Current Higher Ability

Current Higher Ability

At Casterton, our ethos is that ‘ability is not fixed’ so we prefer to use the phrase ‘currently higher ability’ to show that with hard work and a positive attitude everyone’s ability can improve.

The Department for Education (DfE) however, define ability in terms of a child’s average SAT score at the end of Year 6 in primary school. In the past, those with an average score of level 5 or above, are deemed to be higher ability but the primary testing system introduced in 2016, Year 7 students are defined as current higher ability if they achieve an average score of 105 or above which is approximately top 35% of each year group.

Current Higher Ability children (CHA) at Casterton make exceptional progress, outperforming our local grammar school and other local secondary schools.





5 A*-C




5 A*-C (E/M)








Progress 8




Value added




Average Grade





These exceptional results do not happen by accident. Over the last 18 months we have completely transformed our approach to ensuring current higher ability children truly excel. Most of these changes are hidden to students because we value children of all abilities equally, but their effect has been profound. Some of these changes are:

  • We tell our teachers to ‘teach to the top’ level of ability in the class (including top sets)
  • We have bespoke workshops for current higher ability children
  • We set very high targets for higher ability children; we expect them to aim for their gold grades, which equate to outstanding progress
  • The Progress Ladder publically displays the progress of our current higher ability children; the most able child can be at the bottom of the ladder if they are not making good progress
  • Setting extends to all year groups, including Year 7
  • Our ethos that ‘ability is not fixed’ and our determination to ban the idea of being ‘gifted’ means we have developed a strong work ethic; it is cool to be clever at Casterton
  • Prep has replaced homework and much more is expected of current higher ability children
  • At A Level we offer the prestigious Cambridge Pre-U Diploma in Global Perspectives

We also have an extensive extra-curricular programme known as electives, which includes the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme up to gold, orchestras, drama productions, science clubs, a wide variety of sports, choirs and national competitions in creative writing, coding, cooking, art and many others.


[1] Current higher ability children achieved a half grade better in every subject than in most schools nationally. A score of 0.5 is considered outstanding by Ofsted.

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