Coordinator: Mr Potapov

How do we stretch the ablest students at RPA?

At RPA, we use the term ‘HEAT’ to describe our most able students because they show higher effort, attainment or talent. Effort is included in the list because we know that intelligence is not fixed and that students can make huge progress if they work hard and are resilient in the face of difficulties.

How do we identify higher attaining students?

These students have an ability to process various kinds of information better than their peers. They have and consistently do perform in the top 10% in Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs). This corresponds to an average score of above 120 or a score of 125+ in one area. CATs may not accurately determine how weak a student is, but they do correctly estimate students who are beyond a “threshold” in high intelligence. 'Talented' students usually refers to students who show skill in practical subjects such as art, drama, music or sport.

Genes only partially determine our fate. Genes turn on and off in response to the environment they find themselves in. We as school staff have the exciting potential to switch on this capacity, perhaps for the first time, finding opportunities that let a student hear the notes which resonate with their higher abilities. We also hold responsibility if the child’s brain is saying “There’s no challenge here, I’ll just wing this”. These are students who should also have the capacity to make up for their weaknesses by using their strengths, in the way that a partially sighted person might use their sense of touch.

Being told that they are gifted can sometimes have an adverse effect on students so we try and think of this in terms of CAPACITY rather than a quality they possess.

Role of the Coordinator

As Coordinator for HEAT students at RPA, I work with students in Years 7 - 10 (we want Year 11 to focus on their exams) to implement a programme of activities. Typical activities include:
  • Young Publishers
  • Brilliant Club
  • Turning research into media
  • Cross-curricular design projects
  • Game design
  • HEAT Club
  • Mentoring of Year 7 HEAT students by Year 10
In addition, students are ability-grouped in most subjects and all teachers are expected to set work which challenges and stretches all. To support staff in this, I deliver training to share new resources and ideas and to bring some of the skills deployed in the programme of activities into the classroom.


  • New publication announced by RPA's Young Publishers
    RPA's talented Young Publishers group have published their next book, The Many Deaths of Scarlett Ellet. The book features 30 short stories written by RPA students, all different, with the common theme of the death of Scarlett Ellett. The official launch of the new book will be in East Sheen Library in the new year. Prior to that, there will be a book reading and celebration for students and teachers on Thursday 15th December at 4pm in the school library.

    Mr Potapov, the Teacher Coordinator of the Young Publisher's said, "These stories will take you from leafy Richmond to the dark streets of Manhattan. I have found the collection entertaining on many levels and would heartily recommend them!" 
    Posted 12 Dec 2016, 01:34 by Phil Broughton
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