The mission statement of our school talks of valuing the individuality of all our children. We are committed to giving all our children every opportunity to achieve the highest standards, and this includes offering appropriate support for those with additional needs as well as nurturing the gifts and talents of our more able pupils.
Issues surrounding Gifted and Talented pupils and their needs have featured recently in government policy and documentation and have also been highlighted by OfSTED. In producing this policy the school consulted numerous relevant publications, including:
- Identifying Gifted and Talented learners (DCSF 2008)
- Effective provision for Gifted and Talented children in primary education (DCSF 2008)
In this policy we intend to set out our aims, objectives and strategies for ensuring that all children at Black Horse Hill Junior School have their educational needs met, including those with a Gift or Talent.
According to the DCSF (2008), ‘Gifted and Talented learners are defined as those children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with potential to develop those abilities).’
Staff at BHHJS feel that the definition of ‘Gifted and Talented’ for our school should not conform to a particular percentage identified within each year group, but should encompass:
- Pupils who show exceptional achievement or potential in any of the five key areas in comparison to their peers.
It is agreed that children who are ‘more able’ (typically the top 30 – 35% of the class) or ‘markedly above average’ (considered to represent about 10 – 20% of the school population) should be catered for within the bounds of normal differentiation or opportunities offered generally within the school.
The five key areas for consideration are as follows:
- Academic (e.g. Literacy, Numeracy and Science)
- Physical (e.g. Sport and Dance)
- Aesthetic (e.g. Art, Music and Drama)
- Mechanical, Technical or Spatial (e.g. ICT, Design and Technology)
- Social skills (e.g. Leadership)
It must be stressed that no one area is more important than the other.
In identifying children as Gifted or Talented, staff are aware of the need to also consider children who may belong to one of the above groups but who, through lack of motivation or stimulation, peer group pressure or any other combination of features, may fail to make the most of their innate capabilities.
Aims and Objectives
- To ensure the provision of a curriculum which has been appropriately enriched and/or extended to meet the needs of gifted and talented pupils. (In many cases this will also improve the provision for all pupils and demonstrate our intent to develop children’s abilities to the full without fear of prejudice, envy or failure.)
- To ensure that the special educational needs of gifted and talented children are addressed through differentiated lesson activities where appropriate.
- To build up a bank of readily available physical and material resources (including teacher expertise) to address the needs of gifted and talented pupils.
- In line with our school’s Equality Scheme, children should be identified regardless of their race, faith, gender or physical/medical needs.
- To ensure that gifted and talented pupils are not seen as ‘different’ by themselves and other pupils, and do not feel singled out or distanced from their peers.
- To compile, monitor and update a whole school register of Gifted and Talented pupils.
- To monitor and evaluate provision for Gifted and Talented pupils (e.g. through planning and assessment).
The majority of gifted and talented pupils will be identified by nomination from teachers and/or parents. Some or all of the following factors may aid the identification process:
- Test results (e.g. SATs, Optional SATs, NFER tests, end of unit assessments)
- Quality of work in the classroom
- Quality of performance in practical, aesthetic and social situations
- Response to particular tasks
- Peer recognition
- Voluntary participation in activities
It is important to remember the following points when looking to identify children as gifted or talented:
- Be aware that abilities can emerge at different ages and in different circumstances.
- Be aware of children who can or have been overlooked and of those who are underachieving because of social pressures.
- Where possible, use tests of both knowledge and potential (e.g. NFER non-verbal reasoning tests).
- Try to provide a range of learning experiences.
From all the criteria above staff should compile a list of gifted and talented pupils using the five key areas mentioned in the definition section of this policy. A copy of this list should then be passed to the school’s SEN and Inclusion Coordinator to feed into the school’s Gifted and Talented register.
The school’s Gifted and Talented register will be checked termly and updated as appropriate.
Implications for Teaching and Learning
Provision for gifted and talented pupils within the normal school curriculum will be achieved in the following ways:
- Objectives specifically targeted at gifted and talented pupils
- Time allocation, with provision for pupils to work at an increased pace where appropriate
- Less detailed instructions
- More independent learning
- Appropriate differentiation
- Appropriate NC levels of attainment
- Speed of progression, e.g. a different start point or fewer steps
- Resources of a more complex or challenging nature
- Flexibility in success criteria and marking to allow credit for unusual but perceptive responses
Promoting activities which encourage the use of:
- Open-ended materials
- Information processing
- Problem solving
- Decision making
- Creativity and imagination
- Lateral thinking (e.g. ‘thinking outside of the box’)
- Logical thinking, deduction, inference
- Opportunities for further research
- Balance of pace and reflection
- Controlled risk taking
- Abstract thinking
- By outcome
- By resource
- By task
- By dialogue (questioning or explanation)
- By support (adults, materials or groups)
- By pace and start point
- By content and complexity
- By responsibility (degree of independent learning)
- By learning style (visual, kinaesthetic or auditory)
The following suggestions are in addition to the normal range of groupings within the class.
- Target grouping
- Buddying with older pupils
- Mentor support
- Peer support or tutoring
Additional strategies and resources
- Extra-curricular clubs and activities
- Parental expertise
- Visitors with academic, creative or sports expertise
- Opportunities in the local community, e.g. orchestras, drama groups and charities
- LA or area-based activities
- Master classes from experts
- Loan materials
- Educational visits
- Cluster activities with other schools
- Link Secondary schools and colleges
Provision and management of resources
All curriculum leaders are responsible for the ordering and management of gifted and talented resources specific to their subject. In addition, the SEN and Inclusion Coordinator has responsibility for ordering resources of a more general nature.
It should be noted that, although there are specific resources available for the teaching of gifted and talented children, very often the resources already in place can be successfully adapted to meet their needs.
The quality of provision for gifted and talented children is monitored in the following ways:
- Planning will be monitored for:
- Identification of targeted extension or enrichment activities
- Specific objectives which extend learning beyond the majority of the class
- Use of appropriate support or groupings
- Use of appropriate resources
- Observation of gifted and talented children within the classroom environment will focus on:
- The use of targeted questions designed to extend thinking
- The appropriateness of independent/group tasks
- The progress in learning made
- The appropriateness of groupings/support
- The level of challenge presented
- Children’s work will be monitored for:
- Evidence of suitably differentiated activities
- The quality of children’s responses
- Teacher feedback and marking which extends the child further
Staff development and training
The SEN and Inclusion Coordinator will monitor and publicise any relevant INSET courses for staff at BHHJS, in accordance with the priorities of the overall INSET budget. The coordinator will also seek to involve outside agencies or visiting staff, e.g. LA Advisory Teachers and arrange appropriate in-school INSET sessions.
The aims of such INSET will be to:
- Raise awareness of the provision for gifted and talented pupils at BHHJS
- Assist staff to develop their practices
- Promote opportunities for staff at BHHJS to meet and share good practice