High achievers – 6 ways to help your most able students thrive

Cartoon illustration showing a one-to-one learning session between a student and educator, representing high achievers

Ryan Lockett highlights six strategies that can help you maximise the learning potential of your most able, high achieving students

Ryan Lockett
by Ryan Lockett

As educators, it’s our responsibility to ensure that every student reaches their full potential. This including those high achievers who consistently excel in their studies.

To support these individuals, we often need to go beyond conventional teaching methods and embrace strategies that both challenge and inspire them.

1. Adapt your teaching

To cater to the unique needs of your high achievers, it’s important to differentiate and adapt your teaching methods. Tailoring the pace and activities to suit their abilities will ensure that these students are consistently challenged. This might involve providing advanced materials or individualised assignments.

2. Set independent projects or tasks

Empower high achievers by encouraging them to pursue independent research or projects aligned with their interests. Granting them the freedom to delve into topics beyond the standard curriculum will fuel their passion. It will also further cultivate their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

3. Facilitate mentoring

Developing social, emotional, and leadership skills is crucial for high achievers’ growth. Assigning them the role of mentoring their peers will provide them with opportunities to guide and support others. It will also strengthen their own knowledge and sharpen their interpersonal abilities.

4. Provide opportunities for further studies

For those craving additional challenges, offering specialised courses or extra GCSEs can sate their thirst for knowledge.

Regular meetings with available teachers during lunchtimes or after school will allow high achievers to pursue in-depth learning. They can explore areas of interest beyond what the standard curriculum provides.

5. Organise aspirational academic visits

Expose high achievers to the broader world of academia by organising visits to universities and arranging taster days. These experiences instil a sense of ambition and help all students – not just high achievers – visualise their future educational pathways.

6. Provide a mentor

Regular mentor meetings with a dedicated teacher can provide high achievers with important feedback on their progress.

These sessions enable teachers to identify strengths and areas for improvement. You can then tailor future learning goals that align with the student’s aspirations.

In our aim to elevate education, it’s important that we nurture and support the growth of high achieving students. Adapting teaching styles, while also facilitating mentoring opportunities, further studies and aspirational visits, provides a dual benefit for both high achievers and their classmates, providing the best possible environment for these individuals to thrive.

Ryan Lockett is a former secondary school head of year and now director of studies at the online tutoring company, TLC LIVE; for more information, visit

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