Gifted and Talented

Working Together to Support Able Students

If you are the parent of a child of outstanding ability, or one with a special talent in a particular area, you are almost certainly aware of it.

This section explains our systems and policies for working with the most able children and answering some of the most common questions about how we provide for them.

What do we mean when we say a child is ‘bright’, ‘able’ or ‘gifted?

On national scales the top 20% of the ability range are regarded as ‘more able’ and the top 2% as ‘exceptional’.

How bright is my child?

These examples are taken from a checklist produced by the Maryland Council for Gifted and Talented Children

Bright child

Knows the answers
Is interested
Pays attention
Has good ideas
Works hard
Answers the questions
In the 'top' group
Listens with interest
Learns with ease
Understands ideas
Grasps the meaning
Completes assignments
Is receptive
Copies accurately
Enjoys school
Absorbs information
Is a good technician
Good at memorising
Is alert
Is pleased with own work

Gifted child

Asks the questions
Is extremely curious
Gets completely involved
Has wild 'silly' ideas
Loses concentration but does well in tests
Questions the answers
Beyond any group
Shows strong feelings
Already knows
Constructs abstract theories
Draws inferences
Initiates projects
Is intense
Creates a new design
Enjoys learning
Applies information
Is an inventor
Good at guessing
Is keenly observant
Is highly self-critical

What are the signs we might see at home?

Caution: these rarely all occur together

  • good powers of reasoning

  • extensive general knowledge

  • good memory

  • interest in words – may sometimes hesitate while searching for the correct word

  • awareness of hidden meanings and subtleties

  • creativity

  • intellectual curiosity – wanting to know why

  • sensitivity to distress in others and to injustice

How do we meet the needs of able children in school?

Much research has been carried out into the effects of setting pupils by ability and the results are inconclusive – however, two key points seem to appear regularly:

  • pupils succeed best when working within a system that the teacher is comfortable and confident with;

  • whatever grouping system is used, pupils need to be treated as individuals – even in a high ability set, each

  • pupil has individual strengths and weaknesses and these need to be recognised and catered for.

At St Peters some activities are grouped by ability, others are not - all lessons are expected to provide:

  • differentiated work within the classroom to ensure that all students can achieve;

  • varied approaches in lessons;

  • supplementary resources and activities to stimulate and extend pupils and enrich their learning;

  • opportunities to work in groups and teams.

How can you best support your child’s education at home?

  • Give plenty of encouragement;

  • Don’t assume that reading and writing will always be a pleasure;

  • Visit places of interest: museums, concerts, art galleries, sporting events;

  • Enable them to read specialist magazines / explore their interests;

  • Provide opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills: to invent, to imagine ‘what would happen if . . . ?’, to discuss, to explore ideas;

  • Provide opportunities to experience failure – within a supportive and encouraging environment;

  • Attend Review Interviews in school and encourage your child to set challenging but achievable action points for academic and personal development.

Parent Consulation Meetings

During the school year you will be invited to attend a Parent Consulation Meeting to discuss your child’s progress. These informal meetings are designed to provide opportunities to monitor progress and agree action points to ensure continued improvement. To make the most of these discussions, we suggest that, before you come, you:

  • read your child’s report carefully;

  • discuss how well your child has succeeded with the last set of action points;

  • consider what areas might be appropriate for new action points.

Our partnership

At St Peter's, we like to work in partnership with our pupils and their parents and we would like to know of any concerns you may have. We all want your child to achieve his or her full potential in all aspects of school life.

Should you have a concern about your child’s education at St Peter's please speak to your child's class teacher in the first instance.