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Developing Gifted and Talented Provision in Your Department

The Daily Digest(ive) December 2nd 2010One of the things I always think is a bit of a shame is that we have have great content at Creative (even if I do say so myself) but which only sees the light of day when someone joins us for a course.

I do think that’s a shame because some of it can be selected out relatively easily and we could help others by sharing it.

So this morning I could some time to look through our course on Stretching the Gifted and Talented in Geography. I really liked the content and thought it would be applicable to lots of other departments too.

So you are looking to develop G&T provision, hopefully this post should have a lot to offer.

1) Understand Where You Are

One of the first steps, particularly if you’ve just started to head up your department, is to get a firm grasp of exactly where provision for gifted and talented is in your team. There are a number of ways you can get evidence for this – lesson observations, pupil achievement and progress, discussions with the pupils themselves. All of these will help you build up a picture of what the current strengths and weaknesses are.

To help you I’ve attached a G&T Audit that allows you to record those judgements.

 

2) Develop a Sound Policy

The departmental G&T policy needn’t be complicated, rather it should be a working document that sets out clearly to the other teachers in your department what support and challenge you expect to give your gifted students and how you expect to do that. You want to provide something that will give your department consistency in approach rather than a straightjacket that will create extra boxes to tick.

I’ve attached a G&T Policy from a Geography department, which of course you can adapt to your own needs and requirements. An MFL department might have quite different G&T strategies than a Geography one.

Your whole school G&T Co-ordinator will be a useful source of help and guidance here, both for writing your departmental policy but also for making sure that it dovetails with wider school approaches.

 

3) Identify Your Gifted and Talented

If you’re going to track progress you need to identify who you mean by gifted and talented. If your school has a definition use that one, but otherwise it’s up to your own discretion and there are a range of schools of thought on it. Personally I’ve always taken a broad view of gifted and talented – let’s be honest it’s all differentiation really – but if you want to see your programme work you need to be clear who it’s targeted at.

There’s a section from the old QCDA website that had some useful guidance on how to identify gifted Geographers . There’s also the table below which could easily be applied to other subjects.

More able/gifted geographer: Bright pupil: 
  • is highly interested and curious
  • discusses in detail
  • asks questions: challenges
  • draws inferences, what if…
  • observant
  • initiates ideas and work
  • expresses novel or wacky ideas
  • makes a good guess when unsure
  • always has an answer
  • uses data and manipulates information
  • likes and sees things in a complex way
  • enjoys geography
  • likes to talk with adults
  • is interested
  • knows an answer
  • has high prior attainment
  • grasps the meaning of an idea.
  • is aware and alert in the lesson
  • expresses good, novel and sensible ideas
  • enjoys the lesson/school
  • has a good memory
  • enjoys learning, it comes easy
  • is receptive to new facts and ideas
  • absorbs information
  • enjoys working with peers


4) Develop Stretching Activities

In many respects this is the most important aspect. Get your department together and share ideas. What different types of activity have colleagues used to develop gifted students in your subject? Even better – if you have a department member who’s particularly strong in this area get them to lead the session to help get ideas flowing. Even if with individual teachers your department needs a lot of work to improve its G&T provision, together you’ve got enough strategies and knowledge to be an excellent practitioner.

 

I hope you found that helpful. We haven’t previous given out a lot of actual resources on the blog so I’d love to have your feedback about whether you enjoyed the post.

One response to “Developing Gifted and Talented Provision in Your Department”

  1. Avatar Tracy May says:

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and found your break down of points a useful tool. I currently have three students whom I believe are G&T in Maths. I will use the points you have mentioned whilst assessing them to see if they meet the criteria. I believe that the line between bright and G&T is so fine and it is also dependant upon the others within a group for example if the class is made up mainly low ability students you believe the brighter ones to be G&T.
    In my school we are starting up an achievement centre that caters for the lower ability and now after much complaining from me the G&T students also. I strongly believe that these students are forgotten about, after all we have TA’s to support the Lower ability students but who supports the G&T and what is in place for them? My three students could sit their GCSE in Maths early but we do not have the resources for them at the present time – so are we failing them? Lots of improvement is needed in order to meet their needs. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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Tom Hesmondhalgh

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