Policy and Guidelines
Gifted and Talented Pupils
An Inclusive Approach
“If you are willing to deal effectively with the needs of able pupils you will raise the achievement of all pupils” M Tomlinson 1995
PART 1 - POLICY RATIONALE AIMS OBJECTIVES DEFINITION IDENTIFICATION PROVISION TRACKING MONITORING AND EVALUATION SUPPORT AND TRAINING PART 2 - GUIDELINES GUIDELINES FOR IDENTIFICATION GUIDELINES FOR PROVISION GUIDELINES FOR TRACKING PUPILS’ PROGRESS GUIDELINES FOR MONITORING AND EVALUATION GUIDELINES FOR SUPPORT AND TRAINING
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Part 1 - Policy
In Northumberland we believe that an environment of creativity and commitment is required in order for the gifts and talents of all our pupils to emerge. Such an environment exists where an extensive range of enrichment opportunities supports high quality, challenging teaching. By focusing on an environment of inclusion we hope to create a culture in which the gifts and talents of all will be fostered and in which our most able pupils will feel challenged and supported.
This policy aims
to raise the level of aspirations and achievements for all pupils to nurture the gifts and talents of all pupils to foster the emotional intelligence of all pupils so that they learn to value and share their gifts and talents to use expertise to inspire individuals to develop their potential gifts and talents
In order to achieve our aims we intend
to assist pupils in identifying and developing their own specific gifts and talents to ensure that they have a rich, challenging and varied learning experience which provides pupils with opportunities to use and share their gifts and talents
to help pupils attain the highest levels of achievement of which they are currently capable to support those who demonstrate the potential to develop an expertise
to create more personalised education programmes to support emerging gifts and talents
The prime purpose of this policy is to encourage schools to create a stimulating learning environment so that the gifts and talents of all pupils will have an opportunity to emerge and develop. Some pupils arrive at school with gifts and talents already clearly defined or begin early to demonstrate characteristics of high ability. A nurturing environment needs to be able to stimulate and support even highly developed gifts and talents and to challenge such pupils to move forward beyond the limitations of external examinations. If the educational needs of such pupils are met within an inclusive context then the learning environment for all will be a rich and creative place. For this reason we propose to target such pupils within this policy as a means of fulfilling our aim to nurture the gifts and talents of all. To avoid ambiguity we recommend following DfES guidance and calling such pupils Gifted and Talented learners although we respect each school’s right to formulate its own definition. The DfES guidance suggests adopting the following definition, which identifies
“gifted” learners as those who have abilities in one or more subjects in the statutory school curriculum other than art and design, music and PE;
“talented” learners as those who have abilities in art and design, music, PE, or performing arts such as dance and drama.
The process of creating a targeted group would begin with developing an identification strategy. At the heart of such a strategy must lie the effective use of assessment for learning. We are assessing pupils for the sole purpose of moving forward their own personal learning experience. We advocate basing such a strategy on multiple criteria to include a combination of subjective and objective assessments in such a way as to create a profile of the pupil.
Since identification will be primarily through provision it is envisaged that the structure of the group will be fluid in nature. As provision improves more gifts and talents should emerge and consequently the targeted group should increase in size.
Creating an environment of high quality, challenging teaching is the most important factor in meeting the needs of high ability pupils. Northumberland is in a unique and enviable position in this respect, in that over the past ten years many of its schools have been involved in using thinking skills strategies in the classroom and in researching the impact of these strategies on pupil motivation and learning. From this process a range of diverse learning strategies that challenge all pupils have emerged and they are embodied in the work of the Thinking for Learning Unit, which was set up by the LEA, to provide state of the art support to schools and to give direction in their attempt to create such an environment. This policy can offer no
better advice than to direct schools to the Unit for focused and targeted direction in creating stimulating and challenging learning environments.
Supporting high quality, challenging teaching by an extensive range of enrichment opportunities is crucial to providing an environment in which the gifts and talents of all can emerge. Such opportunities should be made available to all pupils and be
perceived as models of learning that can deliver expertise with a view to developing potential. Opportunities exclusive to the targeted group of gifted and talented pupils should only occur if they fulfil the aims of this policy. This can be the case where, for example, the targeted group is used as a form of pupil voice to feed back to teachers its own ideas of stimulating and challenging activities. influence the learning environment of all pupils. In this way the group can
Acceleration, where pupils are fast-tracked to sit tests at an earlier age than their peers, is a controversial aspect of provision for the more able and should be employed sensitively if at all. In making a judgement about accelerating individual or groups of pupils schools should use as a determining factor whether or not such a decision would fulfil the aims of this policy.
Many schools already use the assimilation of statistical data to set realistic yet challenging individual targets in terms of examination performance. Data analysis should be combined with a more subjective profile of the pupil to build up a social and emotional picture to compliment the academic one. This information should be used to determine suitable enrichment activities for individuals and for monitoring the holistic development of the learner.
Monitoring and evaluation
An effective monitoring system is crucial to ensuring that the learning environment of the school is conducive to developing the gifts and talents of its pupils. Monitoring and evaluating the provision for gifted and talented learners is an ongoing process that needs to be conducted by the schools in conjunction with the LEA.
Support and training
The LEA will offer support and guidance to schools in implementing this policy through its Gifted and Talented coordinator, National Strategy Consultants and the Thinking for Learning Unit.
Part 2 - Guidelines
Guidelines for identification
In developing an effective identification strategy schools need to bear in mind the aims of the policy. We are not looking for our top 10% of achievers but rather trying to identify individuals who have the potential to develop an expertise. We are looking for potential and not achievement. For these reasons multiple criteria must form the basis for an effective strategy. A combination of the criteria listed below should be used.
Criterion Teacher nomination
Strengths Teachers may have an expertise in a particular field and are most likely to recognise similar potential in a pupil. Teachers see pupils operating in group situations where evidence of leadership qualities, creative thinking and high-level practical skills can be apparent Parents are our pupils’ prime educators. They have knowledge of the wider environment to which the child has been exposed and therefore access to a broader picture of a child’s potential gifts and talents.
Process Departments are advised to devise their own methods of identification through dialogue and discussion although the DfES does publish subject specific guidelines (see Support and Training)
The school should send a form to parents of all new pupils asking for information about the general interests and aptitudes as well as a social and emotional snapshot of the child. This information should be assessed by the Gifted and Talented Coordinator with a view to creating a pupil profile. If pupils are asked to provide information similar to, but independent of, that provided by the parents early in their school career, it would mean that tracking a pupil’s progress could be more holistic than at present
People who develop an expertise in life are often aware of their own potential as children.
Criterion Peer nomination
Strengths Class peers are usually extremely accurate in identifying gifts and talents in their classmates
Process This could be achieved by a community of enquiry approach without pupils necessarily being aware of the purpose or outcome of the enquiry First and middle schools should pass on a profile of all their pupils, which would include their gifts and talents, as well as a social and emotional picture of the pupil
Transition records are a vital source of information. Pupils are often shy and withdrawn when immersed in a bigger, less personal environment than that of their first or middle school Many of our pupils’ talents are nurtured from an early age outside of school. Dialogue with leisure centres and other sporting or creative arts bodies can bring to light talents which might otherwise have been ignored High achievement is usually a good indication of potential though poor achievement is not a reliable indication of lack of potential. Summative assessment is the traditional means of testing ability and is a preparation for GCSE and A level examinations. Similar to SATs results though wider in curriculum nature and covering more year groups Use of research analysis to predict baseline grades Builds up a wider profile of the pupil than traditional curriculum assessment. Often identifies underachievers
G&T coordinators should liaise with local leisure centres and other agencies that provide specialist tuition to pupils. Recommending specialist tuition to pupils is a very effective way of developing their expertise Statistical data which should be analysed to produce baseline and potential grades for pupils
SATS and other external examinations
Curriculum assessment by teachers
Statistical data provided by subject teachers to provide more detailed analysis for potential grades PIPS, MIDYIS and YELLIS
Value Added Measures
Multiple Intelligence scores
CATs and ALIS are ability tests that attempt to measure underlying potential through non-verbal reasoning.
Once schools have identified their gifted and talented pupils a register is created. Making public such a register is a contentious issue and a decision that schools need to make cautiously and with sensitivity. The LEA would not advocate making public the register unless in doing so the school felt that it was moving towards fulfilling the aims of this policy. For example in some schools the boost to the self-esteem of pupils on the register is so significant that it begins to counteract negative peer pressure.
The size of the register is another point of contention. The DfES guidance adopts EiC guidelines of 5 to 10 per cent of pupils in any one school up to year 11 and 2 to 20 per cent of 16 to 19 year olds. If schools are struggling to find any potential among their pupils they would do well to follow these guidelines. However, the more
successful schools are in creating a rich and varied environment for their pupils, the more gifts and talents are likely to emerge. The register should increase in size as the school’s provision improves.
Guidelines for Provision “Meeting the needs of the gifted and talented is about building on good general school provision, not about providing something entirely different.”
An environment that nurtures the gifts and talents of its pupils requires a number of key factors to be in place.
Classroom provision that is both creative and disciplined An extensive range of enrichment opportunities Dedicated teaching staff led by a committed and visionary senior management team The recognition of the importance and value of the development of the emotional intelligence of the learner The expectation that pupils need to work hard and show commitment Supportive and informed parents
Teaching and Learning
There are numerous strategies that schools can deploy in order to provide a creative and challenging learning environment. Northumberland Schools have developed these into five main strands, which they are committed to incorporating into all areas of the curriculum. These strands are Analysis of Learning Styles, Multiple Intelligences, Infused Thinking Skills, Philosophy for Children and Accelerated Learning. Collectively they represent a state of the art picture of current thinking on creating an enriched and stimulating learning environment.
Learning style analysis is a fundamental requirement in identifying the potential gifts and talents of our pupils. In educating our pupils to understand their own preferred learning style we are helping them to recognise and value their own potential for specific gifts and talents.
The recognition of multiple intelligences challenges and broadens traditional perceptions of ability. By diversifying teaching approaches to cater for learners of all intelligences the curriculum becomes accessible and interesting to all.
Infused Thinking Skills is designed to infuse thinking strategies within any subject area in any phase of education. While thinking strategies have become
commonplace in many classrooms in recent years, they have not proved to be such an effective tool in terms of challenge to gifted and talented pupils. The key to successful use of the strategies and consequently the real challenge to pupils, in particular to gifted and talented pupils, lies in the process of metacognition. This takes place during the final two stages of the strategy. Firstly in the debriefing
session, which aims to help the learner to understand, and hopefully retain the processes that lead to effective learning. Secondly in the bridging and transfer
session which enables pupils to recognise the principles underpinning learning in a given context, and to understand how these might be applied in new and different contexts both within and beyond school.
A structured and systematic attempt to encourage pupils to develop their metacognitive skills is at the heart of the Thinking for Learning Unit’s work and it is
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this aspect of the thinking skills strategies that is most valuable to gifted and talented learners. Some examples of thinking strategies are as follows
Mysteries Classification Storytelling Living graphs and maps Memory maps Odd one out Flow-charts
Diamond ranking Concept maps Making predictions Venn diagrams Mind movies Fact or opinion Reading photographs
Philosophy for Children, based on a community of enquiry approach, develops pupils’ powers of reasoning and justification, as well as the quality of their discussion and argumentative skills. It encourages them to listen to each other in non-threatening situations, which raises their self-esteem and levels of tolerance. This community of enquiry approach contributes significantly to the emotional intelligence of all pupils and can be used across the curriculum particularly in the context of social and moral education where philosophical emphasis on questions and questioning is important.
Accelerated Learning uses brain-based methods for accelerating motivation and achievement and is based on the classroom techniques promoted by Alistair Smith. Cramlington High School in Northumberland directly contributed to case studies used by Alistair Smith and is now a recognised centre for the dissemination of Accelerated Learning techniques. The principles for using Accelerated Learning methods in the classroom are set out below.
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Connect the Learning
Connecting the Learning
Share Learning Outcomes
Review and ing Preview
The Big Picture
Introduce new Information
Using recent influences that promote conscious and active thinking about the learning process, the LEA’s Thinking for Learning Unit has worked collaboratively with the University of Newcastle’s Education Department during the last two years to develop expertise in these five strands. It can offer support and advice on practical ways of disseminating the above strands effectively in the classroom and across the curriculum. Enrichment
Many schools in Northumberland already have an extensive range of enrichment opportunities in place. The purpose of an enrichment programme is to provide
opportunities for pupils to identify and pursue their own interests, gifts and talents as well as to unlock the tremendous amount of unexplored potential in our pupils. Consequently the most effective enrichment programme would be available to all pupils and would cater for all learning styles. It should be assisted by an effective tracking system that ensures pupils are directed towards and actively encouraged to participate in activities that will increase their own particular expertise.
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The following list is available for schools that are looking for ways to diversify or extend their enrichment programme.
School, local, regional and national competitions and challenges Specialist after school clubs and master classes Contact with local industry and business Links with institutes of further education Artists and authors in residence Membership of national organisations such as NAGTY (National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth). NAGTY offers regional outreach and summer school programmes
Trips abroad Peripatetic music lessons County and national youth orchestras (LEA) Summer Schools
Acceleration is an aspect of provision for gifted and talented pupils that needs very careful consideration. Fast tracking individuals or groups of individuals has social and emotional implications, which must be considered. DfES guidance stresses that “care needs to be taken to see accelerated provision not only in terms of alternative
content, but also in terms of developing higher order thinking skills and greater autonomy.” If a school decides to accelerate an individual or group of pupils by
entering them for examinations earlier than would normally be expected for their age, the LEA would recommend that the school considers the situation in the light of the aims of this policy and that it comes to a decision in consultation with the pupils and their parents.
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Guidelines for Tracking Pupils’ Progress
One of the tasks of the Gifted and Talented coordinator is to track the progress of pupils. In order to achieve this a profile of the pupils needs to be in place soon after they join the school. This will be an amalgamation of the information acquired during the identification process. In tracking pupils’ progress the role of the coordinator becomes very much a mentoring role – listening to the pupil’s aspirations and giving direction to the pupil to ensure that the aims of the policy are met. Pupils should be encouraged to set personal targets and to outline realistic ways of achieving these targets – links need to be made between achievement and commitment. It is
recommended that schools train adults or older pupils in mentoring skills in order to increase the diversity of role models available to the pupil. This will also assist the coordinator in the tracking process. Examples of tracking criteria are listed below:
Tracking Criterion Achievement
Purpose Since academic achievement is the traditional tool for measuring success in schools and for entry into the world of further education, training or work, it is a very important aspect of this policy. Curriculum provision should ensure that pupils are achieving the highest grades of which they are currently capable. Many gifted and talented pupils begin their school career lacking in social confidence or else become introverted as the realisation that they are different begins to dawn. Social development occurs when pupils are exposed to diverse grouping scenarios. Learning strategies discussed under Guidelines for Provision offer a range of safe, inclusive, social opportunities in which pupils can engage. When the gifts and talents of individuals are recognised and nurtured, self-esteem grows. Positive self-esteem is fundamental to emotional well being. Many schools offer such extensive enrichment programmes that pupils can sometimes need guidance on prioritising
Opportunities to develop expertise
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activities. Exposure to experts The most effective catalyst for developing potential into expertise is contact with an expert or exposure to a specialist environment. Membership of NAGTY, and other national bodies can deliver expertise beyond the scope of an individual school through its range of outreach events and summer school programme. Seeing the end result often focuses and inspires a pupil to develop the discipline and commitment required to become an expert.
Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation
In order for effective monitoring to take place the role and responsibilities of key players need to be clearly defined.
In a school the gifted and talented coordinator is central to the success of the policy and schools must ensure that adequate time is given to carry out the responsibilities listed below
Implementing the identification strategy adopted by the school Collating the information from the identification process to produce a register Preparing individual pupil profiles with a view to tracking progress Monitoring transition records from previous schools Tracking the progress of the individuals to ensure that the aims of the policy are being met Allocating mentors if required and arranging for their training Giving feedback to the Senior Management Team on inadequacies in provision identified by gifted and talented individuals Proposing individuals for NAGTY membership Disseminating information to departments on G&T enrichment activities Communicating with parents as and when is necessary Liaising with external agencies Participating in local support network groups for gifted and talented coordinators
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The coordinator should be supported and managed by the Senior Management Team who should ensure that the provision offered by the school is effective in nurturing and developing the gifts and talents of all its pupils. If the coordinator
signals that the needs of an individual are not being met, it is the responsibility of the SMT to work collaboratively with the coordinator to find an effective way forward.
It is primarily the vision of the head teacher that determines the learning environment of a school. He or she has overall responsibility for the quality of the provision within the school and for the adequacy of staff training. Gifts and talents are most likely to emerge and be nurtured where the head teacher is committed to a culture of high achievement and the pursuit of excellence. “ Governors, in their role as “critical friends”, have a special responsibility for
ensuring that all pupil needs are met and that no minority needs are overlooked. They set the strategy within which policy is shaped and ensure that its implementation is monitored and evaluated.”
(DfES Guidance on teaching the gifted and talented) We recommend that one governor take on the responsibility of liaising with the coordinator with a view to monitoring the effectiveness of the policy and provision for its gifted and talented learners.
Since the single most important factor in meeting the needs of gifted and talented pupils is creating an environment of high quality, challenging teaching, the role of the subject teacher is equally of singular importance. The subject teacher needs to be adequately trained in order to feel confident in his or her ability to deliver a challenging model of learning that incorporates some of the strategies set out in the guidance on provision.
Heads of department are responsible for ensuring that the identification strategies adopted within their curriculum area are effective in spotting potential. They need to ensure that all members of the department are sufficiently trained to deliver high quality, challenging teaching with an adequate level of expertise to inspire and develop the potential of gifted and talented pupils.
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Form tutors often influence the social and emotional development of pupils by acting as mentors in an informal way. This aspect of a pupil’s well being is of equal
importance to his or her academic achievement and form tutors play a key role in helping high ability pupils develop skills to feel comfortable with their gifts or talents.
As we move towards more personalised learning programmes for pupils it is important that parents play an active and supportive role in the process. Supportive parents are a major influence on a pupil’s social, emotional and academic achievements. Gifted and talented coordinators should work closely with parents to ensure that an appropriate level of support is in place.
We recommend that each school set out its methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of provision for gifted and talented pupils in the school’s development plan. The LEA will evaluate schools’ provision for gifted and talented pupils though it’s Strand Advisory Service, its link advisors and through data analysis.
Guidelines for support and training
The LEA will support schools in their quest to meet the needs of gifted and talented pupils in a number of ways.
Through the work of the T4L Unit, the National Strategies, Healthy Schools and Schools Sports it will promote high quality teaching and learning within each one’s area of expertise.
It will provide school gifted and talented coordinators with opportunities to share experiences and disseminate good practice by setting up a number of regional support networks.
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It will help schools to find and use expertise and support through its extensive network of established links with external agencies such as the County Music Service and ISIS.
It will offer schools opportunities for training and professional development in gifted and talented provision through the work of its Thinking for Learning Unit.
Louise Harty Gifted and Talented Coordinator
Below is a list of useful websites for information on provision for gifted and talented pupils.
http://ngfl.northumberland.gov.uk/ www.nc.uk.net/gt/general/index.html www.teachernet..gov.uk http://standards.dfes.gov.uk www.warwick.ac.uk/gifted www.nace.co.uk www.nagcbritain.co.uk www.alite.co.uk http://aspire-ma.com www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk www.thethinkingclassroom.co.uk www.education-quest.com www.sapere.net
Thinking for Learning Unit (01670 533585) DfES’s guidance on gifted and talented DfES’s guidance for teachers Excellence in the Cities National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth National Association for Able Children in Education National Association for Gifted Children Accelerated learning news, case studies and training Aspire Website promoting lifelong learning Thinking classrooms in action Teaching Thinking journal’s site Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education
www.thinkingcap.org.uk www.dialogueworks.co.uk www.nelig.com www.antidote.org.uk
P4C website P4C website National emotional literacy interest
www.eiconsortium.org/members/goleman. Daniel Goleman and his work
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Harvard Project’s Zero homepage, detailing the work of researchers as Howard Gardner and David Perkins Robert Fisher’s website CASE website CASE.html Edward de Bono / CORT Robert Sternberg and his work Tony Buzan’s website University of Newcastle’s Thinking Skills Research Anne Kite’s report on how to help children become effective thinkers and learners North West Regional Educational Laboratory’s report into Thinking skills
www.teachingthinking.net www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/education/teaching/ www.edwddebono.com www.yale.edu/pace/teammembers/ personalpages/bob.html www.mind-map.com www.ncl.ac.uk/education/research/li/tsrc/ research.html www.scre.ac.uk/rie/nl68/nl68kite.html
www.cre8ng.com www.tuckswoodfirst.norfolk.sch.uk www.criticalthinking.com www.chi-charity.org.uk www.nrich.maths.org.uk www.worldclassarena.org www.worldgifted.org http://xcalibre.ac.uk/udev/index
Creative Challenges for students A thinking school’s website Commercial site for books and software Centre for Children of High Intelligence Nrich (Mathemathics) World Class Arena World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Xcalibre (Subject specific material)
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