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Very Able and Talented

At Bishop Stopford we aim to enable and inspire all students to reach their unique potential, but recognise that many of our students are particularly able or talented in any number of areas. In order to nurture these talents and promote high aspirations we offer a broad and challenging curriculum, alongside a range of enrichment opportunities so that students may extend their learning experience further.

Helpful definitions:
‘Very Able’: students who have exceptional abilities in one or more subjects in the statutory curriculum. Such students are likely to be those whose outstanding academic ability is so evident that the curriculum or teaching methodologies are modified to meet their needs.
‘Talented’: students who have the ability to excel in practical or creative skills, and have exceptional performance ability in a specific area/area(s) e.g. Design and Technology, Music, Drama and P.E.

Please see the VAT policy as a downloadable PDF document on the left of this page.

Opportunities offered at BSS through Faculties that may be of interest to VAT students:

English –

  • Theatre trips (KS3-5) 

Maths –

  • Maths Challenges
  • Year 9/10/11 Maths trip
  • STEM days
  • Year 7/8 ‘World of Maths’ 

Science – 

  • STEM days (KS3)
  • Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (Year 12) 

Humanities –

  • RE – Year 8 Meet the Faiths workshop
  • History – KS3: Year 7 Rockingham Castle visit, challenging investigations into significant individuals at KS3 e.g. Boudicca, William the Conqueror, Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, William Wilberforce
  • History – KS5: Historical Association Lecture, Lessons from Auschwitz course 

Expressive Arts –

  • Music – Summer/Winter concerts, opportunities to perform for coursework, Year 8 Bhangra workshop, Year 9 Samba workshop, A Level composition workshops
  • Art – Year 10 Art Gallery visit 

Modern Foreign Languages –

  • Year 8 MFL International Day
  • Mandarin sessions via weblink to Beijing (KS3) 

Technology –

  • Coding Club
  • STEM days 

Sport, Outdoor & P.E. –

  • Various inter-school, county and national matches (KS3-5)
  • Sports Tour (KS5) 

Additional links for resources, reading and inspiration!


  • Why don’t all schools refer to ‘Very Able and Talented’ students? Different schools use different terminology to describe their highest-ability students: you may have heard of, ‘Gifted and Talented’, ‘High Learning Potential’, ‘Academically More Able’. We at BSS have decided upon ‘Very Able and Talented’, but all schools have the responsibility to ensure that all students make progress in line with their abilities! 
  • I have received a letter about my son/daughter being ‘Very Able and Talented’, but they don’t get high grades in many subjects – is it a mistake?  No – it is not a mistake! A ‘Very Able and Talented’ student may not always achieve top grades in all subjects: there are a whole range of reasons why high-ability students may underachieve, or simply have areas of strength and weakness. We have based our judgment on a range of data, including Key Stage 2 attainment and baseline tests upon entry to the school, which would indicate that your child is within the top 10-15% of the year group. 
  • So if my child is ‘Very Able and Talented’, does this mean they will be ‘labelled’ or treated differently?  No! The register of identified ‘VAT’ students is kept confidential, and students will not be treated any differently in lessons, except perhaps encouraged to accept challenges in order to extend their understanding. No student would be singled out against his or her will. 
  • Can a student be identified as ‘Very Able and Talented’ if they have Special Educational Needs (SEN) or if they receive Pupil Premium?  Yes, absolutely. If you have any questions about either of these, please don’t hesitate to contact.
  • What if I am not happy with my son or daughter’s name being on the ‘Very Able and Talented’ register?  If you are uncomfortable with your child’s place on the register and anything that this may entail (see policy), please do get in contact with Miss Barr ( and we will ensure that the information is not disclosed.