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  • Writer's pictureSuki Fisher

Every child has a talent - but how do we show this?

Every child at Acklam Grange, and in fact, every child in the world, has a talent. As educators and educational organisations, it is our responsibility to help young people develop and explore their skills as well as build a resilient confidence which will help them endure and overcome the challenges ahead of them. To recognise and nurture talent in our students, will help prepare them for adulthood and working life. Whether these talents are academically focused, creative, practical, or in no way mainstream skills, we are here to support all our students.

“Every child at Acklam Grange, and in fact, every child in the world, has a talent”

To achieve this, we face several challenges. Removing any barriers to learning and development while allowing students to engage in a broad and balanced curriculum. If we are consistent with this across education, we enable young people to blossom into becoming the best person they can be. Balancing important curriculum time with broad extracurricular experiences within a packed timetable can be a juggling act, however, gives students valuable experiences of what is happening inside and outside their school environment. Even in this situation, it is extremely hard for students to articulate and showcase their talents, and also get the time to reflect upon their achievements, be that academic or personal. We know that self-reflection plays a huge role in student development. Allowing for this process to take place has encouraged our student’s self-esteem to grow, while also raising their aspirations. Broad experiences outside the classroom also raises an awareness and commitment to their local and national community by wanting to better themselves and showcase their amazing work.

“it is extremely hard for students to articulate and showcase their talents and also get the time to reflect upon their achievements”

These principles are encapsulated in our AGS Pride - an Acklam Grange Way for students that drives them to succeed in every aspect of their lives. Perseverance, Respect, Initiative, Direction and Expression are values that we foster in our school, and AGS Pride provides our young people with direction whilst also emphasising the ‘whole student’. Our students collaboratively celebrate their achievements which raises support from their school and wider community, increases self-esteem and ultimately raises confidence.

As a member of the edtech50, which recognises schools that use education technology to

support great teaching and enhance learning, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to use technology to support our students. A user-friendly platform enabling students to showcase their talents and connect with the FE/HE and employer community is required to give students visibility of aspirational futures and, through globalbridge, our students can engage with future opportunities and receive notifications of pathways relevant to their skill sets, qualifications and aspirations. As a digital platform, this allows students to connect with opportunities in a way they never have before. Not only can they use the globalbridge technology to showcase their talents and record their experiences, but they are doing so on a level playing field where talent is the key identifier, not socioeconomic background, gender, ethnicity etc. I know that this process has not only allowed our students to grow and aspire to go into a direction they might not have already imagined, but also to be given the opportunities to make their community, country and world a much better place.

Michael Laidler: Headmaster, Acklam Grange School (Middlesbrough)

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