Gifted & Talented News Archive 2004
Ofsted Report: The most
able students: are they doing as well as they should in our
non-selective secondary schools?
survey commissioned "to investigate why many of the brightest students
who go to non-selective maintained secondary schools or academies fail
to achieve their potential compared with students who attend many of our
grammar schools and independent schools".
Key findings include:
most able students in non-selective secondary schools are not
achieving as well as they should.
of pupils who achieved a Level 5 or above in both English and
mathematics at the end of Year 6 failed to attain A* or A grades in
both these subjects at GCSE in 2012 in non-selective schools.
Leaders in our secondary schools have not done enough to create a
culture of scholastic excellence, where the highest achievement in
academic work is recognised as vitally important.
Transition arrangements from primary to secondary school are not
effective enough to ensure that students maintain their academic
momentum into Year 7.
Towards a more principled
An Optimus article by Ian Warwick on formulating effective principles.
'Moving gifted education forward will require a clear statement that
gifted learners have the same right to support as any other learner.
This is key, as an equal opportunities approach is far more successful
'In the rush by some researchers to pathologise the most able students
as somehow damaged or crippled by their ability, there has evolved a
‘cloying care’ brand of teaching which has bored, patronised and
disengaged our brightest students, and which refuses to take risks...'
'Smart kids, in fact, generally enjoy the challenge of wrestling with
obstacles and problems. They relish that learning is supposed to be
hard, and that it’s also about the struggle, and making mistakes that
can and should be useful....'
June 2013. Follow-up article - 'Providing stretch, challenge and risk
for able pupils" is available on the Optimus site.
How gaming and social
networking can engage gifted learners
This article relates to older pupils, but many of the same principles
apply to Primary-age children.
An Optimus article on the approach taken by IGGY in constructing their
website and designing challenges.
site will offer ‘gamification’.. in its social aspects. This essentially
refers to the use of game thinking and mechanics in a non-game context
in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification techniques are
employed to leverage a student’s natural desire for competition,
achievement, status, self-expression, altruism and closure.'
'..the learners in their e-communities should be instrumental in
specifying what the final website contains and does. As mentioned above,
this means that the publication of any resource would be the start, not
the end of development of that resource.'
G&T education: using
technology to engage students
HIghlights from Guardian/IGGY live chat on the role of technology in
Key Stage 2 - Level 6 SATs
Optimus article by Ian Warwick on 'Do we understand how to get high
achievers to the next level'
'The argument given in the (Sutton Trust -
Smithers) report was that such a test (KS2 level 6) will enable schools
‘to pinpoint exactly which children and how best to provide for them’.'
'Having taught for 20 years in the inner city, I know that this is a
disturbing fiction, partly because pupils meeting the standard will be
unevenly distributed due to the isolation of some of the most able in
schools that would be far less likely to enter into these tests. But the
greater concern is that by the time learners reach the end of their
primary phase most socio-economic disadvantages have kicked into gear,
creating a tragically uneven playing field.'
'Learners will not be identified as Level 6 until KS2 teachers are more
confident in understanding what Level 6 means or ‘looks like’ and until
there is perceived to be a positive benefit in assessing children as
Level 6. It is clear that schools will need to be supported with
appropriate materials and training in order to engage in Level 6
teaching and assessment.'
See also 'What does level 6 learning look like'
New Home for Old G&T
The Coventry Learning Gateway has collected together many of the
resources previously available on the National Strategies G&T Resources
Educating the Highly Able -
Sutton Trust - Smithers Report
2012. Full report
here. This report concludes:
'Policy and provision for the highly able is in a mess. The root of the
problem is that „gifted and talented‟ is too broad a construct to be the
basis of sensible policy. The focus should be on those with the
potential for excellence in the major school subjects. Secondary schools
should be held to account for the progress of the highly able. More
fundamentally, England should seek to improve its education system by
taking a close look at those jurisdictions, especially those in Europe
such as Flemish Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, where many more reach
the highest levels of attainment.'
Optimus Education article (Sept 2012) comments:
'..when the report comments that high attainment depends on a
combination of qualities, including ability, personality, motivation,
background and support, many educators would wholeheartedly agree. When
this is followed immediately by ‘the best indicator of high attainment
is high attainment’, most would recoil. As many of the gifted and
talented student cohorts in the UK will be drawn from communities with
distinct social, economic and cultural pressures, special attention must
be paid to those from under-represented groups to ensure that they
receive access to gifted programmes.'
'..Indeed, if this recommendation were to be accepted, it is clear that
the students from more affluent backgrounds (who have often had
considerably more support in terms of their attainment), would be the
most likely beneficiaries of it.'
Challenge and Stretch for
All Learners (ChaSE)
2012. ChaSE is an online information and support network organised by
Canterbury Christ Church University.
Sign up for a weekly email newletter (ages 5-16) and online forum access
Teenagers' IQ scores can rise
or fall sharply during adolescence
2011. An article in the Guardian on research at University College
'The average of all scores stayed the same across the years, but
individual IQ scores rose or fell by as many as 21 points, a substantial
difference – enough to take a person of "average" intelligence to
"gifted" status, or vice versa.'
'This [study is] encouraging to some whose
intellect may improve, and a warning that early achievers may not
- Identification and professional development: how should schools
approach these issues this term?
2011. An article examining these two issues
'there is no current definition of gifted and talented on the
Department's website, the G&T pages having been taken down. The QCDA's
guidance is long gone; the National Archive website which holds the
National Strategies materials is beset with access problems and each
page carries the message that the content may not be (almost certainly
isn't) the policy of the current government. All of which could be taken
to be indicative of a current policy vacuum.'
- Clarifying Ofsted's position on G&T
First of a new series clarifying Ofsted’s current position on the G&T
'Colleagues with a continuing interest in the achievement of their more
able students will perhaps need to find new or different forms of
leverage in their school as previously agreed Quality Standards and
other self-evaluation tools are less likely to hold automatic sway.'
'...gifted and talented strategies are morphing into ways in which more
able students can be more confident, independent and challenged.'
- Series of Articles on Differentition
2011. The third and final article on differentiation can be read
The article discusses John Hatties 'meta-meta-analysis' of the
effect-sizes of various types of classroom intervention on attainment
(Visible Learning, 2009), with regard to differentiation for G&T pupils.
2011.Next month sees the launch of the
G&T Voice website. In the
current climate of uncertainty over the future of G&T education, its aim
is to "ensure that existing expertise and resources are retained and to
collaborate and offer mutual support; to develop imaginative,
network-led ways to share knowledge and experience; to ensure the
development of cutting-edge projects and to improve services and support
for the benefit of all gifted and talented learners."
You can read its charter
Importance of Teaching - White Paper
2010. This white paper published on 25th November contains two areas of
particular interest for G&T:
The transformation of the curriculum, assessment and
qualifications; Michael Gove believes that the curriculum contains "too
much that is non-essential and too little which stretches (pupils) to achieve standards
matching the best in the world". This may indicate that the new
curriculum will involve the study of fewer topics in
greater depth, an approach that may well suit many G&T learners.
The channelling of funding to disadvantaged pupils via
the pupil premium.As
each school will determine how the 'pupil premium' will be spent, G&T
coordinators may be able to secure a share of this funding for able
pupils and for those needing extra support
to reach their true
What do we
really mean by classroom challenge
2010. 'G&T update' on the Optimus website has an article discussing
Renzulli's 'three rings' view of 'giftedness' (ability/potential,
creativity, commitment) and high challenge-low threshold learning.
'There is a general agreement that all learners, not just the most able,
need to experience challenge on a day-to-day basis and have a range of
personal strategies which support their engagement and progress. In many
ways, effective teaching for the gifted and talented is about providing
opportunities to make useful mistakes. This is not the same as creating
opportunities to fail.'
'..when teachers’ are reluctant to challenge, we see students who don’t
take themselves too seriously. Passivity is demonstrated in many ways –
a reluctance to question, the expectation of support, the need to be
entertained as payment in advance for effort. Peer pressure influences
the extent to which students are willing to expose themselves to life
above the parapet, to take risks and make those useful mistakes.'
join forces to fight for gifted children
2010. TES article - full text
'The National Strategies have current responsibility for managing gifted
and talented education, but the agency is to be scrapped next March,
creating uncertainty about which organisation will take charge.'
'Universities, teachers and specialist organisations, including Mensa,
are set to form a pressure group to speak with "one voice" in urging the
Government to develop a clear policy for gifted and talented children...
"Everything is rudderless without a national programme; we want teachers
to be supported and there needs to be a Government policy," said Denise
Yates, chief executive of the National Association for Gifted Children.'
education: the challenge of improvement
2010. New article on the National Strategies website (here)exploring
the key challenges faced by schools, taking into account the new Ofsted
Framework and specifically the challenge to schools to demonstrate that
G&T pupils are identified and make good progress. The article considers
the wider challenges to be:
• mainstreaming G&T education – making it a central part of
school improvement and the business of every teacher.
• ensuring effective challenge and support for all pupils,
including the more and most able, in the everyday classroom.
• making sure that teachers plan to provide opportunities
that stimulate and develop potential and meet needs in every
lesson rather than just through extra
• identifying gifted and talented pupils, including the
'hidden gifted' and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
new G&T-related resources on the National Standards site include:
CPD workshops for senior school leaders on 'Improving G&T education'
Four CPD workshops for 'leading G&T teachers' on 'Improving G&T
Institutional Quality Standards in G&T education - revised 2010 edition
Revised web-based user guide for the Institutional Quality Standards
provision to develop gifts & talents - an international survey
A recent report commissioned by CfBT Education Trust is available
The report observes
the following major trends in G&T:
1.There is steady movement –
away from gifted education designed in terms of:
• giftedness as predominantly inherited
• a small percentage of measurable high
• domination of acceleration and/or
withdrawal for special provision,
towards seeing giftedness as:
• predominantly developed through
opportunity allied with application and effort
• potential among many, acknowledging peaks
of gifts at different stages of students’school careers
• focusing on a wide range of abilities
extending beyond the academic – including help for the disadvantaged
to overcome their
• possibly requiring support for special
social and emotional needs
• encouraged by enrichment and
differentiation within the normal classroom
• a feature of normal children with special
gifts, who are in all other ways like their classmates.
2. Collaboration between gifted education providers is increasingly
recognised and taken up, whether locally, nationally or
3.There is a growth of a more democratic approach that is empowering to
teachers, parents and students.
What do we
really mean by 'quality first teaching'?
'G&T update' on the Optimus website has an article attempting to tease
out what there is in 'quality first teaching' that is specific to
teaching gifted children. Full article
National Strategies suggest that the key to success with all learners is
quality first teaching (QFT). This has been used as a mantra across the
strategy in guidance, tools, resources and the numerous events the
Strategies run across the country.It is surprisingly hard, given their
raft of publications, to find positive and useful illustrations of what
this universal truth is actually supposed to look like."
what should be distinctive about it for gifted and talented learners?
And how is this different, if at all, from what we would expect to
describe as just good teaching and learning? It certainly isn't what the
Strategies refer to for learners as 'the quality of their wave 1
experience'. The waves model is a management tool, but children don't
come to school to be implemented. So what should we be encouraging our
colleagues to do?"
"....When we talk to teachers about what they believe is really
distinctive about good teaching and learning for G&T, the conversations
tend to be remarkably similar. They emphasise:
flexibility to make choices
opportunity to take risks
chance to make useful mistakes
questioning and curiosity
extended opportunities for interaction and dialogue
learners becoming less dependent (not just independent)
focus on big ideas
making connections with the real world
challenging beliefs and perceptions
- having fun
The government has confirmed that the new curriculum due to be
implemented in September 2011 has now been officially abandoned. The
Department for Education has advised schools that the existing primary
curriculum will continue to be in force in 2011/12 and primary schools
should plan on that basis.
Some quotes from Schools Minister - Nick Gibb:
move away from teaching traditional subjects like history and geography
could have led to an unacceptable erosion of standards in our primary
schools. Instead, teachers need a curriculum which helps them ensure
that every child has a firm grasp of the basics and a good grounding in
general knowledge, free from unnecessary prescription and bureaucracy."
is vital that we return our curriculum to its intended purpose – a
minimum national entitlement organised around subject disciplines.
Ministers have always made clear their intentions to make changes to the
National Curriculum, to ensure a relentless focus on the basics and to
give teachers more flexibility than the proposed primary curriculum
offered. They will shortly announce their next steps."
exploring young children’s fascinations - strengthening G&T in the Early
March 2010. New National Strategies Early Years document
earliest years are a critically important time and practitioners have a
responsibility to create environments in which young children’s learning
and development can flourish and their gifts and talents can be
recognised, nurtured and extended."
Parent Guarantees – what are the implications for G&T?
2010. The 'Pupil and Parent Guarantees' are due to be implemented in
schools in September 2011 (see details on DCSF website
here). The Optimus Education website has an article briefly
considering the implications for G&T.
"..the explicit focus on identification within the
school census and a requirement to publish the extra challenge and
support may also increase the pressure on school leadership in acting as
gatekeepers to enrichment. There is a likelihood that, if mishandled,
the guarantees will reinforce misguided expectations as to what G&T is
actually for and give parents a hammer to hit the school with."
Optimus have added a second article 'The Parent and Pupil Guarantees –
implications for schools'.
The DCSF have now also released a document entitled "Gifted and Talented
education – pupil and parent guarantees: High level information for
parents, pupils, schools and local authorities".
Strategies G&T e-newsletter – Spring 2010
Spring 2010 newsletter. Articles on
- Narrowing the Gaps, The National Challenge G&T, Leading teachers for
G&T, G&T discussion groups, Quality Standards-1 & 2, What’s new in
Gifted and Talented education?
Commons Children, Schools & Families Committee
2010. A lengthy video of this committee taking oral evidence on the
current state of the GIfted and Talented Programme within schools is
Deborah Eyre described the G&T programme as 'inconsistent and
incoherent', and went on to say:
"I think there are a variety of stakeholders who have goals and purposes
for the gifted and talented programme and they are in tension to each
other and sometime in opposition to each other. There is a sense [on the
part of some stakeholders]... that the purpose of the gifted and
talented initiative is to increase social mobility and that [task] is
its main purpose, even if that means holding back other children to
allow some particular child [to catch up]."
John Stannard (the government's G&T champion) said that there was a
"great deal of uncertainty" in schools about the new policy, which he
thought "opens up a can of worms". He stated that education for the
top-performing pupils has been ineffective for years and will continue
to underperform because the reforms about to come into force will leave
schools at the beck and call of "pushy" parents.
short report on the committee meeting is available on the TES website.
National Register for G&T pupils
2010. According to the DCSF National Strategies website:
"The National Register will cease in February 2010 and will be replaced
with an annual report, which will be available for schools and local
authorities to download. Further details, including the date on which
the report will be released, will be available in due course."
The Telegraph reports on current government plans for G&T as follows :
raft of initiatives designed to identify and help the most gifted pupils
are being abandoned.
An academy – set up to stage specialist courses for pupils from state
schools – is being scrapped and the £20m funding targeted elsewhere.
Separate cash for out-of-school master classes, workshops and summer
schools will also be withdrawn and a national register of bright
children is being abolished.
Labour said the money would instead go directly to schools, giving
individual head teachers more power to promote the needs of gifted
Schools will be told to prioritise bright children from the poorest
Recent related articles in the Guardian
National Strategies website - G&T section
2010. Content which was previously hosted on the Young Gifted & Talented
website is now in the process of being transferred to a G&T section
within the National Strategies website
The CQS and
the new Ofsted framework
2010. A document relating the Classroom Quality Standardsdescriptors for
G&T to the new Ofsted framework for inspection is available on the
National Strategies website
Gifted & Talented Pupils in Schools
2009. 'The DCSF has recently reviewed its national programme for G&T
pupils and concluded that it was not
having sufficient impact on schools. As a result, provision is being
scaled back to align it more closely with wider developments in
personalising learning. Schools will be expected to do more themselves
for these pupils.'
OfSTED visited 26 schools (including 9 Primaries) in July 2009 to see
how well placed they were to respond to the proposed changes in G&T
policy. Some of the key findings were:
In the best schools surveyed, the needs of G&T pupils were being met
alongside those of all pupils. The schools which focused on progress
for all pupils were more likely to plan lessons that challenged
their G&T pupils.
In 20 of the 26 schools visited, pupils said their views were either
not sought or not taken sufficiently into account in planning tasks
and curriculum provision to meet their interests. The pupils
indicated that the level of challenge was inconsistent across their
lessons, and some had requested more challenging work.
All the schools indicated that they had not fully engaged with the
parents of G&T pupils to help them understand their children’s needs
or how to provide effective support.
All the schools visited felt they needed more support and guidance
about how to judge what gifted and talented pupils at different ages
should be achieving and how well they were making progress towards
attaining their challenging targets across key stages.
All the schools visited had developed out-of-hours provision and
programmes. However, the link between these and school-based
provision was not always clear. The schools were not consistently
evaluating their impact, although the
specialist schools did so for their specialist subjects.
the full report
for All - A G&T approach to whole school improvement
2009. This is a DCSF document to support secondary schools in
developing G&T education as part of a whole-school approach to improving
provision and outcomes for all pupils, but may have parts of
interest to Primary schools.
Strategies G&T e-newsletter – Autumn 2009
Autumn 2009 newsletter. Articles
the Gaps, Black pupils' achievement,
The National Challenge
discussion groups, Leading teachers for G&T education,
Local authority quality
standards, What's new and coming up in G&T?
pupils ignored in overhaul of G&T provision
2009. The TES reports in an article entitled 'New gifted policy to
back social mobility' that:
'Ministers have pulled the plug on the national scheme for bright
children after finding the £42 million programme was making little
impact - and deciding that it did not fit into the target-led world of
'Ministers now want to move away from the current system, which works
through a website, to focus instead on gifted children from poorer homes
only in their last years of education...'
'Experts expressed concern that clever younger children will be left
behind by the reforms, especially if their school does not view
additional education for them as a priority.'
speech, made in June 2009, John Stannard (National Champion for G&T)
commented on the current YG&T Learner Academy scheme as follows:
"It can be perceived as by-passing schools; going directly to learners.
In some cases, it may inadvertently encourage schools to displace their
responsibility for G&T pupils to the Academy. More importantly, from a
practical standpoint, the evidence shows that, in its present form, the
Academy cannot be scaled up to meet the needs of learners nationally and
that it is unlikely to be either efficient or sufficiently effective to
justify the cost." Full speech
internal report by the company running the current YG&T scheme (CfBT)
found their own work lacking in 'coherence and clarity' and claimed that
communication was weak.
More details on the
ending of CfBT's contract and the new proposals for Secondary schools on
the TES website -
The position on future support for Primary schools and children is
unclear - guidance is expected to be issued before changes come into
effect next year.
Aspiration: Fair Access to the Professions
2009.The Panel on Fair Access to the Professions (led by Alan Milburn)
has published its final report. It has examined the barriers and
pathways to reaching professions for all people - regardless of their
One of its recommendations is that:
"The Government should reform and rebrand the Gifted and Talented
programme to provide more opportunities to pupils in primary and
secondary schools, including mentoring, work tasters and training in
soft skills." Full report
These 'soft skills' would include:
• Oral and written communication skills and personal confidence
• Dealing with information, IT and technology
• Developing the right attitude to success.
the Guardian 25/7/09 -
"..the government's scheme for gifted and talented children was
criticised in a prime ministerial report on social mobility this week.
The review, by former minister Alan Milburn, recommended reform of the
current gifted and talented programme, saying it 'lacked direction'."
The Times 25/7/09 -
"That the Government’s “gifted and talented” programme is running in
only 8 per cent of primary schools — mostly ones with a bulging
middle-class catchment anyway — is a disgrace. But new Labour has long
had trouble with the notion of creaming off the elite, scenting a whiff
of eau de grammar school. They call a maths book full of ticks a success
when it shows only that the sums are too easy, the child bored."
your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system
July 2009. The new
white paper on education contains little specifically about G&T. It
proposes new parent and children 'guarantees' to be in place by
Schools will need to
provide every pupil identified as gifted and talented with 'written
confirmation of the extra challenge and support they will receive'. Full
talented face further reform - yet again
May 2009. TES
22/5/2009 - full article
New proposals for the education of gifted and talented children will be
published next month in the '21st Century Schools' white paper.
"The national programme for the education of gifted and talented
children is set for a complete overhaul just two years after the last
Ministers are expected to announce a move away from the centrally
managed system to one in which teachers run provision through schools.
The “refocus” will bring additional support and training for
staff, but there are concerns that provision could be sidelined."
Evaluating gifted and
talented education: The school improvement partner’s role in engaging
Flyer - The Classroom Quality Standards for Gifted and Talented
education: A subject focus
- G&T education in the classroom
Classroom Quality Standards (CQS) guided resource: DVD-ROM
January 2009. This
DVD has been sent out to all schools. It contains a copy of the CQS
'guided resource' which has been available on the National Strategies site for some
(no longer available).
The DVD doesn't seem to include a copy of the revised 'CQS User Guide' -
(no longer available)
- which usefully provides examples of 'completed' Level 1 and
Level 2 documents with 'classroom evidence' and 'next steps' filled in
(for Primary - pages 45-61).
Academy for G&T Youth - Evaluation
January 2009. A
report commissioned by the DCSF evaluating the work of NAGTY
(established to help deliver the government's programme for G&T learners
in 2002 and replaced by YG&T in 2007) is available
"Our conclusion is that, admirable though much of the work of the
Professional Academy was, it was on too small a scale and NAGTY was too
distant from the professionals in the classroom for it to have anything
more than a peripheral impact on the core education of the gifted and
Review of the Primary Curriculum - Interim Report
December 2008. Jim
Rose's interim report on his review of the Primary Curriculum has
surprisingly little to say about 'Gifted & Talented'. The only reference
is on page 34, where the report comments that one of the advantages of
designing the primary curriculum as a "planned, carefully constructed
amalgam of areas of learning and subjects" is that it "offers
challenging opportunities for gifted and talented children to fulfil
their potential, for example, through extended studies".
lead to 'brainpower slump'
Professor Michael Shayer of King's College London has
compared the mental
agility of 800 bright 13 and 14-year-olds with similar tests carried out
some three decades ago.
"The 'high-level thinking' skills of 14-year-olds are now on a par with
those of 12-year-olds in 1976."
"..the proportion of teenagers reaching top grades, demanding a 'higher
level of thinking', slumped dramatically."
Article in the Mail
here and Guardian
here Michael Shayer's previous research on 11 & 12
review of interventions aimed at G&T children
October 2008. The
Institute of Education's Evidence for Policy and Practice Information
and Coordination Centre (ePPI) have completed a review and analysis of 15
studies of classroom-based intervention aimed at G&T children, with
particular regard to how findings from these studies could be matched to
the Classroom Quality Standards set out by the DCSF.
Their main findings were as follows:
• The review supports the use of
personalised learning and differentiation. There was evidence in favour
of the appropriate use of streaming, differentiated provision within
mixed ability classes, and individualised programmes. However, effective
provision within mixed ability classes presumes a positive classroom
• The quality and character of group
interactions was identified as a significant factor in the effectiveness
of support for gifted and talented pupils. There was evidence that
collaborative and group activities helped gifted and talented pupils
perform better at some tasks. The role of the teacher was highlighted as
especially important in promoting and maintaining positive group work.
• Studies indicated that enrichment
programmes that help gifted and talented pupils develop self-regulation
and higher order thinking skills had a positive effect on their
achievement and engagement.
Further details on
the ePPI/IOE website
Murray - 'Real Education'
Charles Murray (author of the Bell Curve) has a new book out - 'Real
Education'. His views on intelligence, IQ and the school
curriculum are as provocative as ever. Article in Standpoint
Adonis letter to headteachers
Andrew Adonis has written to all
headteachers urging them to complete the G&T question in the school
census and distribute the Learner Academy information packs to all
identified G&T learners and their parents. Letter
response to Oxford Brookes evaluation of IQS standards
July 2008. The full
DCSF response is available
Some of the main points are as follows:
- The DCSF "plan to carry out a rapid review of the text of the IQS by
October 2008, in light of the evaluation and of feedback on the IQS tool
from leading teachers. This process will address issues of terminology,
and reflect the changing wider context for gifted and talented education
within schools, including professional roles and responsibilities."
has always been our intention to carry out a more thorough review of the
IQS during FY 2009 -10. In doing so, we will seek further evidence for
the views expressed in the process of this evaluation, as well as
drawing on the wider experience of schools who are using the framework."
We recognise that whilst the original IQS User Guide shows how the
Elements are mapped against judgments in the School Evidence Form (SEF),
it would now be useful to revisit this, in order to achieve the maximum
clarity for both schools and for Ofsted inspection teams. We will
undertake this by March 2009 and will adjust the user guide accordingly.
"we will also be considering what might be most useful to particular
audiences in securing initial engagement with the IQS. We will provide a
range of accessible ways into the IQS for those new to the tool and/or
whole school self-evaluation including some shorter, punchier guidance
to accompany the tool. We will work on the development of these by March
2009, drawing on the experiences of school leaders, staff and governors
as well as our regional partnerships."
"the Department has a commitment to roll out the IQS and the Classroom
Quality Standards (CQS) to all schools in England by 2010, and to
providing support for schools and for local authorities to engage fully
with the tools."
According to the YG&T site, the CQS (following several revisions) will
be "launched" in November 2008.
Brookes evaluation of the implementation and impact of IQS standards
July 2008.This report
dated April 2008 has now appeared on the YG&T website. Its
recommendations on the Institutional Quality Standard for G&T (full
are that the DCSF should:
R1: discuss with Ofsted how the IQS can best be aligned with the
Framework for Inspection and in particular the Self-Evaluation Form and
how inspection teams can take greater account of how schools/colleges
use the IQS;
R2: consider whether to review the structure of the IQS to reduce the
number of elements, possibly arranging them within different categories,
and to add a fourth (pre-entry) column;
R3: commission a review of the text of the IQS, to keep the language as
simple as possible, rename the entry/developing/exemplary levels and
ensure that the levels within each element clearly describe appropriate
R4: commission an attractive package of materials, in hard-copy format,
including a clear introductory leaflet of no more than four pages, to
help headteachers, G&T governors and lead professionals for G&T,
especially, understand the purpose, value and demands of the IQS and its
relationship to the CQS in particular; a short user guide of no more
than eight pages; and a two-page explanatory sheet for all staff and
governors outlining key messages about the purpose of the IQS and how it
fits with other initiatives;
R5: continue to develop support materials to help schools to understand
the IQS and evidence their judgments appropriately both in paper form,
such as the poster; and web-based, including frequently asked questions
and exemplification materials;
R6: survey Local Authority advisers and other potential key mediators,
to establish their view of the IQS, the number of schools using it, how
it currently is being introduced and supported and future plans and
needs to do so;
R7: work with NACE to agree a statement on the respective purposes and
strengths of the IQS and the Challenge Award, based on the taxonomy for
conditions for successful use of the IQS;
R8: develop a plan to roll out the IQS over the period 2008-2014, with a
• publicising the purpose
and value of the IQS and how it helps to promote identification of and
provision for Gifted
students and aligns with the wider process of school self-evaluation;
• involving around six Local
Authorities/ other local partnerships with different models of training
and support for
clear criteria, so that a full range of type of school and of prior
experience is covered;
• evaluating the different
models over a two year period, based on the criteria of what constitutes
successful use of
the IQS, to
establish the types of mediation necessary to enable different levels of
Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching
makes many recommendations on Initial Teacher Training and Continuing
Professional Development, particularly the requirement for a
'Mathematics Specialist' in each school. It judges that the maths
curriculum should continue in its current form (although it has doubts
about the user-friendliness of the Revised Primary Framework), but would
like an increased focus on "use and application" and "classroom
discussion of maths". Full report
From a G&T
perspective, one of the six terms of reference for this review was:
"What range of provision best supports children across
the full ability range, including the most gifted. The highest
priority should be given to those who are
not progressing fast enough to reach national expectations."
Interestingly, although the review has a chapter on 'Under-attainment
and intervention', it has very little to say specifically on the
provision for gifted children. The few references to G&T are:
provision is sometimes not stretching enough for the gifted and talented
pupils...Part of the reason can be attributed to teachers’ lack of
knowledge of what might be possible and of the types of activities that
would allow the most able to flourish, for instance open-ended
investigative tasks. In discussion with Ofsted, it has become clear that
many primary teachers lack confidence at this level of mathematics and
are often unaware of the bigger picture and network of
interrelationships. As such, the review believes that the Mathematics
Specialist may have a role to play in the provision for gifted and
talented pupils in their school. This would of course need to take
account of the school’s existing and wider provision, and would need
coordination with the school’s Gifted and Talented coordinator."
stance is not adopted on the question of setting by this review – except
that it appears best to leave decisions on such matters in the hands of
head teachers and practitioners and their principled judgements of what
is best for their children. The problem is that forms of grouping can
easily be misinterpreted as categories of children, rather than tailored
provision designed to aid all children’s progress. Good ITT and CPD
should help teachers to recognise the difference, to be aware of the
risks as well as the opportunities associated with different forms of
grouping, and to make sure children’s progress is furthered and not
fettered by whatever form of grouping they choose."
provision for G&T children in primary education - revised version
May 2008. There is
now an updated version of this document originally published in October
2006. The document sets out general principles for primary schools
to follow in order to plan and deliver effective provision for gifted
and talented learners. It also details the range of support and
resources which are available through the national programme for gifted
and talented education. View or download
Gifted & Talented website - new information
May 2008. At the end
of May, YG&T will be sending all headteachers a pack providing details
about the new registration processes and identification guidelines. G&T
co-ordinators will need to register online in order to validate
learners requesting full membership of the YG&T Learner Academy.
You can see the contents of the schools pack and learner membership
issue of talent
April 2008. Guardian
article on Warwick University's International Gateway for
Gifted Youth (Iggy) programme for secondary-age pupils
'Classroom Quality Standards' for separate subjects
April 2008. Draft
'Classroom Quality Standards for Gifted & Talented Education' for
English, Maths, Science and ICT are now available for information.
e-learning modules for Leading G&T teachers
April 2008. The
current list of available modules is as follows:
and learning (core module)
2: Identification (core module)
3: Taking the lead in G&T (core module)
4: Accessing and extending knowledge
5: Career development for G&T learners
6: Transfer and Transition
7: G&T learners with particular needs
Learning beyond the classroom
9: Working with parents and carers
11: (not available)
12: Key Stages 1 and 2
13: Primary science
Access these modules
at the National Strategies site
DCSF - 3
new booklets on G&T
Gifted and Talented education: Helping to find and support children
with dual or multiple exceptionalities
Following on from the publication: ‘Guidance on preventing
underachievement: a focus on dual or multiple exceptionality’
this booklet offers more detail in identifying and supporting children
who are highly able with sensory impairment, learning problems, conduct
issues and/or disabilities. Download
preventing underachievement: a focus on children and young people in
This guidance is intended to raise awareness of the issues relating to
gifted and talented children in care. It invites responses from schools
and settings to contribute to the developing body of knowledge,
understanding and effective practice in relation to these issues.
Talented Education - Guidance on preventing underachievement: a focus on
exceptionally able pupils
booklet highlights the main issues to be discussed and addressed in
preventing the underachievement of pupils with exceptional abilities.
Identifying G&T pupils
South East Regional Partnership for G&T have produced a document with
guidance on some 'Frequently Asked Questions' about identifying G&T
tables to show 'gifted' at Key Stage 3
Secondary school league tables for Key Stage 3 will be reformed to show
the number of children reaching levels 7 and 8; current tables show
level 5 (the required level) and level 6.
According to The Times:
intention is to put pressure on the 300 or so secondary schools that
refuse to take part in the Gifted and Talented programme, often because
of ideological opposition to selection. The latest figures show that a
significant minority of schools – 9 per cent of secondaries and 35 per
cent of primaries – have failed to identify any exceptionally bright
children, leaving the number benefiting from the programme stuck at
..John Dunford, of the Association of
School and College Leaders, said that
the Key Stage 3 tests were not designed
to test for giftedness, so it was
nonsense to equate the results with
this. “The Key Stage 3 test should be no
more than a progress-check for
14-year-old pupils and their parents.
The Government has repeatedly tried to
turn it into a massive accountability
exercise for schools and is already
using it for too many purposes. This is
one step too far,” Mr Dunford said.
But Lord Adonis said that the gifts of
many very able pupils went unrecognised.
“Identifying and celebrating high
attainment encourages schools to focus
on those who need extra help because
they have particular abilities and
talents, which is just as crucial as
helping those who are at risk of falling
behind,” he said.
Full Times article
'Nutshells' were a set of interactive professional development resources
produced by NAGTY and found useful by many teachers. They have now
reappeared in a 'rebranded' form on the YG&T website
N.B. but, in Feb 2010, they disappear yet again along with the YG&T
website - possibly to reappear on the DCSF site
here one day?
Local news - Brighton & Hove
LEA Policy for G&T finalised
The finalised version of Brighton & Hove's 'Policy for the support of
Gifted & Talented Children and Young People' is now available. Download
'Word' document here
First e-Learning module for
Leading G&T Teachers
September 2007. For
those doing the 'Leading G&T Teacher' training, the first e-learning
module - Core module 1:teaching & learning - is now available online
"This module will
support you as a leading teacher to reflect on your own practice and
will underpin and model your work on leading the improvement of gifted
and talented education across the school."
Young Gifted and Talented
August 2007. 'Young Gifted & Talented' is
the new name for the National Programme for Gifted and Talented, now
organised by CfBT (Centre for British Teachers) Education Trust. The new
discontinued - March 2010).The YG&T
site's aim is to bring together content from NAGTY, NACE, NAGC, London
Gifted and Talented, Special Schools and Academies Trust and many
others. CfBT's 'Vision for G&T Education' is
is now no longer possible to access any pages on the NAGTY website,
content seems to be in the process of being transferred to the new YG&T
site (should be available after 3rd September / Nutshells not available
until at least November).
August 2007. The
Guardian has an article entitled 'Gifthorse bolts' considering why
Warwick University declined to continue running the NAGTY programme, and
an interview with Neil Macintosh of CfBT who are now taking over
the old contract, Warwick had little involvement with the government's
official 10% G&T target beyond monitoring the statistics; its Nagty
programmes were aimed at the top 5%. And while these Nagty schemes will
continue under CfBT on the same lines as before, it is clear that the
government wants to work harder to extend the scheme and to enforce the
10% message in schools...."
"Warwick has done some fantastically good work, but our aim will be to
extend that to include a much wider group of children. By definition, a
summer school can only reach a finite number of students, and we want to
work more in schools and create online communities. We will also be
branching out to include primary as well as secondary schools, in order
to catch and develop children before they've had a chance to become
McIntosh is aware he is entering another danger area here. Children
develop at different ages and different rates. "There will be a certain
amount of flexibility," he says, "as children will be joining the scheme
at different ages." What he can't say for sure is whether that will mean
some children leaving the programme. After all, if the government's 10%
target is set in stone, if some children join the scheme late, some are
surely going to have to drop out - an unthinkable scenario for many
McIntosh is keen to point out that some of the details are still to be
resolved. At present, there is an ongoing debate within the DCSF over
G&T funding. Should, as some argue, each G&T student be allocated
funding that he or she can use to buy extra resources, or should every
student, regardless of ability, have access to the same funds? And if
the latter, then how can this be afforded? All McIntosh can say is that,
if and when the DCSF comes to a decision, CfBT will be piloting schemes
in order to assess it."
Gifted & Talented in Nurseries
August 2007. EYE
(Early Years Educator) magazine for September has an interesting article
on providing for nursery-age children at the Chelsea Open Air Nursery,
making use of the Nebraska Starry Night Protocol to identify gifted and
talented children. For details of another Nursery (and Infant school)
using this protocol - see 'Nurturing Gifted & Talented Children at Key
Stage 1 - A report of action research projects' on the DfES site
page 89). 'Starry Night' recording sheet
What Really Works in Gifted
& Talented Education
Downloadable document (previously on NAGTY site) based on speech given
by Deborah Eyre (11/6/07)
"Gifted and talented
education is about making exceptional performance a reality for those
children and young people who
have the ability to excel. This ‘really works’ when schools realise that
encouraging and expecting exceptional performance is an on-going concern
that pervades the whole school, its structures and its culture. It is
an approach applied to all pupils but realised in its most complete form
by the most gifted and talented."
GTC - Research of the Month
- Identifying and supporting gifted and talented students
June 2007. Each month
the General Teaching Council chooses a published research topic which
has been appraised, selected and summarised by CUREE (the Centre for the
Use of Research and Evidence in Education). This research is
restructured according to a series of questions which are 'designed to
bring out the messages for teachers' . and presented alongside
teacher case studies that illustrate the findings. This month the chosen
topic is 'Identifying and supporting gifted and talented students'.
Introduction here. Or go directly to case
studies via these links:
Case study 1: Identifying gifted and talented
Case study 2: Developing a policy of inclusion
with differentiation for gifted and talented pupils
Case study 3: Peer coaching between gifted
students to raise achievement
Case study 4: Improving gifted boys’ writing
Case study 5: Enriching students’ learning – what
gifted and talented students gain
Case study 6: Accelerating the curriculum for
gifted and talented students at KS3
Case study 7: Structuring group work
More G&T 'nutshells' on NAGTY
May 2007. Two new
'nutshells' on primary maths are now available
on the NAGTY website -
Hare and the Tortoise: exploring depth and breadth for gifted
practice: encouraging higher order thinking in the maths classroom'.
There also three new 'nutshells' in the
cross-phase section - covering higher
order thinking in science, peer mentoring and gifted identities.
Three more primary 'nutshells' will be available in June - English in
the classroom, science in the classroom and science:transition. N.B.
NAGTY website no longer available; 'nutshells' are now available
(no longer - March 2010).
Neuroscience and Education -
Issues and Opportunities
The Teaching and Learning Research Programme has published this study
considering a range of issues at the junction between neuroscience and
education. Full document
See previous entry on Brain Gym - Bad Science
already invested an immense amount of time and money in ‘brain-based’
ideas that were never based on any recognisable scientific understanding
of the brain. Many of these ideas remain untested and others are being
revealed as ineffective. In the future, an improved dialogue between
neuroscience and education will be critical in supporting the
development, application and evaluation of educational programmes based
on a sound scientific understanding of the brain."
has interesting comments on the pseudoscience used in programmes such as
'Brain Gym' and 'Accelerated Learning":
"Since the 1990’s, an increasing number of educational programmes
have claimed to have a ‘brain basis’. There are few examples of such
programmes having been evaluated, and they often appear to have
developed without neuroscientific scrutiny.
Some of the ideas promoted by these programmes have become part of the
educational culture in many schools.... ‘Brain Gym’...promotes the idea
that neural mechanisms can be influenced by specific physical exercises.
The pseudoscientific terms that are used to explain how this works, let
alone the concepts they express, are unrecognisable within the domain of
neuroscience. For example, there is a claim that, if children provide
pressure on their ‘brain buttons’, they can help re-establish the brain
organisation required for reading and writing. ‘Brain buttons’ are
described as indentations between the 1st and 2nd ribs directly under
the collar bone to the right and left of the breastbone. Other exercises
include the Cross-crawl, promoted on the basis of activating left/right,
top/bottom and back/front
the brain simultaneously, and varieties of ‘Hook-up’ for calming and
stress relieving effects.
Approaches to learning that come under the broad heading of ‘Accelerated
Learning’ are a more eclectic mixture of ideas from popularly-reported
neuroscience and psychology, synthesised with practice derived from
classroom experience. In books that promote accelerated learning,
concepts from psychology and neuroscience are often introduced as a
means to promote and explain learning processes. However, these too
often do not survive scientific scrutiny. For example, as in Brain Gym,
there is a still an emphasis on the desirability of balance between the
left and right part of the brain. In Smith (Accelerated Learning in the
Classroom - Alistair Smith), we are reminded ‘Remember that the synergy
generated in creating new pathways between left and right results in
all-round improvement’. In fact, except in the rare case of brains which
have been lesioned, pathways exist permanently between the left and
right hemispheres, most notably via the corpus callosum. At present,
there is no scientific evidence to suggest we can voluntarily create new
Accelerated learning also embraces other popular brain
concepts such as Learning Style Preferences. Here, psychological
evidence supports the possibility that individual preferences exist
regarding how we like to learn. In education, learners may be allocated
to one of three types of learning style (Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic
- VAK). Some believe that presenting material in a way that suits an
individual’s preferred learning style can improve their learning. (Note
that it could also be argued that the reverse might also be helpful, as
a remedial intervention to improve processing associated with the other
learning styles.) However, there is a considerable scarcity of quality
research to support the value of identifying learning styles66. A recent
psychological investigation of the VAK principle tested recall of
information presented in the three different styles67. This study
showed no benefit from having material presented in one’s preferred
learning style, concluding that attempts to
focus on learning styles were ‘wasted effort’.
drinking water and 'brain-hydration', the study comments:
"a recent adult study has shown that drinking water when not thirsty
can also diminish cognitive ability. In fact, we know that our brains
possess a sophisticated system by which we become thirsty when our
bodies (including our brains) need water. So encouraging children to
drink water when they are thirsty may be a more sensible approach than
constantly monitoring the amount of water they consume."
Local school featured in
Teachers TV programme
March 2007 - A visit to
Primary School is included in the TTV programme - 'Careerwise - Gifted &
Talented' - 'exploring
what the role of the gifted and talented coordinator is and what it can
bring to a career.' Watch the video
Teachers for Gifted and Talented
February 2007 -
The 2005 White Paper 'Higher Standards, Better Schools for All'
set support for gifted and talented (G&T) pupils clearly in the context
of personalisation and made a commitment to provide additional training
and guidance on gifted and talented education to all schools, primary
and secondary, including access to an ‘expert teacher’. The National
Strategies, NAGTY and other key partners are now developing a 'blended
learning CPD package' to enable the fulfilment of this ‘expert teacher’
commitment, by working with local authorities to provide training for a
leading teacher from every secondary school, and one for each cluster or
network of primary schools.
An article on the Teaching Expertise website
(link no longer valid)
over the possible dismantling of the existing role of the primary G&T
coordinator as an 'advocate and resident expert' and the substitution of
a system where all primary class teachers are expected to be competent
G&T teachers across all curriculum subjects, leaving the 'Lead G&T
teacher' performing a purely administrative and training function - with
no direct involvement with pupils.
DfES powerpoint on 'Support for G&T Education - Developments in 2007'
Details on the role of the lead teacher
and training involved
here. TES article
on challenges involved (link no longer
NAGTY/DfES question and answer document
April 2007 supplement to Q&A document
Vision: Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group
January 2007 - This report by the Teaching and Learning review group
(the Gilbert Review) to the Secretary of State presents a vision for
personalised teaching and learning in 2020. It summarises the current
situation in schools and makes recommendations on what needs to happen
in order to help deliver that vision. Complete document
The following description of recommendations, and some responses to the
proposals, is taken
from the BBC website:
Alan Johnson said: "We need
to make sure that no-one is left behind at any point - from the most
gifted and talented children at the top of the class, to the
uninterested child at the back." Many teachers and schools were
doing all of this already, but he wanted to make sure the good work was
repeated in every school.
- all schools should
set out how they are making personalised learning a reality
- a group should be
set up to review urgently how the national curriculum and assessment
should develop, with more "testing when ready"
- feedback from
pupils should be used to design lessons
- secondary schools
should have "learning guides" to monitor progress and advise pupils
- parents should get
more information, such as lesson plans on the internet
- teacher training
should be revised, outstanding teachers might have sabbaticals to
enhance their skills
- a group should be
set up to distinguish effective innovation in teaching from "fads
- government should
set targets for there to be no "stuck" pupils, to increase the
progress all pupils make
- those not
progressing as expected should be entitled to extra support, such as
one-to-one tuition, in or out of school
The leader of the National Union of Teachers, Steve Sinnott, said: "If
at long last the government is going to evaluate the detrimental impact
of high stakes testing on pupils and schools, this is a big shift in
Mary Bousted of the
Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the review should have gone
"It misses a golden opportunity by remaining too firmly entrenched in
the same narrowly defined standards and accountability agenda to be
really visionary," she said. "We definitely don't see any need to set an
extra target for pupil progression."
Shadow schools minister
Nick Gibb called for more schools to use setting to teach pupils in
ability groups. "Tailoring the curriculum to each child's ability must
surely lead to higher levels of attainment across all ability levels,"
The Liberal Democrat
education spokeswoman, Sarah Teather, said: "More of the same with some
new buzzwords thrown in is not going to bring about the change we need."
scheme for extra lessons
December 2006 - Earlier this month the DfES announced that the contract
to manage England's National Programme for Gifted and Talented Education
for 3-19 year-olds (NPGATE) had been given to
Education Trust. CfBT will create a new scheme to replace the existing
programme run by Warwick University, starting next September. A new
voucher scheme intended to be 'introduced to meet the
educational needs of the brightest pupils' is currently under
consideration - with a decision expected in the next month or so. Link to Times article
from NASUWT in Guardian
initiative the country’s brightest 800,000 pupils will receive vouchers
to spend on extra lessons, such as 'master classes' at university-run
summer schools, online evening classes or even web-based courses from
Nasa, the US space agency. Every primary and secondary school will be
told to supply the names of 10 per cent of their pupils who best meet
the new criteria for the 'gifted and talented' programme when they
complete the January schools census." Times
There seems to
have been some dissatisfaction with the existing scheme:
"Three in 10
secondary schools have failed to send any existing pupils on a programme
already offered to the top 5% of pupils over 11 through a centre at
Warwick University. One in five secondaries have also failed to identify
a single pupil they believe is in the top 10% .... People involved in
the existing scheme have suggested that some schools do not want to get
involved in what they see as an elitist agenda, while others feel they
are capable of looking after the brightest pupils on their own."
for teaching pupils gifted and talented in the Arts
December 2006 - new DfES guidance covering art, dance, drama and music
is available on the 'creative generation' website
no longer valid - site no longer exists as separate entity).
Identifying Gifted & Talented Pupils - Getting Started
November 2006 - New DfES guidance document available
guidance starts from the principle that there is no single perfect
instrument for identification - schools are advised to use a ‘best fit’
model that draws on a range of evidence including qualitative and
quantitative elements. It envisages a continuous cyclical process of
identification and review rather than a one-off process.'
outside the classroom manifesto
November 2006 - this new DfES publication is now available
"We define learning outside the classroom as: 'The use of places other
than the classroom for teaching and learning'.
These, often the most memorable learning experiences, help us to make
sense of the world around us by making links between feelings and
learning. They stay with us into adulthood and affect our behaviour,
lifestyle and work. They influence our values and the decisions we make.
They allow us to transfer learning experienced outside to the classroom
and vice versa."
provision for G&T in primary education
October 2006 - The final version of this guidance has now been produced
by the DfES and NAGTY and is available
(no longer available
- see revised version (May 2008)
This booklet contains
core guidance for primary schools on gifted and talented education,
using as a starting point the National Quality Standards for gifted and
September 2006 -
NAGTY have launched an interactive online introduction to key topics and
issues in G&T. The site initially has topics for Primary, whole-school
issues and Secondary Maths. It is intended for use by G&T leaders,
classroom teachers, ITT students and governors. N.B.
NAGTY website no longer available; 'nutshells' are now available
Why should the gifted and
talented be favoured?
August 2006 - Bethan
Marshall has interesting criticisms of the new G&T 'register' for
secondary pupils in the Independent
"...the dangers of
labelling pupils extend well beyond a threat to equality. What is so
damaging about our national obsession with ability is not the idea of
differential ability per se, but the implication that ability is fixed
and immutable. Even the National Association of Able Children in
Education, which has a much broader definition of ability, wants to sift
out these pupils for special attention.
perversity of the "gifted and talented" register is it negates
aspiration and builds into the structures of education lower
expectations of 95 per cent of children. This must change."
You can listen to an interview discussing this issue with Bethan
Marshall and Ken Sloane (NAGTY)