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The Gifted and Talented in Primary Education

1 Who are ‘the G & T’? The Issues around Definition

Of the many challenges surrounding definition of ‘the G & T’, perhaps most essential to explore with student teachers are that:

  • They and others, such as school colleagues, may have false preconceptions about, and stereotypes of, ‘the G & T’; these must be overcome if their relationships with pupils, and provision for them, are to be productive.
  • All educational systems, educationalists and researchers apply specific value sets and terminology to this learner group: there is no universally approved, ideal definition or ‘label’. The DfES terms ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’, plus the DfES’ chosen definitions, should not deflect teachers from their aim of effective identification and provision.
  • ‘The G & T’ are no more a homogeneous group in terms of their emotional, social and learning needs than any other learner group; they should not be treated as such.
  • In any school, rigid or narrow definitions of the G & T are not nearly as constructive as open-minded, flexible descriptions.

The activities below stimulate thinking amongst student teachers about these challenges. Each focuses on one of the points above.

1a – Perceptions of the G & T: quote unquote task

Students need to appreciate:

  • that they and others, such as school colleagues, may have false preconceptions about, and stereotypes of, ‘the G & T’; these must be overcome if their relationships with pupils, and provision for them, are to be productive.

Small groups of student teachers can be supplied with the following remarks, listed on a sheet with blank space below each:

  • ‘That group can always get on by themselves.’
  • ‘He’s so very bright! He’s going to find it hard to fit in.’
  • ‘With a home life as rich as that, she’s bound to be light years ahead.’
  • ‘He’s probably misbehaving because the work’s far too easy and he’s bored.’
  • ‘That group shouldn’t mind staying in and doing some more.’
  • ‘With that child’s ethnic background, it’s the norm to be ambitious and successful.’
  • ‘How is it possible for her to be so talented when her parents have no special skill in that area?’
  • ‘You work very hard and your work’s always beautifully presented, girls: you’re doing brilliantly.’

Each of course represents a common but misguided assumption or a potentially dangerous generalisation.

Groups should study the statements supplied. They can first be invited to recall, and add, any other remarks they have heard that imply assumptions about learners perceived as ‘gifted’, ‘talented’ or ‘more able’. Contexts will include:

  • the student teachers’ own school or university days
  • experiences at their initial teacher education institution
  • discussions about pupils whilst on school experience.

A member of each group should now read one remark at a time aloud to the others. All in the group should share reminiscences about learners they have encountered (friends, relations, pupils, fellow students, even themselves) whose situations might counter the assumptions implicit behind the remark read out, e.g. one student teacher might recall a schoolfriend with so many ideas that he rarely knew how to begin or structure a task; this would refute the first remark’s implication that the able are somehow more capable than other of working unaided. (It is now generally accepted among G & T specialists that this is untrue.) Student teachers’ should record at least one counter-argument or objection to each remark, backed up by remembered instances.

A plenary should first invite them to share any remarks for which counter-arguments were not found. The tutor can help them to brainstorm possible objections, ideally backed up by instances of learners whom they can recall. Second, the tutor can invite arguments from the whole group further to enforce any that s/he noted as being weak or inappropriate. Finally, as a check on general understanding, student teachers may be asked to spell out the assumptions and stereotypes that lie behind each listed remark.

School experience task

If student teachers are visiting schools, they might focus on one or two pupils whom others (school staff, parents, pupils) perceive as ‘more able’. They can make notes on their personalities, physical characteristics, social and ethnic backgrounds, learning strengths and weaknesses, and – especially – what others say about them in casual conversation. In what terms do others describe their abilities? What ‘labels’, if any, do they give them? Do they regard them negatively or positively? Student teachers should reflect on what preconceptions and stereotypes, if any, lie behind the way these commentators talk. If possible, through casual conversation and observation only, Student teachers can try to gauge how aware their chosen ‘able’ pupils are of others’ perceptions of them. How do the ‘able’ speak of and deal with these?

1b Terms and definitions: ranking exercise

Student teachers need to understand:

  • that all educational institutions, educationalists and researchers apply specific value sets and terminology to this learner group: there is no universally approved, ideal definition or ‘label’. The DfES terms ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’, plus the DfES’ chosen definitions, should not deflect teachers from their aim of effective identification and provision.

Each Student teacher can be furnished with a stack of cards, each bearing one of the following words:

High-flyer Clever Skilled Able Creative Exceptional Intelligent Talented Gifted Prodigy Bright Advanced

Student teachers may wish to note on blank cards other terms describing ability that spring to mind. They can then be asked individually to lay the cards in horizontal rows, one row above or below another. One or more cards can be placed in each row. The top row should bear terms they associate with ‘greatest’ ability down to the bottom representing, in their opinion, ‘less considerable’ ability. (They may find some terms hard to rank, in which case they can be placed to one side.) Now individuals should share their decisions with another student teacher: their ideas are unlikely to be identical. Pairs should compare their perceptions of the shades of meaning and strength in each term, i.e. the reasons for the differences between them.

Second, individuals can be briefed to rearrange the cards. This time they can select from amongst them those terms that they would find useful to apply to learners. They may reject none, some or many; if desired, they can rank their chosen words according to degrees of usefulness, or group them into categories for different uses. Now student teachers may form other pairings. They can explain their ideas to their new partners. Again, their thoughts are likely to diverge.

Finally, all student teachers can be reminded that the DfES’ chosen terms – used in EiC/Excellence cluster areas – are ‘Gifted’ and ‘Talented’. Members of the whole group should have shared what associations these words had amongst them during the preceding activities. They can be asked whether one term seemed ‘stronger’, or ‘broader’, than the other. At this point, the DfES definitions can be revealed:

  • ‘Gifted’: Evidently attaining highly, or with latent high ability, in one or more ‘academic’ subjects, i.e. ‘subjects other than art, music and P.E.’, e.g. English/literacy, maths, science, history, geography, or across the school curriculum. (It should be stressed that ‘gifted’ does not mean ‘exceptional’, or with some kind of innate ability, under the DfES definition.)
  • ‘Talented’: Evidently attaining highly, or with latent high ability, in a ‘non-academic’ area: creative or expressive art, music or P.E.
  • (OFSTED, 2001, ‘Excellence initiative’ website at and/or EiC website at

Students should be asked what they think of these descriptions now that they have experienced, through discussion, the difficulties of definition and agreement. Do they raise yet more questions? Student teachers’ concerns can be recorded in large print and if possible displayed, for use as a reference point as this topic unfolds. (It can be mentioned now that ideas – and indeed ideals - about ability can be very culture-specific, e.g. some cultures value emotional maturity, responsibility for others or social skills much more highly than the traditional cognitive skills so valued in many western educational systems.)

If the student teachers have not raised it, an important question to highlight now is ‘How to define more precisely “attaining highly” and “with high ability”?’ It should be explained at this point that numerous schools opt for the term ‘able’ or ‘more able’ in preference to ‘G & T’, and that commonly, high attainment/ability’ refers to ability above the average in any group, classroom, year group, cohort, phase or school. (For the DfES, it means ‘promising to achieve significantly in advance of the average’ in any group, etc.)

Student teachers must be made aware that EiC/Excellence cluster schools are required to identify 5-10% in each year of their entire cohort as ‘G & T’; also, the DfES White Paper (October 2005) proposed developing a national register of ‘G & T pupils’ at the end of Key Stage 2, insisting that all schools should be challenged to offer ‘adequate G & T provision’; yet within a normal distribution, it is estimated that statistically, 30-40% of pupils nationally could be ‘able’ in some or many areas, including:

  • 10% ‘more able’
  • 5% ‘most able’, and
  • 0.5% ‘exceptionally able’ (Denton and Postlethwaite, 1985).

What challenges in schools with the EiC formula can student teachers foresee, they can be asked, given the facts above?

Hopefully, they should raise concerns such as:

  • How can percentages apply to small schools, with rolls under 100?
  • How do schools provide for identified ‘able’ cohorts above the DfES quotas?
  • Is it possible to have a shortfall in the DfES quotas in a school, and if so, what happens then?
  • How do you recognise ‘latent’ high ability?

It may be sufficient, at this stage, to explain that no system is perfect; that many schools adapt this system to their pupils’ needs; and that the DfES needed a quota system so that EiC schools could track the effectiveness of the G & T funding and training with which they were provided. If more discussion is needed:

  • Student teachers can be invited to describe the school contexts they have encountered so far. It is likely that much provision for the G & T in most of these is undertaken in mainstream classrooms. Student teachers should be asked: through this route is it not possible to spread G & T funding and staff training more widely than just amongst the ‘most able’ – as long as the effects of provision on the G & T are monitored and tracked?
  • It should be stressed to student teachers that ideally, schools should identify their ‘G & T’ or ‘more able’ with a range of methods: not just by studying the results of formal assessment, but through informal observation, the opinions of others, etc., which are more likely to highlight ‘latent’, as well as ‘attained’ ability.

Such concerns are addressed in more detail by the activities described in Sections 3 and 2 respectively.

1c ‘The G & T’ as a diverse learner group: case study activity

Student teachers need to be aware:

  • that ‘the G & T’ are no more a homogeneous group in terms of their emotional, social and learning needs than any other learner group; they should not be treated as such.

Each small group of student teachers can be supplied with a set of case studies of primary school children who have been identified by their teachers as ‘more able’ than most of their peers in one or more areas of the curriculum. Those below, which focus on different personalities and backgrounds, and divergent abilities in English/literacy, may be useful.

Child A

A. has a considerably more extensive vocabulary than his classroom peers and shows notable abilities both when speaking to an audience and during group discussions. He raises challenging questions in a variety of subjects, objecting strongly to many assumptions held by his peers (plus some conveyed by his teacher), and reasoning coherently and powerfully. A. sometimes becomes overly argumentative, and can stubbornly refuse to work in ‘conventional’ or specified ways. In particular, A. will not read at length – especially fiction or poetry – out of choice, and dislikes, to the point of avoidance, any kind of writing. (He gets rather ‘lost’ when trying to organise a writing task.) Games is A.’s favourite school subject, although not by nature a team player, occasionally starting bitter fights and arguments. He shows slightly above-average skill at non-team games. His parents have high expectations of his ‘academic’ work, referring frequently to the success of two older sisters; however, he does not do well in reading and writing tests and formal assessments. A makes (and loses) friends easily; currently he has one close school companion.

Child B

B. loves reading and writing, especially fiction, with ambitions to be a writer as an adult. B. writes at length both for pleasure and in lessons, frequently sharing her output with friends. She always volunteers to be the scribe in any group. Her texts show wit and a love of sophisticated language, with a flair for comic writing; all are immaculately presented and spelt, and tend to demonstrate the impact of her most recent reading influences (she goes through phases of ‘reading saturation’ in particular authors or genres). B. produces fiction that, while stylistically accomplished, can be shapeless and meandering, and somewhat immature in its themes and characterisation. When the teacher encourages her in self-criticism, she resists and can get upset, preferring to stick with her own ‘writing formulae’. She is extremely well organised when tackling English/literacy tasks, and dislikes making mistakes of spelling and ‘spoiling’ her presentation. B. has a happy, privileged home life. She has four or five close friends, who all love reading and writing but do not perform to her level in either. She prefers speaking and listening, reading and writing in pairs or groups.

Child L

L. has dyspraxia, entailing problems with eye-hand co-ordination and gross and fine motor control. As a result his handwriting (and thus his spelling) is poor; he finds it hard to read and sit still for long periods, and L’s handwritten texts are brief. His oral contributions during class work are eager, but often rather immature and ‘played for laughs’. However, with the provision of effective learning aids and occasional adult support, L’s word-processing is faster and more productive for him than writing by hand. In addition, he thoroughly enjoys using the computer and a whole range of sophisticated software for English/literacy – and many other – tasks; indeed, he is the class’s general ICT expert and advisor. L. has a younger sister with no similar problems and a happy, supportive home life, rich with hobbies shared with his father: design and technology projects, computer and radio construction and maintenance, and archaeology. While L. is slow at reading complex hobby and technical magazines and books, he is determined to succeed when the content interests him; likewise he is adept and way in advance of his age group when writing complex, professional-sounding information texts on favourite subjects. L. can be teased by other children for being obsessive in his interests and struggling in P.E., dance and games. On the whole, however, classmates are kind, friendly and supportive.

Child E

E.’s mother visits school often to complain about his unstimulating lessons and lack of friends. In fact, E. has bonded most closely with his current classroom teacher, whom E. often engages in intense philosophical conversation, partly to avoid going out at breaktimes (during which he often upsets his peers with inadvertent social awkwardness). E. has excelled in all ‘academic’ subjects in the curriculum, including English/literacy, since his Reception year. A favourite (unasked-for) activity, having finished the teacher’s set tasks, however challenging, is to re-design the lesson for the teacher in new ways, or to present her with posters and games as relevant teaching aids for future use. Peers clearly dislike the fact that E. constantly raises a hand to answer all questions asked – despite the teacher’s sensitive treatment of this issue in PSHE and by other means. As a result, she invites his oral contributions only sparingly. E. is an excellent, confident solo speaker, but fares badly in group discussions, often interrupting out of turn, suggesting ideas too sophisticated for the rest and being shouted down. He puts a brave face on his social isolation, remaining cheerful and positive. Out of school, the teacher suspects he is under considerable pressure to excel when undertaking homework and his many extra-curricular activities.

Child R

R. arrived in England last year unable to speak a word of English. With her parents, brothers and sister, she was escaping persecution abroad. Her parents remain unemployed and still do not speak English; her father in particular, a highly qualified professional, is still traumatised by their experiences. For the first term, R. was silent. In the second, it was discovered through school music activities that she was a highly skilful and expressive musician, and it gradually emerged that she could play the violin to a high level. She now has extra-curricular violin lessons, and is also eagerly learning the piano and the recorder. She has stayed quiet and withdrawn in all other lessons across the curriculum. However, it has now been discovered, through watching her during a parental visit to school, that she is already able to read most of the children’s library of English texts fluently, with understanding, enjoyment and a critical viewpoint, and can also simultaneously translate them accurately for her parents. This discovery of her English language abilities, now it has been recognised, has given her more confidence to try to write a range of texts in English, which she can already do as well as many of her peers, and to bring in and share her small library of books written in her native language. She is still a shy and unconfident speaker unless her parents are present.

Groups can be briefed to read the case studies, then to fill in a grid such as the one below. They should agree and note in what ways – if any – the pupils sound similar, and in what ways they seem different.

strengths/ needs
- same
strengths/ needs
- different
strengths/ needs
- same
strengths/ needs
- different
English/ literacy
- same
English/ literacy
- different
Possible preferred
methods and contexts for learning (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, ICT; single, paired or group work)
- same
Possible preferred
methods and contexts for learning
- different

Whole-group discussion afterwards should draw out the key observation that diversity among the able is just as pronounced in various dimensions – cultural/ethnic background, emotional makeup, social profile, and learning strengths, needs and preferences – as among any other learner group. In this regard, student teachers may need to be reminded of the importance of the government’s aspiration here that Every Child Matters, 2004. It might also be useful to point out that the DfES White Paper (October 2005) promised to target support for G & T pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds and other vulnerable learner categories. Student teachers can be invited to share further instances of difference amongst the able already encountered in schools. Then they can be asked, what are the implications for the planning, organisation and delivery of teaching and learning? Hopefully they will make such points as:

  • Both blocks of lessons and individual sessions should probably be planned with several approaches suited to the more able in mind, e.g. different kinds of preparatory homework, or a choice of formats for written work.
  • Inflexible ability groupings (e.g. setting) every day and for all subjects should probably be avoided in favour of transmutable ability groupings for different subjects from day to day, and – if possible – for different aspects of the same subject, including English/literacy, e.g. one grouping for fiction writing, another for non-fiction.
  • Teaching methods probably need to be as varied for able learners as for ‘less able’ learners, e.g. the use of a range of visual, auditory and/or kinaesthetic stimuli in lessons with speaking and listening objectives.
  • Resources provided for the able probably also need to be varied, e.g. reference materials, writing frames, computer software, in order to stimulate and support those with different interests, strengths and weaknesses.
  • As with all other learner groups, the extent of able pupils’ success will be influenced by the amount of support they are given, the context in which they learn and the degree of their own motivation. (Gagné1994).

1d Towards school definitions: evaluation task

Student teachers need to see that:

  • in any school, rigid or narrow definitions of the G & T are not nearly as constructive as open-minded, flexible descriptions.

Student teachers should appreciate that schools, and their wider communities, need to know what is meant locally, in their context, by ‘the G & T’ or ‘more able’. To this end, many primary schools by now have a generally agreed ‘G & T’ or ‘more able’ policy document at least in train, if not in place. Such a paper should include a school’s accepted definition, or definitions, of their ‘G & T’/’more able’ pupils, and should also enumerate the methods used in their identification (Section 2 contains more detail in this area). Of course, like all school policies such a document should reflect current practice, not aspirations.

This exercise is intended to prepare students for critical reflection on the G & T definitions they may encounter during school visits. They can work in pairs. The quotations below should be provided for study one at a time (fictitious ‘extracts’, purportedly from various schools’ G & T policies, defining G & T pupils in different ways). It should be explained that such wording would ideally be followed by an account of identification methods used by that school in each case.

i) ‘For us, a “more able” child is any pupil who:

  • At KS1, during formal testing and assessment, consistently promises to achieve a Level 3 or above in end of Key Stage English, maths and/or science tests – or who does so at or before the end of KS1,
  • and/or
  • At KS2, during formal testing and assessment, consistently promises to achieve a Level 5 or above in end of Key Stage English, maths and/or science tests – or who does so before the end of KS2,
  • and/or
  • Performs consistently to the same National Curriculum levels as those above during formal testing and assessment in one or more other subjects of the National Curriculum.’

ii) ‘Our definition of a “more able” pupil is one who makes above average progress from year to year in one or more National Curriculum subjects, or aspects of a subject, when compared with the rest of his/her year group.’

iii) ‘In – School, we use the following definitions:

“Gifted” — Any child whose attainment is above the average of his or her current peers’ attainment in one or more of the following subjects: English/literacy, maths, science, history, geography, RE, PSHE, Citizenship.

“Talented” — Any child whose attains, or has the latent ability to attain, above the average of his or her current peers’ attainment in one of the following subjects: music, art, design & technology, ICT, games, PE, dance.’

iv) ‘By “able”, we mean possessing the ability, or the potential ability, to achieve highly in one or more National Curriculum subjects, aspects of a subject or activities/responsibilities undertaken in school.’

v) ‘Any child – School considers “gifted and talented” will consistently demonstrate above average attainment when compared with his/her peers in one or more National Curriculum subjects, aspects of subjects, or activities/responsibilities undertaken in school. The term also covers potential ability in any child. Potential is likely to show itself through a significant number of skills and traits in one or more areas, over a considerable length of time, at any stage of primary school. These skills and traits will appear above average for the child’s current year group, and may include:

  • Above average levels of confidence, interest and enthusiasm
  • Above average ability to collaborate and share
  • Above average self-sufficiency, self-discipline, motivation or independence
  • Above average qualities of leadership, organisation or initiative
  • Above average emotional maturity, philosophical outlook, sense of the spiritual, sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings or ability to handle their own
  • Above average versatility, flexibility or adaptability
  • Above average stamina, physical or intellectual, when tackling long, complex, challenging or problematic tasks
  • Above average ability to raise important, unusual or demanding questions
  • Above average tolerance of, or interest in, uncertainty, ambiguity, multiple choices, the unknown or risk – and the ability to theorise and hypothesise, where appropriate
  • Above average willingness and ability to use, suggest or consider a variety of ideas, techniques, approaches, points of view or solutions to problems
  • Ability to perceive or explore greater depth and detail, more complex structures, shapes and patterns and more connections; and/or to manage more skills and techniques at once – i.e. to notice, handle or make a ‘bigger picture’ or task – than most peers.
  • Subject and activity-specific definitions of ability, too, are appended to this document.*
  • Pupils’ abilities can grow, change or diminish over time, and manifest themselves differently depending on the situation, the resources available in school and the wider community, a child’s health and social and emotional wellbeing, and the degree of support and encouragement from his/her peers, family and adults.

This definition is regularly reviewed, and may be revised in the light of pupils’ needs and educational research.’

See Dean, 2003, Department of Education, Victoria 1996 and Iley, 2005, which all checklist definitions of ability specific to English/literacy. The latter text, policy v), will also be useful for the task in section 5a), below.

Pairs can be asked to examine each policy in turn, in the order given, against the five case studies of ‘able’ pupils from activity 1c. Leaving aside questions of how identifications can be made, questions to raise with student teachers might be:

  • Which ‘able pupils’ from the case studies are likely to be covered by the definition in policy i), that in policy ii), that in policy iii) etc.?
  • Which pupils are likely to be excluded, and as a result their learning needs possibly neglected; why?
  • What are the problems, and questions, raised by each definition?

Just some issues raised by the various policies might be:

Policy i)

  • Not all children perform well in formal assessment and testing situations.
  • Tests and formal assessments are ‘snapshots’ on particular days, when pupils may be unwell, distressed, have missed prior learning etc.
  • They do not necessarily give an accurate picture of linear progress, and ability to make progress.
  • They tend to depend on reading ability even though the assessors might not mean to test reading; they may also be over-dependent on writing and/or recording ability – and yet the ‘subject’ may be science, for example, or even other areas of English/literacy, e.g. speaking and listening.
  • This definition does not recognise ‘latent’ ability.
  • It does not facilitate recognition of children ‘able’ in aspects of subjects, e.g. poetry writing or dance only.
  • It does not encompass areas of learning outside the National Curriculum, e.g. radio broadcasting, local newspaper subbing, chess, fencing.
  • It does not allow for specific expertise across subject boundaries, e.g. problem-solving, leadership.
  • Average ‘high ability’ levels nationally may eventually rise beyond the KS1 milestone of Level 3 and the KS2 milestone of Level 5; also, the level descriptors (or system of levelling) may be revised in the future, rendering this definition defunct.

Policy ii)

  • Many of the above criticisms apply here too, although ability to make swift or above average progress is now taken into account (thus possibly ‘catching’ case study R from activity 1c); so too is the possibility of ability in one aspect of a subject (thus possibly ‘catching’ pupils A, B and L); and comparison with others in the same year group makes the definition more flexible than adherence to levelling without this.

Policy iii)

  • This is similar to the DfES definitions, some of whose limitations have been mentioned earlier (activity 1b), e.g. that ‘latent’/potential ability is not allowed for in all subjects. Also, ability only in National Curriculum subjects (not in aspects of them, or in other areas) is mentioned. Some student teachers may object that ‘attainment’ has connotations of tested, or formally assessed, achievement only.

Policy iv)

  • This is the first definition to take account of learning activities beyond or transcending the framework of National Curriculum subjects. Student teachers might be invited to suggest examples of other learning contexts that could thus be encompassed, e.g. pupils’ membership of a school council; their involvement in a school buddying, mentoring or peer teaching project; their participation in summer schools or residencies with a specialist focus; library, school office or other duties they may have; or contributions to a large-scale, cross-curricular project.

Policy v)

  • More than the others, this effort highlights the artificiality of the National Curriculum by focusing on abilities expressed through the medium of ‘cross-curricular’, even ‘non-curricular’, skills and behaviours as much as those perceived within the convention of packaged ‘subjects’. This should provide an opportunity to remind student teachers how ‘knowledge- or content-heavy’ this manmade construct can often seem, in theory and classroom practice. Many of the indicators of ability enumerated here are thus not dependent on subject knowledge. There is also considerable attention given to potential, as well as realised, ability. Student teachers should note that, as the ‘extract’ hints, subject- or ‘field’-specific definitions are useful in addition to a general G & T policy, e.g. descriptors of the skills and behaviours that may typify pupils with ability in speaking and listening, reading and writing separately.

In conclusion, student teachers can be asked to compare the starkly contrasting definitions i) and v), considering the following questions:

  • How might a school fare in comparisons with other schools if using either wording? How might either definition help or hinder constructive collaboration between local schools over G & T provision? (Student teachers should see that option i) could lead to invidious league-table-type comparisons, and the feeling in some schools that they have few, or no, ‘able’ pupils. Option v) is more likely to highlight the common ground between schools in terms of their ‘G & T’ cohorts, leading to more opportunities for sharing resources, training etc. in this area.)
  • How long-lasting might either definition prove to be? How long before revision might be needed? (Of course, option i) is likely to become outdated more quickly.)
  • Which might give most scope for an ‘inclusive’ approach to able pupils, i.e. teaching to their needs in mainstream classrooms alongside, or even in amongst, other groups of learners? (For obvious reasons, option v.))

School experience task

Student teachers can be briefed to identify the member of staff in ‘their’ schools with responsibility for the G & T (probably known as ‘the G & T co-ordinator’). They could ask the co-ordinator if they can study copies of:

  • His/her job description
  • Any draft or finalised school G & T policy, plus any school definitions of ‘the G & T’/’more able’ in English
  • Any ‘school register’ or list of the school’s ‘G & T’, with an indication of criteria used and those involved in compiling it.

This activity, and/or activity 1d), leads into an exploration of the mechanics of identification and related issues covered below in Section 2.

References and Further Reading

  • Bloom. B. S. (1985) Developing Talent in Young People, New York: Ballantine
  • ‘Excellence initiative’ website accessible to all (student teachers may access the Excellence in Cities website at if they are visiting an EiC school whose staff can supply them with a username and password; otherwise at
  • Clark, B. (1979) Growing up Gifted, Columbus: Charles E. Merrill
  • Dean, G. (2003) Challenging the Able Language User, 2nd edition, London: NACE/David Fulton
  • Denton, C. and Postlethwaite, K. (1985) Able Children: Identifying them in the classroom, Windsor: NFER-Nelson
  • Department of Education, Victoria (1996) Bright Futures: Resource Book – Education of Gifted Students, State of Victoria: Department of Education
  • DfES (October 2005) Higher Standards, Better Schools for All: More choice for parents and pupils, White Paper, London: DfES;
  • Fisher, R. (1990) Teaching Children to Think, Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes
  • Gagné, F. (October 1994) ‘Gifts and talents: the value of peer nominations’, keynote address, 4th International Conference of European Council for High Ability (ECHA), University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Gardner, H. (1993) Multiple Intelligences: the theory in practice, Oxford: Basic Books
    HM Government/DfES (2004) Every Child Matters: Change for children, Nottingham: DfES, ref: DfES/1081, 1088, 1109 and 1110/2004; also at
  • Iley, P. (2005) Developing Thinking Skills in Literacy for Ages 57, London: NACE/David Fulton
  • Iley, P. (2005) Developing Thinking Skills in Literacy for Ages 711, London: NACE/David Fulton
  • Lipman, M. (1987) Philosophy for Children, Philadelphia: Temple University Press
    Monks, F. J. (1992) ‘Development of Gifted Children: The issue of identification and programming’, in Monks, F.J. and Peters, W. (eds.) Talent for the Future, Assen/Maastricht: Van Gorcum
  • OFSTED (December 2001) Providing for Gifted & Talented Pupils: An evaluation of Excellence in Cities and other grant-funded programmes, London: HMI, ref: HMI 334
  • Ogilvie, E. (1973) Gifted Children in Primary Schools, London: Macmillan
  • Porter, L. (2006) Gifted Young Children: A guide for teachers and parents, Milton Keynes: Open University Press
  • Renzulli, J. S. (1977) The Triad Enrichment Model. A guide for developing defensible programs for the gifted and talented, Mansfield Center, CN: Creative Learning Press
  • Sternberg, R. J. (1985) Beyond IQ. A triarchic theory of human intelligence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Terman, L. M. (1925) Genetic Studies of Genius. Volume I: Mental and physical traits of a thousand gifted children, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press

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  1. Who are ‘the G & T’? The Issues around Definition
  2. Where to Start? The Issues around Identification
  3. How to Organise the G & T for Learning and Teaching? Selection vs. Inclusion
  4. Which Approach/es to Provision? The Various Pedagogies of ‘Challenge’
  5. What Expertise is Needed about Ability? Generic vs. Subject-specific Progression