Treorchy Comprehensive School

MAT – More Able and Talented

The NACE Challenge Award

In 2007 Treorchy Comprehensive School became the first school in Wales to achieve the Challenge Award. This prestigious award is given by NACE: the National Association for Able Pupils in Education, a leading national education organisation and registered charity established for 22 years. The Association exists to help the daily work of teachers providing for students with high abilities whilst enabling all students to flourish. We were reaccredited in 2011, and are now in the process of applying for our third accreditation which will take place in 2015, if successful we will be the first school in Wales to be accredited for the third time.

How do we identify MAT students?

Subject teachers identify MAT students and nominate them to be registered using a variety of subject specific criteria which has been created by the Head of Department. We provide a questionnaire for teachers in local primary schools to complete before Year 7 arrive in the new academic year and staff receive a school INSET session on MAT pupils in the new cohort.

In the context of Treorchy Comprehensive we are looking at approximately the top 10% of the ability range in each curriculum area in Years 7-13.

In defining what is meant by the term ‘more able and talented’ we have adopted the following definitions:

  • Those pupils who possess a general academic learning ability that is significantly greater than most of their peers.
  • Those who show an exceptional talent e.g. superb footballing skills, accomplished violinist, breath-taking artist.

Who is responsible for MAT at Treorchy Comprehensive School?

We have a MAT Coordinator, Mrs Astley, along with a Professional Learning Community of 12 staff members who work alongside the co-ordinator to develop MAT provision at the school. There is also a MAT Student Council and MAT Buddy Mentors in Year 12.

The MAT PLC comprise staff from different subject areas and is led by the MAT Coordinator. The group meet every term to discuss stretch and challenge at Treorchy Comprehensive School. So far, staff have been trialling the use of Challenge Walls to provide extension in class, Thinking Dice to promote independent learning and planning challenging work packs for the MAT Buddy Scheme run by Year 12.

The MAT Student Council comprise male and female students from each year group from Year 8 to Year 13.

Year 13          Ellie Jarvis and William Grenter

Year 12          Hannah Evans and Max Rees

Year 11          Zeenab Clarke and Liam Powell

Year 10          Alexandra Grenter and Joseph Gale

Year 9            Ursula Harrison and Jac Roberts

Year 8            Rachel Bautista and Solomon Barrett

The MAT Student council have informed ideas such as the Challenge Wall, ways to improve the Buddy Scheme, promoting our VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and offering advice on their favourite teaching and learning activities.

What provision and support do we have in place?

At Treorchy Comprehensive School we recognize that our More Able and Talented pupils need access to broad, balanced and challenging curriculum opportunities to enable them to reach their true potential. We achieve this by offering activities that extend and enrich their learning and promote high attainment and good progress. Where appropriate, pupils will move through their learning at a faster rate than their peers on accelerated courses or by studying at an advanced level, for example Fast track classes and Cwrs Carlam where pupils can gain their Welsh GCSE in Year 9 and AS in Year 11.


Here are some examples of activities we have run specifically targeted for our MAT students in addition to the challenging activities planned in lessons:



Maths Challenge

The Young Playwrights Drama Competition

European Languages Day

STEM Activities

Trip to CERN

Year 9 Oxbridge Conference

PE Transition Events – Sport Cluster Week





History MAT Transition – MAT Historians taught Year 6 about WW1

MAT Buddy Scheme

LAMDA – A qualification offered by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts

MENSA Testing

Year 11 Mock Interview Programme

The School Shakespeare Festival

The Stock Market Challenge





University Outreach: Bristol University Mobile Teaching Unit – “Science Bus”


University Speakers Visiting School – Applying for Competitive Universities


MENSA Testing

Open Days and Work Experience

Girton College Cambridge – Humanities Essay Writing Competition

Links with Cardiff City Football Academy

Microsoft Office Specialist Qualifications

Youth Speaks Rotary Competition

A/AS Art Exhibition

Oxbridge Conferences and Open Days


There are so many more opportunities and challenges available at each key stage than those outlined above, however, there simply isn’t room for all of them to be outlined on our website. Please see our newsletter for further examples.

We also have several activities planned over the coming year:

Year 10 Oxbridge Taster Day

NACE Poetry Competition

Speakers for Schools Event - Humanities

NACE Photography Competition


Websites to support More Able and Talented Students and their Parents


London Gifted and Talented



How stuff works

Excellence East


Learning Wales

Keeping up with Current Affairs

We recognize the importance of encouraging in all our students an awareness of current affairs. Below is a list of organisations who can keep you up to date with current news and opinions as well as links to political institutions.