St Sampson’s High is working hard to offer more opportunities to our hardest working students.  Miss Tostevin currently runs GATE projects in year 7, 8 and 9.  All projects are cross curricular, meaning that students need to have proved themselves as gifted in more than one subject at school.  By running cross curricular projects, we encourage students to extend their thinking and see how they can use their abilities in one subject to help them develop in another.  For example, a student that is gifted in science could use this to help them develop their understanding of medical ethics in RS.  A student who has a keen interest in World War history could use this passion to help them improve the quality of their written work in English.

For more information on specific GATE projects, click on the links below:

Characteristics of GATE Students

Here is our definition of what we feel makes a child gifted, able or talented.  Characteristics of GATE students:

  • Think quickly and accurately
  • Work systematically
  • Generate creative working solutions
  • Work flexibly, processing unfamiliar information and applying knowledge, experience and insight to unfamiliar situations
  • Communicate their thoughts and ideas well
  • Be determined, diligent and interested in uncovering patterns
  • Achieve, or show potential, in wide range of contexts
  • Be particularly creative
  • Show great sensitivity and empathy
  • Make sound judgements
  • Be outstanding leaders or team members
  • Be fascinated by, or passionate about, a particular subject or aspect of the curriculum

Traditionally, Gifted and Talented initiatives have been aimed at the top 5% to 10% of the students in any school, regardless of the status of that school.  The GATE programme at St Sampson’s  aims to go further than this; involving not only the top 10% of students at our school, but also encouraging all students to identify the areas in which they believe they are gifted, able or talented and then work to use these skills to improve in other subject areas.

Up to twenty year 7 students are invited to take part in the GATE Humanities Project.  The project involves answering the question ‘What makes Mexico or Japan interesting?’.  Students are to research the history, geography and religion of that country, choosing to focus on any topics they find of most interest.  They can then present their findings in any way they wish; for example as a blog, booklet, a detailed poster or anything else they decide on.

GATE groups meet once a week, usually after school.  Working after school allows students to learn in a different environment to a typical lesson.  Sessions in 2013 included a tasting session of Mexican and Japanese cuisine, a visit from a Mexican woman and a skype video interview with a man who spent a year travelling around Japan.

In addition to improving students’ work in the humanities, we aim to help them develop independent research questions which could be used in all subjects across the school.  We currently use a structure called CWICER to help students focus their research.  CWICER stands for:

C: Connect: Reflecting on what you already know about a topic.

W: Wonder: Deciding if you know enough about a subject to create a good project, and most importantly, what you find most interesting about that topic.

I: Investigate: The really important bit!  Students need to find out new information for themselves

C: Construct: Starting to put it all together!  Students need to write/type up the information they find, making sure they put material into their own words and referencing where they found information.  

E: Express: Time to present your findings!  You could make your work into a poster, a booklet, a tourist information leaflet, a blog or anything else you think is suitable.

R: Reflect: Always check back over what you have done.  Check SPAG and see how it matches up to KS3 level criteria.  Ask yourself what you could have done differently and what you will do the next time you undertake an independent project.

Up to 20 year 8s are invited to take part in the year 8 GATE project.  Students are nominated by their teachers and the final decision on the group is based on their work in history and English.  This project builds on the skills used in the year 7 GATE project, but it is not essential to have taken part in the year 7 project.

Year 8: GATE 2013/14       Year 8: GATE 2014/15      Helpful Websites

In short, this project aims to develop students’ historical research skills and their creative writing.  Students are asked to write a story that is set in any period of history they would like.

In the first term, students are asked to read and review at least one historical fiction book.  The school library has a large range of historical fiction to choose from and it is surprising how many books are set in the past.  Recent top sellers such as ‘The Help’, ‘Warhorse’ and ‘Percy Jackson’ can all be classed as historical fiction, since their authors draw on their knowledge of history.

Once students have all read at least one historical fiction book, we will work on researching the period of history most of interest to them.  This equips students with the skills to carry out independent research in any subject they wish; an essential skill both inside and outside of school.

In the following term, students start to write their stories.  This develops literacy and creative writing skills, by allowing the time to write a detailed story that is of interest to the student.  There is no minimum or maximum amount that we expect to be written; the focus is on quality, not quantity.

By year 9 we try to draw together as many different skills and talents as we can, particularly focusing on research and presentation skills.

In February 2014, 20 year 9s and 6 year 8s took part in the Anne Frank project.  The Anne Frank Trust Scotland loaned their transportable Anne Frank museum display to the school, and it was set up in the main entrance.   For 3 weeks, the GATE students delivered tours to groups of up to 25 people, including groups from year 7 and 8 SSHS English classes, residents of an old people’s home, the Grammar School and Haute Capelles. Members of the Education Board, including Deputy Robert Sillars were also given a tour.

In 2014/15, year 9 will be given the topic of ‘WAR’.  Students are asked to research about any war that has taken place in the 20th or 21st Century (focusing on History, Citizenship and RS).  Students then create their own display on this (focusing on art, DT and/or ICT skills).  They will then be asked to work together to teach other people in the school about the work they have done, by delivering tours.

For further information, see other GATE pages or click on the following links:

Holocaust Survivor Visit 2014      Anne Frank 2014      Year 9 GATE 14/15: War