Terms such as “the most able” have been used to identify particularly able pupils. A convention has arisen whereby the terms “gifted” and “talented” have come into use. “Gifted” is often used to indicate special academic aptitude and “talented” to refer to pupils who are extremely able in the areas of creativity, sport, the expressive arts or, indeed, other areas. The organisation Children of High Intelligence identifies the top 2% of the population as the specially able (top 5% of under 7s). In England the DfES has defined gifted and talented pupils as those in the top 5% to 10% of the population of any mainstream school. This paper will assume a fairly broad definition.
Points Arising from Research
| Achievement is more closely related to social class than to ability. Fostering the abilities of able but disadvantaged pupils is a key element of inclusion.| | Negative peer pressure can create an environment in which being a high achiever is not “cool” in “academic” subjects (boys are especially likely to be affected by this).| | Focusing on provision for very able pupils can raise overall standards in a school.| | Special abilities need to be nurtured and will not necessarily develop of their own accord. Darwin and Einstein did not do particularly well at school and many high achievers in contemporary society were not successful at school.| | Lack of challenge can demotivate able pupils.|
| Equal Opportunities requirements mean that the most able pupils have special entitlements.| Key Elements of the Gifted and Talented Issue
Identification of Gifted and Talented pupils
Identifying these pupils is perhaps the most important and most difficult task. | Some approaches focus on previously demonstrated academic ability, but it is perhaps more useful to think in terms of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (see Toolkit section on Multiple Intelligences)...