New schools conference focuses on gifted pupils

Sue Mordecai, the renowned and inspirational speaker, speaking at the Challenging the More Able Learner conference
Sue Mordecai, the renowned and inspirational speaker, speaking at the Challenging the More Able Learner conference

Seaford College has hosted a large number of local primary and secondary schools for the inaugural gifted and talented conference.

John Green, head teacher, said: “Seaford is proud to be an inclusive school giving all pupils the opportunity to achieve their personal bests.

“Over the past three years, our academic strategy has resulted in a very high number of incredibly able students joining the vibrant Seaford community.”

Sue Mordecai, the renowned and inspirational speaker, spoke at the conference, called Challenging the More Able Learner.

She spoke about challenges for able learners from reception to year 13 and gave ideas to help engage children with reading for pleasure in an age where technology is so dominant.

Sue said: “After the age of seven, research studies show that we learn new words from what we read. Encouraging ‘screenagers’ to read is a real challenge.”

Good teachers and a passion for the subject, along with good subject knowledge, were crucial in secondary education for engaging the more able learner, she added.

Sue shared a checklist of characteristics of the more able learners and challenged the audience to make sure teaching allowed for these to flourish.

Dan Jeram, head of English at Conifers School in Easebourne, said: “It was an interesting and well-paced conference that provided a number of practical ideas to help support our advanced learners.”

Malcombe Meaby, deputy head at Easebourne CE Primary School, added: “The conference was fascinating and informative. I have lots of ideas that I’ll take away and share with my staff.”