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Gifted and talented policy

 

INDEX

 

NATIONAL CONTEXT

LOCAL CONTEXT

SCHOOL CONTEXT

DEFINITIONS

IDENTIFICATION

THE GIFTED AND TALENTED REGISTER

THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL GIFTED AND TALENTED CO-ORDINATOR

CLASSROOM PROVISION

ADVANCEMENT

SCHOOL-WIDE RESPONSIBILITIES

Senior Management Team

Teaching staff

Classroom support personnel

Parents

Pupils

Partners and specialist providers

General

POLICY - DISSEMINATION, MONITORING AND REVIEW

 

Appendix A

RECOGNISING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

Appendix B

GIFTED AND TALENTED REGISTER

Appendix C

GIFTED AND TALENTED NOMINATION FORM

Appendix D

USEFUL BOOKS AND REFERENCES

 

 

This policy has been produced as an example and is intended to provide a basis for any primary schools that have yet to write their own policy.  It may also prompt some schools to review what they have previously written or inform work in progress.

 

In order to be of any use at all, a policy has to reflect specific practice within a particular environment.  Obviously, it is not possible to write a single catch-all policy in which every part of it will be applicable to all schools and I have tried to be mindful of this when writing this draft.  Although this policy is not intended to be prescriptive, of necessity I have had to be quite specific on occasion.  I recognise that certain sections of the policy are over-detailed – a strategy that is intended to furnish schools with useable ideas.  I anticipate that schools will want to omit, re-write or adapt certain sections of this draft to suit their own circumstances.  (Where sections are to be omitted, it is useful to consider replacing them with more accurate descriptions of what your school actually does.)

 

This draft policy was originally produced by myself in my role as Gifted and Talented Innovator within “The Zone” (the David Lister Learning Partnership Action Zone, Hull).  I am happy for schools to use this work to further the development of their own school policy so that it accurately reflects each school’s commitment to providing maximum opportunities for all pupils to realise their potential.  I would appreciate being informed how this policy has been used.

 

This draft policy is available as a Word document file or as a text file, on request.  Go to the Contact & Feedback page on this site.

  

John Fewings

April 2004

Brainboxx School

Gifted & Talented Policy

 

NATIONAL CONTEXT

 

The first phase of the “gifted and talented children” strand of Excellence in Cities (EiC) was introduced in September 1999 and provision has since been extended to over 1,000 maintained secondary schools across 70 LEAs.

 

Each of the EiC areas has appointed a gifted and talented strand co-ordinator, as well as a co-ordinator for each secondary school. The schools within each partnership are normally grouped together into “clusters” of 3 to 8 schools with a lead co-ordinator who is responsible for gifted and talented provision within each cluster. Each cluster of schools has formed a network with a range of external partners to support the provision of out of school hours activities.

 

The main elements of the gifted and talented strand of Excellence in Cities are:

  • identifying the gifted and talented cohort - a group of gifted / talented pupils including 5-10% of pupils in each year group;

  • introducing a whole school policy for gifted and talented pupils;

  • introducing a distinct in-school teaching and learning programme for the gifted and talented cohort;

  • introducing an extensive programme of out of hours study support opportunities for those pupils, provided through local networks.

  •  

Similar provision is now being introduced into primary schools (mainly concentrated on KS2 pupils) and reflects the commitment of the DfES to identifying and supporting the development of those pupils who demonstrate the potential for outstanding achievement.

 

LOCAL CONTEXT

 

A brief summary of local initiatives that focus on Gifted and Talented pupils.

 

These may include:

  • Gifted & Talented Co-ordinator

  • Learning Mentors with a remit to work with G&T pupils (either as additional classroom support or to organise out-of-school-hours provision);

  • Programmes of enrichment activities;

  • Summer Schools.

These may have been initiated by the Local Education Authority, Excellence in Cities, school-based “clusters” or partnerships, or other partner organisations. 

SCHOOL CONTEXT

 

At Brainboxx School we value the individuality of every child and acknowledge the importance of helping every child to recognise the spectrum of their capabilities in order to fulfil their potential.  Whereas we uphold a philosophy of inclusion, we are aware that to offer all children the same opportunity is not to offer them equality of opportunity.  If we are not to hamper the development of children of above average ability, it is important that we have a means of identifying such children and of encouraging them to reach for the highest level of personal achievement.  This policy outlines the school’s practice and procedures relating to the support of gifted and talented pupils.

DEFINITIONS

 

The DfES uses the term “gifted” to describe children at the upper end of the spectrum of academic ability and “talented” to denote those with special ability in sport or the arts, with a recommendation that 5% - 10% of children should be thus designated.

 

Whereas we recognise that we are unlikely to encounter many pupils who we would wish to categorise as truly “gifted” - though we do not exclude the possibility that we will encounter some - we firmly believe that a number of our pupils show enhanced academic capability and still more demonstrate talent in specific skill areas.

 

In keeping with the school’s philosophy of inclusion, we have adopted a system based on Howard Gardner’s model of multiple intelligences (“Frames of Mind”, Howard Gardner 1984) which proposes that there are different kinds of intelligence, each of which becomes evident (either singularly or in concert) in different social contexts.  Consequently, we recognise each of the following as valid fields within which children might demonstrate enhanced capability.

 

  • Linguistic skills – reading, writing, speaking, listening, factual recall;

  • Mathematical skills – number manipulation, logical and sequential processes;

  • Naturalist skills – hierarchical ordering, awareness of natural world;

  • Visual & spatial skills – observation, artistic representation;

  • Musical skills – musical appreciation, singing, instrumental;

  • Physical skills – fine & gross motor skills, sports, creativity;

  • Social skills – relationships, leadership;

  • Personal skills – self-awareness, emotional intelligence.

 

The characteristics of children demonstrating each of these traits are described more fully in Appendix A.

 

We believe that Gardner’s model encompasses a full spectrum of abilities, thus widening access to the “gifted and talented” cohort to a broader range of children.  By choosing to use such a model, and employing the term “more able” to apply to all those who demonstrate enhanced capability, we hope to encourage all children to value their own particular gifts and to appreciate those of their peers.  Our aim is to help children discover “something they are good at” in order to build their self esteem, bolster their confidence and raise their aspirations.

IDENTIFICATION

 

In order to identify this rich diversity of abilities, it is essential to adopt a variety of methods.

 

  • Tests are rule-of-thumb indicators in some instances (e.g. linguistic and mathematical skills) but we realise the limitations of testing as an accurate indicator of ability.  Tests may not pick up children who are under-achieving or who lack motivation: they may not give an accurate indication of ability in children who have not been furnished with opportunity to develop innate skills (or who have not responded positively to a particular teaching style).

 

  • Evidence from pupil work or performance.  This may include work that has been completed out of class (during lunchtime or after-school clubs) or at home: some pupils produce their best work away from the distraction of the classroom – though suitable safeguards need to be taken to ensure that it is actually the pupil’s work that is presented.

 

  • Observation by teaching staff, classroom assistants, club leaders, etc.

 

  • Parents are encouraged to nominate children for inclusion on the “gifted and talented” register.  (Parents, after all, are in a position to know their children better than anybody else.)  A synopsis of the school’s approach to dealing with “gifted and talented” children is contained in the school’s prospectus.  The prospectus is sent to all parents soon after the beginning of each school year and explains how to nominate children for inclusion on the “gifted and talented” register.  A copy of “Discovering your child’s potential” (which describes the characteristics of children who are “more able” in a variety of different ways) is enclosed with that mailing.  We believe that this helps to encourage parents to recognise and develop the full range of their child’s abilities - which can only serve to foster a positive attitude towards learning.

 

  • Children are encouraged to recognise and value the abilities of their peers.  This is done within daily “circle time” in Foundation and KS1 and during weekly review sessions in KS2.  Review sessions provide an opportunity for classes to look back on the activities of the previous week, to assess the level of their understanding and to evaluate the process of learning.  The sessions can also be used to review the contribution of individuals and groups within the class.  Whereas a primary purpose of these reviews is to select children worthy of “special mention” in the weekly assembly convened for that purpose, they can also be used to inform nomination for the “gifted and talented” register.

 

  • The school actively participates in activities organised by various external partners aimed at developing the abilities of variously talented children.  These activities are sometimes aimed at small groups of children with specific skills and provide an opportunity to identify and extend the provision for specific skill areas.

 

Although there may appear to be a proliferation of methods for identifying “gifted and talented” pupils, this is seen as a strength rather than a weakness in that it encourages all partners in children’s education to be “on the lookout for excellence” thus promoting a positive school ethos that is geared towards success.

THE GIFTED AND TALENTED REGISTER

 

The Gifted and Talented Register is kept in a clearly-labelled plastic wallet in the staffroom (next to the notice-board - where school policies are displayed).

 

Teaching staff may nominate a child for inclusion in the register by writing the child’s name on the appropriate page, filling in the details and adding their signature.  Although the class teacher is likely to be the person with best in-school knowledge of an individual child, any teacher may nominate any child.  (This is because classes are sometimes swapped between teachers for teaching some subjects, e.g. art, music, etc.)

 

Nominations by non-teaching staff, external partners and parents can be made on nomination slips (kept in the plastic wallet).  Teaching staff are always willing to offer assistance in completing these slips, which are returned to the plastic wallet.  Such nominations are regularly reviewed (and transferred to the register, if appropriate) by the Gifted & Talented Co-ordinator.

 

Pupils may also make nominations in this way.  Such nominations may be countersigned (to indicate support) at the discretion of the class teacher.  Pupil nominations made during “circle time” or “weekly review sessions” may be entered directly into the register at the class teacher’s discretion.

 

See Appendix B – Gifted and Talented Register pages

 

See Appendix C – Nomination form.

 

The Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator reviews the register with each class teacher at the end of the Summer Term to determine whether it is appropriate to remove or amend entries.  It is acknowledged that some children may have been nominated inappropriately for a variety of reasons (e.g. isolated instance of perceived talent) – and may subsequently not meet expectations.  However, it is also worth remembering that these children may have been subsequently deprived of opportunity to develop or demonstrate their particular talent – a situation which will need to be redressed.  Bearing in mind that one of the prime purposes of maintaining a register is that it should encourage pupils to make the most of their abilities, we work to the maxim, “If in doubt – leave them IN”.

 

The review process may help to identify pupils who have been under-achieving.

 

Pupils are informed that inclusion on the list does not guarantee re-inclusion in subsequent years.  Hence, pupils who are included on the list should not think that they can relax their efforts.  Hence, also, there should be no stigma attached to being removed from the register.

 

A list of pupils included on the register is printed out at the beginning of each term and posted on the staff notice-board.  A “rule of thumb” target is that the list should include approximately 10 – 20 % of pupils.

THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL GIFTED AND TALENTED CO-ORDINATOR

 

At Brainboxx School, we recognise the necessity for all staff to be involved in identifying, encouraging and providing for the needs of G&T children.  However, we also recognise that having a named person with specific responsibility will ensure that the issue is kept in the forefront of staff consciousness.  The G&T Co-ordinator plays an important role in reminding the SMT, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, club leaders etc. of their responsibilities (throughout the year and especially at strategic dates.)

 

The G&T Co-ordinator keeps abreast of issues relating to “gifted and talented” pupils, bringing these to the attention of appropriate staff as necessary and acting as a point of reference for colleagues who need assistance, advice etc.

 

The G&T Co-ordinator is responsible for maintaining the G&T register.  This includes:

 

  • sending out the letter to parents at the beginning of each school year;

  • regularly checking nomination slips (and transferring details into the register, as appropriate)

  • printing out lists of G&T children to display on staffroom notice-board at the beginning of each term;

  • reviewing the G&T register with class teachers at the end of the Summer term;

  • passing appropriate information to secondary schools prior to transition of Year 6 classes.

 

The G&T Co-ordinator will confer with class teachers to ensure that children identified as academically “gifted” or “more able” are provided with a curriculum that is sufficiently challenging to encourage their continued development.  The G&T Co-ordinator will advise and assist class teachers with researching, previewing and purchasing appropriate differentiation and extension materials.

 

The G&T Co-ordinator will ensure that “talented” children on the G&T register are encouraged to develop their interest and skills.  This may be achieved by encouraging such children to participate in present provision e.g. clubs and after-school activities.  It may involve referring them towards local provision outside school e.g. local clubs and Summer-schools, etc.  (It is important that, wherever possible, parents are involved - so that barriers to participation are removed.)

 

The G&T Co-ordinator will liaise with external providers with regard to their provision of various activities targeted at talented pupils.

CLASSROOM PROVISION

 

At Brainboxx School, depending on the size of each year’s intake, pupils are sometimes placed into mixed-year classes (which only ever encompass two year groups).  At Foundation stage these are based on children’s date of birth but progressively based on each child’s “general ability” as they move through KS1 into KS2.  However, in recognition of the fact that children’s capabilities in different subject areas vary, additional setting takes place within literacy and numeracy lessons, so that children of broadly similar ability are taught together. These groupings are reviewed each half-term.

 

(Where there are two classes in Year 6, these are divided into 3 literacy sets, with the head joining the Year 6 teachers to provide the third teacher required by this arrangement.  Depending on the size of year groups, it may sometimes be more appropriate to implement this arrangement in Year 5.)

 

Within this context, teaching staff group children into smaller sub-sets (within the classroom) based on their perceived ability in that skill area.  This facilitates setting differentiated tasks, thus ensuring that pupils are suitably challenged and their motivation maintained.  (Teaching staff are mindful of the need to keep these sub-sets flexible – so that “late developers” or pupils whose ability was initially misjudged are not held back.) 

 

Class teachers adopt a range of strategies to ensure that pupils of all abilities are set tasks that offer sufficient challenge.  These include the following practical strategies:

 

  • Setting differentiated tasks during the “warm up” part of numeracy lessons (usually reserved for oral work and mental calculation).  When a class is divided into 3 or 4 sub-sets, quick-fire questions at different levels can be set to each group in turn – with pupils being encouraged to proffer answers to questions at their own level and higher levels.  Occasional “brain-bafflers” can be posed to the more able group(s) which they grapple with whilst other groups are set a series of quick-fire questions.  (This can even form the basis of a competitive approach – where the lower ability groups are challenged to answer as many oral/mental questions as they can before the more able group solve their “brain-baffler”.)

 

  • Conducting a whole-class lesson followed by differentiated tasks.  (Although teachers are aware of the need for pupils to practise a newly-learned skill or process, they also realise that it can be counter-productive to insist on repetitive practice where it is apparent that a pupil has grasped a particular process or concept.)

 

  • Dividing the class into two (or more) groups for the main teaching activity.  One group can be engaged in a specific activity (such as solving a series of problems, drafting a piece of written work, reading through a passage searching for verbs, etc.) whilst the other group is directly taught by the class teacher.  (Groups can then be swapped over for the next lesson – or for the second half of the session.)

 

  • Classroom support staff provide invaluable assistance working with small groups of pupils in the classroom context or withdrawn from the class.  This arrangement enables pupils who grasp concepts quickly to engage in extension activities that embed recently-learned skills whilst developing their capacity to apply these in a more demanding context.

 

  • Setting incidental challenges (that arise from the topic being taught) during the main teaching activity, particularly for more able pupils.  These extension challenges may be taken from a higher level of the syllabus.

 

  • Designing and setting extension activities that require more advanced skills to complete.  These are available to all pupils once earlier tasks have been completed.  Such activities provide opportunity for experimentation and development of a theme.  Where these activities require extended investigation, pupils may be released from other lessons in order to complete them, or encouraged to complete them at home – which will encourage independent learning and enquiry.  (Completion of these activities is often rewarded with team-points, special mention, certificates, etc.)

 

As well as conducting “booster” lessons for pupils struggling to reach required levels, the school also conducts “high-flier” sessions for pupils who are expected to comfortably achieve target levels.  These usually take place at lunch-time or after-school, take the form of “clubs” rather than lessons, and may be staffed by the school’s teaching staff or staff from the local secondary school.  (Occasionally, it may be necessary to “buy in” appropriate expertise to run such clubs.)  A main purpose of these “high-flier” clubs is to build pupils’ confidence.  Activities are designed in such a way that they require the use of key skills whilst also providing opportunity for the use of higher-order thinking skills.

ADVANCEMENT

 

In those cases where a pupil demonstrates abilities that are well beyond those of their peer group, consideration will be given to moving the pupil to a higher year group for part (or all) of the school day.  This arrangement causes minimum disruption for literacy and/or numeracy lessons (which are timetabled together throughout the Key Stage).

 

It is recommended (but not obligatory) that the child maintains links with their “normal” class for subjects other than literacy and/or numeracy.  This will:

 

  • ensure that friendships are maintained;

  • provide the degree of stability required by children who may otherwise be perceived as “different” by their peers;

  • ensure that the child is not “out of their depth” socially.

 

Advancement may be initiated by the class teacher (or suggested by the child’s parents) and will be effected after consultation between the head-teacher, the G&T Co-ordinator, the relevant class teachers and the child’s parent(s).  Due consideration will be given to the child’s personal and social development, especially if the child is to be advanced more than a single year.

 

Pupils working in a higher year group will be carefully monitored and the G&T Co-ordinator will convene a progress review at least once a term.  Reviews will involve the head-teacher, the G&T Co-ordinator, the relevant class teachers and the child’s parent(s).

 

Where a pupil in Year 6 is recommended for advancement, the G&T Co-ordinator will liaise with the G&T Co-ordinator at the local secondary school to discuss possible strategies. 

 

Options include:

  • the pupil going to the secondary school for specific lessons;

  • the pupil joining in with after-school clubs or classes organised at the secondary school (where applicable);

  • secondary school staff visiting the school on a regular basis during the school day to provide additional tuition for the pupil;

  • secondary school staff visiting the school on a regular basis to conduct after-school tuition/activities for the pupil (which could also be made available to other pupils);

  • an exchange of staff between the secondary school and Brainboxx school;

  • “buying in” specialist staff to provide additional tuition for the pupil;

  • external partners conducting after-school tuition/activities for the pupil (which could also be made available to other pupils).

 

N.B. It is important that each pupil is treated as a child of a particular chronological age regardless of their intellectual level.

SCHOOL-WIDE RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Senior Management Team

 

The head-teacher acknowledges the need to maintain a high profile for “gifted and talented” issues and will ensure that these are timetabled for discussion at Governors’ Meetings and at staff meetings.

 

The head-teacher will support the G&T Co-ordinator in establishing appropriate systems for identifying, recording, developing, monitoring and reviewing the progress of gifted and talented pupils; and will ensure that these systems are adopted by all staff.

 

The SMT will ensure that appropriate budget is allocated to the provision of resource materials for use with gifted and talented pupils, and that there is access to training opportunities and appropriate expertise for all staff. 

 

The SMT will encourage and facilitate the organisation of whole-school or year-group based learning opportunities that encourage the development of individual skills (such as Art-, Drama-, Dance- and Music-workshops, Sports Days, themed days, etc.)

 

Teaching staff

 

Teaching staff are mindful of the need to challenge the most able pupils in their class and will plan lessons and classroom activities that stimulate and encourage independent learning and a spirit of enquiry.  Teaching staff will employ appropriate teaching strategies (as identified elsewhere in this policy) to ensure that more able pupils fulfil their potential..

 

Classroom support personnel

 

Classroom support staff and volunteer helpers will be offered access to training opportunities that relate to identifying and working with children of differing abilities and will be encouraged to identify and nominate pupils for inclusion on the G&T Register.

 

Parents

 

Regular and consistent communication between the school and home will seek to ensure that parents (and carers) are aware of the importance of their role in recognising the various talents and abilities demonstrated by (and latent within) their children.  Parents and carers will be provided with simple, clear guidelines about how to recognise their child’s abilities; how best to encourage and develop those abilities and interests; how to set and help realise realistic targets; and how to build their child’s self-esteem.

 

Parents and carers of all school pupils are encouraged to discuss their child’s progress (or any matters of concern) with the class teacher at any time.  Parents of more able children are reminded that this is no less applicable to them than to other parents.

 

Pupils

 

Every opportunity is taken (school assemblies, circle time, weekly review sessions, etc.) to encourage pupils to explore their own capabilities and to discover “something they are good at”.  Pupils are frequently reminded that they should be active participants in their own self-development; that they should not merely discover “something they are good at” but should also seek to “become better at it”.  Pupils are encouraged to make the most of the full range of their abilities within the framework of opportunities provided.

 

In keeping with the school’s Equal Opportunities policy, pupils are encouraged to recognise and value the diversity of abilities, skills and qualities in their peers.  “We are not all the same – but we are all of equal value.”

 

Partners and specialist providers

 

At various times during the year, the school employs a number of external agencies to deliver learning opportunities (e.g. Art- and Drama-workshops).  Every effort is made to ensure that these providers are aware of and will operate in accord with our positive behaviour management strategy.  Additionally, providers are asked to aid us in identifying pupils who may demonstrate ability in their particular specialist area.  School staff who arrange and oversee such provision are responsible for seeking nominations from these partners for inclusion on the G&T Register.

 

General

 

Brainboxx School is keen to foster a culture in which achievement and success are recognised and rewarded.  To this end, we have adopted a positive behaviour management strategy, in which all staff are encouraged to praise pupils’ positive behaviour and to commend effort.  This applies not merely to classroom learning and behaviour but also includes out-of-school activities such as swimming, gymnastics, scouts, etc.  Children’s achievements are recognised in the weekly “special mention” assembly.

 

Posters and displays are used to create a positive ethos that focuses on success and achievement – and on the value of “having a go”. 

 

The school maintains a notice board on which it displays details of local centres of interest such as museums and galleries, Saturday morning workshops and clubs, sports groups, scouts, guides, etc.  This is to encourage children to take an interest and become involved in the rich variety of extra-curricular activities on offer.  The notice board is maintained by a designated classroom support assistant and is changed regularly so that it remains a focus of interest and does not become static and jaded.

POLICY - DISSEMINATION, MONITORING AND REVIEW

 

This policy has been written by Xxxx Yyyy (school Gifted & Talented Co-ordinator).

 

The policy was presented to the school’s Governing Body at a meeting in MONTH 200X.  It was introduced to all teaching staff at a staff meeting in MONTH 200X and discussed in a subsequent staff meeting in MONTH 200X.  It was agreed to implement the policy with effect from MONTH 200X. 

 

The head-teacher has overall responsibility for ensuring that the policy is implemented in the school.  Issues raised during the monitoring process will be reported to the governing body and addressed through the school development plan.

 

This policy will be reviewed by the head-teacher, assisted by the G&T Co-ordinator, after it has been in place for two years (MONTH 200X) (to ensure that it continues to meet the identified needs of the school and its pupils).  Subsequently, it will be reviewed every three years.