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The Marlborough Science Academy

ACES Programme

ACES - Gifted & Talented

Welcome to our new ACES Home page. We would like to provide information and news for our Young, Gifted and Talented students and their parents, guardians and carers, as well as introducing some of our initiatives and ideas.

This is a response to the Government white paper ‘Higher standards: better schools for all’ (Dcsf 2005) which highlighted the correct view that the needs of all students should be met and provided for within our schooling system. The Marlborough Science Academy is constantly reviewing our provision for our Young, Gifted and Talented students and we aim to:

  • Consider the learning needs of our YGT students through curriculum pathways and innovation.
  • Provide planned enrichment which will allow YGT students to be challenged, motivated and valued.
  • Enhance, widen and improve our systems for identification of YGT students.
  • Support teachers, students and parents in improving provision for YGT students by improving training and learning outcomes.
  • Create a community and ethos where YGT feel valued and supported.

This web page will outline some of our initial steps to realise these aspirations and outcomes.

I hope you find the information on our ACES website useful. Please keep checking for changes and keep up with ACES news on our news page. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your ACES then please do not hesitate to contact me at school.

Miss C Burton, ACES Coordinator


The definition of who is ‘gifted’ and who is ‘talented’ is one of open debate. Some would define broadly as ‘a gifted and talented person demonstrates, or has the potential to demonstrate, an outstanding level of ability in one or more fields of activity’ (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency). Perhaps ‘gifted learners are those who have abilities in one or more subjects in the statutory school curriculum other than art, design , music or PE', and talented learners are those 'who have ability in art design, music or the performing arts such as dance and drama' (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 2005). Some are more empirical in their view suggesting ‘those who are more than two standards of deviation from the mean on a normal curve of intelligence.’

These are working definitions of identification that tend to open argument and debate as opposed to leading to resolution and a firm definition. At The Marlborough Science Academy we follow national guidelines and we aim to identify at least 5% of our cohort by:

  • Teacher recommendations (these are usually based on attainment and performance but sometimes the gifts and talents of our students can be recognised through other areas such as class discussions or learning dialogues.)
  • Parental recommendations particularly when the student has a gift or a talent that is not school based but recognised through outside activities.
  • Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) and our base line data (such as KS2 and 3 SAT results and exam performance) where we identify the top 5% in each year group according to these criteria.
  • On the recommendation of our feeder schools which is particularly useful as a start point for identification in year 7.

Criteria for identification of gifted and talented pupils in each curriculum area:

  • Demonstrates independent problem solving
  • Communicates concepts clearly and effectively
  • Maintains outstanding academic achievement
  • Is passionate for Science beyond what is covered in the classroom
  • Regulary exceeds expectations in the classroom and with home learning
  • Asks intuitive questions
  • Regularly takes it upon themselves to do extra reading around the subject
  • A careful, methodical and successful practical scientist
  • Able to use and apply scientific vocabulary correctly

Curriculum provision:

  • Extra sessions always available and offered to students for lunchtime visits and discussions
  • Cross-curricular History/Science History of Medicine trip
  • Cross-curricular Maths/Science Bletchley Park trip
  • Setting in all year groups
  • Asks investigative questions
  • Has a spirit of inquiry
  • Demonstrates independent problem solving
  • Communicates mathematical concepts clearly and effectively
  • Shows strong mathematical reasoning skills
  • Able to obtain correct answers via different methods and explain reasoning
  • Maintains outstanding academic achievement
  • Demonstrates proficiency in all mathematical concepts
  • Shows a passion for maths outside the classroom
  • Regularly exceeds expectations in the classroom and with home learning

Curriculum provision:

  • Y6 G and T quiz involving local primary schools
  • G and T day (to be confirmed)
  • Stretch and challenge in lessons
  • Bletchley Park trip
  • Y5 & Y6 Maths Challenge
  • Shows creative flair and self-expression
  • Puts great effort into work and shows perseverance
  • Keeps an audience
  • Writes with flair using metamorphic or poetic expressions
  • Readily adapts style to suit purpose
  • Develops sustained and reasoned argument
  • Easily identifies the effect of language
  • Uses a wide vocabulary
  • Good reader
  • Quick verbal responses; verbally fluent for their age

Curriculum provision:

  • Settings in all year groups
  • English Language and English Literature offered at Key Stage 4
  • English AS and A2
  • Young journalists - The Mo and The Mini Mo
  • External master classes for English students
  • Book Club
  • Creative Corner
  • Debating Club and Debating Day
  • BBC News Report Day
  • Journalist visit

A selection of Year 9 work focusing on literary heroes and villains. In their work the students are demonstrating elements of an English ACE, whether this is in their creative or analytical responses.

modern foreign languages 
  • Have a strong desire to put language together by themselves
  • Show creativity and imagination when using language
  • Have a natural feel for languages
  • Pick up new language and structures quickly
  • Make connections and classify words and structures to help them learn more efficiently
  • Seek solutions and ask further questions
  • Have an insight into their own learning style and preference
  • Show an intense interest in the cultural features of the language being studied
  • Is working well above the expected level
  • Has knowledge of or speaks fluently an additional language at home

Curriculum provision:

  • Setting in all year groups
  • Two languages offered at all key stages
  • French offered at KS5
  • Study trip to Spain at KS4
  • Demonstrates high levels of technological understanding and application
  • Displays high quality making and precise practical skills
  • Has flashes of inspiration and highly original or innovative ideas
  • Demonstrates different ways of working, or different approaches to issues
  • Is sensitive to aesthetic, social and cultural issues when designing and evaluating
  • Is capable of rigorous analysis and interpretation of products
  • Works comfortably in context beyond their own experience and empathises with users’ and clients’ needs and wants 

Curriculum provision:

  • Technology has its own option block at key stage 4 designed to offer more choice in this curriculum area
  • Technology is offered as AS and A2 


  • Rotary Club Challenge Day
  • Formula One Club 
Technology: Food 
  • Actively seeks to discover meaning in the work, making connections with the real world
  • Has the ability to follow a recipe independently
  • Is able to discuss and have personal opinions about food issues
  • Engages in extracurricular food sessions at home or in school
  • Shows confidence when handling foods
  • Is able to modify recipes
  • Possesses a wide range of knowledge about food
  • Can demonstrate wide range of skills when preparing foods
  • Is able to think about a variety of ways that food should be presented

Curriculum provision:

  • KS3 and KS4 ACES Days during which students will work with food developing skills to make more advanced products.
  • Food Club after school
  • Demonstrates ICT capability significantly above that expected for their age
  • Learns and applies new ICT techniques quickly
  • Uses initiative to exploit the potential of more advanced features of ICT tools
  • Transfers and applies ICT skills and techniques confidently
  • Explores independently beyond the given breadth of a topic
  • Initiates ideas and solves problems
  • Understands the complexities when trying to accurately empathise with those in the past
  • Demonstrates outstanding awareness of causation. The student is able to evaluate how important each cause is and justify their opinion with sound judgement (relative to their age)
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar are exceptional. Writing is fluent and impressive for their age
  • They understand how to engage in historical debate by demonstrating independent judgement after comparing two or more interpretations
  • Has the ability to assess source provenance and use this to good effect in their work when analysing
  • Is able to compare and contrast the significance of two or more individuals, factors or periods
  • They have the ability to contextualise evidence when writing about a particular period, people or person
  • Has the ability to confidently analyse and evaluate accurately and displays this on paper in a way which makes them stand out from their peers
  • Demonstrates natural enquiry through sophisticated further questioning
  • Students read around the History in their own time and demonstrate this by asking questions about the past not yet covered in class

Curriculum provision:

  • Opportunities to meet Holocaust survivors
  • To lead groups on school trips (as a tour guide)
  • Extra reading is made available to students. We encourage independent historical enquiry at home compulsory
  • For Year 11, an A* club exists during lunchtime. This is aimed at stretching the most able learners
  • Excellent locational knowledge
  • Having a sense of scale from local to global
  • Good global awareness (aware of Geographical issues in the news)
  • Can make links between the human and physical geography
  • Can evaluate impacts of geographical events
  • Has a wide range of geographical vocabulary
  • Good at formulating geographical investigation
  • Natural interest in the world
  • Uses and analyses statistics
  • Questions data/sources

Curriculum provision:

  • Choice of tasks in lessons
  • Extension tasks
  • ACES days/trips
  • Fieldwork opportunities
  • Outside of classroom learning experiences
  • Guest speakers
  • Orientation/mapping tasks and opportunities
  • Make connections between facts and concepts
  • Use more extensive vocabulary which relates to the classical world
  • Read widely around the Classics in their own time
  • Be interested in finding out more about links between us and the Classical World
  • Be inquisitive about the classical world and demonstrate natural enquiry
  • Ask many questions, and be willing to hypothesise and speculate
  • Enjoy talking to the teacher about new information or ideas presented about the classical world
  • Be self-motivated, willingly putting in extra time to classical studies
  • Engage in extracurricular classics activities including trips
  • Demonstrate an interest in ancient languages

Curriculum provision:

  • Opportunity to study GCSE Latin after school and gain a qualification
  • Opportunity to attend day trips to Classics lectures (e.g. Cambridge university; London)
  • Opportunities to attend trip to Italy
  • Extra reading is made available and current programmes/documentaries/films are discussed
  • 'Classics in the news' documents displayed in classroom
  • Achieves a high standard of performance in one or more sports
  • Representative honours at district, county or high level
  • Intelligent, independent and thoughtful performers, actively forming and adapting strategies, tactics or compositions
  • Has particularly high levels of fitness for their age
  • Good knowledge and understanding of the effects and benefits of exercise, which promote a healthy lifestyle
  • Evaluates and analyses their performance in detail, suggesting ways to improve their own and others' performance with the use of the correct terminology
  • Good decision maker and able to take the initiative often showing high levels of autonomy, independence and leadership
  • High degree of control and co-ordination of their bodies
  • Show high degree of motivation and commitment to practice and performance
  • Has recognised national governing body coaching/officiating award(s)
  • 3 levels above expectation for age in 1 sport or 2 levels above expectation for age in 2 sports

Curriculum provision:

  • Along with core PE, GCSE PE is offered at Key Stage 4
  • BTEC in Sport offered at Key Stage 5
  • Young Leader Awards
  • Participation in District and County sports events
  • Sports Award Day
  • Sports psychology/nutrition/injury ACES day
  • Exceeds work set and to a high standard
  • Creative ideas
  • Expressive and original
  • Desire to create
  • Pushes boundaries and strives for perfection
  • Passionate interest in world art culture
  • Skillful use of materials, can control and manipulate them
  • Evaluative
  • Explore and researches
  • Understanding of concepts and ask questions

Curriculum provision:

  • Art competitions
  • Primary school art projects
  • ACES day with languages
  • Actively seeks to discover meaning in the work, making connections with the real world
  • Has the ability and vision to realise a text from 'page to stage'
  • Is able to discuss and have personal opinions about drama/theatre productions
  • Engages in extracurricular drama and/or reading/trips to the theatre
  • Utilises vocal skills and accent to a believable degree
  • Is able to create and sustain a role for an extended period
  • Possesses a wide range of knowledge about drama and theatre
  • Confidently uses physicality and gesture to a believable degree
  • Able to connect and apply topics and concepts they have learnt
  • Can lead or independently work on a specified area of theatrical production

Curriculum provision:

  • KS3 and KS4 ACES Days during which students will work with theatre companies to develop their performance and devising skills
  • ACES Drama Company, (invitation only), in which students from all year groups work together to create new and original theatre for various performances throughout the year
  • Theatre trips and visits
  • Can sign and play in tune and with outstanding rhythmic awareness
  • Student shows a mature understanding of a variety of music from different contexts
  • Can perform with expression, colour and dynamics
  • Has a sound knowledge of music theory
  • Is resilient in their rehearsal and preparation for a concert
  • Has a musical ear and is able to analyse a variety of music
  • Memorises music quickly
  • Is a confident performer in a concert environment
  • Leads and encourages their peers to excellence in music
  • Has perfect pitch

Curriculum provision:

  • All Performing Arts subjects are offered in the open option block at Key Stage 4 which allows students to focus their choices if their gifts and talents lie in these areas
  • A specific ACES trip to the South Bank is planned
  • A workshop is also planned for this academic year
  • Natural ability to take stunning photographs
  • Fluent ability to critique and compare other artists/photographers work
  • Passion to want to create and develop personal and independent ideas
  • Superior skills in the darkroom
  • Independent approach to work
  • Natural interest in the art world as a whole
  • Fluent ability to recognise aesthetically pleasing visuals
  • A confidence in front of the camera
  • Confident use of computer added design
  • A natural desire to create work above and beyond your peers

Curriculum provision:

  • ACES day with primary schools
  • Have stamina and perseverance: use any suitable opportunities to produce work that is substantial and obviously the product of sustained, well-directed effort
  • Take on leadership roles in supporting a group to achieve its shared goals, whilst showing sensitivity to encourage the participation of others
  • Have creative flair; produce practical work which is imaginative and inventive
  • Show high levels of technical competence in a particular practical skill
  • Express ideas in ways that reflect an appreciation of the knowledge, interests and needs of specific audiences
  • Independently, engage with demanding tasks - researching, comparing and synthesizing information from a range of different sources, including ICT and engaging seriously with wider moral and social debates, and contexts
  • Use advanced analytical skills to produce critical readings and evulations of media texts, including their own, applying media theories where appropriate
  • Demonstrating creative ability through use of equipment and software, targeting specific audiences successfully
  • Producing original Media texts independently or as a significant member of a team, which are well suited to a range of target audiences
  • Recognise the success and failures of productions, acting upon self-evaluation and peer evaluation in an independent and well considered way

Curriculum provision:

  • Opportunities for Students to choose a range of equipment to create multimedia formats
  • Opportunities for Students to work and research independently, applying acquired skills and knowledge
  • The chance for Students to be creative and develop original ideas through increased autonomy
  • Opportunities to act in a number of creative roles, both production and post-production
  • Residential trips to New York and Berlin



We need to look after our ACES.

They have pastoral needs and we must ensure that we support them in their learning and wider school experience. This can be achieved through the pastoral system already in place at the school and added to this is the analysis of grade card information, examination performance and assessment in the classroom.

We hope to identify ACES who are underachieving with a view to offering interventions and programmes designed to improve their performance.

We have an assertive mentoring system in year 11 which gives students one-to-one support with their learning.

Most importantly we ask our ACES once a term how their experience has been so that we may learn from this and improve provision.

ACES Booklet 2017-18