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A reminder that due to our Open Evening we will close to students at 11.40am tomorrow, with a late start on Thursday at 10.30am - thank you for your understanding.


In Computer Science class, students were working on this terms topic of ‘Producing a Robust Programme’. The Year 11 students were undertaking a programming task to decipher techniques to ensure a strong and robust programme framework.


The 2023-4 Dragons' Apprentice teams preparing for the challenge ahead. They will be fundraising for and


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023 - Thursday 5 October, school will begin later to allow for clear-up, with registration at 10.30am. Buses will run at the usual times, any students who arrive in school earlier will be supervised in the dining room.2/2


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023 Due to our Open Evening taking place on Wednesday 4 October, school will finish for students at 11.40am. The Kimpton bus will arrive at 11.45am to pick up the students who normally use this service. Other buses will run at the usual time.1/2


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023Due to our Open Evening taking place on Wednesday 4 October, school will finish for students at 11.40am. The Kimpton bus will arrive at 11.45am to pick up the students who normally use this service. Other buses will run at the usual time.


There was thoughtful discussion happening in Year 8 RE lesson, debating whether Moses was a good man and a good leader - helping to strengthen their learning about different religions.


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023Thursday 5 October, school will begin later to allow for clear-up, with registration at 10.30am, then onto period 3. Buses will run at the usual times and any students who arrive in school earlier will be supervised in the dining room.


We've issued 974 books so far in September! Will we reach 1,000 today?


Year 11 were busy carrying out tests in science lesson today, trying to determine the presence of lipids, protein and starch. The students were observing and recording whether a colour change occurred which would indicate their presence.


Year 11 were busy carrying out tests in science lesson today, trying to determine the presence of lipids, protein and starch. The students were observing and recording whether a colour change occurred which would which would indicate their presence.


Netball 🏐 Yr 11 and Senior teams played in their district tournament. The Yr 11s made it to the semi finals where they faced a strong STAHS A team and sadly lost. While the Seniors came 3rd in their group, missing out on the semis. After 3 wins and 2 defeats. Well done girls!👏🏼


Just another normal lunchtime with 100’s of students involved in our co-curricular offer. It’s great to see so many students making the most of this opportunity.


Year 8 Netball🏐Well done to both the year 8 netball teams in their games against Samuel Ryder Academy. Both teams displayed lovely movement around the court.A’s won 17-9 B’s won 10-2Players of the match: Savanna and Melissa 👏🏼


We had a fun lunchtime planting winter pansies in pots donated to us. Our seedlings have doubled in size in a week and we pricked out more parsley too.


Wonderful new display board celebrating our peachy lower school summer show#theatrematters


Diary reminder - Year 11 students will have their class and individual photos taken on Thursday 28 September. Please ensure a full and neat uniform.


Year 7 drama class was a hive of activity today as students were creating different shapes as part of their physical theatre learning - each group used their imagination to form objects and scenery such as a cup and saucer, a throne and a volcano.


Day 2 year 13 geography fieldwork investigating regeneration in Boscombe. Giving students ideas for their own NEA fieldwork!


With over 36 languages spoken within the SJL community, staff and students gathered in the library at lunchtime to share their knowledge of different greetings to help celebrate the European Day of Languages.


Year 13 geographers have arrived in Swanage and are straight into investigating sand dune succession at Studland.


KS3 rocking out at the School of Rock auditions this afternoon 🎸


A huge thank you to our prefect team and our yr7 parents as we raised £1700 for our school charities, The Ollie Foundation and MacMillan Cancer Support at our yr7 picnic.


It’s a pleasure to welcome our new yr7 students and parents to our annual Yr7 Picnic. The picnic is entirely organised by our wonderful 6th form prefects.


A great privilege to attend the opening of The Orchard Barn today. This forms part of a community project for gardening, creativity and health, set up by Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith. We can’t wait to visit again with our students

More Able and Gifted & Talented Students

At Sir John Lawes School we believe that all children are entitled to an education that will enable them to develop their full potential, be that intellectual, physical, aesthetic, creative, emotional, spiritual or social, finding appropriate challenge in our learning environment.

All students have individual needs, making personalised learning a priority in our teaching and learning.

Sir John Lawes School is committed to providing a sufficiently challenging curriculum for all its students. In addition, we will provide opportunities to identify those who are more able and nurture their individual abilities.

All students have an entitlement to the following:

  • Staff commitment and training to develop students’ full potential at all times.
  • Lessons that stimulate, engage, challenge, inform, excite and encourage through partnership and dialogue with teachers and other students and active participation in the lesson.
  • Courses that lead to examinations and accreditation.
  • Skilled, well-prepared and informed teachers who have a perspective and understanding of whole school needs, problems and policies, especially those concerning issues related to those students identified as more able.
  • An entitlement beyond subject teaching, including preparation for adult life and preparation for the world of work. This should include extra-curricular activity, personal and social education, careers guidance and counselling, extramural experiences including visits to local industry, work experience and community service.

Contact with parents

There are a number of formal and informal ways that we maintain contact with parents.  These include:

  • An initial letter is sent home following the inclusion of a student as MASt and/or Gifted and/or Talented in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register
  • An Open Evening is held during each Summer term showcasing the work done during the year.  Parents have the opportunity to discuss MASt and Gifted and Talented provision with representatives of each Faculty, discuss student concerns with Head of MASt and Gifted & Talented, Mrs. Brining, and have any questions answered
  • Mailings are sent home to inform parents of any new events, master classes or courses being offered
  • These dedicated pages of the school website hold information on the different aspects of the MASt and Gifted and Talented programme
  • Items in the SJL Newsletters celebrate the achievements of our MASt and Gifted and Talented cohort and keeps parents informed of forthcoming events
  • Parents are periodically asked for feedback.
Faculty Name
Art Alina Pullinger
Business and Computing Ailish Dunne
Computing Sophie Scott
Design and Technology Nosheen Yunis
Drama Rachel Woolrych
English Emma Brining
Geography Claire Pellet
History Jessica Bigden
Library Chloe James
Life Skills Manny Fernandez
LINK Maria Santos Richmond
Maths Audrey Aspland
Media Emma Smythe
MFL Caroline Michel Sam King
Music Lizzie Hastings-Clarke
PE Andy Battersby
Psychology and Sociology Amy Speechley
RS Maria Santos Richmond
Science Greg Brennan


Identification and monitoring

What do we look for?

  • Intellectual ability or talent
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative and productive thinking
  • Leadership ability
  • Talent for visual and performing arts
  • Psychomotor ability.

More Able Students Register

Year 7 students sit Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) in their first term. Those achieving an average CATS stanine of 8 or more are identified as More Able Students.

They are added to the More Able Students (MASt) and Gifted and Talented Register and parents are informed by letter. These students will always be identified as MASt until the end of Year 11. In Sixth Form, More Able Students are identified as the top 10% in their year group using their GCSE Average Points Score.

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) is the most widely used test of reasoning ability in the UK and has been fully standardized on 25,000 UK pupils. The suite of tests has been developed to support schools in understanding pupils’ developed abilities and likely academic potential. Results from CAT4 can help in intervention, monitoring progress and setting targets for future attainment.

Aimed at pupils between 6 to 17+ years, CAT4 assesses a pupil’s ability to reason with and manipulate different types of material through a series of Verbal, Non-Verbal, Quantitative and Spatial Ability tasks. Together, these four tests provide teachers with a comprehensive profile of a pupil’s reasoning abilities, and as such the core abilities related to learning.

The resulting data can then be used to identify a pupil’s strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences, providing accurate and reliable information that is essential for personalized learning. The more we know about a pupil, the better position we should be in to offer a learning environment and ways of teaching and learning that allow pupils to maximize their potential. Information about a pupil’s reasoning ability will be key to many teaching decisions and is considered alongside attainment data and other factors known to impact on learning, such as attendance and attitude.

Why does SJL use CAT4?

  • Helps pinpoint gifted and talented pupils and underachievers
  • Supports schools in monitoring progress and setting targets for future attainment
  • Identifies spatial thinkers who are likely to excel in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
  • Provides indicators of outcomes at KS3, KS4, and KS5
  • Reports support communication with parents, pupils, teachers and senior leaders. 

Gifted and Talented Students

Gifted Subjects

Business Studies, Computing, Economics, English, Financial Studies, History, Geography, Latin, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Psychology, Religious Studies, Science and Sociology. 

Talented Subjects

Art, Critical Thinking, Dance, Design and Technology, Drama, Food Technology, Leadership, Graphics, Life Skills, Media, Music, Photography, Physical Education, Product Design and Textiles.

There is a formal yearly review and update of the Gifted and Talented Register in the Autumn term for Years 8 – 13 and in the Spring term for Year 7. Students are continually monitored by teaching staff, who nominate students for inclusion in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register  for outstanding performance in their subject area, or in any other activity staff are aware of. This includes nominations by the Pastoral team (Form Tutors and Heads of Year) following outstanding achievements in extra-curricular and/or super-curricular activities.

Parents of these students are written to in the Autumn term notifying them of their child’s Gifted and/or Talented subject nomination(s) for that academic year. These students would receive differentiated work in their nominated subjects stretching and challenging them further. If a student underachieves subsequently over the course of the academic year, their teacher can decide not to nominate them for inclusion in the following academic year’s Register.

It would be expected that MASt students should have a larger number of Gifted and Talented nominations than other students.

Parental nominations for inclusion in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register, supported by relevant evidence, can also be submitted at any time.

Provision within the curriculum

Teaching and learning

Within the curriculum, we have been working to extend the expertise of our staff in providing a rich and varied range of activities specifically designed to extend our more able students. Teaching strategies have been developed to include different intelligences and learning styles, extending the provision in response to what the students themselves have told us helps them to learn.


  • Mathematics - setting in years, starts by October in Year 7; sets are continually monitored and adjusted as appropriate.
  • Science - all year groups are set, starting in the first half term of Year 7; sets are reviewed twice a year.
  • English - there is setting from Year 8 to Year 11.



  • Curriculum acceleration starts in Year 7, more able students start GCSE course in Year 9.
  • Fast track - GCSE Mathematics in Year 10, GCSE Additional Mathematics in Year 11.
  • Occasionally individual programmes are designed for particularly outstanding students
  • Further Maths at A level.


  • Able students are offered separate GCSE courses in Biology, Physics and Chemistry.


  • Year 10 - Able linguists study two languages.
  • Students who speak a second language are supported in taking the GCSE through the school.


  • Advanced texts and equipment have been provided for all faculties.
  • Curriculum-related extension courses and master classes are regularly offered.

In addition to the above, all faculties include MASt and Gifted & Talented provision within their schemes of work.

Chess Club

Chess Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm for Year 7 & 8 and on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday in Z1 for Years 10 to 11.

Chess millie boy Chess
Chess use 1


  • brings people together. Players can have big age differences and still enjoy a game together
  • helps you improve your problem solving skills
  • develops your spatial skills. You are constantly thinking of the opponent’s moves, thinking 2, 3 or moves ahead – a transferable skill to other sports
  • improves memory
  • involves both sides of the brain. A study demonstrated that both the left (the more logical) and right (more creative) sides of the brain are exercised during a game of chess


Tom Year 11 has created this beautiful chess board in Design and Technology!

Tom Redway chessSet 2 2022 Tom Redway chessSet 3 2022
Tom Redway chessSet 4 2022

Chess         Everyone welcome!

Go Club

Go Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm for Year 7 & 8 and on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday in Z1 for Years 10 to 11.

The ancient Chinese game of Go is one of the oldest board games in the world and flourishes in Japan and Korea also. More than 60 countries now compete in the annual World Amateur Go Championships.

More information can be found at the British Go Association which supports and runs an on-line league and UK tournaments, and they are offering a free one hour online teaching session to those joining for the first time.

Go head12

British Go Associations tutor Mr Cockburn is occasionally available to teach and advise students how to play and improve their game. We became UK School Champions in 2019!

Sir John Lawes and its Go Club feature in the Spring edition of the British Go Journal which records the second Harpenden Go Tournament held earlier this year. Twenty six players from across the South East enjoyed the Go with congratulations to Oliver Bardsley winning two of his games. Subsequently, the Maidenhead Tournament saw Oliver winning three games and several prizes! Congratulations to the Sir John Lawes Go Club who were the best school team at this tournament!

Go herts ad
Go oliver b 1 Go ollie r
Go edie t Go trophy


Try these strategic Go puzzles:

Everybody welcome!

Latin Club

Latin Club (SOCIETAS LINGUAE LATINAE) meets in M9 every Tuesday from 3.30pm – 4.45pm.

 Latin Club Poster

* Change of room, you can find Latin Club M9 every Tuesday

We follow the Cambridge Latin Course and Memrise which students can also access from home. This is supported by e-learning and text books. There are 12 levels in Cambridge Latin Course Book 1 and 19 levels in Memrise. There is a Cambridge Latin Course assessment every four levels. Students have a vocabulary book each and Mrs Brining, Mr Garcia and Governor Mrs Montgomery support learning. Ms Robins can offer GCSE Latin at Sixth Form by arrangement.

Caecilius Cambridge1

Latin Year 9

Year 9 Latin students with their Cambridge Latin Course certificates

having passed Levels 4 and 8


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