School Policies

written by the staff of Marston Middle School Oxford

Behaviour in School
March 1996

Equal Opportunities
July 1990

Gifted Pupils
January 1994

Special Needs
June 1993

Staff Development
September 1990

Gifted Pupils Policy
January 1994

copyright free
This policy was developed by the staff of Marston Middle School Oxford. You are welcome to download it and print it for your own personal use, or for use in a school or other educational establishment, but if you do so it would be appreciated if you would acknowledge its source.

1 Statement of philosophy

Our school aims state that we endeavour

  • to help our pupils develop their personalities, skills and abilities intellectually and socially;
  • to provide teaching which makes learning challenging and enjoyable and enables pupils to realise their potential; and that
  • we are committed to working for quality and equality of opportunity.
In the light of these aims it should be clear that we are committed to providing an environment which encourages all pupils to maximise their potential and that this clearly includes pupils who display some form of giftedness.

(See also Equal Opportunities Policy)

2 Definition

A gifted pupil is one who demonstrates a significantly higher level of ability than most pupils of the same age in one or more curriculum area or in any of the following:

  • physical talent
  • artistic talent
  • mechanical ingenuity
  • leadership
  • high intelligence
  • creativity
Eric Ogilvie (1973)

It is worth remembering that gifted pupils can be:

  • good all-rounders
  • high achievers in one area
  • of high ability but with low motivation
  • of good verbal ability but poor writing skills
  • very able with short attention span
  • very able with poor social skills
  • keen to disguise their abilities.
Deborah Eyre (1993)

3 Identification

A gifted pupil is identified through teacher assessment and judgement. This professional assessment is carried out through

  • analysis of information from first schools
  • discussion of pupils with colleagues
  • discussion with the child
  • consultation with parents/guardians
  • ongoing assessment using open ended/differentiated tasks
  • careful record keeping
  • collation of evidence (ie individual pupils' work)
Testing of individual pupils is carried out where appropriate.

4 Strategies

4.1 Institutional level

Opportunities for extension and enrichment are built into all our schemes of work.

We aim to

  • create an ethos where it is 'OK to be bright';
  • encourage all pupils to become 'independent learners'. For able pupils in particular, the library provides an invaluable resource for private study and research;
  • be aware of the effects of ethnicity, bi-lingalism, gender and social circumstances on learning and high achievement;
  • use a variety of whole school strategies including enrichment weeks/special activities (when the normal timetable is suspended and cross-curricular projects are pursued which offer pupils more choice and responsibility);
  • occasionally allow pupils to work with a different year group;
  • provide for withdrawal across year groups;
  • provide for the exceptionally able eg mentoring;
  • give pupils opportunities to serve on various working parties (eg Newsletter, Bully Court, Environment, Behaviour etc);
  • recognise achievement (teacher praise, Records of Achievement, Head's Commendation etc).
4.2 In the classroom

We understand the importance of establishing what prior knowledge, understanding and skills pupils have so as to avoid unnecessary repetition of work which is extremely demotivating.

We are aware that, especially in the older age groups, there is peer pressure to underachieve. We endeavour to combat this attitude whilst being sensitive to the need of many pupils to conform.

We are alert for the 'bright but lazy' pupil who could achieve excellent results if motivated and challenged. For all pupils, lack of motivation and challenge leads to boredom and often to behaviour problems.

Finally, we are aware of the danger of assuming that gifted pupils are easier to teach than other pupils.

The following strategies are employed where appropriate:

  • varied and flexible pupil groupings, sometimes allowing able pupils to work together, sometimes allowing them to take particular roles in mixed-ability groups;
  • differentiation by task (including differentiated homework);
  • differentiation by outcome;
  • setting individual targets.
and, most importantly, encouraging all pupils to become 'independent learners':
  • organising their own work;
  • carrying out unaided tasks which stretch their capabilities;
  • making choices about their work;
  • developing the ability to evaluate their work and so become self critical.
Pupils' abilities should be recognised and valued. Appreciation of their achievements makes an important contribution to their development.

4.3 Out of the classroom

We aim to promote

  • a wide range of extra-curricular activities and clubs;
  • enrichment weeks and local and residential trips;
  • where possible, the use of outside agencies for training and provision.

5 Monitoring the effectiveness of this policy

This policy and its effectiveness will be reviewed.

(See also Special Needs Policy)