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Gifted & Talented News Archive 2004 - 2013

Ofsted Report: The most able students: are they doing as well as they should in our non-selective secondary schools?
June 2013. An Ofsted 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". link

Key findings include:

  • The most able students in non-selective secondary schools are not achieving as well as they should.

  • 65% 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 G&T provision
May 2013. An Optimus article by Ian Warwick on formulating effective principles. link
'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 with schools...'
'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.  link

How gaming and social networking can engage gifted learners
Mar 2013. 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. link

'The 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
Feb 2013. HIghlights from Guardian/IGGY live chat on the role of technology in gifted education. link

Key Stage 2 - Level 6 SATs
Oct 2012. Optimus article by Ian Warwick on 'Do we understand how to get high achievers to the next level' link

'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' link

New Home for Old G&T Resources
Sept 2012. The Coventry Learning Gateway has collected together many of the resources previously available on the National Strategies G&T Resources website. link

Educating the Highly Able - Sutton Trust - Smithers Report
July 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.'

An 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.'
Full article here.

Challenge and Stretch for All Learners (ChaSE)
April 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 here

Teenagers' IQ scores can rise or fall sharply during adolescence
October 2011. An article in the Guardian on research at University College London. link

'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 maintain potential.'

G&T Update - Identification and professional development: how should schools approach these issues this term?
September 2011. An article examining these two issues here.

'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.'

G&T Update - Clarifying Ofsted's position on G&T
June 2011. First of a new series clarifying Ofsted’s current position on the G&T agenda here.

'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.'

G&T Update - Series of Articles on Differentition
April 2011. The third and final article on differentiation can be read here. 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.

G&T Voice website
February 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 here

The Importance of Teaching - White Paper
December 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 potential.

What do we really mean by classroom challenge
October 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. Full article here

'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.'

Campaigners join forces to fight for gifted children
October 2010. TES article - full text here
'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.'

G&T education: the challenge of improvement
September 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 provision.
    • identifying gifted and talented pupils, including the 'hidden gifted' and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Other new G&T-related resources on the National Standards site include:

Five CPD workshops for senior school leaders on 'Improving G&T education'  here
Four CPD workshops for 'leading G&T teachers' on 'Improving G&T education'  here
Institutional Quality Standards in G&T education - revised 2010 edition here
Revised web-based user guide for the Institutional Quality Standards here

Worldwide provision to develop gifts & talents - an international survey
July 2010. A recent report commissioned by CfBT Education Trust is available here
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 achievers
       • 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 gifted
          to overcome their difficulties
       • 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'?
June 2010. '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 here

"The 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."

"So 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
  • the opportunity to take risks
  • the chance to make useful mistakes
  • questioning and curiosity
  • extended opportunities for interaction and dialogue
  • learners becoming less dependent (not just independent)
  • time to explore
  • a focus on big ideas
  • making connections with the real world
  • challenging beliefs and perceptions
  • having fun


Rose Review officially abandoned
June 2010. 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:

"A 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."

"It 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."

Finding and exploring young children’s fascinations - strengthening G&T in the Early Years
March 2010. New National Strategies Early Years document here

"The 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."

Pupil & Parent Guarantees – what are the implications for G&T?
March 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. link

"..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'. link

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". link

National 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?

House of Commons Children, Schools & Families Committee
February 2010. A lengthy video of this committee taking oral evidence on the current state of the GIfted and Talented Programme within schools is available here.
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.

A short report on the committee meeting is available on the TES website. link

End to National Register for G&T pupils
February 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 :

"..a 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 pupils.
Schools will be told to prioritise bright children from the poorest backgrounds."    link

Recent related articles in the Guardian here and here.

The National Strategies website - G&T section
January 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 here.

The CQS and the new Ofsted framework
January 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 here.

OfSTED - Gifted & Talented Pupils in Schools
December 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.

Read the full report here

Excellence for All - A G&T approach to whole school improvement
December 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. link

National Strategies G&T e-newsletter – Autumn 2009
Autumn 2009 newsletter. Articles on - Narrowing the Gaps, Black pupils' achievement, The National Challenge G&T project, G&T discussion groups, Leading teachers for G&T education, Local authority quality standards, What's new and coming up in G&T? link

Primary pupils ignored in overhaul of G&T provision
August 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 education...'
'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.'

In a 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 here

A recent 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 - link
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.

Unleashing Aspiration: Fair Access to the Professions
July 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 background.
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 here
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.

From 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'."     Full article here

From 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."    Full article here

Your child, 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 September 2010. 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 proposals here

Gifted and talented face further reform - yet again
May 2009. TES 22/5/2009 - full article here. 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 one.
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."

New DCSF G&T publications
February/March 2009.

Evaluating gifted and talented education: The school improvement partner’s role in engaging the school  here
Flyer - The Classroom Quality Standards for Gifted and Talented education: A subject focus  here

Flyer - G&T education in the classroom  here

G&T 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 time here (no longer available).
The DVD doesn't seem to include a copy of the revised 'CQS User Guide' - available here
(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).

National 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 here.
"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 talented."

Independent 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".
Full report here

Tests may lead to 'brainpower slump'
October 2008. 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 year-olds here

ePPI Centre 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 climate.

• 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 here

Charles Murray - 'Real Education'
September 2008. 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 magazine here

Andrew Adonis letter to headteachers
September 2008. 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 here

DCSF response to Oxford Brookes evaluation of IQS standards
July 2008. The full DCSF response is available here. Some of the main points are as follows:

IQS Reviews - 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."

"....It 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."

Ofsted - 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.

Guidance - "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."

National roll-out - "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.

Oxford 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 report here) 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 progression;

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 view to:
         •  publicising the purpose and value of the IQS and how it helps to promote identification of and provision for Gifted 
            and Talented 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
            schools with 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 successful use.


Williams Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching
June 2008. The review 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 here

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:

"..in-class 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."

"An explicit 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."

Effective 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 here

Young 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 letters 

The tricky issue of talent
April 2008. Guardian article on  Warwick University's  International Gateway for Gifted Youth (Iggy) programme for secondary-age pupils here

Draft '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. Downloads - English   Maths   Science   ICT

Additional e-learning modules for Leading G&T teachers
April 2008. The current list of available modules is as follows:

1: Teaching 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
  8: Learning beyond the classroom
  9: Working with parents and carers
10: English
11: (not available)
12: Key Stages 1 and 2
13: Primary science
14: Mathematics 

Access these modules at the National Strategies site here

DCSF - 3 new booklets on G&T
February 2008.
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’ (
DFES-00061-2007), 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 here

Guidance on preventing underachievement: a focus on children and young people in care
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. Download

Gifted and Talented Education - Guidance on preventing underachievement: a focus on exceptionally able pupils
This booklet highlights the main issues to be discussed and addressed in preventing the underachievement of pupils with exceptional abilities. Download here

FAQ on Identifying G&T pupils
January  2008. The South East Regional Partnership for G&T have produced a document with guidance on some 'Frequently Asked Questions' about identifying G&T pupils. Download here

League tables to show 'gifted' at Key Stage 3

January  2008. 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:
The 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 733,000.
..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
here     Guardian article here

Long lost 'nutshells' reappear
January  2008. '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 here
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

January  2008. 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 here
"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 website is www.dcsf.gov.uk/ygt (now 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 here
It is now no longer possible to access any pages on the NAGTY website, although some 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).

Gifthorse bolts

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 control. Article here

"Under 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 disaffected.
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 educators.
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 here (on page 89). 'Starry Night' recording sheet here

What Really Works in Gifted & Talented Education

June 2007. Downloadable document (previously on NAGTY site) based on speech given by Deborah Eyre (11/6/07) here

"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 pupils
     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 through enrichment
     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 site

May 2007. Two new 'nutshells' on primary maths are now available on the NAGTY website - 'The Hare and the Tortoise: exploring depth and breadth for gifted mathematicians' and 'Challenging 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 here (no longer - March 2010).

Neuroscience and Education - Issues and Opportunities

May 2007. The Teaching and Learning Research Programme has published this study considering a range of issues at the junction between neuroscience and education. Full document here.     See previous entry on Brain Gym - Bad Science here.

"Education has 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."

The study 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
areas of 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 ones.
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’.

On 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 St Bartholomew's 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 here

Leading 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) expresses concern 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
' here.
Details on the role of the lead teacher and training involved here.  TES article on challenges involved (link no longer valid) .
NAGTY/DfES question and answer document
here April 2007 supplement to Q&A document here.  

2020 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 here

The following description of recommendations, and some responses to the proposals, is taken from the BBC website:

  • 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 and parents
  • 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 and fashions"
  • 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
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.

'Missed opportunity'
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 thinking."

Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the review should have gone further:
"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," he said.

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."

Voucher 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 CfBT 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 here and criticism from NASUWT in Guardian here.

"Under the 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 28.12.06

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."  Guardian 29.12.06

Guidance 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 (link no longer valid - site no longer exists as separate entity).

Identifying Gifted & Talented Pupils - Getting Started

November 2006 - New DfES guidance document available here

'The 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.'

Learning outside the classroom manifesto

November 2006 - this new DfES publication is now available here

"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."

Effective 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 here (no longer available - see revised version (May 2008) here).
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 talented education.

G&T..in a nutshell

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 here.

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 here

"...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.
The 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) here

Guidelines on effective provision for G&T in primary education

In March 2006, NAGTY and the DFES published a working document on effective provision for gifted and talented children in primary education. The report has sections on:

  • principles for identification of gifted and talented pupils, use of assessment for learning, effective teaching and learning strategies and use of self evaluation and the Quality Standards as an evaluation tool.

  • curriculum entitlement and choice - the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum, the key role of literacy and numeracy and using enrichment as a way to create breadth of opportunity.

  • the role of assessment in recording and planning for exceptional performance, how data can be used to track the progress of the cohort and the individual and how accurate record keeping can ease the process of transfer and transition within and between schools for gifted and talented pupils.

  • school organisation - how leadership at every level is critical in developing effective provision for gifted and talented pupils, the need for coverage of gifted and talented provision in all school policies, the importance of developing a positive school ethos that celebrates success and ensures that the social and emotional needs of pupils is given priority, how a focus on staff development is absolutely essential and how monitoring and evaluation helps a school to judge the success of its approach.

  • guidance on strong partnerships beyond the school and focuses on how schools should engage with parents/carers and wider children’s services to ensure support for gifted and talented pupils, the role of wider-schooling in the personalisation agenda and how opportunities available locally should be exploited by schools in providing for their gifted and talented pupils.

Read the complete document here (on our web-site).

DfES G&Twise website

This website now offers advice for pupils, parents and schools. Of interest to G&T coordinators is the 'Quality Standard' developed jointly by the DfES and NAGTY as a self-evaluation tool for schools. Documents can be downloaded here  or view them on our website here for the 'Quality Standard' and here for the 'User Guide and Annexe'.

There is also a draft document on 'Classroom Quality Standards in Gifted and Talented' in Word format downloadable from our website here.

Ofsted report on Excellence in Cities - the primary extension

Some inner-city primary schools do not spend money intended for gifted children correctly, as they feel it is unfair to other pupils,  a new Ofsted report says (16/12/2004).

The main finding with regard to the Gifted & Talented strand was that:
A small number of schools believed that the gifted and talented strand of the programme was not conducive to promoting equal opportunities. Such schools diluted the allocated resources by spending them on generic enrichment
activities rather than on raising the attainment of higher-attaining and underachieving pupils."

The relevant "points for action" were::

  • LEAs and partnerships should take further steps to ensure that the programme’s strand for gifted and talented
    pupils is used for its intended purpose and that its impact on pupils’ attainment is measured securely.
  • Schools should take further steps to ensure the principles that underpin the gifted and talented strand are understood fully and embedded in the work of the school.

BBC News report here   Read the full report here

Brain Gym - Bad Science

The 'Bad Science' column in the Guardian has recently (March 2006) featured  two articles on the 'pseudoscience' involved in 'Brain Gym' - see 'Brain gym exercises do pupils no favours' and 'Exercise the brain without this transparent nonsense'.
These articles have  provoked a lot of interesting comments here, here and on the TES website here and here.

In 2004 the DfES commissioned 'Accelerated Learning: A Literature Survey' from the Unit for Educational Research & Evaluation at the University of Bradford. This reports looks at a variety of 'Accelerated Learning' systems including 'Brain Gym' and  concludes:

From the nature of the evidence, or rather its lack ... it is clear that many AL claims in terms of causal links between brain physiology and brain-based approaches are at best premature, and at worst unsubstantiated. However, even where such causal links are questioned or refuted, it is still possible that AL techniques may contain effective teaching and learning practices that can raise achievement standards. As is also reviewed above, at present there is no substantial body of educational research and evaluation with which to test the case.

The complete report is in the G&T section of the DfES site, but, as it does not seem to be linked-to from any obvious page, we have reproduced it here.

Update - more Guardian articles on 'Brain Gym' here (June 2006) -"The claims behind Brain Gym are quite obviously silly." and here (Feb 2008) - "...peddled directly to your children by their credulous and apparently moronic teachers".



Intervening in Underachievement / Pushing for Potential
AM - 'Challenging Underachieving Pupils' with Sue Hackman
PM - 'Identifying & Supporting Underachieving G&T Students' with David Camplin


Ann Bridgland led a course entitled 'Creating Challenge for our Children'  concerned with creating a curriculum for Gifted &  Talented and more able pupils. Topics covered included: definition of 'Gifted & Talented', rationale , identification, provision and monitoring.


Coordinators spent the day working collaboratively on the creation of a range of resources – producing  questioning display materials, across the key stages and subject/stimulus specific; creating teacher-talk questioning memory jogs and specific questioning that could be utilised in, say, plenaries and starters. The Challenge Corner work will produce a range of materials, perhaps key stage or year group specific, and other materials that could furnish a ‘Challenge Club’, as well as a weekly Whole School Challenge – maybe for parents and pupils in partnership.


We looked at ICT activities and software that are useful for more able children - concentrating on software that is relatively easy to learn to use, but allows children freedom to develop interesting ideas. If you didn't make the meeting and get your FREE CD of freeware / demo software, then click here for a list of software and websites to download from.