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RE New to Gifted and Talented post

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lauren1, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Lauren1

    Lauren1 New commenter

    I've recently been given the responsibility of looking after G&T in my primary school and I'm really hoping someone can help me with some advice. It would appear that there's no predecessor to talk to about what's been done / could be done in school, so I'm starting from scratch. Is anyone able to let me know what the government now think of G&T? I couldn't find anything when I looked but that could be me! I know sometimes it falls in and out of fashion and terminologies change. I'm anxious to make a difference to our children and to get it right. We are a school in Special Measures and I'm keen to get underway with anything as soon as possible. Any advice that anyone could provide as to what they do / how they do it / useful resources or websites would be so very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. teacup71

    teacup71 Occasional commenter

    We have been given advice from our local authority and they said not to get too caught up on labels. There is no separate curriculum for able pupils and I think as the Maths and English curriculum is hard then the able will actually be challenged. There is more from maths. Look at the mastery materials from the national centre for excellence in teaching mathematics, produced by Oxford Owl. It is free. Also go to Nrich. We also bought (years ago) Brain Academy for English, maths and Science. These resources are still very useful to add depth.

    I really think the writing and reading curriculum will stretch more able if you have the right texts.

    We should teach mastery of the curriculum to everyone and mastery in depth to Gifted and Talented. This is going to take some time to fully understand.

    I think for talented you are still doing all the things you usually do. For example, sports competitions, music assemblies, school productions, entering other competitions etc.

    Gifted children are only a small percentage nationally and sometimes not found in every class or in every school. If they have mastered every objective in their year group in depth then they move onto the next year group expectations. We decided that if anyone had children like this we would all look at evidence at staff meeting.

    We have a whole school tracking system and Gifted and Talented are highlighted and tracked. We said we would wait for year 2 to review this.
    Lauren1 likes this.
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    "Gifted children are only a small percentage nationally ....."

    Yes. It's not many children to justify a co-ordinator depending on the definition used. And talented children are usually talented because of something they have more opportunity for at home than the rest of them. I am really unsure about any of this!

    These lists of children who are offered something more interesting than the rest, or more work, seem a little odd to me.

    It's a strand of an Education in Cities initiave from many moons ago when there as additional funding for learning mentors and a gifted talented strand and some other third strand I can't remember. I think the top 10% of any school attainment wise was used then to put together the "gifted" element of the gifted and talented register and teacher judgemnt on the talented. It was all very dubious.

    However, I am sure you will be able to make something good out of the role. What duties, responsibilities, "powers" and budget do you have?
    Lauren1 likes this.
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Part of the issue is that no-one has ever really agreed on what the terms define. Able in what context? A school? A year group cohort? Nationally? Schools have previously used sub-levels to define 'able' but that's obviously irrelevant now. Also defining gifted without being too woolly over it is hard. As mystery10 points out, 'talented' usually means 'more practiced' due to greater exposure and value placed upon it at home. You could argue then that they already get far more exposure to such things than the others anyway. 'Gifted' children are exceptionally rare.

    The often entirely subjective teacher judgements can be ridiculous. For example, Johnny is on the G&T register because he tap dances outside school. No-one knows if he's any good, but hey; stick him on anyway. True story - I had a lad arrive in my year group once who was on the G&T register for "RE". Seriously. Apparently, because he was 'very religious'. Utter nonsense.

    The provision is tricky. Children making slow progress or with SEN have additional support. If we also provide additional activities for the more able (over and above differentiation in lessons) then you could rightly ask why we don't bother for the middle set. What do we provide for them? Nothing? Hardly seems fair.

    Another concern is reporting to parents. What happens if a child plateaus and is no longer deemed 'able'? How do we tell the parents their child is no longer 'able'? Have they become 'less able', for example?

    Your first tasks will be to look at the policy if you have one; define what those titles mean with staff; agree on how the register will be updated and maintained and what, if any extra provision need be made for those children. I feel that it's something that's become outdated as a role but best of luck in yours.
    Lauren1 likes this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I have also just taken on this role, though in a different kind of school. I also held it, a fair few years ago, in a previous school.

    So far I've got permission to join NACE as a fabulous resource for us co-ordinators and for teachers.
    I've begun to put together a register by asking staff which children are working significantly above the level of their peers.
    I've written an action plan for immediate actions and am drafting one for the rest of this academic year, with a couple of points for next year.
    I've also started to put together ideas for what the G&T children and I could do as extra curricula bits. Writing the school newspaper has been suggested, but unless there are older children with high abilities in English, then that won't happen! I also can't go too far with this until I've got the list of children and the areas of talent...and interest!
    I also googled to get some ideas of what other schools do and have nicked some of their bits from their websites. (I just typed 'gifted and talented prep schools' into google!)

    Some next tasks are:
    Circulating links and ideas to staff of what children can do in lessons to ensure learning, but not necessarily wasting time on the work of the rest of the class if they don't need to. I have a horror of able children just doing 'more of the same', totally unacceptable.
    Speaking to parents. This can be contentious (see many of the replies above!) and lots of tact is needed, especially with children in KS1 where they are often ahead due to parent input at a young age, rather than innate ability and other children will catch up. It is vital to stress to parents that the register is not permanent and that children may not be on it forever. (And you have to be prepared for those parents who ask why not their child.)
    Meeting with children, KS2, to discuss what works for them in lessons and what kind of things mean they know they are learning.
    I probably should start thinking about writing something to go on the school website as well...

    But please do come up with your own ideas to share...I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, even though this is something I believe is important and am very keen to do again.
    Lauren1 likes this.
  6. Lauren1

    Lauren1 New commenter

    Thanks all of you for your responses. It is such a can of worms. It's a role I've been given, so am determined to make the best of it without it descending into something woolly. I agree with every sentiment shared by you all with doubts and positives that you've raised. I think my first 'battle' is with those above to ensure that it's something meaning and not a token gesture. Thank you all again.
    alexywoo likes this.

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