Gifted and Talented Pupils Underachievement

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					                              GIFTED AND TALENTED PUPILS


Gifted and Talented pupils with DME (Dual or Multiple Exceptionality) are a group of
educationally vulnerable pupils whose profiles are often under-represented on
schools’ registers, and consequently these pupils do not always have their needs

Identification can be hampered by:

    Single assessment measures which identify either high ability or learning
     difficulties but not both
    Stereotyped views of what gifted pupils are like
    Failure to take into account social and cultural differences
    Lack of information for teachers

A recent estimate suggests that 5-10% of gifted pupils could have a learning
difficulty and that 2-5% of pupils with disabilities may also be gifted.

Pupils with DME have tended to slip through both nets. They may underachieve

 Their abilities are masked by their learning difficulties
 Their ability may conceal their need to have their learning difficulty addressed

Three types of gifted children with learning difficulties have been identified.

1. High ability recognised, learning difficulties unrecognised.
2. Learning difficulties recognised, giftedness unrecognised.
3. Both high ability and learning difficulties unrecognised.

Whole School Approach for Gifted and Talented Pupils with DME

A whole school approach to gifted and talented pupils with DME requires the
commitment of all teachers in the school to adopt a common and systematic
approach to identification, assessment and provision.

All staff need to:

    Identify the educational, social and emotional needs of pupils with high ability
     and to seek strategies that will enable them to fulfil their potential by seeking to
     overcome barriers to their learning due to a specific learning difficulty or disability
    Recognise that there are underachieving pupils who conceal particular aptitudes
     with poor performance or behavioural problems and to seek to develop
     strategies which will develop their potential
    Create a school climate which encourages all pupils to achieve
    Support and work with parents who will have a unique insight into their child’s
     needs. Good communication between home and school is essential

Dawn Perry/gifted and talented/Gifted and Talented Pupils Underachievement Oct 07
Questions the school should ask when compiling its Gifted and Talented

    Is there a shared understanding of underachievement?
    Is there a shared understanding of what constitutes additional educational need
     and DME?
    Does the Gifted and Talented policy refer to underachievement?
    Are the Quality Standards used to support identification and provision?
    What account is taken of ‘Pupil Voice?’
    Is reference made to ECM?
    Is there a balance of tasks in all lessons, eg verbal, written, ICT based
    What training and support is needed for staff?
    Is this a focal point of the School Improvement Plan?

Characteristics of underachievement might include the following:

Intellectual Strengths

    Has ability/expertise in one specific area
    Has active imagination
    Has extensive vocabulary
    Has exceptional comprehension
    Excels at tasks requiring abstract thinking and problem solving
    Has excellent visual memory
    Highly creative outside school

Academic Difficulties

    Poor handwriting
    Poor spelling
    Difficulty with phonics
    Can’t do simple tasks but can do more complex ones
    Does well in either mathematics or language subjects, but poorly in others
    Performs poorly under pressure
    Has trouble completing tasks with a sequence of steps but can take part in broad
     ranging discussions
    May appear inattentive

Emotional Indicators

    Minor failures create feeling of major inadequacy
    Unrealistically high or low self-expectations
    Feels academically inept
    Confused about abilities
    Strong fear of failure
    Sensitive to criticism
    Experiences intense frustration
    Low self-esteem
    Feels different from others
    Poor social skills with children and adults

Dawn Perry/gifted and talented/Gifted and Talented Pupils Underachievement Oct 07

    Disruptive in class
    Often off-task
    Disorganised, especially when unmotivated
    Acts without thinking of the consequences
    Makes creative excuses to avoid difficult tasks
    Aggressive
    May be withdrawn

Provide a Nurturing Environment

    Understand, value and respond to differences
    Provide activities that foster creative thinking
    Allow pupils to present work in a variety of styles
    Use buddies and peer mentors
    Teach self-help strategies, eg Building Learning Power

An Inclusive Approach to Gifted and Talented Education

    Model what we expect to see in pupils:
       o Reflect on learning experiences
       o Make connections
       o Make experiences meaningful
       o Provide new practices

    Focus on learning to enhance performances – a focus on performance can
     depress performance
    Talk explicitly about learning in the classroom
    Develop high quality thinking and questioning – explore – discuss – reflect –
    Make lessons a rich resources of thinking for teacher and pupil
    Leveraging – Howard Gardner’s views on ignoring weaknesses and exploiting
     strengths in order to excel. Reflect on the profile of strengths and weaknesses
     and frame experiences in an energising way. Deep self-knowledge – deep self-
    Value a wide range of Gifts and Talents and create an environment in which
     these can flourish

Gifted and Talented Education – Preventing Underachievement
Primary and Secondary Strategies 2007

Meeting Needs of Gifted Underachievers
NAGC 2002

Building Learning Power
Guy Claxton 2002

Gifted and Talented Learners – a Policy for Inclusion
Barry Hymer and Deborah Michel 2002

London Gifted and Talented website –

Dawn Perry/gifted and talented/Gifted and Talented Pupils Underachievement Oct 07

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