Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up: Number Four

This is the fourth in my series of monthly round-ups of @GiftedPhoenix Twitter activity related to gifted education and associated subjects.

It covers the period from 12 January 2012 to 21 February inclusive.

I have continued to provide fairly comprehensive coverage with tweets organised into three categories:

  • News items on gifted education outside the UK
  • News and comment on issues pertinent to gifted education within the UK
  • Research and opinion

but this time I am experimenting with sub-categories since there are so many different entries. I have also abandoned chronological order.

I have only included tweets that contain a hyperlink to another source. (I haven’t rechecked that all these work, so apologies if you encounter any broken links.)

The vast majority are my own tweets; a handful are modified tweets or retweets of originals sent by others. I have stripped out all addresses and hashtags except where they are essential to make sense of the tweet.

I have also corrected a few typos – otherwise the wording is unchanged.

If you have any suggestions about how I can improve the presentation of these records of my Twitter activity, please don’t hesitate to suggest them using the comments facility below.

Global Gifted Education

Google has launched its online Science Fair 2012 – – ages 13-18

Twice-exceptional Newsletter Jan 23 2012 –

Twice Exceptional Newsletter January 26 2012 –

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter 2 February 2012 –


The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls also attempts to overcome a troubled history –

The African Children Talent Discovery Foundation – – has partnered with Cry for Help –

Surprised to see African Council for Gifted and Talented still listed as World Council affiliate on new WCGTC website:

This is why I’m surprised the African Council remains an affiliate of World Council for Gifted and Talented Children:

The Americas

Interview with David H Feldman of Tufts on gifted and gifted education –

The new Director at CTY writes about gifted education in Maryland –

CEC comments on absence of gifted education from President’s 2013 budget –

US NAGC statement on 2013 Budget:

Looks like the Obama budget continues to fund gifted education in Guam – – even though funding has gone in USA!

Details of US NAGC’s Call for Board Nominations –

Gifted education in Kentucky USA (where it’s Gifted Education Week next week) –

How long before the first UK school is caught feeding concentration enhancing drugs to its borderline students?

NYT article on the achievement gap – – including the impact of the recession on said gap

Short profile of Bard College at Simon’s Rock (never sure whether I have that the right way round!) –

Hispanic representation in Colorado gifted programmes –

February is Gifted and Talented Education Month in Maryland USA –

Massachusetts, California and Oklahoma are considering ‘creativity and innovation indices’ for their schools –

A ‘federal grant for highly gifted students’ is paying $188,000 for 215 gifted students to go to summer school? Which?

US NCEE has launched Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB)

Gifted Education and the Law in the US. Good overview!

Not sure why it’s a problem for Houston to have too many gifted students: It’s all about how you support them


When Yale Meets Confucius – tensions between the liberal arts tradition and Singapore’s education system:

Curtin University honours founder of Malaysia’s Permata Pintar gifted programme: Here’s my post:

Singapore’s Arts and Culture Strategic Review recommends Talent Development Centres for gifted young people –

Bahrain and Palestine have discussed collaboration in gifted education –

Report of a press conference on the upcoming Asia-Pacific gifted education conference in Dubai –

Latest Giftedness 2012 E-blast

UAE’s Innovation By You (IBY) awards for gifted young inventors – (They have to be ‘Big Boys’ Toys’!)

Upcoming professional development offered by the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) –

Hong Kong Academy and the Education Bureau have established their CPD framework in gifted education:

More about Hong Kong’s Professional Development Framework in Gifted Education:

Gifted China – – IRATDE conference in Beijing in April


New Zealand Government’s TKI Gifted Education website is being updated: here’s the new section on 2e –

Salutary that lots of our old English gifted education resources are used and valued in New Zealand:

Schools in Western Australia are struggling to meet gifted learners’ needs says Murdoch University academic –


A comparison of Dutch and American approaches to (gifted) education:

Javier Touron has started a new blog in Spanish called Talent and Education –

Sept 2012 Münster Germany 13th International ECHA Conference Giftedness Across the Lifespan

Gifted Education Awareness Week 2012 in Ireland begins on 27 February:

UK Gifted Education and Related Topics

Grammar Schools

A more nuanced perspective on grammar schools ahead of part 2 of BBC4’s historical documentary tonight

Fiona Millar weighs in on grammar schools Moreover 11+ is now partly a test of effort (and income for tutors)

Several Lords PQs on satellite grammar schools – (Col WA185) – Limited answer however

Lords Question yesterday on GS expansion in which Lord Hill mentions gifted learners – (Col 340)

Peter Wilby says academy converter grammar schools could be closed down by ‘a future Crosland’ at the drop of a hat –

I can’t see how you can deny GS the right to expand if non-selective schools are to keep that right – – what rationale?

More curate’s eggy commentary on grammar schools, coupled with righteous indignation –

What’s the Point of Grammar Schools? –

No real answer to this Lords PQ asking whether existing grammar schools could open ‘chains’ of annexes –

@toadmeister has produced the best piece on GS in the latest spate – – but this argument will run and run

Types of school

Ormiston Victory Academy first to propose a 16-19 STEM free school in direct competition with itself: without UEA?

TES on 16-19 maths free schools: holds up Russian Kolmogorov School as an exemplar supposedly favoured by DFE

This story made me wonder if 16-19 academies and maintained 6FCs could select in 14 year-old gifted students

Background on the London 16-19 STEM Academy: One of those getting NSN development funding

Eton’s involvement in the London Academy of Excellence, a 16-19 selective free school and a missed opportunity

TES report on Class, one of two ballet free school proposals in preparation – – How will they align with MDS scheme?

Peter Lampl again pushes open access to independent schools: Says MGS and others will adopt if Government pays

Martin Stephen rightly condemns Lampl’s independent school scholarships for gifted as denuding state sector

Will Lampl use much-delayed Sutton Trust report on gifted learners to puff his misguided open access scheme?

Performance Tables, Tests and Qualifications

Some rather interesting FoI data showing the number of AABs and above for every school in England –

A level grade A* gaining traction in HE admissions –

ACME to consult on new post-GCSE maths course for those not doing A level: but still silent on 16-19 maths free schools

Pearson seem to suggest S level-type qualifications at 16 and 18 via a panel of ‘leading HE subject experts’ –

Pearson said to be proposing ‘tough new GCSEs and A levels set above expected standard’ for gifted students

Standards and Testing Agency is surveying reasons for schools not taking up optional L6 tests:

Focus on ‘high achievers’ in performance tables welcome: – but will ‘naming and shaming’ eradicate underachievement?

It would help Pupil Premium targeting if the ‘high achievers’ criterion was overlaid on the FSM criterion:

More from CMPO about the problems associated with the new approach to segmentation in tomorrow’s performance tables –

The KS2 Assessment and Reporting Arrangements booklet for 2012, including details of L6 tests –

Class of 30 at Winifred Holtby School Hull take GCSE English in Year 8: next is Eng Lit in Y9 + A level in Y10 #gtvoice

Except that lots of those Winifred Holtby grades were Bs, Cs and Ds – – I hope they don’t regret that later…#gtvoice

KS4 destinations indicator planned for publication in May 2012 – (Col 41W) – what about the KS5 destinations indicator?

DfE article on internally marked KS2 L6 English writing test: – Downloadable from Friday 24 February

Fair Access to HE and Social Mobility

Direct link to today’s Barnardo’s critical Report on the operation of the 16-19 Bursary Fund –

The relative benefits of bursaries and fee waivers in supporting disadvantaged students to access HE:

One could reasonably conclude from this piece that the quality of teaching at Oxford is seriously compromised –

Strange how Ebdon’s being pilloried when both DFE and BIS have policy targets to increase FSM entry to competitive HE:

Upcoming Milburn report may inflame silly fair access row: Both admissions and attainment need attention

Splendid! Cambridge’s Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic reaches out to gifted learners in schools:

Direct link to Sutton Trust summer schools evaluation supporting progression to competitive HE:

Tomorrow’s DEMOS report will advocate a centralised means-tested bursary/waiver scheme –

Lots of new access data from Oxford: – but DfE at least is interested primarily in increased ex-FSM admissions

Sutton Trust announces Independent Commission to review impact of tuition fees: Hutton, Machin, Lampl (and Purves!) –

Southwark’s working with Cambridge and UCL on progression to HE for disadvantaged gifted learners

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on social mobility – (Col 241WH)

No sign of this Tory Fair Access report yet: but God forbid that it leads on an independent school voucher

BiS confirms Ebdon appointment to OFFA: – Linked Cable letter to Select Committee is worth a read

The Hansard record of yesterday’s urgent question on OFFA: (Col 609ff)


Good Royal Society ICT report, but doesn’t properly delineate progression pathway for gifted learners:

The timing of the Royal Society’s Review of maths and science education doesn’t fit well with the NC Review –

Who can tell us more about the Children’s University Challenge: for most able 9-13 year-olds in existing CUs?

Why is DfE evaluating Pupil Premium for only 12 months? – Where is the promised independent longitudinal evaluation?

West Sussex examining options for supporting gifted out of school activities when £80K council subsidy goes:

Damian Hinds PQ on gifted children: (Col 12W) – Not sure why the reply doesn’t utilise school census data…

Damian Hinds follow-up on gifted children data: (Col 637W) Is this 1st formal statement of end of Programme?

Anonymised NPD data will be made available by DfE ‘from June 2012’ – (Col WA249)

Chairman of the Prince’s Teaching Institute concerned at insufficient challenge for higher attaining pupils:

Twigg: ‘schools should be far more ambitious for their bright pupils’ –

DfE’s issued an EoI for research on aspirations-raising for high-achieving disadvantaged learners:

Is the Government’s new youth sport strategy any good?

Research and opinion

Australian Grattan Institute reports on what we can learn from leading Asian education systems: Largely ignores gifted

Has Dweck’s Mindset work become little more than a cash cow?

Brief round-up of new Excellence Gap research including Plucker’s update on ‘Mind the Other Gap’:

How teachers’ fixed views of intelligence can hold students back:

How cluster grouping helps gifted learners and others achieve their potential

The right kind of constraints can support creativity and individuals’ creative development – by @sbkaufman :

Direct link to today’s RSA Report ‘Solving the Maths Problem: international perspectives on mathematics education’ –

Is Giftedness Nothing More than Good Genes? by Brain Blogger

The complex relationship between conscientiousness (drive to work hard/practice) and creativity –

Dabrowski and the self-education of gifted adults –

What I’m Really Thinking: The Brainbox –

Aspirations! Are they a barrier to educational attainment? North East Child Poverty blog

Post defending IQ as an admission instrument for gifted education programmes –

The case for using teaching strategies developed for gifted learners with all learners –

The science of success – the difference between ‘orchid and dandelion children’ –

Jan 2012 Gifted Education International online edition: theme is new technologies and virtual learning –

Here’s the original research behind the Mail’s ‘ being in a group lowers your intelligence’ story –

Research into how ‘expressed IQ’ can be influenced in small group settings –

Sally Reis presentation on identification in gifted and talented programmes – – new I think

Reporting GCSE performance by groups is fraught with problems: – would reporting by sub-levels help?

Selective achievement: Following a passion may be more productive than piling on more courses:

Excellent – top 10 ways to annoy a gifted child:

If Charles Murray is right then eliminating the ‘overclass’ is a fundamental social mobility issue –

2012 Brown Center Report on US Education includes a valuable commentary on Misinterpreting International Test Scores:

Growing Old Gifted by Annemarie Roeper from SENG

Douglas Eby on the relationship between creativity and intelligence:

Roeper Review is calling for papers on Gifted Education and Social Inequality, deadline 20 May 2012 –

Talent Mobility Good Practices – by World Economic Forum. Includes Saudi Aramco case study

Why does some people’s intelligence age better than others?

And here’s the Sutton Trust’s ‘historical research’ on state-funded direct grant places before 1976 –

I hope that you found something interesting and worthwhile!


February 2012

GT Voice Issues A Policy Statement on the English School Performance Tables

The elected Board of GT Voice, the UK-based Network supporting gifted and talented education, has issued its first Policy Statement, reacting to to the English School Performance Tables just published.

The Statement, reproduced below, sets out a range of concerns. It calls on the Government to:

 ‘develop, consult on and publish a clear strategy to eradicate [high attainers’ underachievement], drawing on the expertise of schools that successfully buck this trend and other professionals in the field with advice and support to offer.’

and, by that means, to address the concerns it has raised.



Friday 3 February 2012

GT Voice welcomes the separate analysis of high attainers’ achievement within the Primary and Secondary School Performance Tables.

It also supports the Government’s decision to make available optional Level 6 tests in reading, writing and maths at KS2. We look to all primary schools to give all secure Level 5 performers the opportunity to demonstrate achievement above the Level 5 ceiling – and to take the optional tests if they can do so.

But GT Voice is concerned:

  1. That the methodology used to define ‘high attainers’ in the Performance Tables has many limitations. On one hand, it is pitched low in the sense that it includes all learners who are performing above the expected level; on the other hand, it requires learners to achieve that level in English and maths (and science too in the case of the secondary tables) thus excluding those who may excel in one of these areas but not the other(s). It also excludes all learners who attain highly in other parts of the school curriculum and, of course, those who have not yet been able to translate high potential into high attainment.
  1. That, without further support and incentives to do so – including proper reflection in the Primary Performance Tables – too many primary schools will disregard the optional tests, or will not invest sufficiently in the quality of teaching required to support learners to achieve Level 6.
  1. At the removal from the School Census – without consultation – of the gifted and talented indicator with effect from January 2012. That would have provided a valuable alternative and parallel measure, based on schools’ ‘best fit’ judgements of ability rather than attainment.
  1. At the statistical problems associated with defining high attainers so broadly. This has been criticised because it will tend to favour schools with relatively more advantaged intakes. It would be helpful to isolate the performance of high-attaining disadvantaged pupils, so it becomes possible to establish whether policies aimed at ‘narrowing the gap’ (such as the Pupil Premium) are benefiting them. They are amongst those most likely to progress to competitive universities, so helping the Government towards one of its key social mobility indicators. It would also be helpful to undertake and publish further analysis by sub-groups within the high attaining group. One possibility would be to define these by reference to National Curriculum sub-levels, or equivalent Average Point Scores.
  1. At this incontrovertible evidence of significant underachievement by high attainers, particularly in the primary sector:
  • Almost 4 in 10 high attaining primary pupils did not achieve the expected 2+ levels of progress between KS1 and KS2 in English and maths together;
  • Only 77% of high attaining primary pupils made the expected 2+ levels of progress in English, significantly less than the percentage of ‘middle attainers’ who did so (89%) and slightly less than the percentage of ‘low attainers’ (80%)
  • According to a report in the Daily Mail, some 1,300 high attaining primary pupils spread across 800 schools remained at Level 3 at the end of KS2, having been at Level 3 at the end of KS1.
  • At secondary level, 1 in every 20 secondary high attainers failed to achieve 5+ GCSEs at Grades A*-C including English and maths. Approximately 1 in 8 secondary high attainers did not make the expected 3+ levels of progress in English and approximately 1 in 7 did not do so in maths.

All this despite the fact that the current progression expectations (2+/3+ levels of progress) are insufficiently challenging for a significant proportion of high attaining pupils.

  1. At the proposal in the Report of the National Curriculum Review Expert Panel that National Curriculum levels should be dispensed with (despite 67% of the respondents to the Review’s Call for Evidence saying that they should remain in place). The Expert Panel also failed to respond properly to their remit to advise on securing progression for able pupils. Given that they offered no viable alternative, the idea of withdrawing NC levels is particularly unhelpful.

While the Performance Tables may ‘shine a light’ on high attainers’ underachievement, GT Voice believes that the Government must develop, consult on and publish a clear strategy to eradicate it, drawing on the expertise of schools that successfully buck this trend and other professionals in the field with advice and support to offer. This strategy should address all of the issues outlined above.

GT Voice is a national network united in support of the interests of able, gifted and high attaining learners. We offer our expertise to help the Government, our schools and educators to tackle such underachievement wherever it occurs – and to help establish the best means of supporting the progression of high attaining learners within the revised National Curriculum.

Note: The GT Voice Board has prepared this statement on behalf of the GT Voice Network. It is intended to state our position to those outside the Network and to promote further discussion within it. GT Voice statements do not necessarily reflect the unanimous view of every Network member.