provision for their needs

Teaching Staff

- Identifying High Achievers on seating plans

- TEEP lessons

- Differentiating in lessons accordingly

- Promoting opportunities

- Raising concerns

- Planning classwork and homework to stretch and challenge High Achievers 

Villiers Park

Villiers Park is a charitable organisation that works, in collaboration with Sussex University, to offer opportunities for students who are ‘High Ability’ and from backgrounds that are under-represented in higher education.


Opportunities include:

 - Regular mentoring

- University trips

- Developing a C.V.

- Subject support

- Careers advice

- Organisation support

- Masterclasses

- Bespoke work and University experience days

- Applications for University and apprenticeships

Additional Resources

The following links may be of interest to parents: