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Gifted & Talented policy and provision in independent schools

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Nijinski, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Would anyone here be willing to share some thoughts on their school's policy and provision for G&Tpupils?
    We are in the process of rethinking and rewriting our policy, for our academically selective independent junior school. I've looked at the G & T forum, but would find it more helpful to hear comments from other independent schools, as by definition we have a narrower ability band than in a non-selective school, and a higher proportion of pupils at the gifted end, however you define it.
    How do other indie schools identify their (academically) most able? Is it via standardised test scores/teacher recommendation? And do you take the top 10% of your school population, as advised by the DfE in state schools? Or all pupils scoring in the top 10%/ 5%/ 1% nationally?
    In our school, over a third of pupils achieve ability test scores in the top 5%, as measured across the whole population, so we don't feel all these should be on our g&t list - rather, they ought to be being catered for via differentiated teaching in the classroom. By limiting the g&t register to pupils scoring in the top 1% nationally, we get a register with about 15% of our pupils on it, which seems more workable. And these are, by definition, very highly able pupils who do need extra challenges/enrichment. We also want to include (or rather, not to exclude), pupils who have potential but not necessarily evidence from formal test scores.
    And then there's the area of 'talent' - do other schools define this as sport, music, art, drama, technology etc, as opposed to academic giftedness? What are your criteria for selection here?
    Lots of interesting philosophical and practical issues to consider here, so thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions about how to approach this.
     
  2. Would anyone here be willing to share some thoughts on their school's policy and provision for G&Tpupils?
    We are in the process of rethinking and rewriting our policy, for our academically selective independent junior school. I've looked at the G & T forum, but would find it more helpful to hear comments from other independent schools, as by definition we have a narrower ability band than in a non-selective school, and a higher proportion of pupils at the gifted end, however you define it.
    How do other indie schools identify their (academically) most able? Is it via standardised test scores/teacher recommendation? And do you take the top 10% of your school population, as advised by the DfE in state schools? Or all pupils scoring in the top 10%/ 5%/ 1% nationally?
    In our school, over a third of pupils achieve ability test scores in the top 5%, as measured across the whole population, so we don't feel all these should be on our g&t list - rather, they ought to be being catered for via differentiated teaching in the classroom. By limiting the g&t register to pupils scoring in the top 1% nationally, we get a register with about 15% of our pupils on it, which seems more workable. And these are, by definition, very highly able pupils who do need extra challenges/enrichment. We also want to include (or rather, not to exclude), pupils who have potential but not necessarily evidence from formal test scores.
    And then there's the area of 'talent' - do other schools define this as sport, music, art, drama, technology etc, as opposed to academic giftedness? What are your criteria for selection here?
    Lots of interesting philosophical and practical issues to consider here, so thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions about how to approach this.
     
  3. We are a secondary independent. G&T are identified by their individual teachers and recorded at times of reporting (grades/reports). I find the whole thing a bit hit and miss really. But then I'm not sure you can really quantitfy what is "G" and "T". The definitions of G and T seem to vary depending on the latest fad and who you speak to.
    Having been at schools where the pupil was simply listed as being G&T and you were expected to deal with this, although in your subject the pupil was clearly (by what reasoning?) not G&T, I feel strongly that the subject area of the G, or is it T, should be identified and listed with any record kept. Just because someone is G&/orT in say Music doesn't mean that they should be treated any differently from others in say Sciences, if they are not idenitified as G or T in that subject.
    I go more on a professional 'feeling' together with achievement data to identify them. You have to watch out for the 'G&Ters' who are underachieving on paper, but show some spark otherwise - lazy or communication difficulties? Or for the hard working pupils who get excellent results through sheer hard work, but don't have the 'spark'.
    As with any other data generating process, it always seems to raise more questions about what to do next.
    Do you then tell the parents and pupils? Is it just another stick with which to beat the underachievers? As they are then (technically) classified as having SEN, what provision does your school make for this?
     
  4. Thanks very much for the reply, pookyrobin. I agree with what you say, about identifying specific girls/talents rather than a blanket label, and the issues with underachievers, and the 'grafters' - and the precocious ones who are way ahead one year, but don't stay ahead the next.
    As for provision, I'm auditing everything we currently do - actually, it's quite a bit, but tends to be in an ad hoc, unsystematic way at present - and always looking for more ideas. But I think we first need to tackle the underlying issues of defining criteria, and who, how and when to identify as G&/orT each year. Any more thoughts/comments very welcome!
     
  5. *gifts/talents, not girls/talents, sorry!
     
  6. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Mmm, I'm in the mood for a nice gin & tonic now! [​IMG]
     
  7. andadam

    andadam New commenter

    Looks like you and I have been given a similar remit. From the start of this year, I've been auditing G&T provision in our inde prep. We've decided to ignore any notion of x% quota of pupils being identified, and as such, I have found some of the links on the G&T forum less beneficial to me. We would consider the top 10% to be very able, but not necessarily gifted. Such pupils will be very adequately provided for in lessons with differentiation. (To me, a gifted child is one who will blow you away with their ideas, output and/or ability). Most of the staff agree that we are on the right track. If identified as G&T, the subject specialist (HoD) will provide extra breadth to their curriculum, which could be as simple as suggesting texts to read on a subject, followed up with discussion. The HoD will liaise with the pupil as and when and further provision is considered. The G&T coordinator records indentification, provision and progress.
    BTW I accept gifted as academic, and talented as non-academic (drama, music, art, sport...), which is the general definition.
     
  8. Thanks for the reply Andadam. Yes we do seem to have a similar remit. What you've said is really useful, thanks, and has prompted me to think more about including our subject specialists more in providing activities - at the moment it is largely me planning and providing enrichment activities outside the normal timetable.
    Can you tell me approximately what percentage of your intake you do class as G&T? And apart from teacher recommendation, do you use any formal test data as part of the criteria?
     
  9. andadam

    andadam New commenter

    In years 3-8 (about 275 children) I now have 7 on the G&T roll. Any measurable data can be used such as national levels, music grades etc... and is useful to reinforce a nomination, but I think a personal reference is best. The NAGC has a good list of criteria showing diffferences between able child and gifted child which I like teachers to use alongside their professional instinct.
     
  10. Thanks again andadam. So you've got less than 3% of your pupils on the g&t roll. That's given me even more to think about - I think my school now needs to thrash out what the purpose of our g&t list is, and whether it should be more or less inclusive than at present.
    Thanks also for reminding me about the NAGC site - their information sheets are very helpful.
     

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