Gifted Phoenix 2014 Review and Retrospective


I am rounding out this year’s blogging with my customary backwards look at the various posts I published during 2014.

This is partly an exercise in self-congratulation but also flags up to readers any potentially useful posts they might have missed.



Norwegian Panorama by Gifted Phoenix


This is my 32nd post of the year, three fewer than the 35 I published in 2013. Even so, total blog views have increased by 20% compared with 2013.

Almost exactly half of these views originate in the UK. Other countries generating a large number of views include the United States, Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Canada and South Korea. The site has been visited this year by readers located in157 different countries.

My most popular post during 2014 was Gifted Education in Singapore: Part 2, which was published back in May 2012. This continues to attract interest in Singapore!

The most popular post written during 2014 was The 2013 Transition Matrices and High Attainers’ Performance (January).

Other 2014 posts that attracted a large readership were:

This illustrates just how strongly the accountability regime features in the priorities of English educators.

I have continued to feature comparatively more domestic topics: approximately 75% of my posts this year have been about the English education system. I have not ventured beyond these shores since September.

The first section below reviews the minority of posts with a global perspective; the second covers the English material. A brief conclusion offers my take on future prospects.


Global Gifted Education

I began the year by updating my Blogroll, with the help of responses to Gifted Education Activity in the Blogosphere and on Twitter.

This post announced the creation of a Twitter list containing all the feeds I can find that mention gifted education (or a similar term, whether in English or another language) in their profile.

I have continued to update the list, which presently includes 1,312 feeds and has 22 subscribers. If you want to be included – or have additions to suggest – please don’t hesitate to tweet me.

While we’re on the subject, I should take this opportunity to thank my 5,960 Twitter followers, an increase of some 28% compared with this time last year.

In February I published A Brief Discussion about Gifted Labelling and its Permanency. This recorded a debate I had on Twitter about whether the ‘gifted label’ might be used more as a temporary marker than a permanent sorting device.

March saw the appearance of How Well Does Gifted Education Use Social Media?

This proposed some quality criteria for social media usage and blogs/websites that operate within the field of gifted education.

It also reviewed the social media activity of six key players (WCGTC, ECHA, NAGC, SENG, NACE and Potential Plus UK) as well as wider activity within the blogosphere, on five leading social media platforms and utilising four popular content creation tools.

Some of the websites mentioned above have been recast since the post was published and are now much improved (though I claim no direct influence).

Also in March I published What Has Become of the European Talent Network? Part One and Part Two.

These posts were scheduled just ahead of a conference organised by the Hungarian sponsors of the network. I did not attend, fearing that the proceedings would have limited impact on the future direction of this once promising initiative. I used the posts to set out my reservations, which include a failure to engage with constructive criticism.

Part One scrutinises the Hungarian talent development model on which the European Network is based. Part Two describes the halting progress made by to date. It identifies several deficiencies that need to be addressed if the Network is to have a significant and lasting impact on pan-European support for talent development and gifted education.

During April I produced PISA 2012 Creative Problem Solving: International Comparison of High Achievers’ Performance

This analyses the performance of high achievers from a selection of 11 jurisdictions – either world leaders or prominent English-speaking nations – on the PISA 2012 Creative Problem Solving assessment.

It is a companion piece to a 2013 post which undertook a similar analysis of the PISA 2012 assessments in Reading, Maths and Science.

In May I contributed to the Hoagies’ Bloghop for that month.

Air on the ‘G’ String: Hoagies’ Bloghop, May 2014 was my input to discussion about the efficacy of ‘the G word’ (gifted). I deliberately produced a provocative and thought-provoking piece which stirred typically intense reactions in several quarters.

Finally, September saw the production of Beware the ‘short head’: PISA’s Resilient Students’ Measure.

This takes a closer look at the relatively little-known PISA ‘resilient students’ measure – focused on high achievers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds – and how well different jurisdictions perform against it.

The title reflects the post’s conclusion that, like many other countries, England:

‘…should be worrying as much about our ‘short head’ as our ‘long tail’’.

And so I pass seamlessly on to the series of domestic posts I published during 2014…


English Education Policy

My substantive post in January was High Attainment in the 2013 Secondary and 16-18 Performance Tables, an analysis of the data contained in last year’s Tables and the related statistical publications.

Also in January I produced a much briefer commentary on The 2013 Transition Matrices and High Attainers’ Performance.

The purpose of these annual posts (and the primary equivalent which appears each December) is to synthesise data about the performance of high attainers and high attainment at national level, so that schools can more easily benchmark their own performance.

In February I wrote What Becomes of Schools that Fail their High Attainers?*

It examines the subsequent history of schools that recorded particularly poor results with high attainers in the Secondary Performance Tables. (The asterisk references a footnote apologising ‘for this rather tabloid title’.)

By March I was focused on Challenging NAHT’s Commission on Assessment subjecting the Commission’s Report to a suitably forensic examination and offering a parallel series of recommendations derived from it.

My April Fool’s joke this year was Plans for a National Centre for Education Research into Free Schools (CERFS). This has not materialised but, had our previous Secretary of State for Education not been reshuffled, I’m sure it would have been only a matter of time!

Also in April I was Unpacking the Primary Assessment and Accountability Reforms, exposing some of the issues and uncertainties embodied in the government’s response to consultation on its proposals.

Some of the issues I highlighted eight months ago are now being more widely discussed – not least the nature of the performance descriptors, as set out in the recent consultation exercise dedicated to those.

But the reform process is slow. Many other issues remain unresolved and it seems increasingly likely that some of the more problematic will be delayed deliberately until after the General Election.

May was particularly productive, witnessing four posts, three of them substantial:

  • How well is Ofsted reporting on the most able? explores how Ofsted inspectors are interpreting the references to the attainment and progress of the most able added to the Inspection Handbook late last year. The sample comproses the 87 secondary inspection reports that were published in March 2014. My overall assessment? Requires Improvement.



  • A Closer Look at Level 6 is a ‘data-driven analysis of Level 6 performance’. As well as providing a baseline against which to assess future Level 6 achievement, this also identifies several gaps in the published data and raises as yet unanswered questions about the nature of the new tests to be introduced from 2016.
  • One For The Echo Chamber was prompted by The Echo Chamber reblogging service, whose founder objected that my posts are too long, together with the ensuing Twitter debate. Throughout the year the vast majority of my posts have been unapologetically detailed and thorough. They are intended as reference material, to be quarried and revisited, rather than the disposable vignettes that so many seem to prefer. To this day they get reblogged on The Echo Chamber only when a sympathetic moderator is undertaking the task.
  • ‘Poor but Bright’ v ‘Poor but Dim’ arose from another debate on Twitter, sparked by a blog post which argued that the latter are a higher educational priority than the former. I argued that both deserved equal priority, since it is inequitable to discriminate between disadvantaged learners on the basis of prior attainment and the economic arguments cut both ways. This issue continues to bubble like a subterranean stream, only to resurface from time to time, most recently when the Fair Education Alliance proposed that the value of pupil premium allocations attached to disadvantaged high attainers should be halved.

In June I asked Why Can’t We Have National Consensus on Educating High Attainers? and proposed a set of core principles that might form the basis for such consensus.

These were positively received. Unfortunately though, the necessary debate has not yet taken place.



The principles should be valuable to schools considering how best to respond to Ofsted’s increased scrutiny of their provision for the most able. Any institution considering how best to revitalise its provision might discuss how the principles should be interpreted to suit their particular needs and circumstances.

July saw the publication of Digging Beneath the Destination Measures which explored the higher education destinations statistics published the previous month.

It highlighted the relatively limited progress made towards improving the progression of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to selective universities.

There were no posts in August, half of which was spent in Norway, taking the photographs that have graced some of my subsequent publications.

In September I produced What Happened to the Level 6 Reading Results? an investigation into the mysterious collapse of L6 reading test results in 2014.

Test entries increased significantly. So did the success rates on the other level 6 tests (in maths and in grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS)).  Even teacher assessment of L6 reading showed a marked upward trend.

Despite all this, the number of pupils successful on the L6 reading test fell from 2,062 in 2013 to 851 (provisional). The final statistics – released only this month – show a marginal improvement to 935, but the outcome is still extremely disappointing. No convincing explanation has been offered and the impact on 2015 entries is unlikely to be positive.

That same month I published Closing England’s Excellence Gaps: Part One and Part Two.

These present the evidence base relating to high attainment gaps between disadvantaged and other learners, to distinguish what we know from what remains unclear and so to provide a baseline for further research.

The key finding is that the evidence base is both sketchy and fragmented. We should understand much more than we do about the size and incidence of excellence gaps. We should be strengthening the evidence base as part of a determined strategy to close the gaps.



In October 16-19 Maths Free Schools Revisited marked a third visit to the 16-19 maths free schools programme, concentrating on progress since my previous post in March 2013, especially at the two schools which have opened to date.

I subsequently revised the post to reflect an extended series of tweeted comments from Dominic Cummings, who was a prime mover behind the programme. The second version is called 16-19 Maths Free Schools Revisited: Oddyssean Edition .

The two small institutions at KCL and Exeter University (both very similar to each other) constitute a rather limited outcome for a project that was intended to generate a dozen innovative university-sponsored establishments. There is reportedly a third school in the pipeline but, as 2014 closes, details have yet to be announced.

Excellence Gaps Quality Standard: Version One is an initial draft of a standard encapsulating effective whole school practice in supporting disadvantaged high attainers. It updates and adapts the former IQS for gifted and talented education.

This first iteration needs to be trialled thoroughly, developed and refined but, even as it stands, it offers another useful starting point for schools reviewing the effectiveness of their own provision.

The baseline standard captures the essential ‘non-negotiables’ intended to be applicable to all settings. The exemplary standard is pitched high and should challenge even the most accomplished of schools and colleges.

All comments and drafting suggestions are welcome.



In November I published twin studies of The Politics of Setting and The Politics of Selection: Grammar Schools and Disadvantage.

These issues have become linked since Prime Minister Cameron has regularly proposed an extension of the former as a response to calls on the right wing of his party for an extension of the latter.

This was almost certainly the source of autumn media rumours that a strategy, originating in Downing Street, would be launched to incentivise and extend setting.

Newly installed Secretary of State Morgan presumably insisted that existing government policy (which leaves these matters entirely to schools) should remain undisturbed. However, the idea might conceivably be resuscitated for the Tory election manifesto.

Now that UKIP has confirmed its own pro-selection policy there is pressure on the Conservative party to resolve its internal tensions on the issue and identify a viable alternative position. But the pro-grammar lobby is unlikely to accept increased setting as a consolation prize…



Earlier in December I added a companion piece to ‘The Politics of Selection’.

How Well Do Grammar Schools Perform With Disadvantaged Students? reveals that the remaining 163 grammar schools have very different records in this respect. The poor performance of a handful is a cause for concern.

I also published High Attainment in the 2014 Primary School Performance Tables – another exercise in benchmarking, this time for primary schools interested in how well they support high attainers and high attainment.

This shows that HMCI’s recent distinction between positive support for the most able in the primary sector and a much weaker record in secondary schools is not entirely accurate. There are conspicuous weaknesses in the primary sector too.

Meanwhile, Chinese learners continue to perform extraordinarily well on the Level 6 maths test, achieving an amazing 35% success rate, up six percentage points since 2013. This domestic equivalent of the Shanghai phenomenon bears closer investigation.

My penultimate post of the year HMCI Ups the Ante on the Most Able collates all the references to the most able in HMCI’s 2014 Annual Report and its supporting documentation.

It sets out Ofsted’s plans for the increased scrutiny of schools and for additional survey reports that reflect this scrutiny.

It asks the question whether Ofsted’s renewed emphasis will be sufficient to rectify the shortcomings they themselves identify and – assuming it will not – outlines an additional ten-step plan to secure system-wide improvement.


So what are the prospects for 2015 and beyond?

My 2013 Retrospective was decidedly negative about the future of global gifted education:

‘The ‘closed shop’ is as determinedly closed as ever; vested interests are shored up; governance is weak. There is fragmentation and vacuum where there should be inclusive collaboration for the benefit of learners. Too many are on the outside, looking in. Too many on the inside are superannuated and devoid of fresh ideas.’

Despite evidence of a few ‘green shoots’’ during 2014, my overall sense of pessimism remains.

Meanwhile, future prospects for high attainers in England hang in the balance.

Several of the Coalition Government’s education reforms have been designed to shift schools’ focus away from borderline learners, so that every learner improves, including those at the top of the attainment distribution.

On the other hand, Ofsted’s judgement that a third of secondary inspections this year

‘…pinpointed specific problems with teaching the most able’

would suggest that schools’ everyday practice falls some way short of this ideal.

HMCI’s commitment to champion the interests of the most able is decidedly positive but, as suggested above, it might not be enough to secure the necessary system-wide improvement.

Ofsted is itself under pressure and faces an uncertain future, regardless of the election outcome. HMCI’s championing might not survive the arrival of a successor.

It seems increasingly unlikely that any political party’s election manifesto will have anything significant to say about this topic, unless  the enthusiasm for selection in some quarters can be harnessed and redirected towards the much more pertinent question of how best to meet the needs of all high attainers in all schools and colleges, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

But the entire political future is shrouded in uncertainty. Let’s wait and see how things are shaping up on the other side of the election.

From a personal perspective I am closing in on five continuous years of edutweeting and edublogging.

I once expected to extract from this commitment benefits commensurate with the time and energy invested. But that is no longer the case, if indeed it ever was.

I plan to call time at the end of this academic year.



December 2014

Gifted Education Activity in the Blogosphere and on Twitter


4-Eyes-resized-greenjacketfinalI have been doing some groundwork for an impending analysis of the coverage of gifted education (and related issues) in social media – and reflecting on how that has changed in the four years I have been involved.

As a first step I revised my Blogroll (normally found in the right hand margin, immediately below the Archives).

I decided to include only Blogs that have published three or more relevant posts in the last six months – and came up with the following list of 23, which I have placed in alphabetical order.



Belin-Blank Center

Distilling G and T Ideas

Dona Matthews

Gifted and Talented Ireland

Gifted Challenges

Gifted Education Perspectives

Gifted Exchange

Gifted Parenting Support

Global #gtchat powered by TAGT

headguruteacher  (posts tagged #gtvoice)

Irish Gifted Education Blog


Laughing at Chaos

Living the Life Fantastic

Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

smarte barn

Talent Igniter

Talent Talk

Talento y Educacion

The Deep End

The Prufrock Press Blog

Unwrapping the Gifted



This is rather a short list, which might suggest a significant falling off of blogging activity since 2010. I had to delete the majority of the entries in the previous version of the Blogroll because they were dormant or dead.

But I might have missed some deserving blogs, particularly in other languages. Most on this list are written in English.

If you have other candidates for inclusion do please suggest them through the comments facility below, or pass them on via Twitter.

You may have views about the quantity and quality of blogging activity – and whether there is an issue here that needs to be addressed. Certainly the apparent decline in gifted education blogging comes at a time when edublogging in England has never been more popular. Perhaps you have ideas for stimulating more posts.

On the other hand, you might take the view that blogging is increasingly irrelevant, given the inexorable rise of microblogging – aka Twitter – and the continued popularity of Facebook, let alone the long list of alternatives.

Speaking of Twitter, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to compile a public list of every feed I could find that references gifted education (or an equivalent term, whether in English or another language) in its profile.

The full list – which you can find at – contains 1,245 members at present.

I have embedded the timeline below, and you can also find it in the right hand margin, immediately below the Blogroll.



The list includes some leading academic authorities on the subject, but is dominated by gifted education teachers and the parents of gifted learners, probably in roughly equal measure.

The clear majority is based in the United States, but there is a particularly strong community in the Netherlands and reasonable representation in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Several other countries are more sparsely represented.

(One authority – who shall remain nameless – has unaccountably blocked me, which prevents his inclusion in the list. But he has only produced eight tweets, the most recent over a year old, so I suppose he is no great loss.)

I cannot compare this with earlier lists, but it feels as though there has been a significant expansion of the gifted Twittersphere since I began in 2010.

That said I have no information yet about how many of the feeds are active – and just how active they are.

If I have inadvertently omitted you from the list, please Tweet to let me know. Please feel free to make use of the list as you wish, or to offer suggestions for how I might use it.

There will be further segmented lists in due course.


Postscript 13 January:

Many thanks for your really positive response. The blogroll now has 34 entries…and there’s always room for more.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Twitter list but are not sure how, here’s Twitter’s guide (see bottom of page).

If you’re not on the list but would like to be, please either follow me (making sure there’s a reference to gifted or similar in your profile) or send me a tweet requesting to be added.

You can follow or tweet me direct from this blog by going to the ‘Gifted Phoenix on Twitter’ embed in the right hand column.




January 2014

Gifted Phoenix’s 2013 Review and Retrospective


This final post of 2013 takes a reflective look back at this year’s activity.


One purpose is straightforward self-congratulation – a self-administered pat on the back for all my hard work!

This is also an opportunity to review the bigger picture, to reflect on the achievements and disappointments of the year now ending and to consider the prospects for 2014 and beyond.

Perhaps I can also get one or two things off my chest…

…So, by way of an aside, let me mention here that I provide this information to you entirely free of charge, partly because I believe that global progress in (gifted) education is obstructed by the rationing of knowledge, partly to encourage those who construct and shelter behind paywalls to reflect on the negative consequences of their behaviour.

I try my best to offer you a factual, balanced and objective assessment, to flag up weaknesses as well as strengths. In short, I tell it like it is. I have no interest in self-aggrandisement, in reputation or the trappings of academia. You will search in vain for those trappings in my CV, but I speak and write with commensurate authority, based on extended experience as a national policy maker and student of the field …

Another purpose is to provide an annotated list of my posts, so that readers can catch up with anything they missed.

I make this my 35th post of 2013, five fewer than I managed in 2012. I took an extended break during August and September this year, half of it spent on tour in Western Australia and the remainder engaged on other projects.

During the course of the year I’ve made a conscious effort simultaneously to narrow and diversify my focus.

I’ve devoted around two-thirds of my posts to educational reform here in England, while the remainder continued to address global issues.

Some of the Anglocentric posts were intended to draw out the wider implications of these reforms, rather than confining themselves exclusively to gifted education and the impact on gifted learners.

I wanted to paint on a broader canvas. It is all too easy to exist in a gifted education ghetto, forgetting that it must be integral to our national educational systems as well as a global endeavour in its own right.


Global Gifted Education

During 2013 I published two feature-length posts about the performance of high achievers in international comparisons studies:

Like it or not, these international tests are becoming increasingly influential in most countries around the world. Those involved in gifted education ignore them at their peril.

Many of the countries that top the rankings already invest significantly in gifted education – and some of those that do not (invest significantly and/or top the rankings) ought seriously to consider this as a potential route to further improvement.

Other posts with a global gifted focus include:

My best effort at a personal credo, derived from the experience of writing this Blog. Colleagues were very flattering



I supplemented the post with a vision for delivery, primarily to inform UK-based discussion within GT Voice, but also relevant to Europe (the EU Talent Centre) and globally (the World Council).

I took a second look at this nascent field, exploring developments since I first blogged about it in 2010. I like to flatter myself that I invented the term.

The post tells of the passing interest exhibited by IRATDE and notes the reference in the July 2012 World Council Newsletter to a special issue of Gifted and Talented International (GTI) that will be devoted to the topic.

I heard in May that an unnamed specialist had been invited to prepare a ‘target paper’, but nothing has materialised to date. The wheels of academic publishing turn parlous slow.

I concluded the post with a tongue-in cheek contribution of my own – the Gifted Phoenix Equation!

Minimising the Excellence Gap and Optimising the Smart Fraction maximises impact on Economic Growth (Min EG + Optimal SF = Max EG)

This post opened with a self-confessed rant about the ‘closed shop’ operated by academics in the field, defended by research paywalls and conference keynote monopolies.

But I set aside my prejudices to review the nine leading academic journals in gifted education, examine the rights the publishers offer their authors and offer a constructive set of proposals for improving the accessibility of research.

There were also a handful of new national studies:

the last of which is strictly a transatlantic study of support for low income high ability students, developed from analysis of the US NAGC publication of the same name.


Gifted Education in England

Two posts examined material within England’s national school performance tables relating to high attainment and high attainers.

The latter is the second such analysis I have provided, following one on the 2012 Tables published last December. The former will be supplanted by a new version when the Secondary Tables are published in January.

I also offered a detailed treatment of the underlying accountability issues in:

These posts explored the rather haphazard treatment now afforded ‘the most able students’ in documents supporting the School Inspection Framework, as well as the different definitions deployed in the Performance Tables and how these might change as a consequence of the trio of accountability consultations launched this year.



During the Spring I wrote:

Despite the Government’s reported intention to establish a national network of up to twelve of these, still only two have been announced – sponsored by King’s College London and Exeter University respectively.

I might devote a 2014 post to updating my progress report.

There was also special mini-series, corralled under the speculatively optimistic title: A Summer of Love for Gifted Education?’

This is fundamentally a trilogy:

The original conceit had been to build each episode around a key publication expected during the year. Episodes One and Two fitted this description but the third, an ‘Investigation of school- and college- level strategies to raise the Aspirations of High-Achieving Disadvantaged Pupils to pursue higher education’ was (is still) overdue, so I had to adjust the focus.

Episode Two was a particularly rigorous examination of the Ofsted report that led to the changes to the inspection documentation.



In Episode Three, I took the opportunity to expose some questionable use of statistics on the part of selective universities and their representative bodies, setting out a 10-point plan to strengthen the representation of disadvantaged students at Oxford and Cambridge. This was accompanied by a flying pig.



There were also some supplementary posts associated with the Summer of Love:

And some material I produced at the time that Ofsted published ‘The Most Able Students’:

Did it turn out to be a ‘Summer of Love’? Looking back now, I have mixed feelings. Significant attention was paid to meeting the needs of high attaining learners, and those needs are likely to be better recognised and responded to as a consequence.

But the response, such as it is, relies almost exclusively on the accountability system. There is still a desperate need for authoritative updated national framework guidance. Ideally this should be developed by the national gifted education community, working collaboratively with government seed funding.

But the community shows little sign of readiness to take on that responsibility. Collaboration is virtually non-existent:  GT Voice has failed thus far to make any impact (justifying my decision to stand down from the board in protest at frustratingly slow progress).

Meanwhile, several players are pursuing their own diverse agendas. Most are prioritising income generation, either to survive or simply for commercial gain. Everyone is protecting their corner. Too many scores are being settled. Quality suffers.

For completeness, I should also mention a couple of shorter posts:

a piece I wrote for another publisher about how free schools might be rolled into this national collaborative effort, and

which was my best effort to summarise the ‘current state’ on the other side of Ofsted’s Report, as well as an alternative future vision, avoiding the Scylla of top-down centralised prescription and the Charybdis of bottom-up diffused autonomy.


Wider English Educational Reform

Almost all the posts I have written within this category are associated with emerging national policy on curriculum and assessment:



There was even

which I still expect to see in a manifesto come 2015!

As things stand, there are still many unanswered questions, not least where Labour stands on these issues.

Only one of three accountability consultations has so far received a Government response. The response to the primary consultation – comfortably the least persuasive of the three – was due in ‘the autumn’ but hadn’t appeared by Christmas.

The decision to remove National Curriculum levels looks set to have several unintended negative consequences, not least HMCI Wilshaw’s recent call for the reintroduction of national testing at KS1 and KS3.

I am still to be persuaded that this decision is in the best interest of high attainers.


Social Media

This year I have spent more time tweeting and less time producing round-ups of my Twitter activity.

At the time of writing, my follower count has reached 4,660 and I have published something approaching 18,700 Tweets on educational topics.

I try to inform my readers about wider developments in UK (especially English) education policy, keeping a particularly close eye on material published by the Government and by Parliament.

I continue to use #gtchat (global) and #gtvoice (UK) to hashtag material on gifted education and related issues. I look out particularly for news about developments worldwide. I publish material that seems interesting or relevant, even though I might disagree with it. I try to avoid promotional material or anything that is trying to sell you something.

I began 2013 intending to produce round-ups on ‘a quarterly-cum-termly basis’ but have managed only two editions:

The next volume is already overdue but I simply can’t face the grinding effort involved in the compilation process. I may not continue with this sequence in 2014.

I was also invited to answer the question:

ResearchED was a conference organised via Twitter which took place in September.

The post argued for a national network of UK education bloggers. This hasn’t materialised, although the status and profile of edublogging has improved dramatically during 2013, partly as a consequence of the interest taken by Michael Gove.

There are many more blogs and posts than a year ago, several co-ordinated through Blogsync and/or reblogged via The Echo Chamber.

Precious few bloggers enter the field of gifted education, though honourable mentions must go to Distilling G&T Ideas and Headguruteacher.

Elsewhere in the world, not too many gifted education bloggers are still generating a constant flow of material.

Exceptions include Lisa Conrad, who is maintaining two blogs in the US Gifted Parenting Support and Global #GT Chat Powered by TAGT. Also Kari Kolberg who produces Krummelurebloggen (in Norwegian) and Javier Touron who writes Talento y Educacion (in Spanish).

I need urgently to revisit my Blogroll. I might also write a post about the general state of global gifted education blogging in the early part of 2014.



I have made only limited progress this year with the reference pages on this Blog:

  • Who’s Who?  remains embryonic. I had plans to force myself to produce a handful of entries each day, but managed only two days in succession! There isn’t a great deal of intellectual challenge in this process – life may be too short!
  • Key Documents is a mixed bag. The UK pages are fully stocked. You should be able to find every significant national publication since 2000. The Rest of the World section is still largely empty.

Rightly or wrongly, the production of blog posts is taking priority.



Compared with 2012, the number of page views has increased by over 30%, although the number of posts is down by 12.5%. I’m happy with that.

Some 40% of views originate in the UK. Other countries displaying significant interest include the US, Singapore, Australia, India, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Canada and Spain. Altogether there have been visits from 169 countries.

The most popular posts published this year are, in order of popularity:

  • Whither National Curriculum Assessment Without Levels?
  • What the KS2/KS4 Transition Matrices Show About High Attainers’ Performance
  • High Attaining Students in the 2012 Secondary School Performance Tables
  • Analysis of the Primary Assessment and Accountability Consultation Document and
  • A Summer of Love for English Gifted Education Episode 2: Ofsted’s ‘The Most Able Students’



I have changed the theme of my Blog twice this year – initially to Zoren and more recently to Highwind. I wanted a clearer, spacier look and a bigger font.

During the course of the year I have alternated between using my photographs within posts and producing work that is largely free of illustration. I have mixed feelings about this.

It seems somehow incongruous to intersperse unrelated photographs within a post about educational matters, but the stock of education-relevant non-copyrighted illustration is severely limited. Then again, screeds of unbroken text can be rather dreary to the eye.

So readers can expect some more views of Western Australia (especially) during 2014! Here’s one to whet your appetite.


Flora 2 by Gifted Phoenix

Flora 2 by Gifted Phoenix


The Future

I close 2013 in a pessimistic mood. Despite the more favourable domestic policy climate, I am markedly less optimistic about the future of gifted education than I was at the start of the year.

Disillusion is setting in, reinforced by negligible progress towards the objectives I hold most dear.

The ‘closed shop’ is as determinedly closed as ever; vested interests are shored up; governance is weak. There is fragmentation and vacuum where there should be inclusive collaboration for the benefit of learners. Too many are on the outside, looking in. Too many on the inside are superannuated and devoid of fresh ideas.

Every so often I witness dispiriting egotism, duplicity or even vengefulness. Disagreements fester because one or both of the parties is unwilling to work towards resolution.

The world of gifted education is often not a happy place – and while it remains that way there is no real prospect of achieving significant improvements in the education and life chances of gifted learners.

To mix some metaphors, it may soon be time to cut my losses, stop flogging this moribund horse and do something else instead.

Happy New Year!



December 2013

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-up Volume 12: Giftedness and Gifted Education


Here is a slightly overdue termly round-up of activity on the Gifted Phoenix Twitter feed.

4-Eyes-resized-greenjacketfinalThe sheer volume of activity undertaken over the four month period since my last review – attributable to my efforts to cover domestic education policy alongside global gifted activity – has led me to experiment with separating those two strands.

So this section of Volume 12 is dedicated to giftedness and gifted education over the period February 24 to July 3 2013.

Two further sections are devoted to wider education policy, organised on a thematic basis.

The material is organised into the following categories:

  • Global coverage, including sub-sections for each continent. As ever, this broadly reflects the distribution of activity worldwide, with little happening in Africa and a lot in the US.
  • UK coverage, including a discrete sub-section on Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Students’ survey, published in June 2013.
  • Thematic coverage, containing sub-sections on Intelligence and Neuroscience, Creativity and Innovation, Twice-Exceptional and Gifted Research.
  • Gifted Commentary, with subsections devoted to Yours Truly, Twitter chats and other posts.

Because the timespan covered by this review is relatively long, I have decided to keep the broad chronological order rather than grouping tweets thematically within sections. This means that readers will need to search a little more – for example for the limited non-US coverage within the sub-section devoted to The Americas.

As usual I have relied almost exclusively on my own Tweets, including only those that carry a hyperlink. I have not checked that all links remain live. I have included a few retweets and modified tweets originated by others.



July 2013


Giftedness and Gifted Education Around the World



A Learnist board on gifted education:

The Open Education Database includes a single offering on gifted education: Frankly that’s pathetic

Confirmation that @LesLinks is the new World Council President: – I shall have to mind my Ps and Qs!

Looks as though ICIE’s 2014 Conference is in Chennai, India: – Usual suspects involved

IRATDE’s latest journal – Talent Development and Excellence Vol 5 No 1 (2013):

Inside view of WCGTC Conference preparations: – I hadn’t appreciated that Denmark is hosting in 2015

World Council Conference in Kentucky is up to 350 acceptances: so they need a last-minute surge

World Council 2015 Gifted Conference in Denmark will be located in Odense, August 10-14: No direct flights?



Guardian feature on Sheikh School, the ‘Eton of Somaliland’:





A more hostile position on the expansion of Renzulli academies in Connecticut:

About US NAGC’s Administrator’s Toolbox for Gifted Education – which is here

The row about NYC’s gifted programme rumbles on and on…and on:

New Executive Director of US federal initiative to secure Educational Excellence for African Americans:

How does Insight Help Gifted Children? – Piece on Esther Katz Rosen Early Career Research Grants

Paper on impact on gifted learners of inclusion policy in British Columbia:

Evidence of a backlash against those proposed new Renzulli academies in Connecticut:

Article on college readiness of gifted students by CTY’s Director:

Senator Chuck Grassley continues his support for high ability students in the USA:

Legal action threatened over gifted education in NY State:



Chuck Grassley press release on latest introduction of the Talent Act:

MT @ljconrad: Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth Newsletter

CEC press release on the latest edition of the Talent Act:

Missouri Senate progressing bill to establish a gifted and talented advisory council:

More on ability grouping in the US: and

The Socialist Worker perspective on gifted education in New York City:

Recap of an event to discuss gifted education issues in Ohio:

State-wide review of gifted education in Pennsylvania moves a step closer:

Louisiana gifted funding plan under fire: and this from Ravitch

A bit more negative reaction to Louisiana proposal to link gifted funding to test scores:

Why my grandson, 4, won’t be taking a gifted ed test:

Meanwhile discussion continues over Delaware’s grants for gifted education bill:

The Renzulli Academy planned in New London is relegated to an incubator programme:

NEPC review says recent ‘Does Sorting Students Improve Test Scores’ paper too poor to inform tracking policy:

Pro-acceleration legislation enacted in Colorado:

Belin-Blank on Grassley’s Talent Act:

Rapper Wale (next album ‘Gifted) to perform at WKU, home of the World Council. A publicist’s dream!

Florida’s apprach to gifted education begins to focus more strongly on equity issues:

Jann Leppien lands that Gifted Chair at Whitworth U (reserved for someone of a Christian persuasion)

Report on Talent Management in US Education: – They and we could start the process with school-age students

Loveless reviews the US history of tracking and ability grouping and calls for more research:

A couple of reports on initial impact of changes to tests for the NYC gifted programme: and

January 2013 CTYI doctoral thesis about impact of the Centre for Academic Achievement (CAA):

Iowa elementary school teacher says gifted learners deserve attention too:

NGLB – No Gifted Left Behind:  – a view from Illinois

Ohio’s new report cards include gifted learners. Simulation based on old data suggests shortcomings:

Pearson make clunking great horlicks of NY gifted test and Humble pie abounds

Belin-Blank Director refers you to her paywalled research I want it freely accessible

State report card shows some high performing Ohio districts don’t cut the mustard with gifted ed:

Rumblings continue over Pearson’s testing issues in NYC Apparently it’s being called TestingGATE (ho ho)

Democrat sources argue for reform to NYC’s gifted programme:

A call for stronger gifted education in Baltimore:

Pearson’s gifted assessment contract with NYC reportedly under threat as a second error is uncovered

More from across the Atlantic on grouping by ability:

African-Americans and Hispanics are heavily under-represented in Virginia’s gifted programmes:

Profile of Sue Khim: the founder of Brilliant:

Following the testing debacle, NYC gifted admissions process now faces a parental lawsuit:

Brief feature on the founder of a Center for Talent Attention, presumably based in Mexico:

New London has rejected a Renzulli Academy: – but is it the last word?

Latest NEPC Policy Brief is resolutely anti-tracking and so won’t go unchallenged:

Looks as though @donnayford is launching a blog:

Gatton Academy at WKU has a relationship with Harlaxton College in Grantham



Debate about the pros and cons of ability grouping continues:

Finding America’s Missing AP/IB Students Education Trust says they can help tackle excellence gaps

More about ability grouping, from the NYT:

US NAGC press release on inclusion of gifted learners in draft ESEA Reauthorisation Bill:

Another view on ability grouping/tracking in US Will Ofsted report on ‘most able’ reignite debate here?

Another contribution to US debate on ability grouping:

Fixing America’s Talent Problem (mostly higher education focused):

CEC press release on the latest moves to introduce a US TALENT Act:

NAGC’s Press Release on the Talent Act:

A real slanging match in the comments on: ‘The Anti-Gifted Sentiment Behind Closing the Gap’:

A giftedness blog in British Columbia has come back to life:

Ending the neglect of Illinois’ gifted students:

This page carries a link to a powerpoint on gifted education (for women) in Costa Rica:

NYC gifted education again:  (including the judge who needs a crash course in gifted education)



Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi donates $10m to Permata Pintar gifted programme in Malaysia: – Jealous!

There’s a talk in Cambridge next week on gifted education in Kazakhstan:

Next round of gifted education awards in the Philippines:

New Wikipedia entry on the High School for Gifted Students at Hanoi University of Science:

Positive outcomes of Malaysia’s Permata Pintar Gifted programme via @noorsyakina:

Over in Hong Kong, HKAGE is running a student conference on giftedness and creativity in November:

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education needs Associate Director for Student Programmes and Services:

A very brief item on Kuwaiti gifted education from the national news agency:

Interesting feature on giftedness from the Bangkok Post:  (don’t be put off by the awful stock photo)

Recording of that Cambridge seminar I referenced on gifted education in Kazakhstan:



Bloom Nepal sounds like a valuable gifted education initiative in that country:

Is Vietnam’s national gifted education programme a waste of money?

A Talent School of Academic and Arts (TSAA) is opening in Makati, Philippines:

A Glance at Gifted Education in Singapore:

Brief piece on gifted education in Bahrain:

Mawhiba (gifted education in Saudi Arabia) is supporting over 12,000 students in its third phase:

Evaluating the Effects of the Oasis Enrichment Model (on gifted education in Saudi Arabia):



Feature on China’s School for the Gifted Young: with an interesting opening line

RT @noorsyakina: First Lady of Mozambique visits Permata Pintar in Malaysia

There’s now a National Association of Gifted Education in India. Here’s its test website:

Expansion of Saudi Mawhiba gifted summer school plus international girls’ programme involving CTY

Bahraini students will take part in the Mawhiba-CTY girls only summer school:

UKM in Malaysia has signed a MoU with Kazakhstan University including gifted education collaboration

The Eden Center: A Haven for Korea’s Highly Gifted Kids:

A piece on teaching mathematically gifted Muslim girls from India:

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayed Intellectual Schools needs teachers (to teach in English)

Jakarta Post features an academy for poor but gifted students in Sumatra:

China has launched a first Regional Talent Competitiveness Report: and



Gifted Kids in NZ has appointed a new chair:

RT @jofrei: Gifted Resources March newsletter can be read online at

Gifted education is a focus in state elections in Western Australia:

Feature on gifted education in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand:

Brief Massey University press release on an upcoming regional gifted education conference in NZ:



Guidance from New Zealand about developing Professional Learning Networks in Gifted Education:

MT @jofrei: Gifted Resources March No 2 Newsletter can be read online at

New article from New Zealand comparing enrichment and acceleration:

TKI Gifted in NZ is now advertising the World Council Conference, shifted from NZ to Kentucky:

Bit of a coup for GERRIC, who are running gifted teacher education courses for ESF in Hong Kong:

MT @jofrei: Gifted Resources April Newsletter can be read online at

State Government’s response to the Inquiry into Victorian gifted education begins to emerge:

University of New England (Australia) seeks Lecturer in School Pedagogy/Gifted Education:



MT @jofrei: VAGTC EmpowerED Conference report on Gifted Resources blog

Extended differentiated Instruction presentation from recent gifted conference in Victoria, Australia:

New Zealand’s Got Talent. The Role of Schools in Talent Development: – Unites arguments I support and oppose

Time for the annual New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour:

Welcome to the NZGAW Blog Tour 2013:

‘Your MP is Probably Gifted’: – a timely comment from New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week

Australian Mensa is worried about what happens to gifted students in Australian universities:

A contribution to the ability grouping debate (the one in NZ this time):

Young members of Mensa New Zealand: – a world away from Child Genius!

Picture this: gifted (from NZGAW):

Gifted Kids at [NZ] Parliament: – Green Party support for NZGAW

NZ Labour Party supports Gifted Awareness Week:

Another NZGAW offering – Kiwi learners reflect on what it means to be gifted:

Investigation into the Identification of Maori Gifted and Talented Students (from NZGAW):

RT @ljconrad: AUS: Gifted Resources Newsletter June 2013 (pdf) from @jofrei

Interesting progress report on New South Wales’ Virtual Selective High School, xsel:



It’s Ireland’s 3rd National Gifted Awareness Week soon! Are you a potential sponsor?

European Talent Centre website has ended its hibernation; features an essay by Roland Persson

Summary of the recent EU Hearing on Talent Support: – No comment.

The EU Talent Centre has finally published volume 2 of International Horizons of Talent Support:

ECHA is calling for bids to host its 2016 conference and – Deadline 10 April

Maltese Education Department reforms to support high achievers. Report: – coverage:

Potential Plus and Silverman on Tour in Denmark:

Contributions to Denmark’s 2013 Symposium on gifted including contributions from Potential Plus:

RT @GTNIrl: What if Giftedness was not defined as SEN in Ireland?



EESC Opinion Unleashing the potential of children and young people with high intellectual abilities in EU:

MT @Dazzlld: Some news from the Irish Gifted Education Blog:

MT @peter_lydon:Gifted And Talented Network Ireland helps parents of gifted children to support each other

Gifted education arrives in Gozo:

RT @Begabungs: The first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany – June 3rd to June 9th 2013

Supply of Turkish gifted education inadequate to meet demand (courtesy of @ljconrad):

CTYI/DCU setting up Irish Centre for Gifted Research with support from College of William and Mary:

Armenian scholarship fund for gifted learners at Dilijan International School: and:

MT @Begabungs: Article from France! Thank you France!

Legislative Strategies to Promote Talent in Romania (full text via PDF link):

RT @Begabungs: The Development of Giftedness and Talent in 21st Century October 5th – 6th, 2013 Toulouse


UK Coverage


News and Developments

Dance and Drama Awards Guide for 2013/14 (New Students):

Dear Treasury: economic growth is driven by human capital. Jerrim makes strong case for investment in high achievers

TES on How to Meet the Needs of Child Prodigies plus article featuring my alter ego:

A positive profile of Chetham’s, part of the MDS and an important part of our gifted education provision:

Gove concedes that ‘there is much more that we can do’ to support high achievers: (Col 652) We’re all ears

Will removal of a flexi-schooling option impact disproportionately on gifted learners? Evidence?:

New Ofsted Report on Schools’ Use of Early Entry to GCSE Examinations (March 2013):

TES: Familiar portrayal of Chinese education ethos Author (a head) wants to ban use of ‘gifted and talented’

Adonis is new chair of trustees at IPPR: so maybe they’ll show some interest in future of gifted education



Cridland speech to #ascl2013 asks whether gifted learners get the challenge and support they need:

Q. How can education best contribute to Cameron’s ‘global race’? A. Partly by investing in tomorrow’s high achievers:

Concern at the plight of EAL support – will hit the oft-forgotten EAL gifted learners:

Reports on safeguarding at Chetham’s:  and  – will there be wider implications for MDS?

@judeenright Amazingly I’ve just had a pingback from a post on Dux you published 362 days ago!:

Will Gilbert’s audit push Thurrock to improve gifted education? This mum hopes so: – I won’t hold my breath

RT @DMUVC: Hundreds of secondary school pupils have been on campus for DMU Gifted and Talented programme

New DfE research on KS2 Level 6 Tests: – Critical of lack of guidance; doesn’t mention disappearance of L6

“It is the unfortunate nature of state schools that gifted children are often limited”:

Somewhere in England there’s a school that thinks NAGTY still exists: – It closed in 2007

Sutton Trust’s future strategy features Open Access (bad) and Helping the Highly Able (depends how) – see p5

TES says Government is no longer promoting setting: – but what will Ofsted say about impact on highly able?

How Level 6 tests are viewed in secondaries: Gifted learners suffer badly from this poor transition practice



Waiting to see whether and how high attainers will be accommodated in TechBacc: and

Cybersecurity’s the latest industry to harness the power of gifted learners:

We had the school that thought NAGTY still existed; now we have the College seeking to re-energise YG&T:

Still no TES this morning so you’ll have to make do with my new post on KS2 L6 and prospects for a Summer of Love:

THE article on Universities’ sponsorship of academies and my piece on 16-19 maths free schools

Collaborative support for gifted education in Dudley:

The importance of cross-phase collaboration: – critical for gifted learners as the KS2 L6 report showed

Abuse enquiries spreading across MDS schools: – Presumably some central action is under consideration

One of Labour’s policy forums urged review of gifted education policy: (more detail in linked Word doc)

Cambridge University willl be sponsoring the Villiers Park Scholars Programme in Hastings:

IGGY’s reached 2,500 members: and That’s slower progress than I’d anticipated

My post on IGGY discusses its membership/targets: 3,000 members’ claimed in 2012 v ‘over 2,500’ now?

Kings College 16-19 Maths School’s appointed a Head My progress report on 16-19 Maths Schools

This TES report states explicitly that 16 16-19 maths schools are planned: – Would like to know the source for that

Hoping for crossover between Ofsted’s upcoming reports on highly able and gap-narrowing. Excellence gaps need closing



Estyn’s Report on KS2/3 Science says more able pupils are insufficiently stretched:

TES on threat to NASA’s space education budget: – would be a significant loss to gifted education

Timely publicity for Government-supported Cyber Security Talent Search for KS4 students: GCHQ is a sponsor!

Thought-provoking piece ahead of ‘Child Genius’: Penultimate paragraph is the killer

Latest edition of the gtvoice Newsletter: Mentions two very important meetings in this ‘Summer of Love’

Congratulations to Horndean Techonology College for being one of 8 lead schools for more able  Not sure whose scheme?

Sweeteners for university sponsors of 16-19 maths free schools My analysis of progress to date

Here’s a brief report on Fair Access issues, especially some news about the Dux Award Scheme:

STA received 240 complaints re non-registration of KS2 pupils for Level 6 tests post-deadline: (Col 531W)


Ofsted Report

Still wondering why Ofsted’s rapid response gifted education survey: – isn’t yet listed here:

HMCI still bigging up Ofsted’s upcoming report on highly able: Identification, tracking sure, but streaming?

Telegraph says Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Pupils’ report will issue next week, but no new details of likely content

Telegraph calls the Ofsted Able pupils Report ‘damning’; Ofsted will now routinely check whether their needs are met:

Guardian coverage of the Ofsted Able Pupils Survey launch says it based on visits to 41 non-selective schools:

Independent on Ofsted Able Pupils Survey: some schools not identifying most able (which was a requirement up to 2011):

BBC coverage of Ofsted Able Pupils Report leads on failure to translate L5 to A* HMCI advocates setting/streaming:

Sutton Trust wants Government to fund trials of best ways to support gifted learners: So a job for the EEF Sir Peter?

This short piece on gifted education and Learning Schools should’ve been published elsewhere today It wasn’t



In which I propose a National Network of Learning Schools (to complement the Teaching Schools Network):

RT @dandoj: Interesting Ofsted story on schools failing to challenge the brightest – particularly true for the poorest

@rchak100 @brianlightman @dylanwiliam There’s more data than you can shake a stick at in my analysis here:

Ofsted Report on the Most Able Pupils now published: plus press release

Ofsted report says in only 20% of 2327 lessons observed were able pupils supported well or better: (p7)

Also surprised that Ofsted most able report is silent on school-to-school collaboration. My own modest proposal here:

Key Finding 1: In many schools expectations of most able are too low:

Key Finding 2: In non-selective schools 65% of those achieving L5 in Eng and Ma didn’t get GCSE A*/A (2012):

Key Finding 3: School leaders ‘haven’t done enough to create a culture of scholastic excellence’:

Key Finding 3 (cont) Schools don’t routinely give same attention to most able as they do to those struggling

Key Finding 4: Transition arrangements don’t ensure high attainers maintain momentum into Year 7:

Key Finding 5: KS3 teaching is insufficiently focused on the most able:

Key Finding 6: Many students become used to under-challenge. Parents and teachers accept this too readily:

Key Finding 7: KS3 curriculum and early GCSE entry are key weaknesses; homework insufficiently challenging:

Key Finding 8: Inequalities amongst most able aren’t being addressed satisfactorily. Particularly FSM boys:

Key Finding 8 (cont): Few schools are using Pupil Premium to support most able from disadvantaged backgrounds

Key Finding 9: Many schools aren’t using assessment, tracking and targeting effectively with most able:

Key Finding 10: Too few schools worked with families to remove cultural/financial obstacles to HE admission

Key Finding 11: Most 11-16 schools visited were insufficiently focused on progression to HE:

Key Finding 12: Schools’ knowledge/expertise on application to top universities not always up-to-date:

Ofsted Recommendation 1: DfE should ensure parents get annual report showing if their children are on track



Ofsted Recommendation 3: DfE should promote new destinations data on progression to (leading) universities:

Ofsted Recommendation 4: Schools should develop ethos so needs of most able are championed by school leaders

Ofsted Recommendation 5: Schools should develop skills/confidence/attitudes to succeed at best universities:

Ofsted Recommendation 6: Schools should improve primary/secondary transfer and plan KS3 lessons accordingly:

Ofsted Recommendation 7: Schools should ensure work remains challenging /demanding throughout KS3:

Ofsted Recommendation 8: Senior school leaders should check mixed ability teaching is challenging enough:

Ofsted Recommendation 9: Schools should check that homework is sufficiently challenging for most able:

Ofsted Recommendation 10: Schools should give parents of more able better infromation more frequently:

Ofsted Recommendation 10 (cont) schools should raise parents’ expectations for more able where necessary:

Ofsted Recommendation 11: Schools should work with (poor) families to overcome obstacles to HE progression:

Ofsted Recommendation 12: Schools should develop more expertise to support progression to top universities:

Ofsted Recommendation 13: Schools should publish more widely a list of university destinations of students:



Ofsted Commitment 2: Will focus inspection more on use of Pupil Premium for most able disadvantaged learners

Ofsted Commitment 3: Will report inspection findings more clearly in school, 6th form and college reports:

Ofsted has today called for a new progress measure from KS2 to KS4/5 for most able pupils:

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – NAHT:

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – ASCL:

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – NUT:

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report: NASUWT –

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – Voice:

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – ATL:

Potential Plus (formerly NAGC) press release on Ofsted’s Most Able Pupils Report:

David Laws video response to Ofsted Most Able Students response: – no new commitments

Twigg: ‘David Cameron and Michael Gove have no plan for gifted children’: but no commitments

Review of today’s Ofsted report on most able by @pwatsonmontrose: (thanks for the links Patrick!)

Inspired by ASCL I’ve just checked what the 2012 KS2/4 Transition Matrices say about high attainers’ performance:

Apropos Ofsted’s Most Able report 2012 Transition Matrices show only 50% of KS2 L5A in Maths got GCSE A*:

Apropos Ofsted’s Most Able Students report 2012 Transition Matrices show only 47% of KS2 L5A in English got GCSE A*:

IoE reminds us that some GS have an issue with able learners (and inter-departmental variation’s also problematic):

Sutton Trust blog on today’s Ofsted report:  still wondering when we’ll hear outcome of their own call for proposals

Skidmore thinks the answer is setting (and streaming?):  Will his Select Committee explore these issues?

RT @RealGeoffBarton: From last night: ‘Pass the G&T’: my blog on a depressing day for Ofsted and state education:

This Telegraph commentary on the ‘Most Able’ Report asks whether Gove(rnment) will step up to the challenges it poses

Standard predicts that schools will introduce predictive GCSE ‘report cards’ following yesterday’s Ofsted report:

Wilby questions evidence base behind Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ Report but this evidence shows he hasn’t read it thoroughly

Spectator insists Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ report vindicates Govian policy: But is the challenge/support balance optimal?

RT @federicacocco: My factcheck on evidence behind Ofsted’s latest report on bright children in Comprehensive schools

And, further to Factcheck, this is what the fine level transition matrices tell us about high attainers’ progression

So What Does Gifted Mean Anyway? ID’s part of assessment; teaching to the top’s admirable and integral to ID

RT @headguruteacher: NEW POST Today: My take on the OfSTED report: The Anatomy of High Expectations

Huge thanks to everyone who promoted my megapost on Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ Report: Especially @headguruteacher

Stephen ‘Up to two-thirds of teachers do not at heart approve of special programmes for the most able’:

Telegraph take on yesterday’s ‘Most Able’ Ofsted report:  – Nothing here about supporting schools to improve


Thematic Coverage


Intelligence and Neuroscience

Reasoning Training Increases Brain Connectivity Associated with High-Level Cognition by @sbkaufman:

A dose of realism over genetic selection for high IQ:

Two contrasting views of Obama’s new BRAIN initiative supporting neuroscience: and



A round-up of developments in working memory research:

MT @NAGCBritain: Schooling Makes You Smarter: What teachers need to know about IQ:

In Defence of Working Memory Training:

Intelligence can’t be explained by the size of one’s frontal lobes!

Yet another warning that research on the relationship between IQ and race is incendiary:

Informative piece on the pernicious influence of ‘IQ fundamentalism’ in the wake of Richwine:

The impact of transcranial random noise stimulation on cognitive function: (I kid you not)

Intelligence as a function of other people’s perceptions:

The distinctinction between intelligence and rationality:

More about eugenics and cognitive genomics:

Motion Filtering Ability Correlated to High IQ:

‘Intelligence is largely a hereditary trait’ states @toadmeister on meritocracy: That’s highly contestable

Neat post on Intelligence, Genetics and Environment drawing on Nisbett et al’s 2012 paper:

Eight ways of looking at intelligence:

Redefining Intelligence: Q and A with @sbkaufman:

MT @WendaSheard: An antidote to neuromyths perpetrated in K-12 ed conferences and publications.


Creativity and Innovation

Start with small steps when nurturing the next Van Gogh (about fostering creativity in learning):

A simply outstanding piece about domain dependency and ‘epistemic chameleons’:

Creativity lies in combining ordinary things in extraordinary ways:

OECD post on creativity: and associated Education for Innovation in Asia conference papers:

Intuition as the basis for creativity:

Profiling Serial Creators by @sbkaufman

I do so agree with this dismissal of Robinson’s TED flummery:  – gets far more attention than it deserves

Turning adversity into creative growth:

@BSheermanMP @DrSpenny I spent some time trying to get a grip on Robinson’s take on talent: – wasn’t impressed

Does education marginalise spatial thinkers?

RT @HuntingEnglish: Why We Should Mistrust Ken Robinson – Glad I’m not the only one!



The Invisible Side of ‘Special Needs’ Gifted Students:

Twice-Exceptional: When Exceptions are the Norm:

Belin-Blank presentation on Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children:

Belin-Blank has funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support twice-exceptional students:

Twice-exceptional, from an Indian perspective:

Raising the Autistic Gifted Child:

Belin-Blank on twice-exceptionality:  featuring their resources


Gifted Research

You can access this morming’s study of ability grouping and summer born children here:  (link at bottom)

Here’s the associated IoE press release about the MCS ability grouping and summer born children paper:

Research showing gender differences largest in maths but smallest in reading amongst high attainers

Brown Center pieces on the incidence of ability grouping and tracking and advanced 8th Grade maths courses:

Elite Athletes Also Excel at Some Cognitive Tasks:

Why Gifted Low Income Students Don’t Go To the Best Colleges:

School makes you smarter:

Defining Mathematical Giftedness in Elementary School Settings:

US follow-up study finds similar academic growth rates for high-achieving students at high and low income schools:



How important is maths ability for scientific success?

Brand spanking new post on The Limited Accessibility of Gifted Education Research:

More on Wai’s study on the relationship between wealth and ability:

So much for 10,000 hours of deliberate practice: – hard work doesn’t deliver for everyone

The Complexity of Greatness (including more about deliberate practice) from @sbkaufman:

Are gender differences increasing in mathematical ability at the upper end?

Interesting piece of open access research (hooray) on Renzulli Learning: Relevant to other providers

2 Indian publications: Introductory Reading on Giftedness in Children Case Profiles


Gifted Commentary


Gifted Phoenix

A huge(ly ambitious) new blogpost: The Economics of Gifted Education Revisited:

@jakeanders @drbeckyallen What did you make of – What prospect of serious analysis of smart fraction from your ilk?

The @GiftedPhoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education:

MT @peter_lydon: The most important statement on Gifted education this year I’m seriously flattered. Thanks!

Peter Lydon blogs on (and reproduces) The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education:

RT @peter_lydon: Special #gtie Chat on Sunday 9pm GMT ‘The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education’.

Explore The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education via #gtie at 21.00GMT on Sunday 24 March:

Here’s a selective, reordered Storify transcript of last night’s #gtie chat on the Gifted Phoenix Manifesto:

I’ve also included some tweets in the Gifted Phoenix Manifesto post, to give the flavour of #gtie discussion

Fascinating and troubling equally that positive reaction to my Gifted Manifesto is all from outside the UK!

Planning a 16-19 maths free school? Want to know more about the KCL or Exeter projects? Here’s some essential reading

GEI has now published the dialogue between Barry Hymer and yours truly (£) but original on my blog):

This first post in my new ‘Summer of Love’ series is mainly about Key Stage 2 Level 6 tests:



My new post is a transatlantic exploration of support for high-ability low-income learners building on US NAGC’s work

My new post on Indian Gifted Education:

I’ve finalised my brief post of yesterday about the future of Dux Awards, now renamed Future Scholar Awards


Twitter Chats

MT @gtchatmod: #gtchat transcript: Coping When Extended Family Doesn’t Get Giftedness

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of #gtchat: Book Lists for Gifted Learners

RT @gtchatmod: “Do gifted learners think differently?” will be our #gtchat topic Friday @11PM UK

MT @gtchatmod: Storify record of last night’s #gtchat: Do gifted learners think differently?

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of last night’s #gtchat: The Value of Twitter Chats

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of last night’s #gtchat: Organising the Gifted Learner

Transcripts of yesterday’s #gtchats: and

Transcript of last week’s #gtchat on Teaching Strategies for Underachievers:

MT @gtchatmod: New post: “The Misdiagnosis Initiative: An Interview with Dr. James Webb”

RT @gtchatmod: Transcript for “Asynchronous Transitioning to Adulthood” now available @ #gtchat blog.

RT @gtchatmod: Transcript for Supporting Exhausted Parents of Gifted Children? now available @ #gtchat blog

MT @gtchatmod: Transcript from 5pm 28 June #gtchat on ‘Rigour’ now available at

RT @gtchatmod: “A Multi-Talent’s Growth with Dr. Edith Johnston” New post on #gtchat Blog!

MT @Frazzlld: Transcript from tonight’s #gtie chat (March 3):

MT @Frazzlld: Thanks, everyone, for a great #gtie chat. Here’s “The Trouble With Boys” transcript:

Transcripts of recent #gtie chats on Gifted Support Groups:  and

RT @GTNIrl: Support for Teachers of Gifted Students (#gtie transcript)

MT @CatherinaFisher: For those who missed #gtie chat on Sunday: Social Media and Gifted Education Awareness


Other Posts

RT @ljconrad: New post @GPS, “Preaching to the Choir: They Need to Hear the Message, Too!”

MT @ljconrad: “Best Practices in Gifted Parenting” is my new post @Gifted Parenting Support



Social Challenges of Gifted Adolescents:

Sorry but…Your Exceptional Child Might Not Be Gifted:

‘Studying to be Gifted’:

Gifted Kid Syndrome: – I really like the directness of this; others won’t

How to create a science prodigy (from @JonathanLWai):

Gifted Children: Skipping Grades:

Never trust a journalist who puts the word gifted in quotation marks:

The Lowest Common Denominator:

MT @ljconrad: The Socialization Question, Homeschooled and Gifted Children:

Giftedness should not be confused with mental disorder:

Using the ‘G word’ with kids:

(More on) Gifted and Racially Balanced Education:

Giftedness and Non-Conformity: – Reading that is just like looking in the mirror

Transcending Race in Gifted Programs: Are We There Yet?

Do Schools for the Gifted Promote Segregation? (I refuse to adopt the quotation marks):



MT @karlaarcher: “Giftedness and Boredom, Part Two: Tackling the Issue Head On”

MT @ljconrad: “An Educational Paradigm Shift for Low-Income Gifted Students”

Your Child is Gifted: A Parent’s Reaction:

Do GATE Programmes Take Resources Away From Needier Students?

“Live life to the fullest and rejoice in your moments of triumph because you are the best you there will ever be”:

Why is it challenging to be challenged in public schools?

Gifted Doesn’t Equal Segregation:

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness:

Harnessing the power of social media to advocate for gifted education:

What Does ‘Gifted’ Look Like?

Australian opinion piece on gifted learners: – has more than a whiff of suspect old-fogeydom

Choosing the right college for gifted students: – much wisdom in this post

Why isn’t my child as clever as me? – nice counterbalance to parents worried about the reverse scenario



Gifted children need help too:  – a piece from South Dakota

We mustn’t neglect gifted students:  – a call to arms by P O-K and the Tennessee Association

The illusion of the gifted child:  – is actually about ways of improving gifted education

Gifted Children…how can we start?  – A blogpost from Mexico

MT @BYOTNetwork: BYOT in the Gifted Classroom: A Perfect Fit! Guest post by @abkeyser

Does the gifted label help or harm? An ongoing conversation on Reddit:

More gifted myth debunking:

Cretal reports back to Planet Zoran on Earth’s approach to education (courtesy of @sbkaufman):

Changing the label on gifted programmes: – the pros and cons

The Grown-up Gifted Child:

20 Reasons why it’s Awesome Growing Up Gifted:

Problem-based learning and gifted students (from CTD):

Paula O-K on flexible ability grouping:

Making Room for Talent:

Sharing the Gifted and Talented Curriculum:

The gifted child’s lament: How to adjust to an unjust world:

Is Talent a Defunct Concept? – Some would have you believe so but it’s more complex than that

Is divergent thinking valued in your gifted child’s classroom?

How parents can challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about giftedness: Have problems with para 3

Some teacher appreciation from Unwrapping the Gifted:

RT @Begabungs: Day 1 – Gifted Awareness Week in Germany 3rd-9th June 2013

Pros and cons of pull-out versus in-school enrichment:



The Matthew Effect in Educational Technology: (including an aside about identifying gifted learners)

RT @Begabungs: Interview with Prof. James Webb (USA)

Social Development of Gifted Children: – Highly recommended (because I agree with the analysis)

The Dichotomies of Giftedness:

RT @ljconrad: New post at Gifted Parenting Support, “Are You Nurturing Your Gifted Child?”

The Parent Challenge (NZGAW contribution from @Dazzlld and @Frazzlld):

@donnayford Hi Donna. Do you now advocate selection/ID solely on the basis of attainment? This made sense to me:

What to say to your gifted child about being gifted:

How best are the gifted lifted? Lots of common sense in this post:

24/7 Challenge (for NZ Gifted Awareness Week):

Debate on Ofsted’s Most Able Report has resonance in US and worldwide  – kudos to @ljconrad (and Tom Bennett)

Advocacy Versus Curriculum:

‘G is for Gifted and that’s good enough for me’:

RT @ljconrad: New post at GPS: “The High Ability – Gifted Conundrum”

The contribution that chess can make to gifted education (from NZGAW):

Stop underestimating children:

The gift of independent learning projects:

Is Your Child Ungifted? by @sbkaufman – Required reading for all gifted advocates:

RT @peter_lydon: Are you a gifted advocate? Add your name Find other tweeps

Choosing Your Battles (from NZGAW): – Messages for the NZ Government and Ministry of Education

Differentiating Homework for Gifted Students (from NZGAW):

Giftedness in our classrooms – removing the ceiling- an Iowa perspective:

My Gifted Education Soapbox:



Hochbegabtenforderung an Schulen mittels Blended Learning:

RT @jtoufi: Es posible un sistema educativo orientado al desarrollo del talento?

RT @jtoufi: Promover el talento en Europa: White paper from Austria

RT @jtoufi: Francoys Gagne en My Friends’ corner

Joseph Renzulli en My friends’ corner:

RT @jtoufi: Karen Rogers en My Friends’ corner

RT @jtoufi: Rena Subotnik, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius y Frank Worrell en My Friends’ corner

MT @jtoufi: Diane Montgomery en My Friends’ corner (that’s the English DM by the way)

RT @jtoufi: Que pasa en el mundo con la atencion al desarrollo de los más capaces?

RT @jtoufi: Es tiempo reconstruir la educacion que queremos: Talento, Escuela, Tecnologia

RT @jtoufi: Transforma Talento: un informe que hay que leer

RT @jtoufi: El Estado de la Nacion: o de como tomarse en serio el desarrollo del talento!

RT @jtoufi: Diferenciacion del curriculo y la instruccion. La NAGC nos lo cuenta




The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education


197090_10150107967032027_677107026_6775153_1559390_nI woke last night with the conviction that I should draw up a basic credo, setting out some core principles derived from the experience of writing this blog.

I have set aside all questions of terminology, definition and identification because they are inherently divisive and attract disproportionate attention. Let us suspend disbelief for a moment and assume that we can work together through broad consensus on such matters.

There is a strong economic focus because that is a current predilection – and because the economic arguments are too rarely advanced and often underplayed. They deserve to be paramount in our current financial predicament. I plan to revisit soon the economic case for gifted education. [NB: That post appears here.]

So…What do you support? Where do you disagree? What have I missed?



Why Invest in Gifted Education?

Gifted education is about balancing excellence and equity. That means raising standards for all while also raising standards faster for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Through combined support for excellence and equity we can significantly increase our national stock of high level human capital and so improve economic growth.

High achievers are needed to feed the STEM pipeline and contribute to other areas of the ‘knowledge economy’ which is becoming increasingly important as a consequence of globalisation.

While STEM and IT have an obvious value, it is a mistake to assume that some fields do not contribute to human capital. There are important spillover benefits to society from many fields where the contribution to economic growth is less pronounced. We should avoid the temptation to prioritise STEM above all else.

Excellence in gifted education is about maximising the proportion of high achievers reaching advanced international benchmarks (eg PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS) so increasing the ‘smart fraction’ which contributes to economic growth

Equity in gifted education is about narrowing (and ideally eliminating) the excellence gap between high achievers from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds (which may be attributable in part to causes other than poverty). This also increases the proportion of high achievers, so building the ‘smart fraction’ and contributing to economic growth.

Countries that invest systematically in developing high level human capital recognise that this process begins in compulsory education or even in pre-school education. It cannot be delayed until higher education and employment. They have well-developed national gifted education programmes to secure system-wide engagement in maximising high achievement.

We can estimate:

  • The financial benefits of narrowing the excellence gap and
  • The impact on economic growth (GDP) of increasing the smart fraction

The cost of gifted education can be offset against these significant benefit streams to justify the investment and quantify the net value.

There are also microeconomic benefits to gifted education – the personal rate of return on high achievement – as well as a potentially significant contribution to social mobility on the equity side. There are many other strong arguments in favour of investment in (potential) high achievers built on educational, ethical and personal development grounds.


What Needs Doing? How?

What form should a national investment in gifted education take?

There should be integrated support for learners, educators and parents/carers, to maximise the benefits from synergy between these streams.

Five areas of engagement should also be synergised: learning, professional development, advocacy, research and policy-making.

System-wide solutions should not be exclusively ‘top down’ because they tend to be overly prescriptive, demotivating and inhibit innovation.

But neither should solutions be exclusively ‘bottom up’ because they tend towards competition (rather than collaboration), fragmentation, patchiness of provision and the recycling of mediocrity.

Solutions must draw on the best of both top-down and bottom-up strategies through a middle way that:

  • Provides a universal, unifying ‘flexible framework’ that sets common standards and applies to every setting;
  • Nevertheless gives settings sufficient autonomy within a common framework to innovate, develop and implement diverse approaches;
  • Effectively promotes and supports system-wide collaboration, within and across the three populations and five areas of engagement mentioned above.

A Twenty-First Century learning environment is multi-faceted and multimedia. Whether we are learning in school or as adult lifelong learners, we no longer rely exclusively on didactic teaching in a classroom environment.

School teachers are facilitators, helping gifted learners to synthesise different strands into a coherent learning package. Out-of-school learning must be fully integrated with the school experience; bolt-on enrichment has limited value.

Enrichment, extension and acceleration are overlapping concepts. All three can be combined effectively in different proportions according to learners’ needs. Gifted learners have relatively little in common and widely different needs. It follows that personalised provision is essential.

Social networking and social media can play a very important part in efficiently supporting system-wide collaboration by linking together the wider gifted education community – not just educators but parents/carers, learners, governors, researchers and so on.

Open access to research helps ensure that our collective stock of knowledge about effective gifted education can be shared freely, rather than being rationed or confined to subsets of the community. The existing stock of research must be made more accessible.

Freely available learning opportunities and professional development resources should also be systematically curated and disseminated. Different parts of the gifted education community can develop new learning, knowledge and understanding through their interaction with these resources. Service providers can advertise their wares to potential customers and identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration.

It is not always necessary to develop solutions specific to gifted education if effective generic solutions are already in place. There are strong arguments in favour of integration rather than silo-based provision.

But generic improvements to the education system – eg raising the quality of teaching, investing in school improvement – will not inevitably bring about improvements in gifted education, or such improvements may be less significant or take longer to accrue than those achieved through targeted intervention.

Success depends on active engagement across the system. It involves confronting ideological resistance and striving to find mutually acceptable ways forward. Support for gifted learners must never be at the expense of other learners within the system but, equally, gifted learners have an equal right to such support.

Success also depends on inclusive collaboration amongst the gifted education community. We must set aside fundamental disagreements over the nature and direction of gifted education to achieve the common purpose outlined above.

We must move away determinedly from the disagreements, factions, cliques, petty rivalries, self-promotion and empire-building that characterise the community and work co-operatively together for the benefit of all gifted learners. Everyone’s contribution must be welcomed and valued.

Despite the benefits for national economic growth, this is a global endeavour. We must work across national boundaries, avoiding the temptation to focus exclusively in our own jurisdictions. No country has a monopoly on good practice; every country can learn learn from the experience of others.

The gifted education community is a very broad church, but there is greater strength in unity than in a fragmented approach.


Kew Gardens courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Kew Gardens courtesy of Gifted Phoenix



Postscript 1: A Vision for Delivery

A few weeks have passed and I have been reflecting again on how we might bring about improvements in line with the Manifesto. The following material was prepared with an eye to the UK (GT Voice) but should hopefully be relevant to other countries, as well as to continents (EU Talent Centre) and the global context (World Council).

It is the current iteration of an argument I have been promulgating since 2010, but it is still very much a ‘work in progress’.  I’ve even been tinkering with the words since I first published it!

My vision, set in the UK national context, is one in which:

  • All learning settings and providers of gifted education need ready access to a universal national network that supports their efforts to continuously improve their quality of service, making it the best that it can be. There should be a ‘one stop shop’ where they can go for help to diagnose their strengths and weaknesses, to build on the strengths and rectify the weaknesses.
  • Learning settings need this network to collaborate in developing effective practice and sharing it as widely as possible. But it should be equally inclusive on the supply side. All providers of gifted education services should be strongly encouraged to join it, in recognition that remaining outside will weaken our collective, collaborative effort to meet fully the needs of all gifted learners. The network should be equally welcoming to, and inclusive of, learners themselves, parents/carers, researchers and policy-makers.
  • The network should be developed on ‘flexible framework’ principles as set out above. A set of universal core standards would be drafted, consulted on and adopted. All parties would commit to them. They would be framed so as to embody the essential underpinnings of effective practice at all levels of the system, across all learning settings and up to national (and even international) engagement. They would be deliberately flexible, to permit innovation and adaptation or adjustment to meet particular needs and circumstances. Subsets of the network would be able to develop and promulgate their own badged models, but all would need to comply with this core framework. It would be kept under review and adjusted as necessary on a cyclical basis. Negotiation of the framework would be a critical exercise in consensus-building across all stakeholders.
  • In the initial stage of development, the network would support a primarily market-driven approach. Providers of services would advertise their wares and settings their needs. The purpose of the network would be to match-make between the demand and supply sides, giving the demand side access to more choice and the supply side access to more potential customers. (The model recognises that the demand and supply sides are not mutually exclusive, in that many learning settings will also be providers of services to others outside those settings.)
  • Collaboration would involve the elimination of existing ‘closed shop’ arrangements whereby some settings can only choose from specified providers, and the restrictive practices that mean many smaller providers are frozen out by larger organisations’ use of  ‘approved’ consultants and sub-contractors. It would no longer be acceptable to rig the market in this way.
  • Over time, the network would transition towards a more coherent approach, enabling settings with common issues to learn with and from each other without any geographical or sectoral restrictions and service providers to offer a seamless package of high quality support to all regardless of their sector or location (while also protecting a degree of choice for settings when selecting providers).
  • The network might develop a core administrative function that all service providers could draw on in return for an annual  subscription. This would enable it to have its own staff resource, which it would need to set up and maintain the network. (These functions cannot be managed without a dedicated human resource.) This income flow could generate savings for providers by eliminating duplication and generating economies of scale.
  • Over time the network might also develop a small tranche of its own core services, such as an annual conference, publications for sale outside the network, consultancy services to third parties (eg abroad). These should cover the network’s costs, so that it can become entirely self-sufficient, but should not be developed beyond this point, otherwise the network becomes a direct competitor to the service providers it exists to serve.
  • Such a network would have significant development and running costs, up to the point where it achieved self-sufficiency. Initial development costs would have to be secured through a combination of fundraising, sponsorship, advertising revenue and/or bids for support from appropriate funding pots.
  • In the first instance, prior to establishment of an administrative core and network services, running costs might be met by a small annual subscription paid by each learning setting and each provider belonging to the network. The annual flow of benefits to every member should be greater than the cost of this subscription.
  • Light touch monitoring would be needed to ensure that all settings receive the quality of service to which they are entitled and all providers avoid the temptation to carve up the market for their own benefit. Sanctions would need to be agreed. Any escalation would be handled within the network rather than by a third party.
  • The network would operate on a ‘blended’ basis combining a sophisticated online dimension – conducted on social networking principles – with a more traditional face-to-face element. The social networking component is critical to sustaining a fully national network at relatively low cost.
  • The network would also operate as a vehicle for collaborative advocacy, research and policy development. One early project might be to draw together the full range of stakeholder interests to develop a ‘gifted curriculum’ which English school settings might introduce in place of the national curriculum (if they have that freedom) or alongside the prescribed programme of study (if they have not). This would define what the very strongest learners might achieve and then strive to bring as many learners as possible as close as possible to that outcome. 

This is admittedly an idealistic vsion. It should be achievable, but only through sustained and determined collaborative effort. Providers with an existing market niche would need to be prepared to abandon all protectionism. The biggest potentially have furthest to fall, so vested interests are powerful and will be hardest to overcome.

All of us would need to be aware that, if the network was perfectly successful, there would no longer be any need for separate fiefdoms in the territory. Some organisations might go to the wall, but the overall quality of gifted education would improve almost immeasurably as a consequence.


Postscript 2: Comments on the Original Text

I am most grateful to colleagues who have taken the trouble to comment positively on this text, whether via the comments facility below or via Twitter and Facebook.

We have also had some interesting discussions on Facebook about the economic justification for gifted education which I have reproduced below for ease of reference.

Facebook 1 Capture

Facebook 2 Capture

Facebook 3 Capture

Facebook 4 Capture

Facebook Capture 6



Postscript 3: #gtie chat on the Manifesto, Sunday 24th March 2013

The original text of the Manifesto has been featured on the Gifted and Talented Ireland Blog and on Twitter in a #gtie chat on Sunday 24th March 2013.



The full transcript of the chat can be found here.

I have also published my own selective transcript on Storify, with the Tweets reordered so the conversation is easier to follow.

It is unfortunately no longer possible to embed a Storify product on a wordpress-hosted blog, but here are a few contributions to give you the flavour of the discussion. Apologies if this doesn’t cover everyone’s contribution to what was a really helpful discussion.

For further reflections on the chat, including some very kind words about this Blog, please see:

  • this Review on the Gifted and Talented Network Ireland Blog and
  • this post on the Irish Gifted Education Blog.

I really am very grateful for their positive feedback and support.

I’m going to reflect awhile before attempting another edit of the Manifesto. Please don’t hesitate to use the comments facility below if you have further views, suggested contributions or ideas for how the Manifesto might be put to good use.


























March 2013

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up: Volume 11


This is the latest in my regular series of periodic records of @Gifted Phoenix activity on Twitter.

These now appear on a quarterly-cum-termly basis and this edition covers the period from 21 November 2012 to 22 February 2013 inclusive.

The post includes almost everything I have published about giftedness and gifted education, as well as most of my coverage of wider education policy here in England (where that is relevant in some way to gifted learners).

I have organised the material as follows:

  • Giftedness and Gifted Education Around the World: there is a global section and one for each continent;
  • UK Gifted News and Developments;
  • Gifted Themes, including Intelligence and Neuroscience, Creativity and Innovation, Twice-exceptional,  Gifted Research, Gifted Education Commentary and Giftedness Commentary;
  • English Education – Related Issues, including Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability, International Comparisons, Social Mobility and Fair Access, Disadvantage and Narrowing Gaps, Selection and Independent Sector, Miscellaneous Issues and Research

As always I have had to use some discretion in placing tweets into categories. Some would fit in two or more different sections (and, on odd occasions, I have included the same tweet under two categories).

I have tried to preserve a fairly chronological order in each section, but have grouped some tweets that are obviously linked. There is a handful of retweets and modified tweets originated by others but, otherwise, these are all my own work. I have not included tweets of mine which have been modified or retweeted by others.

I have not checked if all the hyperlinks remain live, but apologies on behalf of the source if any prove moribund.

The photographic counterpoint is provided by pictures taken at Kew Gardens on a perfect early Spring day.


Kew Gardens February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix

Kew Gardens February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix


Giftedness and Gifted Education Around the World


Global Gifted

Strong European presence amongst the keynotes for the rearranged World Conference plus Tracy Riley from NZ:

But much of World Conference keynote programme is replication of ECHA 2012 and other recent events. Little new

There don’t seem to be any direct flights from London to Louisville: – in case you’re determined to attend

The current World Council Executive Committee and link to details of nomination process:

IYGC 2013- On Celebrating International Year of Giftedness and Creativity (WCGTC)

Latest World Council Newsletter:

Khan Academy shifting towards talent ID: Big message there for specialist gifted education providers

@JonathanLWai in conversation with Khan about (inter alia) how Khan Academy can support gifted education

Will 2013 see the launch of more ‘MOOCs for kids’?

International Conference on Giftedness and Creativity (ICGC) 2014 in Lebanon (new website)

On the Linguistics Olympiad:


Africa Gifted

Brief report on a gifted education workshop organised by the Nigerian National Mathematical Centre:

No. Kencelebs are new to me too. More information here (but very few names):


Americas Gifted

Derek Browne of Entrepreneurs in Action is busy in Barbados: It aims to be world’s top entrepreneurial hub by 2020

Identifying gifted students in Canada:

New report on the Status of PE in the USA: – recommends 225 minutes per week in middle and high schools

Looks like expansion at CTY given some of these new posts:

Gifted education jobs: Notre Dame of Maryland University seeks a specialist Assistant Professor:

Unwrapping the Gifted’s report of Day 1 of the US NAGC convention: – mostly Common Core

Excellent review of day 2 of the US NAGC Convention from Unwrapping the Gifted:

Day 3 of the US NAGC convention:

Another review of the US NAGC Convention of recent memory:

Assouline will replace Colangelo as Director of the Belin-Blank Center at University of Iowa:

Tennessee Governor’s School faces a 26% budget cut but survives:

Review of a new book on PEG at Mary Baldwin College:

This blog is publishing weekly round-ups of gifted education news and resources:

Another feature on the Renzulli  Gifted and Talented Academy in Connecticut:

Criticism of NYC’s gifted testing regime continues:

Duke TIP signs collaborative agreement with Shiv Nadar University to develop Indian gifted education:

Duke TIP and Shiv Nadar University to co-host a February 2013 Conference for Indian gifted educators:

More on the US-Indian collaboration between Duke TIP and Shiv Nadar University:

New blog up – My experience at TAGT 2012 –

Blogpost offering extended interview with a college counsellor from the IEA:

Downward mobility in US: – reinforces case for gifted education focused more on equity issues

What is your understanding of the Measures of Academic Progress?

Gifted jobs: University of Northern Colorado seeks an Assistant Professor: Gifted and Talented –

US Office for Civil Rights Report 2009-12: – includes securing fair access to gifted programmes

Colangelo retrospective on his imminent retirement: and my assessment of Belin-Blank:

Colangelo signs off at Belin-Blank:

Denver Post article: Are gifted and special-needs students being left behind?:

“#Gtchat at the TAGT Conference 2012″ Blog post with pictures!

You can revisit the great resources @brianhousand shares at conferences on his website

New Yong Zhao essay on TIMSS and PISA:

NYC U-turns on sibling preferences in gifted programme: and  and

Overcoming Underrepresentation in Gifted Programs – Ken Dickson:

Gifted Education in the United States:

More grist to the mill for those concerned about gifted education in NYC:

Critical commentary on that NY Times article about gifted education in NYC:

Chester Finn misses the point over identification processes in NYC’s gifted programme:

It’s Gifted Education Month in Alabama:

What do International Tests Really Show About US Student Performance?  -Edweek on same:

New Year, New Sustainability Strategy: New blog post from the Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund

Sheldon will develop You Tube’s ‘Prodigies’ for TV: – well the actor Jim Parsons will!

Georgia spends 300 times more on gifted education than Alabama:

More about gifted education in Alabama:

‘Why are our gifted and talented classes full of Asians?’

‘Gifted, Talented and White’ (from Santa Barbara, California):

More about the Renzulli Academy Hartford, Conn (USA) and plans for expansion elsewhere in the State:

Big list of upcoming gifted education webinars stateside:

Davidson Institute eNews Update January 2013:

Overcoming under-representation in gifted programmes part 2:

(US) States Differ in Defining, Supporting Gifted Students:

THE report on affirmative action in US university admissions:

Imbalance in gifted education programmes in Denver Colorado:

How segregated gifted programmes are hurting America’s poorest students:

A new bill to improve the quality of gifted education in Missouri:

MT @teachfine: Are you ready for our social media blitz to advocate for gifted? It’s today!

US districts experiment with partial homeschooling for gifted learners:

Details of Wenda Sheard’s SENginar: ‘Bootcamp for Determined Advocates’ on 16 March:

NYT article about the ongoing debate on (gifted education) testing and coaching in NYC:

News from Belin-Blank:

You can download several presentations from the California Association for the Gifted 2013 Conference here:

New Jersey’s gifted programmes are feeling the squeeze:

US NAGC seeks a Parent Services and Communications Manager:  – JD refers only to monitoring social media

NYC’s Gifted and Talented Dilemma: A Window into the Utility of Psychometric Testing:

Direct link to US Excellence and Equity Commission Report: ‘For Each and Every Child’:


Kew Gardens 2 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix

Kew Gardens 2 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix


Asia Gifted

Israeli Gifted education parts One: ;Two: ; and Three:

Feature on the Technion Sparks programme supporting Israel’s gifted Druse students:

Shortish feature on young ballet dancers from the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts:

Singapore will no longer identify the top scorers in the PLSE and public examinations:

HKAGE’s 2013 Hotung Lecture features Yun Dai and Yan Kong on Chinese + Western approaches to gifted:

HKAGE Research Note: Towards a Multifaceted Understanding of Gifted Underachievement:

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) annual Hotung Lecture features Yun Dai and Yan Kong:

Report on the Malaysian Gifted Education Conference 2012:

Poor TIMSS results in Malaysia: – this blogger says the Government is strangely silent

Memory and Cognitive Strategies of High Ability Students in a Rural (Malaysian) Secondary School:

Malaysian Nobelist Mindset Programme via @noorsyakina and and

SABIC is sponsoring scholarships for Saudi Mawhiba participants to pursue undergraduate study abroad:

The Saudis have been back to WKU:

Last in a tetralogy of Asian Tiger posts, here’s Taiwan Parts One: and Two


Australasia Gifted

Feature on gifted education in New Zealand, especially the NZAGC:

The Kiwis also agonise over TIMSS and PIRLS: – ‘wake-up calls’ the world over!

Feature on giftedness and gifted education out of Otago, New Zealand:

The gifted label should be permanently retired according to Otago IT entrpreneur (and ex-dentist!):

Brief article about upcoming NZAGC Annual Conference:

NZ research survey: top students uncomfortable being called “gifted”:

Gifted Resources November Newsletter No2 can be read online at

Gifted Resources December Newsletter has been posted at

Gifted Resources January 2013 newsletter can be read online at

Gifted Resources February newsletter can be read online at

Re-cataloguing Gifted Resources library 2

PWC has estimated the effect on Australian national productivity of educational improvement to Finnish level Aus$ 3.6tn

Early entry to university expands in New South Wales:

Victoria Australia will accept most of the recommendations in critical report on its gifted education

Government response to Victorian Inquiry into Education of Gifted Students

Article from Australia on the Victorian Government inquiry into gifted education:

That was the year that was 2012 for Sprites Site: – Many thanks Jo!

Did you miss: In Memoriam Edna McMillan from @LesLinks:

Notre Dame University in WA has been running a Cultural Decoding programme for the state’s gifted students:

Our obsession with national talent is harming students – Australian-based discussion:

Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians has extended its reach to Hong Kong:

Australian Curriculum gifted students’ guidance: – A useful comparator for English National Curriculum

Article on NSW’s Best Start Gifted and Talented Kindergarten Resource  Package:  – Here:


Europe Gifted

If you live in an EU country do please lobby your MEP to sign this declaration on talent support:

Written Declaration on Supporting Talent in the EU: so far signed by 84 MEPs:

84 signatures on that Written Declaration on Supporting Talent in EU -Time for MEPs to pull their fingers out!

New post (as promised) examining progress in the European Talent Initiative:

Help to discover and develop talents in Europe

Reminding all MEPs to please sign the WD on European Talent Support: – deadline 19 February

You can petition your MEPs about European Talent Support here:

Looks as though the Written Declaration on supporting talent in the EU (0034) will lapse:

It’s official: European Parliament Written Declaration on Talent Support has lapsed (it got 178 signatures):

Just found online an agenda for a public hearing last month on the Written Declaration on talent:

@jtoufi has blogged today about this new Opinion on gifted from the European Economic and Social Committee:

@jtoufi ‘s original post (in Spanish) is here  Link at end of EESC page to full Opinion

Here’s a short summary of the European Parliamentary Hearing on gifted education I mentioned recently:

Tumbleweed’s also blowing at European Talent Centre dormant since my December post

An interview with Peter Csermely largely about ECHA:

Csermely inteview from Gifted and Talented Ireland – Will the 2013 EU Talent Conference be there or Lithuania?

Lykkelige Barn: – a Norwegian parent’s experience courtesy of @Kariekol

Danskene vil vite mer om evnerike barn. Vil ikke vi? (from @Kariekol in Norway):

Ogg tak for det gamle: (review of 2012 from @Kariekol in Norway)

Todo esta escrito.

No te pierdas esta entrada, puede ser importante

Talento y Educacion :: Javier Touron: El modelo de los tres anillos  e

El Revolving Door Identification Model

No estan todos los que son… pero donde estan?

Que pasa cuando identificamos en un centro educativo?

Las escalas de rendimiento en PIRLS-TIMSS: mas alla de la media (I)

Las escalas de rendimiento en PIRLS-TIMSS: mas alla de la media (y II)

El modelo de identificacion Talent Search: una introduccion

Los principios pedagogicos del Talent Search:

El corazon del Talent Search: el “Out of Level”

Todo esta escrito. Enero 2013

El Talent Search: un mensaje para las escuelas

Es el Talent Search un modelo americano? La experiencia en Espana

El Talent Search a traves de los anos

KhanAcademy. Una revolucion a coste cero!

Feature on the Maximilianeum in Munich, Bavaria:

Good news: Our center will lease out virtual offices for other gifted centres around the world.

Report on progress in gifted education in both Turkey and Kosovo:

Congratulations to @Dazzlld and @Frazzlld for making it into the Guardian!

An ‘Offtopicarium’ on gifted education with a Polish complexion:

How to Help a Gifted Child? article in French magazine, Journal des Femmes :

Support and Education of Gifted Students in Poland:

How Finland Serves Gifted and Talented Pupils:

Gifted Education In Ireland:

The Gifted and Gifted Education in Hungary:

“Gifted Education in the Netherlands”

Acerca superdotacion y talento ( page):

Hai sa facem si noi ceva!.Maria si Paul vorbesc clar (supradotati in Romania)

Young, Gifted and Roma (podcast): – from the Council of Europe

The Slovenians also knew about that European Parliamentary Hearing:

The Austrians have published an English translation of their 2011 White Paper: Promoting Talent and Excellence


Kew Gardens 3 February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix

Kew Gardens 3 February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix


UK Gifted News and Developments

Gender imbalance revealed in Cambridge Chemistry Challenge:

Direct link to CBI’s First Steps Report: – demands stronger focus on individual needs, including gifted

CBI report complains of insufficient challenge for able children from disadvantaged backgrounds: (p 22)

CBI: competitors like Singapore ‘have a clearly articulated approach towards gifted and talented’ (p 25):

Can’t find anti-bullying report re hiding talents cited here: but questionnaire is here:

Making progress with my blog’s key documents library: – all help and feedback gratefully received

Pro-gifted parental rant against phonics: – though last time I checked Joan Freeman wasn’t a ‘literacy expert’

Laws to LGA: ‘We now need to move to a system…That includes stretching the most able’:

Musical chairs at IGGY: the erstwhile content adviser’s now MD; previous incumbent looks after ‘partnerships’

And IGGY’s staff complement is now 19. Add in the Guardian adverts and that’s a lot of income to generate:

IGGY is advertising free trial memberships for Warwickshire students:

When I last checked it was FULL free IGGY membership for all in Warwickshire/Coventry schools:

Final post of the year is an in-depth review of IGGY, the International Gateway for Gifted Youth

@naceuk says it’s a partner of @iggywarwick – but IGGY only admits to a water company and the National Grid

IGGY is running a better conference this year: – but sadly @GiftedPhoenix is still frozen out of proceedings

I haven’t been invited (again). I presume that @iggywarwick have ‘sent me to Coventry’ (ha ha):

Undeterred by Milburn, DfE continues Dux Awards Scheme in 2013 – – some 20% of secondaries took part in 2012

New Dux Scheme Press Notice: – Laws now in the lead and the 2013 target’s to involve 2000 schools

The OU-led Future Learn MOOC press release/briefing note: – excellent news for school-age gifted learners

DfE Pupil Premium case study features support for Paignton Community College’s gifted and talented programme:

Here’s a short but timely new post on High Attainers in the 2012 Primary School Performance Tables:

My analysis of high attainers in the Primary League Tables: Can anyone source national KS1APS data defining this group?

Gifted Phoenix Blog: 2012 Review and Retrospective:

You might have missed: The MENSA ‘carrot’ moment: plus apology:

Her Majesty gives gifted teenager the Complete Works: – Apparently a ‘surreal’ and ‘bizarre’ one-off

Realities and myths of children with high learning potential

Sutton Trust planning support for gifted disadvantaged with UCL and Kent academies says @conorfryan:

Martin Stephen’s doing a gifted education talk in Milton Keynes: – when will his research study be published?

The role of technology in gifted education: Can you help me to pin down the core issues?

Just completed the Guardian Chat on technology and gifted education, see the record here:

SSAT is getting back into gifted and talented: – doesn’t say who’s leading the sessions

GT Voice Bulletin February 2013 Edition: – Announces upcoming meetings on future of gifted education

“The Department does not collect information about gifted and talented young athletes in schools”: (Col 332W)

No pictures yet but some fascinating data (I hope) in my new post on High Attainers in the Secondary Performance Tables

More on Ofsted’s upcoming report on our most able pupils: – and my analysis of the data:

Yesterday’s super-timely blog post looking at the secondary/KS5 performance table data for high attaining students:

I’ve added a brief postscript on Ofsted plans for an imminent gifted survey to the end of this post:

Registration open for 2nd round of Dux Award Scheme: – Haven’t yet seen any response to Milburn’s sideswipe

References to inadequate progress by more able pupils are peppered throughout Estyn’s Annual Report 2011/12:

Elite young footballers burn out before they leave school:

Koshy and Casey on English Gifted Education: – I’d say 80% good and accurate

The very British shame of having a clever child

Whatever happened to Sutton Trust support for highly able

learners? (see end). Have I missed an announcement?

Potential Plus (ex NAGC) launches under its new name today

Interestingly, Gove’s SMF speech includes a lament that the Dux Scheme has been unpopular:

Delighted Ofsted’s challenging failure to use Pupil Premium with disadvantaged high attainers but can’t find the report

Congratulations to Potential Plus UK:

Ofsted to prepare landmark ‘rapid response’ report on English gifted and talented education: Wonderful news!

My blog post concludes that upcoming Ofsted survey on highly able will need to look carefully at NC reforms:

Can any Ofsted readers explain why there’s been no official announcement of your gifted education survey?

Eastleigh Tory candidate says state schools can’t educate her gifted son: and:

More on the ‘son too smart for state school gaffe’: – There’s been a storm on Twitter apparently

Liberals more worried whether Hutchings row will rebound on Clegg while Dale plays the autism card

Hutchings gaffe gave Libs/Lab a great platform to set out gifted education policies, but the cupboard is bare

Really important reminders in Ofsted’s Pupil Premium Report to target gifted disadvantaged learners:


Kew Gardens 4 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix

Kew Gardens 4 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix


Gifted Themes


Intelligence and Neuroscience

Perfect Saturday reading – an academic paper about Einstein’s brain:

Willingham urges caution in the application of neuroscience to education:

A blogpost on metacognition:

Neuroscience fiction:

The Neuroscience of Creativity (featuring Greenfield’s work):

Daniel Willingham has begun a week-long series on how neuroscience can be applied to resolve educational problems:

Second in Willingham’s series about positive uses of neuroscience in education:

Third of five in the Willingham Neuroscience series:

4th and penultimate episode in Willingham’s Neuroscience series:

Part 5 and coda to the Willingham neuroscience series: and

On Brains and Brilliance:

Math ability requires crosstalk in the brain:

How education hijacked brain research – some governments already considering brain training programmes

Working memory is a better test of ability than IQ:

Fractionating Human Intelligence (courtesy of @sbkaufman):

Independent’s summary: of the Fractionating Human intelligence paper:

New intelligence-related articles on top-end Flynn effect: and nature of intelligence:

Are we more or less intelligent than in the past?

More on motivation, IQ and maths:

Can Everyone Become Highly Intelligent? (thanks to @SurrealAnarchy ):

The Future of Intelligence:

On Neuroscience in Education via the OUP Blog:

Csikzentmihalyi – don’t go with the flow!

Working memory training does not live up to the hype:

A Genetic Code for Genius? via @WSJ


Creativity and Innovation

PISA’s Schleicher: ‘schooling now needs to be much more about…creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving’ (TES):

Grounding Creative Giftedness in the Body, from @sbkaufman

Current state of play on the Science of Creativity:

The Characteristics of Highly Creative People:

Creative Intelligence:

OECD working paper by Lucas, Claxton and Spencer on the assessment of creativity in schools:



SEN Magazine feature on dual and multiple exceptionality by Denise Yates of NAGC:

Aspie cult goes underground: – who wants to be part of a spectrum when you can have your own syndrome?

TES report on segregation of SEN learners: and link to the new IoE Report it references:

Education Select Committee has published uncorrected oral evidence on SEN:


Gifted Research

Extensive Gifted Education Research round-up from Ireland: and with a perfect final paragraph!

Full working paper: Conscientiousness Education and Longevity of High Ability Individuals – Savelyev:

The impact of motivation (relative to IQ) on achievement in maths:  (summary only)

The impact of high self-esteem on educational achievement is limited at best:

A pretty definitive study on relationship of self-esteem, academic self-concept and attainment:

The full text of the Marsh/OMara paper is available free at the bottom of this page:

Turkish Journal of Giftedness and Education: Vol 2.2, December 2012 edition:

Willingham on measurement of non-cognitive factors:

Lots more on the assessment of non-cognitive variables (Sedlacek):

“High Ability & Learner Characteristics” International Journal of Instruction 2013

Willingham on ‘How to Make a Young Child Smarter’: and the full article via @sbkaufman

I’m building an open access gifted education research repository on my blog called OpenGate Tweet me some links

How friendship networks can influence academic achievement: link to full paper by Blansky et al:

Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?

The Shift from Cohorts to Competency (Digital Learning Now paper):


Gifted Education Commentary

Q. What can we learn from international best practice in gifted education?  – A. Much from careful scrutiny

G&T Policy Choices for Schools: – Transcript of last night’s #gtie chat

How You Can Help the Genius in the Classroom:

Gifted Exchange encourages discussion on use of gifted learners as peer tutors:

Homework torture for some gifted students:

Transcript from tonight’s chat, Dear Teacher, My child is gifted and…

Review of last week’s #gtie chat: – this week’s tonight (Sunday) at 21.00 UK time

G&T School Policy Choices for Schools:

A bunch of strategies (13 actually) supporting academic motivation:

New post at GPS: “Teachers Partnering with Parents”:

Reading “Gifted Education and New Year’s Resolutions” on Smart Girl Politics:

Interested in gifted education? Some great info in the last few #gtie chats of 2012:

Mindsets and Gifted Education: Transformation in Progress:

The Quill Guy has been posting about gifted and talented writing projects:

#gtchat transcript of “Special Guest – Rebecca McMillan Director of Online Education at GHF” at

New blog: ‘Gifted Mathematics – Learn How to be Successful in Mathematics Competitions Worldwide’:

Advice for New Gifted Education Specialists

The Gifted Elementary Pupil. How to spot and how to support them:

#gtchat transcript: Instructional Strategies for Gifted Education

‘Calculating the Return on Investment in Gifted Education’:

Using creating challenge and mindmap to consider 2013 activities for Gifted Resources

Storify record of #gtchat: Guest, Dr. Joy Lawson Davis and “Diversity in Gifted Education

New Post – Differentiating for Gifted students

Join the Gifted Education Outreach Corps:

What’s Wrong With Being Smart? More squabbles over the excellence/equity balance in gifted education

STEM is Gifted Education:

Another page: ‘Methods and Materials for Gifted Education’:

RT @cybraryman1: My Identifying Gifted sites (see NAGC What is Giftedness):

Building a Gifted Education PLN:  #gtchat transcript: and associated blog post:

Yesterday’s PBL #gtchat transcript: and blog post:


Giftedness Commentary

Ten myths about gifted students and programmes for the gifted:

Transcript of When Parents Push Too Hard

Gifted children: How to know if we are pushing too hard:

New post at GPS, “A Disturbance in the Force” – including reference to UK NAGC name change

Being Gifted is Something to Celebrate:

Missed our last #gtchat, “When Parents Push Too Hard”? Check out our blog,

Why Your Gifted Teen May Act Anything but Gifted:

Defining giftedness and its goals (from Duke):

First-time gtchatters: Check out the the transcript from ‘Building Connections with #gtchat ‘

Transcript for tonight’s #gtie chat. Scroll to 21:00 for start:

Gifted, talented: Entitled to be Exceptional (@DouglasEby):

Why Some Gifted Individuals Don’t Love a Party:

Mythillogical: Belief versus the reality of giftedness:

Global #gtchat – the Year Ahead Storify Transcript

New post @ our blog! ‘Global #gtchat – the Year Ahead’

Transcript for last night’s #gtie chat:  Summary to follow later in the week, I hope!

Gifted Kids at Risk: Who’s Listening?

Learn about #gtchat from our guest blog post at MyTownTutors

Parenting Gifted Children:

The Norm Can Blow It Out Its Ear #gtie discusses gifted adults

Lance the Myths of Giftedness A response by @peter_lydon to @davidmcw’s piece on talent

Gifted Children and the Growth Mindset

Can’t join #gtchat at our current time? ‘Like’ our Facebook Page to stay in the loop!

Transcript for tonight’s #gtie chat:

Transcript of last night’s #gtie chat:

When It’s Time to Cut your Gifted Child Some Slack:

If it’s Wednesday it must be breakfast that makes kids smarter:

Do Gifted Kids Want to be Zuckerberg Rather Than Einstein?

‘Let’s Not Call Them ‘”Gifted”‘ from a what looks to be a new Blog on the scene:

#Gtchat transcript: Fostering Parent Awareness

The term “gifted” sucks in so many ways:

If Not ‘Gifted’, What?

TED conversation on the challenges facing gifted and creative individuals:


Kew Gardens 5 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix

Kew Gardens 5 February 2013 by Gifted Phoenix


English Education – Related Issues



Government response to Lords Science and Technology Committee Report on STEM: deemed inadequate:

Outcomes of consultation on primary MFL in the national curriculum:  – classical Latin and Greek are new options

Direct link to Chance to Shine school sports survey 54% of parents said children got less than 2 hours PE/sports a week

Continued campaign in reaction to marginalisation of dance:

Lords Oral PQ on arts in schools: (Col 1613): Hill says National Cultural Education Plan is delayed until New Year

Pollard bemoans imbalance in new National Curriculum. Cynics might say primary prescription promotes academisation:

Ofqual Report on 2011-12 National Assessment Arrangements: – Interesting commentary on new L6 tests at p26ff

Catholic bishops have decided that exclusion of RE from the EBacc affects parents’ human rights:

Direct link to Teaching About Christianity in religious education: a review of research – by Nigel Fancourt:

The accusation that the Coalition is pursuing a narrow, utilitarian curricular agenda is fertile territory for Labour:

Progress report on school-club sports links: (Col 53W)

DfE has let a contract worth £515K to Poetry Archive to run a National Poetry Recitation Competition for Years 10-13:

An item on school music notable principally for the author’s pseudonym: – explained here:

It’s a moot point whether children’s authors are best placed to decide the National Curriculum Eng Lit canon:

I assume the Burghes report for Politeia on primary maths will appear here shortly: – It’s not there yet

Yesterday’s Burghes paper for Politeia on primary maths: – comparisons with Finland, Japan and Singapore

Story on error-strewn primary NC drafts once more calls into question the process (and people?) used to draw them up:

This is a really neat website mapping the NSW curriculum: – Can we have one of those?

Summary of new Engineering Council report – wants 100% increase in numbers taking GCSE physics/triple science:

New DfE/Wellcome evaluation of the Science Learning Centre Network: – positive but warns against removing core funding

Sounds from Gove increasingly like the draft secondary NC programmes of study won’t issue until the New Year:

No sign of the APPG history report though clearly all the papers have seen it. Sigh. I assume it will be published here

National Plan for Cultural Education won’t now be published until 2013: (Col 134W)

ACME’s new Maths Report repeats the same old ACME themes: – but where is it? (they’re not the acme of early risers)

Though ACME has managed to publish a KS4 reform consultation response: – no tiering is ‘neither feasible nor desirable’

ACME’s Report from yesterday ‘Raising the Bar: Developing Able Young Mathematicians’: – a ‘critical situation’

Labour’s about to release a new School Sports Action Plan: – the talent development section will be key

Full sport-by-sport breakdown of whole sport plan funding for 2013-2017 including talent development:

“We are putting competitive sport at the heart of the new school curriculum” What does that refer to?

Government’s school sports strategy delayed until New Year by ministerial disagreements:

Ofsted School Sport Survey delayed until at least February 2013 by ‘redundancies’:

Mr Gove’s and Mr Hunt’s Party Games – on PE and school sports (courtesy of @DrDickB):

At last some common sense on Seacole: – or else convert to academy status!

Direct link to Nuffield Foundation comparative study: Towards Universal Participation in Post-16 Mathematics: 7

Is this a last ditch effort by Forgan to secure a halfway decent Cultural Education Plan? – we’re still waiting for that

Twigg: ‘we’d extend the academies’ freedoms on the national curriculum to all schools’: – New? So no NC under Labour?

Ofsted expects to publish its Report on ‘PE in Schools 2008-12’ in February 2013: (Col 805W)

Truss’s N of E Conference Speech eliminates some lacunae. Commissions Imperial to run 1 year A level teachers’ course

History Curriculum Association promotes its own curriculum to exempt academies and private schools

There’s no Ministerial Statement on National Curriculum Review today: – so Government misses its self-imposed deadline

TES Editorial is on the Government’s Janus-faced curriculum policy: – exactly why we’re still waiting for the PoS!

I do think the SMF speech tippietoes rather unconvincingly past the curricular freedom/content prescription conundrum

@EducationLabour Could you confirm if my reference to your NC policy here is correct? (Late Skirmishes section) Thanks:

Is it official Labour policy that academies’  National Curriculum freedoms would be extended to all schools?

Pending imminent National Curriculum announcements here’s Part 1 of a new post retrospecting on June 2012 to yesterday:

My blog post from last night tracing the National Curriculum review/EBC story from June 2012 to yesterday:

School sports announcement expected in next 2 weeks: – new funding, no ringfence but maybe a ‘recommendation’

During today’s EBC statement debate Labour must clarify whether they would extend academies’ NC freedoms to all schools

Ofsted on PE: all teachers should raise expectations of more able; offer challenging competitive activities:

OFSTED on PE: few schools have a balance ‘between increasing participation and generating elite performance’:

New Education Committee inquiry on School Sports post Olympics:  -submit evidence via new portal:

Science and Technology Committee Report ‘Educating tomorrow’s Engineers: impact of Government reforms on 14-19 education’:

British Psychological Society will shortly publish a report on psychology in schools:


Assessment and Accountability

@warwickmansell fisks this memorandum on the EBC: here: chokes on his tea and predicts a car crash

KS Teacher Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (TARA) 2013:

If techbac is a performance table measure, doesn’t that pre-empt the upcoming consultation on secondary accountability?

Ofqual’s EBC letter yesterday: – is likely to delay the promised December consultation on secondary accountability…

Given Ofqual’s EBC intervention: – the case for sorting accountability BEFORE sorting exams becomes much stronger

I wonder if Ofqual’s EBC letter presages adoption of explicitly PISA-linked tests for accountability purposes:

TechBacc proposals = Diploma with a new name While we’re on names, check out the working group…

Support materials for the KS2 English Grammar Punctuation and Spelling Level 6 test:

The Baker/C&G Tech Bac and the Government’s performance table Tech Bac – Nothing more than a recipe for confusion (TES)

‘Imminent’ secondary accountability consultation likely to feature more focus on KS4 average points scores: (TES)

Another post-GCSE maths option will shortly be added into the mix:

Secondary accountability consultation also postponed to January: – but is it to be ‘best 8’ GCSEs or EBacc plus?

Evaluation/consultation Report on Key Stage 4/5 Destination Measures, setting out planned changes in 2013:

Education Commitee recommends Government takes expert subject-specific advice on removal of tiering from EBC (para 61)

Education Committee “We have serious concerns about the proposed timetable for reform”:

Introduction of challenging extension papers sounds U-turnish ie exactly the opposite of untiered EBCs

Updated EBacc FAQs (post reclassification of computer science): – interesting to reflect on impact on ‘triple science’

My blog post from last night tracing the National Curriculum review/EBC story from June 2012 to yesterday:

TES reports ‘more challenging extension papers’ in GCSE maths and science for A*/A candidates:

Strong interest in my old post about implications of removing NC levels:  – grading’s still an unresolved issue tonight

Summary of KS4 reform consultation responses says 56% thought impossible across all EBC subjects:

Reports pre-empt A level reform announcement: – stand alone AS levels and Russell Group advisory board/annual reviews

Interesting to note 12 month delay on A level reforms: – that may suggest same for EBC

Classic UUK press release on A level reform: – we agree changes are needed but these aren’t quite the right ones

Gove’s letter on A levels to Ofqual now published: – but there is as yet no accompanying FAQ on the implications

Interesting idea that A level students should get separate absolute and relative grades:

1994 Group is furious too “very little consultation with the sector” AS reform “extremely concerning”

Number of students from maintained schools and sixth form colleges achieving 3+ A*/A grade A levels by year: (Col 327W)

The Ministerial Statement on A level reform: (Col 315) – AS will ‘have same content as A levels but half the breadth’

Direct link to Secondary Performance Tables 2012, just published:

SFR02/13: GCSE and equivalent results in England 2011/12 (Revised):

SFR05/2013:  A level and equivalent examination results in England (Revised):

SFR04/2013 – GCSE and Equivalent Attainment by Pupil Characteristics in England:

Uncorrected transcript of Education Select Committee oral evidence session with HMCI  on 13 February:

Basically Derby seems to have been doing a reasonable job:  – did Ofsted expect it to be less successful?


International Comparisons

You can download Pearson’s Learning Curve Report or read online at dedicated website here:

Can’t find any evidence that Pearson’s Learning Curve report takes account of high (or low) level achievement:

Conor Ryan digs beneath the surface of Pearson’s Learning Curve report and rankings:

Sutton Trust Report on the limitations of international comparisons studies: and TES on same:

Nor does latest Sutton Trust effort on PISA/TIMSS etc properly credit my source blogpost here: Grump, grump

Pleased Sutton Trust is debunking the ‘UK’s problem is solely a long tail’ myth. But footnote ref to my post is wrong:

This is the page to store in readiness for publication of TIMSS/PIRLS data at 09.00 UK time on Tuesday 11 December:

Schleicher’s explanation of differences between PISA and TIMSS/PIRLS results is a bit of a punt, to put it mildly:

A reminder that it’s TIMSS and PIRLS publication day – results appear here at 09.00 UK time:

The IEA’s TIMSS and PIRLS reports:

The TIMSS/PIRLS press notice  for completeness: – a very mixed bag indeed, so it’s hard to make any political capital

DfE’s Research brief on TIMSS for good measure: and NFER’s national report:

NFER’s National Report on PIRLS in England: – and DfE’s research brief:

Interesting to compare Duncan: and Truss: on TIMSS and PIRLS

Here’s my new post examining the Performance of High Achievers in TIMSS, PIRLS (and PISA)

Did you know that England outperformed Finland at the high achievers’ benchmarks in TIMSS and PIRLS?

Didn’t look at widening gap evidence, but Asian Tigers have many more high achievers at advanced benchmarks, see

Informative article about the impact of PISA on different national qualifications:


Kew Gardens 6 February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix

Kew Gardens 6 February 2013 by GiftedPhoenix


Social Mobility and Fair Access

BIS press notice links to new Sutton Trust research: tracking decision making of high-achieving HE applicants:

Sutton Trust is also investing in social mobility via employment in ‘Real Estate’:  – An unfortunate Americanism imho

Stupid social mobility article: – wants to substitute WP for fair access rather than pursuing both

A new Sutton Trust publication celebrating its 15th anniversary:

Sutton Trust’s new report on the education of top people: and associated press notice:

HEFCE’s revised qualifications list for the ABB high grades quasi-market in 2013-14: – Even AAC counts!

Contexualised admissions set to become universal in Scotland: – Makes OFFA seem toothless by comparison

TES projects a false dichotomy between Gove’s and Ebdon’s views on fair access They’re not irreconcilable

Careers England Survey of the Impact of Education Act 2011:

A HEFCE/OFFA progress report on a ‘national strategy for access and student success’ – Now you’re talking!

St Andrews says only 220 of 5,572 5th years from Scotland’s deprived areas managed 3 Higher A grades in 2011:

What St Andrews actually said about fair access (as opposed to the versions in this morning’s papers):

Independent careers guidance will be extended to 16-18 year-olds in colleges and Year 8 in schools. from Sept 2013:

Indy’s Lampl fan club attend the 15th anniversary shindig: – ends with some U-turn scepticism about open access

Adonis has a point, but perhaps fair access should focus a little more on elite courses rather than elite universities:

Percentage achieving 2+ A levels at A*/A by ethnic background and by local authority 2008-11:  (Dep 2012-1781)

Gibb and Gove continue the unfair campaign against OFFA’s Ebdon at Oral PQs, prompted by Adonis: (Col 580)

‘Not every aspect of the open access scheme necessarily recommends itself to the Government’ (Gove): (Col 587)

Uncorrected transcript of Hancock evidence to Education Select Committee on Careers Guidance:

Direct link to the Sutton Trust’s new personal statements research:

Ebdon response to Adonis, Gibb et al:

Sutton Trust expands its US Summer Schools: – but how do they impact on fair access here?

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission still doesn’t have its full quota of members: (Col 102W)

Direct link to the UCAS End of Cycle Report 2012: – looks positive from fair access perspective

What proportion of top students taking up degree courses in the US will return to the UK on graduation?

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Members finally announced; Gillian Shephard is new Vice-Chair

Series of four HE outreach for WP/fair access toolkits plus supporting material:

Higher feature on the fragmented nature of HE outreach for fair access:

Coded praise from Milburn for Gove: – He’s on the right track provided he acts on my Social Mobility Commission Report

Anonymous insider criticism of Independent v State element of Government’s own social mobility indicators

Sutton Trust blog: Moving Up the Great Gatsby Curve:

Willetts stresses gender alongside ethnicity/class in fair access: but socio-economic disadvantage is the common factor

THE draws attention to new flexibilities in ABB policy to support fair access:

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Framework Document: (Dep 2012-1939)

McGhee HE access for white working class males article: – rather lets selective universities off the hook

Geraint Jones QC is OFFA’s newly-appointed Statutory Reviewer:

Time on Oxbridge attempts to recruit more students from poorer backgrounds (via @dlknowles)

HEFCE Grant Letter 2013-14 confirms ‘unrestrained recruitment’ extended to ABB A level grades:

Sutton Trust on outcomes of its US summer school: and – You too can attend Oglethorpe University!

HEFCE announces timetable for integrating its Widening Participation Strategic Statements with OFFA’s Access Agreements

The fair access debate unfolds in Scotland:

You can at least read OFFA’s press release: plus Ebdon commentary in THE:

Well OFFA has tried to publish its Access Agreement Guidance for 2014-15, but this link isn’t yet working:

Link to OFFA Access Agreement Guidance for 2014-15 finally working:

HEFCE guidance on National Scholarship Programme 2014-15:

This postgraduate’s case against St Hughes College Oxford has all the ingredients of a cause celebre: L

Mail previews the AAB measure due in the Secondary Performance Tables on Thursday:

“within the colleges and…managerial hierarchy there remains an undertone of elitism, privilege and exclusivity”:

His children’s education was always a ticking timebomb for Clegg given he’s the self-styled champion of social mobility

Btw, the facilitating subjects A level performance measure must have been shaped to feed this social mobility indicator

A second take on the social mobility impact of AS level reform:

Will AS level reforms have a negative impact on fair access and social mobility? – Conceivably

Russell Group cautions on the facilitating subjects measure in KS5 league tables – still studiedly silent on AS level?

Sutton Trust adds to calls to a national co-ordinating body for fair access to HE: – Spot on

HMC’s chair-elect believes only independent schools provide social mobility:  I’ve seen some warped logic in my time…

Touche Sutton Trust! John Jerrim questions reliability of international comparisons of social mobility:

Two elements of the bigger social mobility production function: resilience: and cultural capital:

Sutton Trust Report on The Postgraduate Premium: and associated Press Release:

Since reintroduction of a Cambridge entrance exam won’t help fair access, will OFFA be challenging that?:

It must be driven by the associated social mobility indicator. Don’t know who ‘invented’ that:

The latest UCAS data: and OFFA’s comment on same:

OFFA provisionally estimates Access Agreement support for disadvantaged students at £386.5m in 2011-12: (Col 691W)

Free Enterprise Group paper which calls for OFFA to be scaled back:

Lampl blogpost alongside the new Postgraduate Premium Report:

Whatever happened to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission? – No website, remit or publications timetable

Adjournment Debate on the Oxford postgraduate access case: (Col 431)

Education Select Committee has published uncorrected oral evidence on SEN: and careers:

Direct link to Education Select Committee’s deeply critical report on careers guidance

Media coverage of OFFA’s as yet unpublished 2014-15 guidance:  and – advocates long-term outreach

OFFA’s 2014-15 guidance apparently announces National Scholarship Programme reforms:

UUK responds to OFFA’s 2014-15 Guidance before OFFA has even published it: – someone needs to pull their finger out!


Disadvantage and Narrowing Gaps

Table showing Grammar School FSM eligibility by school: (Col 356W) – almost all are below 5% – scandalous

The EYFSP Attainment by Pupil Characteristics data mentioned earlier: – FSM gap at 19% largely unchanged since 2010

Work and Pensions Select Committee Report on Universal Credit covers progress on FSM passporting at paras 184-195:

As far as I can establish this is all DfE has published about prioritising FSM admissions to maintained schools:

The FSM priority admissions pilot for maintained schools comes out from under wraps:

Consultation on Improving Educational Outcomes for Children of Travelling Families: – but it isn’t really that

Marginally better looked after children attainment gaps: don’t yet warrant a Pupil Premium Plus:

New series of Pupil Premium evidence notes and case studies from DfE:

Sounds like FSM in FE are once more off the table, because the cost is prohibitive: (Col WA291)

In 2012-13 1,924,920 pupils attracted the Pupil Premium including 52,370 attracting the Service Premium:  (Col 841W)

Estimated costs of FSM for all families entitled to Universal Credit and those with incomes under £16K: (Col 341W)

ASCL call for Pupil Premium funding formula undermined by strange notion of weighting to reflect attainment gaps (TES)

EEF T&LTooklit relaunch: – see ‘latest updates’ tab for what has been added:


Selection and Independent Sector

Defensive speech from president of the GSA: – basically the message to Government is ‘we’ll only co-operate if you pay’

DfE can’t say how many/which schools can select on basis of aptitude in each of the permitted specialisms: (Col 373W)

Times incorrectly reporting KCL will open first 16-19 maths free school. Brief (free) Russian report here:

KCL release on its 16-19 maths free school Wolf leads; DfE’s paying development and ’14-16 outreach’ grant

Update  and FAQ on 16-19 maths free schools. Now maths only with ‘significant’ HE input

Allegations of cheating in London 11+ examinations:

Bucks grammar schools reveal new 11+ designed to to tackle the issue of private tutoring

So we now have 16-19 maths/STEM academy projects in Norwich, London and Exeter: – but there’s funding for 12

Apropos Exeter 16-19 maths specialist school: – my (oldish) post on the planned network:

DfE press release on Exeter 16-19 specialist maths free school:  –  Unclear why they cite only Kolmogorov as the model

Delighted Boyle’s pushing fair access to GS/faith schools  Gatekeepers’ resistance must be overcome

Direct link: Barriers to Choice in Public Service, calling for support for poor students to enter grammar/faith schools

DfE wants more bids from universities to open specialist 16-19 maths free schools – it now has a dedicated team:


Miscellaneous Issues

Here’s Labour’s online policy hub – education and children page:  (Labour list gave out the wrong URL this morning)

Just 3.85% of 1,920 converter academies have sponsor arrangements to raise performance in another academy: (Col 325W)

I was surprised at how anti-sets this DfE webpage is: – compared with my analysis

I strove to find the middle ground here: – most of the ‘gifted’ literature is avidly pro-setting…

Feature on ability-based vertical grouping in Y9-11: – doesn’t really bring out the downside of ability groups

300 FE colleges to start competing for 14 year-olds: Will that remove early entry barrier?

FAQs on 14-16 enrolment in colleges:

A post that asks some serious questions about Futurelearn, the OU MOOC endeavour:

Updated FAQ on 14-16 enrolment in colleges: – bit vague on the curricular implications

TES reports on progress towards 14-16 admissions in FE: – slow start but could be a big deal in future

New OECD analysis of the Social Benefits of Education:  Be good to check how recession has impacted on life satisfaction

Updated details of the Dance and Drama Awards (DADA):

This LSE Growth Commission report focuses entirely on the ‘long tail’ in discussing human capital investment in schools

Direct link to new Education Select Committee Report on Home Education:

DfE has finally published information on free school proposers here  and here

FoI response listing academies that have received pre-warning notices and warning notices:

Announcement of 3rd year of teachers’ National Scholarship Fund:

The Handbook for the new round of the National Scholarship Fund for Teachers: – application deadline is 25 April

Plans to open The Free School Norwich (High School): – by the same people that brought you the primary school

Gove letter to Information Commissioner on release of free school data:  – not quite giving in gracefully…

A new set of FAQs about Advanced Skills Teachers (ASTs):



DfE review of Research Evidence on Writing: – concludes that there are still huge gaps in the evidence base

DfE is seeking EoIs in the Evaluation of Teaching Schools:

New DfE research on Pupils Not Claiming Free School Meals: – estimates 200,000 (14% of those eligible) don’t claim

There’s an interesting new Eurydice comparative report on Developing Key Competences at School in Europe:

Some of new Education Endowment Foundation grants seem rather bloated: – many beneficiaries are the usual suspects too

New DfE research too on the impact of pupil behaviour and well-being on educational outcomes:

New DfE research on students taking gap years: – they get better degrees but earn less at 30

Final report of DfE-commissioned research into L6 tests is due tomorrow. Contract here:

DfE research contract for study of progression of high-achieving pupils to HE also now published:

New DfE research review of literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies:

Direct link to new Jerrim/Vignoles paper: University Access for Disadvantaged Children: and PN:

CERP article by McNally on detracking plus link to full paper on impact of opening up NI grammar schools

Interesting new DfE research report on the impact of family circumstances and ‘stressors’ on pupil outcomes:

NEPC’s Annual Bunkum Awards for Truly Rotten Education Research (plus links to their reviews of the winners):



February 2013

Gifted Phoenix 2012 Review and Retrospective


I thought it might be neat – as well as useful – to round out this year’s blogging with a mildly self-congratulatory review, looking back at the various posts I’ve written about giftedness and gifted education.

New Year Fireworks courtesy of RobW_

New Year Fireworks courtesy of RobW_


I have embedded links to every post, so this is also an index of sorts. If you missed anything first time round, now’s your chance to catch up before next year’s programme kicks off.

This is my 40th post of 2012. There were none in August (holidays) or in October (heavy research and some privately commissioned work). I published between three and six posts in each of the remaining ten months. I haven’t attempted an accurate word count, but my best guess is roughly 200,000.



National Studies

I’ve published four ‘signature’ features on national systems of gifted education:

  • South Korea – Parts One and Two;
  • Singapore – Parts One and Two;
  • New Zealand’s Excellence Gap – Parts One and Two; and

The first two were studies of ‘Asian Tigers’, intended to showcase the particular significance of gifted education to a select group of jurisdictions that are so often held up as educational paragons for us to emulate as best we can. They complement an earlier series about gifted education in Hong Kong.

The New Zealand post was this year’s contribution to the NZ Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour. It attracted a lot less attention (and, consequently, much less vituperation) than I had anticipated. The substance of my argument is that New Zealanders are over-focused on ethnic achievement gaps, including at the top end, rather than socio-economic achievement gaps (which will of course have a significant ethnic dimension).

The post on Israel was a huge task, given the immense range of background material available online. I knew that Israel had a long pedigree in the field, but hadn’t appreciated that it was quite so extensive. Much of this activity deserves to be better known and better understood – and I hope my post has made some small contribution to that end.


The Directory of Gifted Education Centres

Four more of my posts during 2012 are contributions to an ongoing series about important centres for the delivery and support of gifted education:

  • Back in January I produced a postscript to my earlier work on the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) analysing recently published data about the Academy’s effectiveness;


Theoretical Posts

A third group of posts can perhaps best be regarded as contributions to the theoretical underpinnings of gifted education.

  • At the beginning of the year I offered a piece called ‘Are All Children Gifted?’ – Parts One and Two – which was prompted by an initial discussion on Twitter. The first part set out my personal position, together with a frame for the consideration of statements of this kind. The second part analysed three different examples of the genre.
  • Later that spring I published ‘A Bold Step in Broadly the Right Direction…But There’s a Big But!’ This is my contribution to the vociferous and sometimes violent debate prompted by the publication of ‘Taking a Bold Step’ an article by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, President of the US National Association for Gifted Children. Fundamentally, I argue for an inclusive, consensual position that can be supported by advocates of trait-based giftedness on one hand and gifted education as talent development on the other. But I place myself firmly in the latter camp, subject only to profound reservations over the idea that gifted education must be devoted to the nurturing of adult eminence.


Social Media

In the summer several posts were dedicated to consideration of the contribution that social media might make to gifted education.

I chaired a Symposium on this topic at the ECHA 29012 Conference in Munster, Germany. Two preparatory posts, published in July and September respectively, were concerned with the Symposium itself, including arrangements for a linked #gtchat on Twitter, designed to embody in practice some of the Symposium’s key messages.

There was also a substantive post ‘Can Social Media Help Overcome the Problems We Face in Gifted Education – Part One and Two. This considered how social media might be harnessed to support advocacy, learning, policy-making, professional development and research, offering several suggestions for worthwhile collaborative projects.

Finally, in October, I published a full review of the Conference as a whole, including reflections on the Symposium. This offered some potential learning points for the next conference in Ljubliana in two years’ time.

It is gratifying that the organisers have already been in touch expressing their willingness to act on such feedback. The Conference itself is called ‘Rethinking Giftedness: Giftedness in the Digital Age’, so this is perhaps the perfect opportunity to address some of these issues directly. I hope I can play an active part in that.




Posts Pertaining to English Gifted Education

Six of my posts dealt with the impact of English education policy on gifted learners, including high attainers.

  • In February I published a Policy Statement on the English School Performance Tables for GT Voice. This was drafted on behalf of the Board and revised in the light of comments received from other members. Later in the year, in early October, I resigned from the Board in protest at the very limited progress made since GT Voice was first established. I am still a member and – despite continuing forebodings – I very much hope that GT Voice can develop some real momentum in 2013.
  • The GT Voice Policy Statement was produced in response to the 2011 Performance Tables. In December I produced an analysis of the performance of High Attaining Pupils in the 2012 Primary Tables. There was evidence of real improvement between 2011 and 2012, though changes to statutory tests were a complicating factor and there is still considerable scope for further improvement in 2013 and beyond
  • Three posts dating from the early summer consider issues arising from the emerging outcomes of England’s National Curriculum Review. The first considered The Removal of National Curriculum Levels and the Implications for Able Pupils’ Progression. This was supplemented by a proposed Basic Framework for National Curriculum Assessment. A final post traced the clarification of Government policy over the secondary National Curriculum and replacement of existing GCSE qualifications taken at age 16. Initial media statements presaging full abolition of the secondary National Curriculum were succeeded by plans for a ‘skeleton’ comprising:

‘very, very short programmes of study that will give teachers “extreme” and “almost total” freedom over what is taught’.

  .Six months on, these are still to be published.

  • Two posts were dedicated to dissecting reports published by the Sutton Trust. The first considering its proposals for an Open Access Scheme; the second analysing a Report on ‘Educating the Highly Able’. I’m afraid I found them equally unconvincing. The first depends on a substantial taxpayer investment in independent (private sector) schools at a time when budgets are stretched as never before, quite apart from the fact that it would also denude state schools of all their most able learners. The second fails entirely to acknowledge the proposals in the first. By defining high ability almost exclusively in terms of high attainment, its proposed course of action would serve only to increase the ‘excellence gap’ between disadvantaged gifted learners and their peers.


Twitter Round-ups

I provided eight comprehensive listings of Gifted Phoenix Tweets during 2012. The first seven were monthly reviews, but the eighth and last marked a shift to quarterly/termly round-ups:

Gifted Phoenix on Twitter provides comprehensive coverage of global gifted education news, as well as links to useful research, commentary and resources made freely available online.

My Twitter feed also offers balanced analysis of wider education policy here in England, while specialising in unearthing and sharing newsworthy educational material from public sector sources. This supports the cause of greater transparency, espoused by the Government and opposition parties alike. It also helps ‘proper’ educational journalists keep up to speed.

Gifted Phoenix published around 6,500 Tweets during 2012. It has over 3,000 followers including several very influential politicians and educationalists.


Key Documents

Finally, I published a brief post drawing readers’ attention to an evolving Key Documents section of this Blog.

My plan is to build incrementally a global library of freely available documents, wherever possible (ie where copyright provisions appear not to stand in the way) by storing a PDF on the site.

When future posts need to reference the documents in question, I can link to the copy on this Blog rather than relying on external URLs. This should significantly reduce the incidence of dead links.

Phase One of this project is now almost complete, in that the ‘Gifted Education in the United Kingdom’ section is fully stocked with uploadable PDFs. I shall begin to stock the ‘Gifted Education in the Rest of the World’ and ‘Research’ sections during the coming year.



It is never wise to place too much faith in Blog analytics, but WordPress suggests my readership almost doubled in 2012 compared with the previous year.

There have been visits from 151 countries since 1 April. Some 48.5% of those visitors are resident in the United States or the United Kingdom.

The next largest readerships are located in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, India, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the Philippines respectively

The ten most read posts during the year (including some published before 2012) are:

Mawhiba: Gifted Education in Saudi Arabia (Part One)

Gifted Education in South Korea – Part One

The Removal of National Curriculum Levels and the Implications for Able Pupils’ Progression

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education: An In-Depth Analysis

Gifted Education in Singapore: Part 1

Gifted Education in Singapore: Part 2

The European Council for High Ability (ECHA)

Are Leonardo Schools a Good Model of Gifted Education?

USA: Maryland – Center for Talented Youth (CTY), Johns Hopkins University



As we move into 2013, may I take this opportunity to wish all my visitors and readers a very Happy New Year.

I have several very interesting posts planned for the early part of next year. I hope they will continue to meet your needs but, if you would like me to address a particular topic, please don’t hesitate to suggest it.



December 2012

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up: Volume 10


Here, rather belatedly, is my latest review of @Gifted Phoenix Twitter activity.

The previous edition was published as long ago as 14 July, so this post covers over four months of activity.

I intend to publish approximately termly reviews henceforward – either three or four a year, depending on my level of industry (and Twitter activity) and your level of interest!

I have made some adjustments to reflect these new arrangements. Rather than attempt coverage of my entire Twitter feed, I have concentrated on drawing together material relevant to gifted education.

As far as wider education policy is concerned, I have included only those tweets that are pertinent to gifted education in England.

The review is organised as follows:

  • Global gifted education – I have divided this into two sub-sections, one covering the World Council’s activities, the other everything else.
  • Separate sections for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe (other than the UK) respectively. The Americas is divided into three: Other Than USA, US National and US Local. The latter covers material relevant to states, cities, counties, gifted centres, universities and schools.
  • UK, again sub-divided into three: Gifted, Related Issues and Data.
  • Thematic, which also has three sub-sections: Twice Exceptional, Creativity and Innovation, Intelligence and Neuroscience.
  • Commentary, which is once more tripartite, containing subsections entitled Gifted Research, Academic/Gifted Education and Advocacy/Parents/General Interest.

I have exercised some discretion in placing tweets into categories. Some would fit in two or more different sections. Some of my categorisations, especially in the UK and Commentary sections, are also a little rough and ready.

The tweets in each section are organised so that linked material is together, but are otherwise in broadly chronological order. As ever, all the tweets are mine, though a handful are retweets or modified tweets originated by others.

The photographic accompaniment is also supplied by yours truly, collected on my last visit abroad. But where did I go?


Global Gifted Education


World Council/World Conference

WCGTC conference Auckland July 2013: earlybird registration for non-members falls NZ$ 174 to NZ$ 825 (£428)

The results of the 2012 International Chemistry Olympiad, just finished in Washington DC:

WCGTC is celebrating an International Week of Giftedness in August 2012 – and again in August 2013:

More about the WCGTC International Week of Giftedness:

More again about the WCGTC International Week of #Giftedness, which has its own hashtag #IWG2012:

The World Council Executive Committee (sans President) at their new HQ in Bowling Green Kentucky:

@wcgtc Do you support the African Council for Gifted and Talented as claimed here?

Breaking news: World Council 2013 Gifted Conference in New Zealand cancelled. Nothing here yet:

Nothing on the World Council site either about cancellation of the 2013 Conference in NZ:

NZ Gifted Conference 2013 scrapped due to lack of sponsorship; organisational differences with World Council:

World Council Gifted Conference has been cancelled at short notice for second time in succession

World Conference cancellation is a huge blow to NZ gifted education: – but it also begs questions …

With just 10 months before World Council conference runs, even US fallback locations will be hard to find:

Maybe the IRATDE Conference in Turkey could be rebranded as a joint World Council/IRATDE conference:

Look what I’ve found! Could the 2013 World Council Gifted Conference be moving to Dubai?

The site has now moved to a different URL: – Think this is the venue ICIE used in Dubai

WCGTC Conference 2013 has a byline and workshops (mostly Exec Committee members) but still no location

World council gifted conference in Kentucky USA as predicted  but Louisville rather than Bowling Green

World gifted conference dates moved to August 10-14. No other details on programme or host location:


Other Global

A timeline of developments and influential people in gifted education: – WARNING highly US-centric!

IRATDE’s 3rd International Conference on Talent Development and Excellence in Turkey, September 2013:

Review of and link to @gtchatmod’s webinar about #gtchat:

Did you know? #gtchat now has a blog! Sneak peek @  for chat summaries, links & news

Visit our new #gtchat Blog 4 chat summaries & news about upcoming chats at

IBO and World Academy of Sport offer a flexible Diploma to accommodate talented young sports stars:

The results from the 24th International Informatics Olympiad, just finished in Italy:

Facebook and Gifted Education listings: – thanks for including me!

Mensa for Kids is running an Excellence in Reading Award:

Mensa for Kids Reading Award booklist for Grades 9-12? – Curious. Would love to know the selection criteria

Pearson’s Project Blue Sky looks interestingly relevant to gifted learners:




More about sponsorship of Kenya’s gifted learners:

Messy end for an independent school for gifted learners in Kwa-Kulu Natal:

President Jonathan visits Jigawa State Academy for the Gifted, Nigeria: – background here




Other than USA

Caribbean Science Foundation is running a pan-Caribbean summer school for gifted students:

‘SO(bre)S(alientes Reloded’: The revival of a blog about gifted education in Mexico:

The Iberoamerican gifted education conference starts today in Buenos Aires Argentina:


US National

US NAGC view of the year ahead: Making a Difference with Small Actions:

Preview of US NAGC Convention in November:

Details of US NAGC’s Back to School Webinar Series (£):

Joy Lawson Davis has a place at the US NAGC Board of Directors’ table:

US NAGC’s Report on support for gifted disadvantaged learners: ttp:// – At first glance this looks rather pedestrian

Edweek on the NAGC report on gifted disadvantaged learners that I called pedestrian yesterday:

Will the National Association for Gifted Children’s (@NAGC) new paradigm be divisive?

Has Mariam Willis left US NAGC? Parenting High Potential Blog has been dormant for 3 months:

Unwrapping the Gifted’s report of Day 1 of the US NAGC convention:  – mostly Common Core

Excellent review of day 2 of the US NAGC Convention from Unwrapping the Gifted:

SENG’s National Parenting Gifted Week Blogtour details:

Catching up: the full roster of blog posts from the SENG National Parenting Gifted Children Week:

Update on SENG activities:

Article about the 2012 Davidson Fellows:

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to dish out $500K annually for talent development: – 1st recipient Renzulli Academy

National Consortium of Early College Entrance Programs just met – but no insight here into proceedings

Feature on the iGifted School, a US-based non-profit provider of after school activities:

Welcome to Right Side of the Curve – a new US-based online gifted education community:

I see Tamara Fisher, author of the Unwrapping the Gifted Blog, has joined Twitter as @thethinkteacher :

US Government tracker says, optimistically, that Grassley’s gifted bill has 1% chance of enactment:

Passing reference to gifted learners in Obama’s Educational Excellence for African Americans initiative

Education Next feature on selective ‘exam schools’ in the US: and a comment on same:

Extended Washington Post article on development of maths as ‘competitive sport’ in the US:

Three reasons why Americans ignore gifted children:

This Dropout Nation post says US gifted education is a legacy ‘of racialist thinking’ and should be ditched:

A critical commentary on the Chester Finn piece about US neglect of gifted learners:

‘Solving America’s Math Problem’ through better differentiation including for top performers:

More Advanced Placement controversy: and and

The ‘Asianification’ of selective US high schools: – a selection issue as yet largely ignored here in the UK?

Worrall et al on minority gifted students: – fails to state firm principle that ability is evenly distributed

US Needs to Focus Its Educational Efforts on Talented Americans (@JonathanLWai):

‘The smartest kid in the room’ – another current state of US gifted education article:


US Local

First part of a critique of gifted education in the Southern states of the USA:

Second part of that blog post on being gifted in the Southern states of the USA:

Michigan educators worry whether the emphasis on gap-narrowing there will disadvantage gifted learners:

It’s Time to Respect Our Gifted and Talented Students – a Delaware USA perspective:

Minorities are under-represented in Virginia’s gifted education programmes:

Gifted jobs: Virginia Association for the Gifted requires a PT Executive Director: ($35-40K)

The scary state of gifted education in Ohio:

Gifted education issues in Ohio:

A state of the state report on gifted education in Oregon USA:  – the ‘quiet crisis’

Your  Member Newsletter: Gifted Education News from MCGATE

The Gifted: Left Behind? (in Montgomery County):

A view of gifted education from the Chicago suburbs:

Ethnic bias in admission to NYC’s selective high schools and efforts to rectify that via the DREAM programme:

Can opening up NYC selective high schools help poor kids?

James Borland lays into NYC’s gifted education programme, and with some justification:

Finn says selective high school admission in NYC needs reform but dislikes ‘disparate-impact analysis’

Why the Naglieri test won’t make admission to NYC’s gifted programme more equitable:

More on what’s wrong with gifted education in NYC:

Gifted education jobs: MIT seeks Assistant Director of Admissions to lead on recruitment of talented students:

Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth appoints new Director, though Stambaugh remains Executive Director:

Gifted jobs: William and Mary CFGE seeks Assistant Clinical Professor leading on publications/professional development

Belin Blank advertises its international credentials: and has updated its website

Belin Blank’s Colangelo is retiring imminently:

More about CTY’s Rural Connections Gifted Programme:

Looks like expansion at CTY given some of these new posts:

Gifted jobs: National Society for Gifted and Talented requires a Program Director based in Stamford CT USA:

CTD’s Summer 2012 newsletter on implications for gifted students of the Common Core:

September News from the Gifted Development Center:

Jonathan Plucker – the excellence gap expert – has moved to UConn’s Neag School of Education: Jefferson HS in the US is being sued over non-admission of gifted Black and Latino students:

Interview with the Director of the Institute for Talent Development at Northern Kentucky University:

Gifted jobs: Western Kentucky University requires an Assistant Professor with gifted education emphasis:

You can only be Professor of Gifted Education at Whitworth University if you’re a committed Christian

Gifted education jobs: Notre Dame of Maryland University seeks a specialist Assistant Professor:

Thomas Jefferson High School and the Search for Equity in the Nation’s Schools:

A bunch of Thomas Jefferson students have launched a social learning start-up:




More from the opening ceremony of the Asia-Pacific Conference:

Malaysian 1st Lady’s remarks at Asian-Pacific Gifted Conference More on her involvement

Plug pulled on eagerly awaited gifted classes in China (Anhui province):

Mensa China’s chair joined ‘to land an intelligent boyfriend’: – old one couldn’t understand her jokes

S Korea, US and China lead the medals table at the 2012 International Maths Olympiad. This report from Vietnam

A useful outline of gifted education in Vietnam and other ASEAN countries by Kim Ngoc Minh:

Funding problems for gifted schools in Vietnam

Wow. Vietnam invests US$20m to improve quality of gifted education in rural and disadvantaged areas:

Singapore’s Gifted Education Programme (GEP) cracks down on questionable private tuition providers:

Outstanding Performance by Singapore at the 2012 International Science Competitions

A documentary and review about Singapore’s Gifted Education Programme (GEP):

Thoughts on gifted education in Singapore:

Interesting Singaporean parental view: ‘Let’s not hold back children who are gifted’:

A brief but fascinating insight into gifted education in North Korea:

An article on recent developments in Malaysia’s Permata Pintar gifted programme: (via @noorsyakina)

Looks like Malaysia plans significant further steps in its national strategy for gifted education:

Here’s that Malaysian Education Blueprint Document – plans for gifted education are on pp116-117:

Commentary on Malaysia’s new plans for gifted education:

Brief report on gifted education in Sarawak, Malaysia:

Malaysian DPM seems to be inviting international efforts to contribute to Malaysian gifted education:

A slightly different take on what the Malaysian DPM said yesterday about #gifted education:

Teach For Pakistan is launching the Pakistan Talent fund, an annual competition for talented young Pakistanis

Cramming is now less virulent in Taiwan because it has so many (some would say too many) universities:

A senior Filipino politician proposes a Bill to support gifted learners and those with special needs

Filipino House of Representatives passes Bill establishing local resource centres for gifted and SEN learners

Iran’s Ayatollah engages with the country’s gifted young people: – I find this rather disturbing

It’s the 55th anniversary of the Abai Kazakh Language and Literature Residential School for Gifted Children!

Arab Bureau of Education argues for Gulf-wide collaboration in gifted education: – Too many rivalries?

The Saudis have been to check out Gatton and WKU – Minister to follow in January:

Dhool Ke Phool – Neat Indian talent development model that blends X-Factor and support for most disadvantaged:



A mixed picture of threats and opportunities in NZ gifted education:

New Zealand’s undertaking a new national survey of gifted education More use than a dodgy Sutton Trust report

The latest edition of giftEDnewz from new Zealand:

Revised, updated version of New Zealand’s handbook on Meeting Needs of Gifted Students has been published at

The NZ Ministry of Education Gifted Handbook in alternative format (for those having trouble with the PDF):

Media coverage of release of updated NZ Handbook on Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students:

NZ Education Gazette article on revised NZ Gifted Education Handbook: – memorably calls one author ‘Roger Molten’

NZ Journal of Gifted Education Vol 17.1, featuring some gifEDnz conference papers:

Evidence of increased focus on Maori giftedness in New Zealand:

To be gifted and Maori:

Some support from NZ’s Labour Party for gifted education there:

Item about NZ’s Future U competition for gifted young thought leaders:

New NZ site on mentoring in gifted education: – developed as a student project

An insight into gifted professional development activity underway in New Zealand:

Gifted Resources August newsletter can be read online at

Gifted Resources Newsletter August (vol 2):

Gifted Resources September newsletter can be read online at

Gifted Resources October newsletter online at

A second October Gifted Resources newsletter can be read at

November 2012 Gifted Resources Newsletter from @jofrei

A new article by the Chair of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into gifted education:

A post by @jofrei on the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into gifted education:



Javier Touron blogs (in Spanish) about the imminent ECHA12 Conference:

Christian Fischer article ahead of ECHA12 in Die Welt (in German):

Interview with Peter Csermely mentioning European Centre of Talent Support:

Mission statement for the European Talent Centre:

Elsewhere on the gifted conference front, I can find out nothing more about the mysterious Polish event:

…Except that there is now a satellite event for East European experts in Hungary a few days later:

Details arrive of the Polish Gifted Conference, just under a week before it happens! Here’s the Programme:

@tanzania8 will present in Poland on UK good practice: Could you live tweet and share presentations Margaret?

Sweet FA from the Warsaw gifted conference. No presentations or tweets. All there is (in Polish):

Information about ECHA 2014:

Our Slovenian colleagues are to be congratulated on setting up an ECHA2014 Forum: – open registration

Smart Kids, Bad Schools – A Norwegian perspective (courtesy of Krumelurebloggen):

Irish Times piece on How to Make a Modern Superhero – mentions CTYI:

The autobiography of a gifted counsellor with Romania’s IRSCA Gifted Education Programme:

TES reports on a Finnish teacher’s book alleging that gifted students’ needs are neglected there:

Description of UYEF, the ‘Federation of Gifted Children Education’ in Turkey:

Article about the Enderun, an Ottoman school for the gifted (15th to 19th century):

CTYI students report on the CTYI experience:

Gifted education in Malta:

Los ninos de alta capacidad son el 3-5% de la poblacion?

Aqui­ esta la nueva entrada. Espero que is interese

Aqui­ estan las 10 claves para hablar de la identificacion. Saludos

Sobre la identificacion de los mes capaces

Cuantos alumnos de Alta Capacidad hay en Espana? Unas cifras para la reflexion via @jtoufi  rendimiento en PISA y talento.

Una Vision Grafica Del Rendimiento en PISA 2003, 2006 y 2009 (from @jtoufi ):

National Report on Identification. oy si aprendemos de los demos?

La excelencia nacional. Un informe interesante.

Los instrumentos de medida en la identificacion






Sutton Trust report on educating highly able pupils-but does it cut the mustard?

Ian Warwick’s dissects Sutton Trust Highly Able Report:  – Been there, done that already:

Summary of Sutton Trust Highly Able research: – rather spoiled by an inaccurate commentary at the end

@EducationElf I fear there is bias and misinformation in your commentary on Sutton Trust Highly Able research:

Apropos the IMO, here are the UK results from the 2012 Olympiad, because they won’t get reported here:

Good luck to Team UK, heading to Germany to compete in the International Geography Olympiad!

Arts Council PN confirming Sadlers Wells will run the new National Youth Dance Company for 16-19 year-olds:

LSU gifted education professor addressing Oxford Round Table event on Talent Development of Olympic Athlete:

Indy Leader uses the G word of sportspeople with zero embarrassment: – Linguistic discrimination

Martin Stephen pleads for the Olympic investment to be extended to our academically gifted learners too:

Meanwhile the Mail produces its annual ‘zoo exhibit’ story about a gifted child So predictable; so depressing

Does the British culture celebrate mediocrity and penalise success? Gifted education is part of the solution

Evidence of the huge variation in schools’ capability to support their highest attainers:

Article summarising Mujis research on the relative success of sixth form colleges in securing top A level grades:

UCAS Chief floats 1-10 A level grading with 9 and 10 pitched above A* to raise ceiling for gifted learners:

Gifted learners need flexibility within curriculum frameworks that tie learning to specific year groups:

Inter alia IFS notes case for action to narrow the excellence gap between poor and other gifted learners

New IPPR Report on Closing the Attainment Gap Notices the gap at top grades p16, but doesn’t really address it

Feedback link on DfE’s Dux awards page contains no feedback; Schools Network link’s moribund; no link yet to GT Voice:

Milburn’s Report lays into the Dux Scheme: (p 38) – that won’t please DfE

Of course independent heads will support Open Access if Government pays: But it’s politically rash and too expensive

Lampl’s still pushing open access – His other suggestion on fair access to grammar schools is more of a runner

Lampl wants Government to stump up 100s of £m to denude state schools of their most able pupils. Idiotic:

Apply between 7 and 30 September to be a Specialist Leader of Education with expertise in highly able pupils:

How seriously does England take education of its most able?  On PISA high achiever data (my analysis included)

Farewell then Mike Baker, a friend of gifted education:

Ian Warwick on KS2 Level 6ness: – Level 6 is of course slated to disappear by September 2014

More from Ian Warwick on ‘level 6ness’: – a concept with a very limited shelf-life

Moynihan says Government sports strategy fails to support talent identification or progression to elite sport:

Need to see detail of London Mayoral Gold Club of schools ‘to stretch the brightest pupils’ – what will it do?

Wall to Wall is preparing a Child Genius Show:

Why Do We Underestimate Our Most Able Pupils?  – Agree in spades with the final section!

Lampl still flogging his Open Access dead horse:  – Only a crazy or desperate party would add it to their 2015 Manifesto

Richard Garner in the Independent supports Lampl’s Open Access scheme Government and Opposition more sensible!

Oral PQ reply on steps taken by Government to improve attainment of most able pupils in maths: (Col 14)

Truss’s argument for investment in intellectual capital goes beyond STEM: it’s the case for gifted education:

Truss maths speech also cites lack of gifted young mathematicians Concerted strategy is needed to change that

It’s a small victory that this DfE press notice cites the disparity in high attainers’ PISA outcomes in maths:

Arts Council is to pilot a Music Industry Talent Development Fund:

Gender imbalance revealed in Cambridge Chemistry Challenge:

UK’s It’s Alright to be Bright Week is scheduled for 20-27 October 2012, details to follow:

On Giftedness and ‘It’s alright to be Bright!’- The UK celebrates a 2012 Gifted Awareness Week!-

It’s Alright to Be Bright Week is well underway:

I kid you not, GT Voice Board member Jonny Ball is to be a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing:

Apart from me all this lot still serve: – The item on my resignation has vanished – must repost

GTVoice Bulletin for October 2012:

Take the gtvoice survey:

I see Warwick University/IGGY’s offering scholarships for 2 gifted education PhDs (but they’re still in my bad books)

IGGY revitalisation press notice: – Targets to ‘reach’ 15K students in 1 year; 50K in 3 years (ie not members)

@iggywarwick: The beta version of our new website  Let us know what you think!

IGGY’s not new, dating from 2007. Useful resource, but won’t alone secure quality gifted education in schools

Jimmy Saville’s MENSA membership is quietly expunged. Compare 2010 FAQ: with new version:

I don’t want to labour the Savile/Mensa connection, but someone shelled out £160 for his Mensa scarf and tie:



Related Issues

More on Cambridge and contextualised admission: – Does it all boil down to confusion between ability and attainment?

Apparently a 5.3% rise in state school admissions to Cambridge, but I can’t find the source:

Peter Wilby suggests imposing a version of the Texas 10% model on Oxbridge: Right principles but details awry

Do you ever read a newspaper story and think ‘I told you so’: – impact of stalling A level grades on AAB grade HE entry

More evidence that AAB recruitment didn’t work out exactly as it should have done for many selective universities:

Higher report says A level students with AAB grades were projected to increase by 4000 but numbers stayed unchanged:

Statistically I’m unclear why a bigger cohort increases A level pass rate but reduces proportion of top grades

Here comes the ABacc: – basically ‘gold standard’ A level with choice limited, plus academic/service learning bolt-ons

KS5 performance tables already have A level AAB+, RG/Oxbridge destination indicator from 2013 – now ABacc measure too?

Interesting Ofqual research on comparative A level stretch and challenge: – though definition’s a tad basic

Cambridge’s post-16 maths project: – is actually £2.8m to strengthen NRich so nothing to do with A level reform

Why We Need Olympic-style Maths Academies: Forgets there’s funding for a tranche of 16-19 maths free schools

TES reports results of AQA further maths certificate offering A* with distinction:  – see

It won’t be straightforward to add top-end stretch and simultaneously eliminate tiering from a single son-of-GCSE exam:

Son of GCSE to be graded with 1-6 (7 a fail) with 5-10% limit on grade 1 (norm or criterion-referenced unclear):

If only the percentage achieving the top EBC grade is fixed that discriminates unfairly against high attainers

The brakes will be applied to GCSE results as well as A levels: Disproportionate impact on top grades again?

Thankful for small mercies? It seems that O level mark 2 will be takeable in Spring 2016 after one year of study

EBC consultation document shows early entry in core subjects will be impossible in 2016 after all (para 1.4):

Blistering attack on EBC proposals, including idea of a cap on percentage achieving top (all?) grades:

Irresponsible early entry reporting – Can be right for gifted learners but only those secure in A*/A should be entered

Wilshaw’s comments on early entry to GCSE pre-empt a report to be published shortly. Ofsted press notice at:

The Mail and Smithers should temper their enthusiasm for GS until they see FSM pupils’ HE destinations data next year

Answer to the question of how to make grammar schools more socially inclusive isn’t necessarily more grammar schools:

Doubt Brady will ever get new 11+ grammars into a Tory Manifesto, but that doesn’t stop him endlessly trying:

Graham Brady is in broken record mode about grammar schools – has nothing new to say:

Redwood on selection:  – Presumably Brady and Daley contributions come later

Kent is looking for a ‘less coachable’ 11 plus test: – but less coachable is still coachable. Half measures.

Why would you set up a determinedly mixed ability free school and still select 10% of pupils by aptitude? Contradictory

Ministerial statement on the Olympic sporting legacy: (Col 36WS): a bit thin on school PE where ‘more needs to be done’

Nrich has had a makeover:

Sutton Trust press notice accompanying the report of their recent Social Mobility Summit:

Hodgson and Spours on ‘squeezed middle’ in the attainment spectrum: – Is Government overly focused on top 30%?

Barber IPPR essay fails to recognise how Asian Tiger gifted programmes help drive achievement AND innovation



330 of 2164 schools and colleges sent no pupils to RG universities in 2009/10; 1395 sent none to Oxbridge:

Slight increase in Cambridge applications; slight fall in Oxford applications – doesn’t tell us much:

Percentage of students achieving 3+ A levels at A*/A fell from 13.1% to 12.5% (Table 1b):

In 2011/12, 33,154 students gained 3+ A*/A grades at A level:  (Col 200W)

Overall UK GCSE results: A* grades down 0.5% on 2011; A*/A grades down 0.8% on 2011; A*-C grades down 0.4% on 2011:

Percentage of pupils making 3 levels of progress from KS2-4 increased by 3.7% in maths but decreased by 4.2% in English

23.3% of pupils achieving KS2 L5 in English failed to make 3 levels of progress by KS4: (Table 1d)

20.4% of pupils achieving KS2 L5 in maths failed to make 3 levels of progress by KS4: (Table 1d)

23.3% of pupils achieving KS2 L5 in English failed to make 3 levels of progress by KS4: (Table 1d)

2012 Performance Tables to show AAB A level grades but not KS2 L6 results (but L6 counts in progress measures)

KS2 SFR shows that in 2012 11% of those achieving L3 in KS1maths managed only 1 level  level of progress to L4

But KS2 SFR also shows that 14% of those achieving L3 in KS1 maths achieved L6 at KS2:

KS2 SFR shows that in 2012, 16% of those achieving L3 in KS1 English managed only one level of progress to L4:

KS2 SFR shows that around 900 pupils achieved L6 in reading and  3% achieved L6 in maths:

KS2 SFR shows L5 maths up from 35% to 39% in 2012, a significant increase on the previous 3 years:

KS2 SFR shows L5 reading up from 43% to 48%, restoring most of a big 7% dip in 2011:

KS1 SFR shows much bigger FSM gaps at L3 than at L2 across all of reading, writing, maths and science:

KS1 SFR shows 1% increases in L3 TA in Reading, writing, S&L, science and 2% increase in L3 TA in maths






Great blogpost on being twice-exceptional: – Required reading for a certain Ms Teather I would suggest

Twice Exceptional Newsletter 26 July 2012:

Twice Exceptional Newsletter 13 August 2012:

Twice-exceptional Newsletter 4 September 2012:


Creativity and Innovation

The tension between schooling and creativity from a gifted perspective:

How lucid dreaming can support creativity and innovation:

10 Suggestions for Raising Creative Kids: – I would personally omit number 6!

Identifying the Creative Child in the Classroom:

Informative extended article on creativity (especially musical creativity) and the brain:

Creativity and Chaos:

Does social rejection fuel creativity? – Low need for conformity; high need for uniqueness. Recognise that profile!

Interesting article on the components of creativity:

Creativity and IQ – what is divergent thinking and how is it helped by sleep, humour and alcohol:

Another version of the constituents of creativity:

Maybe Gifted Underachievers are More Creative:

Grounding Creative Giftedness in the Body, from @sbkaufman


Intelligence and Neuroscience

How do cognitive abilities change over the lifespan? Number sense as an exemplar:

Short Time article on recent ‘genes for learning’ studies:

The (limited) contribution of brain imaging to distinguishing intelligence:

Intensive practice in reasoning skills can change the brain – Does tuition have a value beyond mere rehearsal?

On whether neuroscience supports free will or determinism:  (warning: you may need to read this 7 times)

How early social deprivation impairs long-term cognitive function:

Are great leaders born or made? Do they need intelligence and creativity?

Evidence that adult brain structure changes as a consequence of learning:

Cogmed working memory training: does the evidence support the claims?

The relationship between genes and intelligence is still far from understood:

Another piece on the relationship between genes and intelligence:

More from Willingham on working memory training:

The prevalence of ‘neuromyths’ amongst UK and Dutch teachers:

Why social and mechanical reasoning are mutually inhibiting:

Perfect Saturday reading – an academic paper about Einstein’s brain:





Gifted Research

Seeking participants for research on gifted kids and their hobbies

The impact of genes on athletic performance: – a brief review of research evidence

Algebra for All Harmed High Achievers, Study Finds:

Working paper on Conscientiousness, Education and Longevity of High Ability Individuals by Peter Savelyev:

The value of deliberate practice (as opposed to practice per se) in achieving (musical) excellence:

The impact of self-regulated learning (from Ericcson’s expert performance perspective): (via @sbkaufman)

Top Maths Achievers Spread Unevenly Across Schools – Ed Week report on a (£) academic paper:

Review of a recent French book by Lignier – A Sociology of Gifted Children:

Gifted and Talented International edition with Persson’s article on cultural bias in research and responses:

@JonathanLWai on a (£) Gifted Child Quarterly edition devoted to responses to that Subotnik et al article:

You can access Subotnik’s target article free but these Gifted Child Quarterly responses are sadly $20 a time:

The Entire “Rethinking Giftedness” Debate – from Gifted Child Quarterly

Thanks to @sbkaufman for publishing the full Gifted Child Quarterly edition on Subotnik et al’s paper:

A critical Koshy paper on English primary gifted education which, on a quick skim, is very curate’s eggy:


Academic/Gifted Education

A gender dimension to the Flynn effect? Mr F promotes his new book:

Interview with James Flynn: and his article in Wall St Journal:

An interview with June Maker, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Conference:

The concept of Optimum Intelligence – and what happens when you’re outside those boundaries:

Some complex thinking aloud about distinctions between high IQ and genius: – don’t think it’s that simple!

An interview with @sbkaufman

A restatement of the nature/nurture balance in development of genius:

If expertise has such limitations does that undermine gifted education theories predicated on its development?

The changing nature of expertise: – has implications for expertise-in-development models of gifted education

Feature on Olympic talent development based on work by Rita Culross at LSU:

CTD at Northwestern on flipped classrooms:

Belin Blank’s Colangelo on high attaining learners’ progression to teaching as a career:

Part 5 of Belle Wallace’s gifted blog on developing a problem-solving pedagogy

Final Belle Wallace article in series of 6, on ‘Whole Brain Based Learning’: – not sure this one quite works

Nine ‘research-supported facts’ about gifted education: – some are contestable though…

The relative impacts of harmonious and obsessive passion on performance:

The relationship between ability and motivation:

Learners need  knowledge as well as resilience. More commentary on Tough’s book:

A bit more follow-up on the Paul Tough book:

Hirsch on Tough:

Even more ‘true grit’ (and its impact on student achievement):

I thoroughly commend this blog post about a gifted driven model of teaching and learning by @headguruteacher

Interesting post incorporating Sternberg presentation on assessing creativity, common sense and wisdom

Review of Finn and Hockett’s ‘Exam Schools’ and the merits of balancing excellence and equity:

Another review of the Exam Schools book:

From the Curry School of Education Blog – I share this perspective on social and emotional needs

Camilla Benbow gifted education article:  (I reckon she has the best name in gifted ed btw)

The Pesky Persistence of Labels from @sbkaufman

Duke TIP blogpost on academic self-concept:

Q. What can we learn from international best practice in gifted education?: – A. Much from careful scrutiny

Paula O-K takes a sensible middle way on social and emotional dimensions of giftedness:

Links between child prodigies and autism (summary):

Impact of openness to experience on cognitive ability:

In which Brink Lindsay, author of Human Capitalism fails to take on board the Smart Fraction argument:

Everything you ever needed to know about prodigiousness (and more):

Restatement of an old question – do objective standards (of excellence) exist in the arts?

Long Subotnik et al article in Scientific American: – the eminence trajectory remains the weak link

10 Lessons on Gifted Education – Part 1 (by @RichardCash)

Valentine Cawley argues that gifted people suffer as a consequence of the Dunning-Kruger effect:

The arguments for and against detracking:

WCGTC 2013 Conference post on highly proficient readers:

World Conference 2013 blog on Technology: – High time for gifted educators to enter the 21st Century

@ByrdseedGifted proffers an example of a ‘fuzzy problem’ for gifted learners:

How black gifted students are ‘living between two races’:

Catching up: Mainstreaming effective gifted education practices:

More ways to use Twitter in gifted education:



Advocacy/Parents/General Interest

Nicole Kidman – a Brief Profile of High Ability and Complexity:

Are we doing enough to support the parents of gifted children?

More valuable advice about parenting a gifted child:

Everyday Glimpses of Giftedness:

Catching up: ‘why is my gifted child so anxious all the time’:  (causation/correlation health warning)

Catching up: a blog post on gifted labelling:

What should we do about gifted and talented pupils? Do they exist? New blog post

Catching up: The Smartest 1%: Do Americans Value Intelligence?

Catching up: Advocacy Groups for Parents of Gifted Learners:

50 Essential Links for the Parents of Gifted Children  Has transformed the very English Gifted Phoenix to Kiwi! (no 28)

Catching up: Gas station without pumps cocks a snook at National Parenting Gifted Children Week:

Catching up: A post about Raising Gifted Children:

Pondering the Olympics from a gifted perspective:

Why Gifted Teens Should be Sponges Not Spongers:

Wouldn’t it be Weirder if I Didn’t Think my Child was Gifted?

Blog post on The Value of Exclusive Gifted Programmes:

Why Are All the Smart Kids Cheating (an inaccurate headline but worth reading anyway):

US comparison of academic v sporting success Raises big questions about support for elite academic performance

A comparison of gifted education and varsity athletics:

All kinds of smart: applying lessons from the Olympics:

Online education for gifted homeschoolers:

Sibling rivalry: Blog post – Life Among the Gifted

The Talent Myth:

Ideas on the causes of negativity towards gifted learners and gifted education:

Insights into gifted adults in the workplace:

Raising the floor but neglecting the ceiling:

Daniel Coyle offers some tips on talent development:

Courtesy of @sbkaufman the correlation between national chocolate consumption and number of nobel prizewinners

Bullying and the Gifted:

An article advocating IQ testing of gifted children:

A contrary view about the value of IQ testing:

Strategies for helping gifted children back to school:

How does one discuss giftedness with a gifted learner?

New post on Gifted Resources blog: virtually attending the ECHA conference

Can’t find a school for your gifted child? Start your own:

Grades and gifted learners

Young gifted and neglected:

Gifted Exchange on tuition for tests giving entry to gifted education programmes: – a can of worms

Do teenage gifted writers have sufficient opportunity to engage their imagination in school?

From the editor of Concord Review: why are we afraid to show off our brightest students?

Withholding appropriate education from a gifted child is educational neglect:

Against Accelerating the Gifted Child:

In which I respond to nearly 200 @NYTMotherlode comments re: acceleration in gifted education:

The advantages of acceleration:

Inductive learning for gifted students:

Things I’ve Learned About Parenting a Gifted Child:

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child:

A Prezi on Talent Identification and Development in Sport:

Universal Traits of Giftedness – – there are of course no such thing!

Leave gifted children alone: – I think he actually opposes hothousing rather than support

The 2 worst words in gifted education, parts 1 – – and 2 –

How to Recognise the Parent of a Gifted Child:

Stacie says ‘Shut up about what a burden your gifted child is’:

Holding back gifted learners:

Differentiating between gifted and high-achieving students:  – Better imho to treat latter as subset of former

Is there an emotional intelligence equivalent of the Flynn Effect?

Ten myths about gifted students and programmes for the gifted:

New post at GPS, “Just My Imagination”

New post at Gifted Parenting Support, “Accentuate the Positive”

New post at GPS, “Supporting Your Child’s Gifted Teacher”:

New post @GPS, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting? The Unexpected”

New post on GPS, “Nurturing the Global Nature of Giftedness”

Check out our latest gtchat blog post on the ECHA12 Symposium @  – Thanks Lisa!

‘Is there a place at table for parents’? from Gifted Parenting Support:

New Gifted Parenting Support post from @ljconrad  on standardisation:

New post on our #gtchat Blog, “The Middle School Years”

Gifted Resources Blog post about #gtchat

Couldn’t make #gtchat this week? Check out our blog  for  summary & links!

Missed Friday’s #gtchat ? ‘Collaboration, Not Confrontation” Transcripts:

Giftedness as a Special Educational Need, chat transcript:

Transcripts of the last 2 #gtchats with guests van Gemert and Housand respectively: and

Transcript of yesterday’s #gtie chat on gifted education research: – Thanks so much for referencing my blog!

Transcript from tonight’s chat, Essential Websites on Giftedness:  (and thanks for the reference)

Transcript of When Parents Push Too Hard

Some #IWG2012 blog posts: and and and

Another selection of #IWG12 posts: and  and and

A 3rd selection of #IWG12 blogposts and  and and

A further selection of #IWG12 blog posts: and and

A 5th set of #IWG12 blog posts: and and and

Today’s selection of #IWG12 posts: and  and and

Couldn’t fit these #IWG12 posts into the last round-up: and

Sunday’s batch of #IWG12 posts: and and and

….and one last one:

A final (?) #IWG12 post: and one that perhaps should have been:



November 2012

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up: Volume 9


Here is my ninth monthly review of @GiftedPhoenix Twitter activity, covering the period from 8 June to 13 July 2012 inclusive.

My Twitter feed is almost exclusively dedicated to gifted education, wider English education policy and associated topics. These reviews provide a fairly comprehensive record, including virtually every Tweet that contains a link to an online resource. Sorry if any of the links are now broken.

The record includes three sections:

  • Gifted Education Worldwide, with sub-sections for each of the five continents and, separately, for the UK;
  • Gifted Education: Thematic, with sub-sections for Twice-exceptional; Creativity and Innovation, Intelligence and Neuroscience; and, finally, Commentary and Research;
  • Related Educational Issues, concerned almost exclusively with developments in England and divided into several thematic subsections. There is some material of interest to gifted educators but this section also extends into wider areas of domestic education policy.

This is almost entirely my own work, though I have included a few modified tweets and retweets of originals sent by others. Addresses and hashtags have been removed unless they are integral to the tweet.

The pictorial interludes on this occasion are miscellaneous mystery landscapes – I’ll leave you to guess where they are!


Gifted Education Worldwide

Check out our shiny new #gtchat transcripts at

World Council Newsletter June 2012: Welcome interest in economics of gifted education

Registration open WCGTC 2013 conference in Auckland:  – NZ$ 999 (£500) is the earlybird rate for non-members

Gifted Resources July newsletter can be read online at



Storify transcript of US NAGC chat on informal assessment of gifted children:

NAGC chat Transcript: Preventing & Reversing Underachievement in Gifted

Feature on Gatton Academy:

Will Ohio introduce 16 regional charter schools for gifted learners?

Ohio decides not to proceed with those 16 regional charters for #gifted learners:

More – this time from Jay Matthews – about admissions to Thomas Jefferson HS (the US’s ‘most selective high school’):

Guiding gifted students – the Speyer Legacy School in Manhattan NY:

EdWeek article on CTY’s new Rural Connections programme for rural gifted learners:

Carolyn Callahan has again given supportive evidence in the Elgin gifted education case:

Historical Perspectives: The Javits Act 1988-2011

A Roeper retrospective for NZGAW:

Homeschooling Gifted Children in British Colombia Part 1

Homeschooling Gifted Children in British Columbia Part 2

Executive Committee of the World Council will visit international HQ at WKU

Thorough article on the current state of US gifted education:

Interesting insight into gifted and talented school choice, US style:



Evidence of Malaysia’s Permata Pintar gifted programme’s links to Mawhiba in Saudi Arabia:

HK Academy’s latest edition of its Aspire magazine: (NB Download seems a bit dodgy)

A brief feature on Bahrain’s Gifted Students’ Centre as the education minister visits:

The Filipino Education Department is providing extra support for the country’s mathematically gifted students

Preview of the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness



Final Report form the Victoria Government (Aus) Inquiry Into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students:

Press coverage of the damning Victoria (Aus) Government Report into gifted education  and

The speaker line-up at next week’s Australian national conference on gifted education:

New Zealand’s Labour Party presses the Government for greater support for gifted learners:

NZGAW starts today! Take a look at their blog tour here —>

Prime Minister Key gives NZ Gifted Awareness Week a hand  – literally!  What’s  that all about then?

New Zealand’s Green Party attempts redefinition of its gifted education policy to embrace all children #fail:

Meanwhile ACT’s spokesperson says NZ’s charter school pilot has potential to benefit gifted learners #fail:

Louise Tapper suggests NZ schools need to focus more on a conceptual framework for gifted education:

My contribution to NZGAW Where is New Zealand’s Excellence Gap? part 1  part 2

NZ Associate Minister Sharples confirms my point. Singles out Maori Pasifika SEN but not disadvantaged gifted learners

Do NZ gifted educators fear league tables, or league tables that don’t recognise gifted performance?



Modificaciones en el contenido curricular para los mas capaces

Modificaciones curriculares en los procesos para los mas capaces

Modificaciones curriculares en el ambiente de aprendizaje

Modificaciones en los productos para los alumnus mas capaces

El Optimal Match. Sabes que es?

El DT-PI, compaanero de viaje del Optimal match. Una version simplificada

DT-PI Un giro copernicano para la escuela

La investigacion al alcance de la mano: publicaciones en abierto, un ejemplo de servicio a la sociedad

Gracias por estos 6 meses, por esta Aventura conjunta que… ¡solo acabamos de empezar!

Researchers concerned about gifted learners in Norway:

Bade danske og svenske skolemyndigheter vil vite mer om evnerike elever:



GT Voice Bulletin – June 2012

Now we’ll have a great comparator for the Sutton Trust report on UK gifted education, if it ever appears!

Given Singapore’s influence on English education policy, will we see a gifted education programme like this?

Direct link to new and critical Estyn Report ‘Supporting More Able and Talented Pupils in Secondary Schools’:

‘On this side of the House we believe in stretching the most able students’ Twigg:

GT Voice Board meeting today. Summary of outcomes to follow on

GT Voice will be holding Government to a: ‘curriculum framework which supports and stretches every child’:  (col 181)

GTVoice Board agreed yesterday to plan towards a sequence of events and activities in Oct 2012. Details to follow on

At GT Voice Board meeting yesterday we developed an outline strategy for AY2012/13. More details to follow on

Extended feature on the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians:

Draft GT Voice Policy Statement on the National Curriculum Review

Delighted that @TheIFS has now made the Jerrim Excellence Gap study freely available:

I’m not sure who to blame most, Hannah Richardson for writing this garbage or John Bangs for his provocative quotes:

NACE’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ending 31 August 2011:

8 months late + no consultation but here at last is Sutton Trust’s report on Educating the Highly Able

Sutton Trust report recommends focus solely on ability in school subjects Advantages and disadvantages to that

Sutton Trust said would be no follow-up to Highly Able report but are calling for project proposals by 30/9:

GT Voice will of course be undertaking a full analysis of and response to the Sutton Trust report on highly able:

Logging this NUT response to Sutton Trust Highly Able report: – though rather vacuous

NASUWT on Sutton Trust ‘This daily denigration of our education system by one self-promoting organisation after another’

Coverage of Highly Able report from BBC:  Mail:  Telegraph:

Sutton Trust Highly Able Report fails to contextualise proposals in latest NC review/qualifications thinking

Morning Star’s take on Sutton Trust Highly Able study:  – FSM incidence in G&T population is better than FSM attainment

Here’s my new Post analysing the Sutton Trust Report ‘Educating the Highly Able’:  and finding it sadly wanting

Warwick Mansell on the Sutton Trust’s ‘Highly Able Learners’ Report:

Imagine the Olympic Games is a competition for the academically gifted then re-read this Observer editorial:

To the Lighthouse Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Gifted Education Thematic



Twice Exceptional Newsletter June 14 2012:

Twice-exceptional Newsletter 18 June 2012:


Creativity and Innovation

Is there a creativity crisis?  Doubt it

Evidence that there is a creativity crisis after all, at least in the US and Canada:

Interesting book proposal outlined here: Creatively Gifted Students Are Not Like Other Gifted Students:

On the relationship between creativity and sex:

Visual Spatial Learners and Creativity:

The complex relationship between pride and creative achievement:  – another fascinating article by @sbkaufman


Intelligence and Neuroscience

Big NYT feature on ‘The Risky Rise of the Good Grade Pill’:  – Scary

Cognitive neuroscience is in disarray:

Fascinating: Twins and the Question of Inherited IQ

Regional variations in the relative impact of nature and nurture:

Is General Intelligence Compatible with Evolutionary Psychology?

Prodigies have off the scale working memory. They might be autistic:

Willingham draws attention to a new study suggesting fluid intelligence is not trainable:

Problems with measuring very high IQ:


Commentary and Research

A serious case of deficit model thinking in gifted education:  – An affliction? That’s OTT

Support for minority ethnic gifted learners:  – latest from WeAreGifted2 Blog

Sue Breen from the NZGAW Blog Tour on the essential characteristics of a teacher of gifted students:

Latest post from the WCGTC 2013 Conference Blog – also out of New Zealand –

And completing the triumvirate of NZ posts: Parents of Gifted 3: Promote Sensible Risk-Taking  from Sonia White

4th offering from New Zealand today: Needs versus Merit in Selection for Gifted Programmes’ by @MaryStGeorge

Research study on self-concept of high ability students:  and Duke TIP summary of same:

@MaryStGeorge on Opt-in special interest groups for gifted and other learners:  – Part of the NZGAW blog tour

New blog post: The Value of Talent Search

Strategies for Working With Gifted Kids in Early Childhood

On the International Year of Giftedness & Creativity 2013

Great Stuff! 5 Wonderings on Gifted Education

Lehrer on Why Smart People are Stupid:

A second Blogpost: InnReach writes again: On Gifted nests and Birds of a Feather

Spatial skills are trainable (Willingham summary):

‘Persistent Poverty and Children’s Cognitive Development: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

CYP Now article on that Poverty and Cognitive Development study I just tweeted (their link doesn’t work):

Part 3 of the Belle Wallace series: Turning Underachievement into Achievement:

On Giftedness and National Parenting Gifted Children Week-2012- July 13-21st

Interesting paper: Can Empathy for Gifted Students Be Nurtured in Teachers?

Not that Gifted:

Do we know how to teach highly able learners?

Is giftedness a designer label?

Interesting new paper on ability tracking available from this page (Session A1):

Gifted Chatter: 4. Teach Your Gifted and Talented Teens to Prioritise

Unwrapping Gifted: A Day in the Life

NZGAW BlogTour post from the UK, on motivation:

What do you know about learners’ reflections?  All comments valued

@MaryStGeorge on the significance and value of gifted education policies:

Where are all the gifted adults?

Gifted Chatter: 5. Have High Expectations of Your Gifted and Talented Teen

Gifted Adolescents and Alcohol:  from Duke TIP Digest of gifted Research:

Direct link to Renzulli’s Re-Examining Role of Gifted Education and Talent Development courtesy of @sbkaufman

Why Borland disagrees with Subotnik et al that ‘Eminence should be the goal of gifted education’:

NZGAW BlogTour – Creating an online PLN in gifted education –

InnReach writes again: On Giftedness & a close encounter with (mis) fortune…

A “Yes, but…” post about gifted kids from Rebecca in the UK:

The White Elephant in the Room: Gifted Education – A Real Gift, or an Empty Box?

New post at GPS, “Who Should Teach Gifted Education?”

Effective support for gifted black children:

The Drama of the Gifted Child:

More on the early identification of giftedness

I just like this post – about gifted children becoming gifted adults:

A study that claims to be the first to link measured genes to educational attainment:

The one percent that really matter: brains rather than billions

Response to Borland from Subotnik et al:  – not sure that entirely clears up objections to their focus on adult eminence

Exploring Alternative Strategies for Counselling Gifted Adolescent Males:

Another post from the ‘all kids are gifted’ camp: – at least he wants to eliminate all educational labels

Gifted children once again victims of political correctness.

Using Google+ Hangouts in the gifted ed classroom:

Gifted education is not therapeutic:

Great Rolling Stone Review of ‘Twilight of the Elites’: – Recognise the UK parallels? Me too

A defence of gifted school magnet programmes versus distributed enrichment classes in US:

A redoubtable Kiwi commentator exposes the downside of the ‘all children are gifted’ philosophy:

Part 4 of the continuing Belle Wallace series, featuring TASC this time round:

Almost Dusk Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Related Educational Issues


Fair Access to HE

BIS published response to HE WP consultation and Advocate for Access report yesterday:

How does Oxford’s package for disadvantaged Scots students compare with its offer to their English peers?

I’m sure Mr Bols will talk sense about HE admissions, but the Telegraph version suggests something more eponymous:

Gove and Wilshaw should state explicitly whether they support agreed government policy on contextualised HE admissions

Steven Schwarz speech on social mobility and fair access to HE:

Lords Oral PQ on university applications: Hill doesn’t mention contexualised admissions; does mention Dux:  (Col 587)

Direct link to critical Formative Evaluation of National Scholarship Programme referenced in today’s Higher

Contextual data in admissions – It’s the evidence, stupid:

OFFA’s Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12:  – Lots of pictures, not much writing

The continuing stand-off over contextual admissions:  Time to find the compromise position?

Peter Scott is quite wrong to suggest all ABB students are ‘gilded youth’ in independent schools ‘and their hangers-on’

Direct link to OFFA/HEFCE Access Agreement and WP Monitoring Report 2010/11:

OFFA says fair access to Oxbridge stalled in 2010/11:  – Suggests FSM to Oxbridge won’t exceed 50 (was 45)

The full UCAS report on 2012 FT HE applications:

Most inevitable climbdown of the year: Ministers scrap latest attempt to introduce post qualification admissions to HE:

Full details of how Oxford’s Moritz Scholarships will work: – Now we need to improve the FSM admission rate


Social Mobility

@Director_IOE on the many faces of social mobility (and the schism in Coalition policy):

Roger Brown lays into the Government’s social mobility policy:

The Commons Library Standard Note on Oxbridge Elitism referenced in today’s Higher:

Thanks. Since I wrote, new social mobility indicators have included assessment of independent/state gap:

No surprise there then – Milburn to continue as social mobility tsar in new guise:

Hansard record of yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on social mobility: (Col 139WH)

Here’s the full IFS Social Mobility special edition:

Inspiring the Future website:  – where you can register to give career talks in schools

Conor Ryan starting as Director of Research and Communications at the Sutton Trust in September.

Education Select Committee has a pre-appointment hearing with Alan Milburn a week today:

Social policies could spark class war, says Alan Milburn

US article by Mike Petrilli: Can Schools Spur Social Mobility?

Ironically and amazingly, the proposals in Sutton Trust Report on Highly Able Learners would REDUCE social mobility:

The Moritz scholarships offer the basis of a longitudinal study of the impact of tuition fees on social mobility:


Narrowing Achievement Gaps

Yesterday’s commons debate on free school meals in colleges:  (Col 71WH) Government will ‘keep the matter under review’

OFSTED to launch ‘major inquiry’ plus panel today on narrowing the gap:  – thought they were supposed to inspect schools

OFSTED Press Notice on review of access and achievement announced today:  plus Wilshaw speech:

How private tuition is widening the social divide:

Toynbee needs to understand that ‘more able’ and ‘disadvantaged’ are not mutually exclusive:

New Education Endowment Fund awards includes mindset work in Portsmouth and philosophy for children via SAPERE

Further details of the £10m literacy catch-up programme to be administered by the EEF: – back to the future

546 ex FSM-eligible students achieved 3 A*/A grades at A level in 2011 (4.1% against 10.6% of non-FSM):  (Col 35W)

PQ discussing the various cost estimates of extending FSM entitlement to post-16 sector: (Col 269W)



Naive pro-selection leader from the Independent:  – so depressing that this keeps on coming back like a bad penny

I doubt anyone knows how many non grammar schools now operate grammar streams:  but numbers are increasing

Comments on this? Selective school experience? I certainly recognise and value that model



First of 6 possible enforced primary academies in Stoke applies for Foundation Trust status:

Will there be a Downhills endgame?

DFE research report on KS4 attainment in academies in 2011: – some nuggets here for supporters and critics alike

Education Funding Agency is currently processing 13 complaints about academies (and 10 more on admissions): (Col 29W)

Bell reckons a future Labour Government won’t return academies and free schools to the fold: There are other options…

Start of a new naming and shaming strategy for LAs harbouring primary school targets for academisation?


Free Schools

Updated Commons Library Standard Note on free schools:

Jan 2012 census data shows FSM at 9.0% and 8.4% in primary and secondary free schools. National figures 19.2% and 16%:

Beccles Free School story is a classic example of ‘the biter bit’

This is the ICO ruling on the BHA’s request for free school information

When you think about it, it is fundamentally unreasonable to maintain secrecy over proposals to establish a new school:

Cloak and dagger secrecy over free school proposals is now seriously undermining the policy operation; needs reversing:

Around a third of 2013 free school bids approved – incidence in deprived communities isn’t the strongest


Independent Schools

Fiona Millar critiques the Sutton Trust Open Access Scheme:  – I did a much better job here:

Lampl continues to back Open Access: against all evidence that it’s a dead duck, less likely than a pig to fly

Lords Oral PQ on Sutton Trust Open Access reinforces what I said about it earlier:  (Col 1413)

It would though cost far less to let old direct grant GS rejoin state system than subsidise their fees a la Open Access

Government wants independent schools to ‘sponsor’ academies; the schools want Government to meet the cost. Deadlock:

Vibrancy Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

National Curriculum Review

No NC Review previews this AM, but DfE has ‘updated’ its NC review pages (without significantly changing the content):

Curiously muted pre-announcement of NC review consultation. First drip of a drip-drip strategy or is that all there is?

Yes. Surely ditching levels would be the top story. And there’s all these cross-cutting issues (para 18)

Latest National Curriculum Review update:  – You’ll search in vain for anything about able pupils’ progression

NUT might equally have questioned the fit between ‘ready to progress’ and gifted pupils’ needs:

National Curriculum Review FAQs say the removal of NC levels applies to both primary and secondary phases:

So both a. grading primary attainment and b. able pupils’ progression are STILL not resolved in NC Review?:

Is the removal of NC levels ignored because it doesn’t fit the prevalent back to basics and traditional values theme?

Good background to primary MFL:  In 2010/2011 many primary mfl advisers lost their jobs.

Labour’s response to draft NC proposals: ‘we have to ensure there is a way of measuring progress during primary school’

Campaign for Science and Engineering is left ‘bemused’ by draft primary NC Programme of Study:

Apparently we now face a national crisis in maths teaching:   – Not sure I remember a time when we didn’t…

Andrew Pollard has broken ranks with the rest of the NC Review Expert Panel:  Ministers are reportedly fixated on Hirsh

Gove’s response to idea that all pupils must have ‘grasped core content before class moves on’ is cryptic:

Given loss of NC levels at least 3 of DfE’s key impact indicators will no longer be usable beyond 2013:

Given loss of NC levels, one of the Government’s new key social mobility indicators is already out of date

Bit of a tension between @mikebakeredhack ‘s latest –  – and his Trusteeship at @VilliersParkEdu

Can’t believe anyone with any knowledge who read Ch8 of the Expert Panel Report could find it ‘thoughtful and balanced’

Devastating critique from Andrew Pollard – distancing of Expert Panel from curriculum announcements

BERA publishes the background papers illustrating the schism within the National Curriculum Review Expert Panel:

We now have all 3 NC Review Expert Panel Members – Pollard, James and Wiliam – contesting Oates’ isolated position:

My new post: Removal of National Curriculum Levels and the Implications for Able Pupils’ Progression

NAHT’s guide to this week’s NC Review announcement:  (and mine in case you missed it:

IoE critiques the Frankestein approach to National Curriculum reform: (though I’d take issue with the PISA reference)

Nick Gibb on National Curriculum reform:  ‘important that we can measure progress and stretch the brightest’

ACME writes to M Gove re concerns about national curriculum review process:

FoIs already going in over who’s been involved in the National Curriculum Review:

Fancy crowdsourcing a new National Curriculum assessment and reporting model? Here’s an Aunt Sally to get us started

Check out how Dearing handled NC levels:  (7.1) and compare with the shoddy Ch8 of Expert Panel Report

Yes me too. Wiliam is critical of Dearing here  but his view isn’t fully adopted by the EP in Ch8 either

Gove dismissive of NC Expert Panel ‘A few professors and some individuals seeking to curry favour…’:  (Col 603)

Sounds like there won’t be a list of recommended authors accompanying the English programme of study:  (Col 601)

More bothered by reported abolition of secondary National Curriculum than shift to 2-tier exams:   – a retrograde step

A list of people consulted before draft primary PoS were produced will be published shortly says Lord Hill:

Yesterday’s Lords Oral PQ on School Curriculum which promises more details of draft PoS authors:  (Col 1766)

Gove seems to be backtracking somewhat on abolition of secondary National Curriculum; refers to ‘alignment’ instead:

I thought it was high time someone set out the implications of abolishing the secondary National Curriculum:

You get ‘a discredited curriculum and examination system’ by talking them down, for primarily political purposes:

Warwick Mansell on ‘England’s increasingly bizarre – and stunningly untransparent – national curriculum review process’

Time for a U-turn on abolition of secondary National Curriculum (The Mail couldn’t have got that bit of the leak wrong)

This new idea of a skeleton secondary National Curriculum leaves outstanding the huge issue of progression across KS1-4

SSAT’s Primary Headteacher Steering Group seems to have a special inside track on NC Review consultation: – Fair?

Here’s DfE’s list of people consulted on the primary National Curriculum programmes of study:

My analysis of last Friday’s National Curriculum abolition U turn is in the 2nd postscript to this Blog Post:

Weirdest bit of that secondary NC abolition U turn story is notion it’ll have only a 4 year shelf-life  (2nd postscript)

IPPR view on plans for a skeletal secondary national curriculum, from @jp_clifton

In TES Mary Bousted pulls no punches over the draft programmes of study for the primary national curriculum:

Here is DfE consultation page on KS2 MFL: – Impact assessment confirms no compulsory MFL at KS4

Out of interest, is anyone comparing the draft NC PoS with the Common Core State Standards?

Loughton on PE, including NC PoS: Looks like we could be about to see a mini-industry in new curricular kitemarks


Other Curriculum and Pedagogy

The Accord Coalition has renewed its call for RE to be part of the National Curriculum:

RE Council Survey and first meeting of All Party Group for RE mark continued pressure to defend the subject’s status:

Gibb speech to the ACME conference:  – nothing new that I can see

The Australian Curriculum Authority has several drafts out for consultation currently. Compare and contrast here:

Direct link to Eurydice Report on Citizenship Education in Europe:

Michael Rosen asks some pointy questions about phonics profits. Can anyone help him answer them?

The ACME paper on Increasing Provision and Participation in Post-16 Maths, referenced in yesterday’s Gibb speech:


Replacement for GCSE

How much will the switch back to a 2-tier exam system cost? Surely there were costings in that ‘leaked’ paper:

I wonder if the shift to 2-tier exams will incorporate the Singapore ‘go straight to A level’ idea floated last year:

Reading between the lines of this end of GCSE announcement, it’s clear that Singapore’s been a big influence:

Will the ideas from Gove’s secondary brainstorm session really raise standards for all?

Useful round-up of #govelevel issues:

If this new exam wheeze is postponed until after next Election what happens to secondary National Curriculum meantime?

I realise of course that DfE has to make up the answer to my previous question before a consultation paper can issue!

Am I the only one vaguely surprised that we now seem to be contemplating new high stakes end of KS3 tests?

Hansard record of yesterday evening’s debate on GCSEs – two tier or not:

@jeevanvasagar references ‘Gove’s aides’ on a simpler ‘stepping stone’ exam here:

Just came across this amazingly prophetic 2010 article on IGCSE by @mikebakeredhack:  Useful context for current debate

Yes. In Singapore pupils can take N level after 4 years then O level after a further year of study see:

The moral of the story is: don’t leak stories about complex education reforms to editors who don’t understand them:

GiftedPhoenix: Disappointing TES Editorial:  It’s still unclear how this new approach is an improvement on the status quo…

Would be nice to know more about why Sevenoaks is rejecting IGCSE except for the core subjects  Are they no good either?

Isn’t there a hair’s breadth between ‘National Syllabus’ and ‘National Curriculum’? Preferable to single board/exam:

Ofqual cautiously distancing itself from single exam boards and a 2014 timetable for replacing GCSEs?

Rather odd logic in this latest Gove speech:  ‘There’s already a ‘vale of tiers’ so it matters not if I perpetuate it’?

TES says pupils will be nationally ranked on basis of their scores in new-style O levels:

This TES story highlights the huge risks in simultaneous multi-layered exam reform  Risk register will go off the scale

Lords PQ reply says Government plans single tier exams for all abilities at age 16  (Col WA187) Not sure that’s feasible

Strong Ofqual hints of recalibration of GCSE A*/A grades. Must support progress measures from level-free KS2 assessment

Missed this reference to a ‘source’ saying that there will likely be numerical grades for the ‘new-style O level’


Other Assessment and Qualifications

Interesting dataset: Percentage of low achievers by country in reading, maths, science across PISA, PIRLS, TIMSS:

Here’s the comparable dataset for percentage at highest-performing levels by country across PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS:

Some weekend reading; OECD data piece around big cities and impact on education

@CurriculumFdn Actually PISA 2009 shows we have fewer high achievers than countries that lead PISA rankings:

Where does Schleicher claim that our ‘top 20%’ perform as well as the top 20% anywhere else? He’s wrong!

BBC’s review of the new Jerrim Excellence Gap study:

Handy PISA Level 5/6 data visualisation, courtesy of the Guardian:

OFQUAL consultation later will reportedly ask whether AS level should be scrapped:

Direct link to OFQUAL’s A level reform consultation document just released:

Three options in Ofqual consultation on future of AS level:  (para 54)

If AS levels are scrapped, that removes an option for post early entry GCSE progression by gifted students:

How will scrapping AS exams improve essay writing skills?

It’s not a. politically viable or b. desirable to drop all primary external assessment:  We need to find the middle way

NATE goes all confrontational and hyperbolic –  – reminds me of the good old days

How L6 of the new KS2 grammar punctuation and spelling test will be pitched (DfE FAQ):

Highly biased BBC report on KS2 L6 tests which illustrates everything wrong with gifted education reportage:

I find the Education Select Committee Report on Exams compelling, especially over national syllabuses v single boards:

Select Committee urges review of attainment and progression measures just as National Curriculum levels abolished:

As ‘the orotund Mr Gove’ moves bell curve rightwards, he mustn’t neglect needs of those already at the right extreme

Looks increasingly as though DfE is considering KS2-4 progression based on percentiles:  Are deciles too blunt a tool?

The 2012 KS2 Level threshold tables and – shortly – age standardised scores:

Exam results judgement day looms: I’m getting my whinge in early. Is it all a house of cards?

One Day Nearer the End of Our Holiday Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix


HMCI states unequivocally that every new inspection framework will increase the level of expectation on schools:

Ofsted first quarter stats are out. Half of schools grade 3/4  News report here:

Here’s a better analysis of Ofsted data courtesy of @xtophercook:

OFSTED’s Handbook for the Inspection of Schools 2012:  – reference to ‘highest attainers’ but not ‘gifted’

Ofsted September 2012 Grade descriptors: Achievement of pupils at the school

There is an argument that outstanding headteachers don’t make the best HM(C)I:

Updated OFSTED inspection data suggests the new framework is even more punitive than first thought:

DfE’s Open Data Strategy direct link:  – Opening up access to NPD is due ‘Summer 2012’ – nothing more precise

There a FoI on the weekend’s DfE/Rewired Appathon from an organisation called Privacy International:


Teachers and Teacher Education

Gove’s  teacher training speech, just given, at the National College Conference today:

Neat and pointed NUT response to the London schools section of yesterday’s teacher training speech from Gove:

DfE Press Notice on the teacher training reforms/announced/confirmed today:

Schools Direct Guide 2013-14:  – schools must register interest in applying for places by 7 Sept, so get your skates on!

Why do bursaried Schools Direct trainees get extra in schools with 25%+ FSM while for salaried trainees it’s 35%+ FSM?

DfE is seeking EoIs in conducting a 2013 Teacher Workload Survey:  – deadline 2 July

Teach First Impact Report: – Glad to read they’re commissioning fresh research of their impact on attainment

I see the Comino Foundation is now supporting Teach First:  and that James Westhead is one of the Foundation’s trustees



It’s an open secret that Spending Review 2013 is under way:  – Important context for all education policy intentions

Details of further changes to school funding arrangements for 2013-14 including shift to 6 IDACI bands:

TES on 6th form funding and whether they’ll be able to afford more than 3 A levels per student:


Central Government

DfE needs a new chair for its Bureaucracy Reference Group:  – was there too much paperwork for the old one?

Higher ambitions for higher education: @ChukaUmunna just finished at IPPR – read his speech:

Labour’s continuing education policy malaise:  – btw what came of cross-party consensus on national curriculum reform?

I don’t suppose one can double up as Expert Behaviour Adviser and Chief Exec of the Teaching Agency:

Elizabeth Truss sends Stephen Twigg on an extended world tour:  – Apparently Poland is the new Mecca for educationalists

Speaker Bercow deigns to correct Gove’s English during oral PQs:  (Col 593)

Adonis offers 3 lessons: maintain an active state, set targets and keep innovating –

Impending change of Comms Director at DfE:

Twigg has been reading Ken Robinson on creativity: – Land&Jarman’s study is suspect

This Fortnightly Review poster doesn’t think much of Twigg’s new-found interest in creativity:

Full list of the 72 consultation documents DfE has published since May 2010:  (Col 809W)

Hang on! This Twiggian ‘standards not structures’ mantra doesn’t fit at all with Squaddie Schools, does it?


Other Research, Reviews and Reports

Direct link to CBI Education and Skills Survey 2012:

CBI’s Press Notice on today’s Skills Survey:

Direct link to the Finch Report on open access to research:

Cabinet Office paper – Test, Learn, Adapt – Developing Public Policy with Randomised Controlled Trials

Direct link to the European Commission Survey of Language Competences:

Portfolio DfE Research Report on what we know about pupil behaviour:

Final report from Ministerial Advisory Group on action research into evolving role of LA in education:

Critical Australian NAO report on its National Partnership Agreement strategy to support literacy and numeracy:

DFE Research Report: Evaluation of City Challenge:  – Broadly positive but not entirely so

DFE Research Report: The Impact of Sure Start Local Programmes on 7 year-olds and their families:

New DFE Evaluation Report on the Gaining Ground Strategy 2009-11:

Direct link to Boys’ Reading Commission Report:  – not much here about able boy readers

Government response to consultation on 16-19 study programmes:

New DfE Equality Impact Assessment on Study Programmes for 16-19 year-olds:

NAEP’s National Indian Education Study 2011:  – no significant improvement at advanced level

The Center for American Progress survey report which found extensive under-challenge in US schools:

Insightful post on the future of educational research:

I haven’t got time to read The Gobal Innovation index 2012 but here it is if you want to: (UK ranks 5th amazingly)


Online and Social Media

How will MOOCs make money?

GiftedPhoenix: Looking forward to ‘contestable policy-making’ and use of new media Twitter?) to widen access to policy debates:  (p15)

Nice BBC piece on edX:  gifted learners will be huge consumers of online HE

Don’t think I’ve so far linked to new Cabinet Office guidance on social media use by civil servants:

Why the internet is integral to education (a powerful riposte to that recent speech by the chair of the GDST):



The invitation to tender for the National Citizen Service 2013 is now live:

Plans to join up National Citizen Service with other programmes to create a ‘social action journey’ from age 10-20:

Norwich to get a 2nd university (and Bishop Grosseteste to win prize for the university with the most ridiculous name):

The path of least resistance – @markmleach on what yesterday tells us about the next step for HE reforms:

CPAG: Ending Child Poverty by 20202: Progress Made and Lessons Learned:

Yesterday’s DfE/DWP Report on progress towards the 2010 child poverty target:  – like pushing an elephant upstairs

Updated DfE Need to Know Timeline for Heads and Governors:

Yesterday’s Lords Debate on schools’ contribution to well-being and personal/social needs:  (Col 1459)

DfE is inviting EoIs in an evaluation of early education in England: – deadline 29 June

We may still need local authorities, but maybe not over 150 of them to oversee school improvement?:

Can’t see how Johnson can grab more powers over London education without a team (aka bureaucracy) to undertake them:

I’ve always thought referencing education’s moral purpose appears rather self-congratulatory: – a phrase to avoid imho

SSAT awards certificates to top 10% of member schools on %age of pupils achieving 5+ GCSE A*/A incl Eng + Ma

DfE ITT for proposals to support a military ethos in schools:  – Mysteriously I can’t track a reference on DfE website

Apparently Cameron announced cadet force expansion plans yesterday. Here are more details:

Labour’s reinventing specialist schools, military this time  This is the liquorice allsorts approach to education reform

The Murphy/Twigg explanation of their new-found interest in Services Schooling: – not even a 2nd order issue, surely

Apparently those Squaddie Schools are going to sort out social mobility: Of course they are!

Service Schools: the New Borstals: – doesn’t pull any punches

Extensive autobiographical post from Michael Rosen on schools in the 1950s:

Not another review of school food! – I put standards ahead of structures and structures ahead of lunchtimes!

BBC summary of the Evaluation of City Challenges recently published by DfE:  – accentuates the positive

Positive evaluation of BSF released after FoI: – rather meaningless now

TES article on Singapore’s education system:

According to TES, Schools Network management buy-out has left 1000 creditors out of pocket, including many schools:

Not to labour the point, a London Mayoral Middle Tier would be educational bureaucracy incarnate:

SFR on SEN in England January 2012:



July 2012

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up: Volume 7

This is the Seventh Edition of my monthly review of @GiftedPhoenix Twitter activity, covering the period from 5 April to 9 May 2012 inclusive.

My Twitter feed is almost exclusively dedicated to gifted education, wider English education policy and associated topics. I am to make these posts a fairly comprehensive record, incorporating all those Tweets that carry a hyperlink to an online resource while discarding those that are merely badinage.

I haven’t rechecked all the hyperlinks, so apologies if any are broken.

The categorisation I’ve used on this occasion is slightly revised. There are three sections on:

  • Gifted Education Worldwide, with sub-sections for each of the five continents and, separately, for the UK;
  • Gifted Education: Thematic, with sub-sections for Twice-exceptional; Creativity and Innovation, Intelligence and Neuroscience; and, finally, Commentary and Research;
  • Related Educational Issues, which is focused predominantly on developments in England and is broken down into several thematic subsections – several more than I have used previously.

The final section covers some material of interest to gifted educators but also extends into wider areas of domestic education policy. It should provide a fairly comprehensive overview of most of the live topics in English education policy, though with a significant bias towards the schools sector

The vast majority of these are my own Tweets, but a few are modified tweets or retweets of originals sent by others. I have removed addresses and hashtags – except where these are integral to the tweet – and corrected a few typos. The Tweets in each section are broadly in chronological order, though I have grouped some together where that makes sense.

Otherwise this is largely an unadulterated record of proceedings, though with added fish! I hope you find it useful.

Gifted Education Worldwide

The 2012 Torrance Legacy Creative Writing Awards:

The WCGTC 2013 Conference blog, including part of the speaker line-up:

Free webinar series: Supporting Gifted Students with 21st Century Strategies:

Brief report of the APEC Future Scientist Conference in Java: 120 gifted learners from 16 (or 9?) countries involved:

Mother’s Day SENGinar on mother/daughter relationships of profoundly gifted girls  – early am 11/5

WCGTC marketing for 2013 conference in NZ: – I love the geographical optimism of slide 2!

Round-up of summer professional development in gifted education:  Mostly US but includes @Begabungs SL events

#gtchat transcript from last week on Adult Giftedness:

The transcript for tonight’s chat on Role Models For Gifted Children:

Gifted Underachievement with @Josh_Shaine, transcript 18/4 has been chirpified!

Transcript for last Sunday’s #gtie, “Cyberbullying and Gifted Education”:

Transcript from tonight’s #gtie: 5 Give-away Signs of Giftedness for Teachers


Kenyan pupils call for ‘a curriculum review to incorporate competences, skills and talent development at all levels’:


FICOMUNDYT IX Congreso Iberoamericano de Superdotacion, Talento y Creatividad, October 2012:

Puerto Rico Legislature Considers Laws to Boost Gifted Children

Gifted trivia: what’s the connection between Francoys Gagne and Star Wars? Answer: (I should do more of these!)

National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) in US has College Board agreement to run SAT test in summer school:

Gifted Jobs: Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts needs a Director of Admissions and Outreach

NYC gifted kindergarten entry articles: and  and

More about gifted kindergarten admissions in NYC: and and

Another one on NYC gifted kindergarten admissions: – It’s not called Gotham City for nothing!

Coaching and private tuition strengthen their fiendish grip in NYC:

Rundown of gifted and talented schools in NYC including hyperlinks to their websites:

Study calls for NYC to test all kindegarten pupils for giftedness since many poor families don’t use service:

Yet more on the impenetrable mystery that is NYC gifted education policy:

Belin-Blank outlines its summer professional development programme:

Online gifted education as an option in Minnesota:

A second US blogger posts on distance learning for gifted kids: ttp://

Are gifted learners informationally fluent? CTD is aiming to ensure they are:

Updated links to test scores for all major talent searches – plus other test score percentiles

Valerie Bostwick, a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara, plans an economic evaluation of gifted + talented magnet schools:

Upcoming Duke Conference featuring Project Bright Idea, applying gifted education approaches for all learners

Carolyn Callahan appears for defence in US gifted lawsuit; contests Donna Ford’s testimony for prosecution

A second report on the Elgin gifted education lawsuit:

Gifted jobs: DC Public Schools (no less) is looking for a Director of Gifted Education: ($89-97K)

Petition to Vermont Commissioner of Education to provide adequate public education for gifted children:

Deb Delisle confirmed as nation’s new assistant secretary of education

Education acceleration bill heads to Gov. Rick Scott FL

Norwich (Connecticut) plans 40th anniversary reunion for participants of 1973 elementary gifted programme:

On Native American gifted education:

Whitworth University confirms who is sponsoring their $3m dollar endowed chair in gifted education:


Taiwan has reviewed its talent development policies and will produce a White Paper in the next year:

Taiwan moves to improve quality of English, especially in rural schools:

Oman follows Taiwan in declaring need for a National Talent Development Plan  Can we have one of those?

Philippines’ Department of Education increases SPED funding (including gifted education) by 56%

On this otherwise quiet gifted news day I bring you the results of the aforementioned Philippines run for gifted kids!

Questions asked in Singapore Parliament today about the impact of their Gifted Education Programme (GEP):

Malaysia’s worried about failure to progress to Harvard places: a target for the Permata Pintar gifted programme?

Upcoming HKAGE Professional Development Seminars by messrs Porath, van Tassel-Baska and Chandler:

Hong Kong’s 2012 Biennial Gifted Education Conference in May is another van Tassel-Baska/Chandler show:

Who’s in the running to establish a new university campus on a premium Hong Kong site?

The pressure’s on to secure a place at one of Vietnam’s High Schools for the Gifted:

English medium teaching in Vietnam’s High Schools for the Gifted runs into difficulties:

Vietnam is experiencing a brain drain of gifted students, but only from urban areas:

Wow! Israel’s Education Ministry has a ‘super gifted’ programme comprising 15-18 students a year:

Two reports on giftedness and gifted education from Bangalore India: and

Looks like ICIE is planning a January 2013 gifted education conference in Chennai India:

Arab News carries a short article highly critical of the Saudi gifted programme (Mawhiba):  Brave!

Gifted jobs: teaching posts in trilingual (Kaz, Rus, Eng) Kazakhstani Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools:


More on Jill Bevan-Brown’s work on gifted Maori learners:

Access the presentations from the recent giftEDnz conference in NZ:

ERO Report on science in the NZ Curriculum: – notes that gifted learners get favourable treatment in a few schools

Two Sydney Morning Herald pieces on giftedness and gifted education: and

The line-up for Australia’s 13th National Conference on Gifted Education, July 2012:


A report (in sub-standard English) of recent developments in gifted education in Russia:

Russia’s Ivanovo Region is opening an orphanage for gifted children: with Medvedevian support

El bachillerato de excelencia: igualdad o equidad?

8 razones por las que atender la Alta Capacidad y el Talento

Mi hijo tiene alta capacidad, se lo digo?

“Mama, no quiero ir al cole, me aburro!”

Desarrollar el talento, promover la excelencia: dos exigencias de un sistema educativo mejor

Gifted education in Spain – @Begabungs interviews @jtoufi

The Netherlands Education Ministry on transport for gifted students (in Dutch):

The fissure within the Leonardo Foundation, supporting Netherlands gifted education, is made public (in Dutch)

Talent I Skolen: – gifted education in Denmark

On gifted education in Norway (in Norwegian):

Stortingsmelding 22 og ‘De hoyt presterende elevene’ (in Norwegian):

PISA 2009 data on the proportion of high-achieving learners in Ireland:

Interview with Colm O’Reilly of Center For Talented Youth Ireland (CTYI):

The speaker line-up at yesterday’s MENSA Greece Conference on Gifted and Talented Children and their needs:

CBO is setting up a school for gifted children in Flanders:


Pauline Dixon, a UK specialist in development education, including support for disadvantaged gifted learners:

More ‘genius children’ coverage from the BBC:

A superb Heroes and Heroines Comic produced by Southwark’s gifted kids:

Hoping to find out more this morning about IGGY’s future plans:

Michelle Obama as ambassador for gifted education:

Shami Chakrabarti supports the gifted programme at her old school in Stanmore:  – a potential  GT Voice ambassador?

Gifted Jobs: IGGY Warwick requires a Sales and Marketing Manager: – Up to £45K, deadline 7 May

DfE want your summer schools top tips: – Mine is of course to run them for gifted learners

Competition to encourage more UK students to study in Hong Kong: prize is HK summer school:

Lampl says (at 53mins) Sutton Trust report on gifted education due out in June (Smithers qualifies):

Welsh Government’s launch of a new Training Pack for More Able and Talented equals a press notice but no pack:

Raising attainment of more able cited as area for improvement in 8 of sample of 30 primary inspection reports:

TES report on the School Games:

London Zoo Fish 1 Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Gifted Education Thematic

Twice Exceptional

Meet the Dugents: a twice-exceptional family:

Express article about a 2e learner in Wales: – unusually sympathetic for the Express!

NAGC chat transcript on the intricacies of 2e learners

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter 16 April 2012:

Twice Exceptional Newsletter, 22 April edition:

SEN Support Staff Scholarships can presumably be used for 2e training, if suitable courses are available

Free Asperger Syndrome and Giftedness Fact Sheet on our website (direct link)

The Saudi version of 2e ‘The Koran Memorisation Competition for Disabled Children’: – Words fail me….

Creativity and Innovation

The Creative Thinking Myth:

Douglas Eby on Jane Piirto:

4 Steps Towards Enhancing Our Own and Students’ Creativity:

The Seelig Innovation Engine Model to unleash creativity:

Guardian Review pulls no punches in demolishing Lehrer’s book ‘How Creativity Works’:

Adobe Report on the ‘creativity gap’ in 5 leading economies (including UK and US):

Who Creates the Innovator – A review of Wagner’s latest book (including intelligence/creativity relationship):

Helping A New Generation Nurture Creative Thinking and Innovation: The Creative Mind

Can Innovation Skills be Learned?

Intelligence and Neuroscience

Check out Cognitive Atlas: a work-in-progress knowledge base for cognitive science:

A post that rightly warns against the tendency of some gifted educators to misuse IQ stats:

Brain injury data used to map intelligence in the brain:

Excessive worrying may have co-evolved with intelligence:  (Complete with enlargeable photo of female person worrying)

Project ENIGMA ‘We found fairly unequivocal proof supporting a genetic link to brain function and intelligence

Heritability of IQ

Can you make yourself smarter? (An extensive NYT article):

@sbkaufman: “Brainy” is What “Brainy” Does (Psychology Today):

Time to put on your thinking caps (aka ‘mini-transcranial direct current stimulation devices’):

Willingham on Working Memory Training:

Shortcomings of the IQ-based construct of Underachievement

New centre at Oxford aims to understand how intelligence arises from brain’s circuits.

Neurobonkers blog (great name) on how UK media misrepresent neuroscience research:

Eysenck (1916-1997) Bad ass of assessment? 50 blogs on learning theorists in 50 days)

Gardner Multiple Intelligences or school subjects mirrored?

The limitations of IQ:

How fluid is intelligence? Hambrick inthe NYT:

Why Are We So Obsessed With Improving IQ? Psychology Today


Commentary and Research

Pushing the gifted adult conversation forward :

Social Reactions to Overconfidence  – Peers tend to believe they have superior social skills!

Stoeger and Ziegler: Deficits in Fine Motor Skills and their Influence on Persistence in Gifted Elementary Pupils:

Text anxiety in gifted learners:

Gifted education advocates should be more focused on equity issues says this blogger:

Check out this presentation : Raising Gifted Children

Belle Wallace: Who Are The Gifted? Where Are They? 1st of 6 articles:

Can ‘Genius’ be Detected in Infancy? – a helpful counterbalance to the wilder press coverage

New blogspot Goal Increased advocacy for culturally and linguistically diverse gifted learners

Read about teaching innovation through the arts in the Spring issue of CTD’s Talent Newsletter:

Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in (English) Schools: Lavy, Silva and Weinhardt:

Fascinating gender differences in impact of having many fellow pupils in top and bottom 5% by KS2 attainment:

Don Ambrose markets two forthcoming co-publications, one with Sternberg:

Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth have produced a retrospective 5-year Report:

Unwrapping Gifted: Differentiation LiveBinders

Final part of Borland’s ‘Problematising Gifted Education’:  Restatement of a position rather than anything new

The importance of increasing AP entry and success amongst minority student populations:

Busting one of the silliest but most common myths:you only use 10 percent of brain

More about the benefits of online learning for gifted learners:

First in a new series on Misdiagnosis and Giftedness:

Why Kenyans Make Such Great Runners: A Story of Genes and Cultures

Can you instil mental toughness (aka resilience)?:

Serving Gifted Students from Poverty, Part 3 of 3:

The value and impact of praise on [gifted] school achievement:

Stephanie Tolan: Who or What?

Gifted Parenting Support: Gifted Learners in Rural Areas:

An Evolutionary Perspective on Giftedness:

Going with the Flow: Student Engagement and Beyond:

Lots of excitement being generated about the potential of TED-Ed videos for gifted education:

The evolution of the geek infographic:

Elite Soccer Players’ Brains Excel At Planning And Problem Solving

How Geniuses Think – The Creativity Post

Being Black and Gifted is Nothing New: – on the work of Martin D Jenkins

Thanks to @MaryStGeorge for her thoughtful contribution to gtchat via her blog post “The Gifted Label”

Not All Highly Intelligent People Are Arrogant Pricks

Giftedness and liking…history from Innreach’s Blog:

Wise words on Creating Online Community for Gifted Advocacy:

“Eat it, Mills” – or how talent development adds to the underachievement problem

Excellent blog post on the gifted label: What’s in a Name?

@GingerLewman: Wanted to share my livebinder – iPad Apps for Gifted & High-Ability Learners

Red herring du jour: defining giftedness:  Broadly sympathetic with that position

Gifted Resources May Newsletter can be read online at

Gifted Exchange on incentives for early high school completion/college start:

Worried about identification for early-years gifted programmes? You will be after reading this!

US NAGC Conceptual Foundations Newsletter featuring article by Wenda Sheard, expat and UK NAGC trustee:

“It is not about intelligence. It’s not about talent, but the motivation to learn.”

Research questions Bell Curve: a few top performers typically carry the rest:  and

Post questioning long-held assumptions about the link between early US gifted education and the space race:

Coincidentally, a post on historical development of US gifted education that cites the influence of Sputnik:


The rapid expansion of AP courses isn’t entirely a good thing:

Delisle opposes Olszewski-Kubilius positioning of US NAGC  They must hold giftedness AND talent development in balance

Still a Square Peg and a Round Hole:

Moving Beyond Achievement: Nurturing Skills Necessary for Success in a Global Environment:

New blog post on acceleration for gifted

Just what is gifted and talented:  – Curate’s egg

London Zoo Fish 2 Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Related Education Issues

Fair Access to HE

GiftedPhoenix: HEFCE boss Langlands continues to highlight threat of AAB policy to social mobility despite BIS pressure:

DfE has published details of the Dux events at RG universities:  – schools have only until 27 April to register

OK I’ve been on my Dux Tour: Wish I could say all 20 RG universities had really pulled out all the stops…

Are your students thinking? How can I choose my “Dux” from Year 9?  – Thanks for the mention!

Revealing post by @xtophercook on relative chances of rich/poor admission to Oxbridge

New research on elite college admissions in the US:

Steven Schwarz says fair access is all about schools: Disagree. It’s a cross-sectoral issue

The Economist on Teach First HEAPS provision supporting HE progression for disadvantaged gifted learners:

Announcement on AAB cap in 2013-14 due by 30 April:

Apropos AAB cap, Willetts must catch up with Gove’s plans to make A level grades more demanding

Willets defines fair access as meritocracy, admitting ‘those who can perform best at any given university’

National Scholarship Programme guidance for 2013-14 to be released by HEFCE tomorrow (19 April):

BIS writing to HEFCE and OFFA seeking ‘a shared strategy for widening access’ to secure VFM: – some co-ordination then!

Overall, the Willetts treatment of the fair access issue manages to beg more questions than it answers:

RussellGroup: Our view on David Willetts’ HEFCE speech: liberated (AAB) places must go further next year

Mail continues to deride the Willetts line on fair access: probing at the fault line between DfE and BIS

Oxford’s UNIQ scheme:

HEFCE’s Provisional Allocations and Guidance for the 2013-14 National Scholarship Programme:

OFFA’s guidance on producing Access Agreements for 2013-14:

Anti-Willetts piece opposes his support of potential-driven fair access:  Worse, it was institution-specific potential!

Article on Cambridge University SU support for fair access:

When I found this website in development I thought PL might be developing a separate existence to the ST:

Become part of the Russell Group by recruiting lots more AAB students from independent schools:

Treasury fears have delayed announcement extending AAB market to ABB from 2013:

SecEd/ASCL guide for schools on meeting new ‘impartial and independent’ careers advice and guidance’ duty:

Sutton Trust release on Oxbridge advice: – Why are schools less likely to advise Oxbridge than 5 years ago? Mmm

Sutton Trust research begs question (again) whether staff should ‘advise’ or ‘discuss’ Oxbridge application

A whole gamut of non-educational reasons why children from poor backgrounds may never make it to Oxbridge:

Rather unedifying that schools blame HE and HE blames schools over Oxbridge applications issue. WORK TOGETHER!

Today is deadline for Dux awards registration: If you have reservations, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Stanford psychologist explains why meritocracy and diversity can be reconciled in HE admissions:

BIS on expanding uncapped recruitment to ABB HEFCE on same  NB ref to cautious estimates

What part should universities play in fostering academic talent?   A big one, jointly with schools and colleges

There may be trouble ahead – @guildheceo on what the latest student number control policies might mean:

Looks as though Stirling as well as Keele has joined US Common Applications system: and

Target Oxbridge to mentor African/Afro-Caribbean students in Years 11 and 12. Will poor benefit?:

Teach First HEAPS programme continues – though somewhat under the radar:

Are state schools biased against Oxbridge?

Social Mobility

British Sociological Association conference papers on social mobility: (pp37-38) All resoundingly negative

A new social mobility strategy from Clegg? – Don’t we already have one of those?

Interview with Alan Milburn on social mobility ahead of his Spring Report:

Milburn’s interview on social mobility in HE in the GMT e-newsletter: – with commentary by @tessa_stone

Preview of cross-party social mobility committee’s interim report out Tuesday: Doubt there’s anything new

So this interim report from the All-Party Parly Group on Social Mobility: – My verdict? Distinctly iffy

All-Party Social Mobility Group chaired by Hinds but members include the sainted Estelle, Field and Hodge

All-party Social Mobility Group has called expert witnesses including Barber, Lampl, Milburn, Woolf: (p3)

All Party Soc Mob Group convinced of importance of pre-HE attainment; dares not utter ‘contexualised’:

All Party Social Mobility Group sees nurturing outstanding talent as distinct area of focus (hooray!) (p9)

All Party SocMob Group priorities for nurturing talent : a. ‘needs blind/assisted places/selective’ (p32)

…and b.  ‘internships/HE exposure, Top Programmes (D of E etc)’ (p32) Latter is especially impenetrable

Before its final report, the All Party Social Mobility group should call on the #bridgegroup and #gtvoice for evidence:

Blears on the cross-party social mobility report:

More on the all-party social mobility report:

And a third treatment of the all-party social mobility report:

CYPN coverage of the interim report from the All Party Social Mobility Group on which I opined yesterday:

The Higher picks up on Lampl’s negativity re Government’s social mobility strategy:  Clegg won’t be happy

Narrowing Achievement Gaps

US post contemplating the case for ‘middle class studies’: – A topic in which England can lead the world!

DfE wants EoIs in the evaluation of the Summer Schools Programme for Disadvantaged Pupils: – deadline 17 April

Impact of the reduced subsidy for AP and IB exams on US disadvantaged gifted students:

Why does family wealth affect learning? Willingham:

DFE has published the technical spec for 2013 Schools Census: – the ‘ever-FSM’ Pupil Premium means increased complexity

Narrowing the gap targetry is needed in my view, but weren’t Coalition supposed to be anti-target? Dangerous precedent:

But effective Narrowing the Gap targetry must be differentiated by attainment, not just national benchmarks:

Children’s Society costing of FSM eligibility for all on Universal Credit omits cost of extra Pupil Premium funding:

Slightly worrying growth in attainment gap at Level 3 between FSM / non-FSM students

DfE SFR reports increase of 0.8% in FSM gap for 2+ A levels from 2010 to 2011: – Increasing A level demand will compound

Future First gets funding:

DfE to pilot Virtual Heads (a la looked after children) for Gypsy, Roma, Traveller children:

Academies Enterprise Trust will be spending Pupil Premium funding on online tutors – these in fact

Direct link to the SSAC Report on Universal Credit in which son-of-FSM options are explored: – Which is the least worst?

The Mayor London’s Mentoring Scheme for black boys seems to be in big trouble:

DfE Research: PISA 2009 How does England’s Social Attainment Gap compare with other countries and

JRF Review: ‘Widespread emphasis on raising aspirations…does not seem to be a good foundation for policy or practice’

JRF Aspirations report ultimately frustrates: more promising ‘area-based multi-strand interventions’ excluded:

JRF Aspirations-raising report raises important questions about the efficacy of interventions like Dux:

LKMCo blog post on the JRF Aspirations-raising report:

Performance-Based Scholarships: Emerging Findings from a National Demonstration (US):

Telegraph on the PISA social attainment gap:  – Data’s familiar but Telegraph accentuating the negative less so perhaps

The 80% of heads saying the Pupil Premium is being used to plug cuts will have to fabricate their published statements:

Twigg calls for clearer Pupil Premium accountability measures linking funding with achievement of specific pupils:

Evaluating the Pupil Premium – SecEd p9:

Australia is investing in pre-school tutors to tackle disadvantage:


Pupil selection and curriculum content: – Ultimately the issue was and remains progression to HE and beyond

On the beta of “Academies … can select pupils based on academic ability”

Bucks admits Truth that Must not be Spoken re 11+ bias: – Editor magics this into pro-academy spin

Love this grumpy report on a meeting of the Friends of Grammar Schools: – I see Mr Gove dropped in again…

Grammar schools help poor children to succeed? Hmmmm

Is it entirely a bad thing that Kent’s state GS are seen as a better option than any independent alternative?

That said, I still maintain that all GS should give priority to FSM-eligible candidates:

This answer on the criteria governing split site/satellite schools is as clear as mud: (Col WA427)

At last! The Great Expectations publication from David Jesson for the Schools Network via @dylanwiliam

‘Further work is in progress to extend these frameworks to more able pupils in all schools’ (Jesson):

Grammar schools vary considerably in quality. Some are outstanding, and some really rather mediocre:

Admissions and School Places

BHA Press Notice about its legal action against Richmond over that new RC secondary school:

Here’s the projections data I’ve found: (p16) Looks like births peak in 2014, then decline to 2030.

I’m posting this Fraser Nelson piece on school places because I’m genuinely unsure what to make of it:

Have you seen the full version of the GLA Projections Methodology they mention in the summary here (p1)?

I’m interested what happens when the numbers drop off again. I’ve been playing with this tool:


Welcome to the Academies ‘speed commission’:   though the commissioners are a bit usual suspectish and speed = 9 months!

This article on Left Foot Forward says the Commission will be independent: That should be in the remit

For me the biggest risk inherent in mass ‘academisation’ lies in wholesale disapplication of the National Curriculum:

Machin: ‘We do not yet have robust, academically rigorous evidence on [the impact of] coalition academies’:

Looks as though the enforced primary school battleground is shifting to Lambeth:

Not quite sure why the Government wouldn’t welcome the C of E as an academy sponsor with open arms? Indeed cherish it!

Ben Bradshaw questions due diligence processes for academy conversion citing West Exe Technology College: (Col 8)

More about due diligence over West Exe Technology College’s conversion to academy status in written PQ form: (Col 92W)

30 PFI schools have converted to academies – the list is here:  (Col 80W)

A fair amount of Downhills correspondence has been released in response to this FoI request:

A FoI has gone in requesting the Funding Agency report on financial management of the Lincoln Priory Federation:

Luton may or may not have three enforced primary academies: – The LA is denying it

In which @toadmeister ignores Machin’s plea – – and applies old research evidence to new contexts:

Blog on Academies Commission: – Wondering if proof’s in the pudding or the pie:

I must do my bit to advertise the reliance of Durand Academy on PR worth £200K: – Never believe the hype

More on the Seldon/O’Shaugnessy academies partnership  Positive Psychology’s worth £5m investment but SEAL is ‘ghastly’?

Dunford on middle tier For me the ideal model combines inclusive network and market elements; excludes new field force

EFA Framework Document para 1.4: ‘The EFA is not responsible for managing the performance of schools’:

A ‘failure to distinguish between the autonomy of school leaders as expert educationalists and organisational autonomy’

A Dover Academy HT has been appointed by DfE as a ‘short term intervention troubleshooter….superhead’:

Guardian coverage of News International’s aspirations to establish an academy: – they weren’t welcomed with open arms

Leveson has published the emails concerning News International’s interest in academies and free schools: (KRM21 + 22)

Will we see the emergence of more academy chains specialising in AP institutions, or will they join existing chains?

Cawley’s appointment as Secford Exec HT after chairing consultation raises questions for Seckford:

DfE has issued details and a statement of the financial investigation into the Priory Federation:

SOLACE Report: the Championing Role of English Councils in Education:

Director of Policy Exchange says phase two of the Govian revolution is all about chains

Michael Rosen twists the knife over accountability and transparency in relation to failing/problem academies:

DfE’s FAQs on academy chains with helpful powerpoint slides:

Have I read correctly? Seems to be no body overseeing complaints about academies?

128 academies will have to pay back an average £118K LACSEG by July: (TES)

Christine Gilbert thinks school collaboration can fulfil the missing middle tier role: – devil’s in the detail

NAHT has agreed a match-funded pilot with Government to support schools at risk of forced academisation: (at end)

More from NAHT about their planned role in school improvement: – conference has to agree first

More Downhills papers released by Haringey in response to FoI:  – interesting

Free Schools

The NUT’s free schools dossier: – presumably release of impact assessments is to inform potential judicial reviews?

Direct link to NUT’s analysis of free school costs: – which they will no doubt revisit quarterly

DfE Q and A: ‘The S/S would not automatically turn down a [free school] proposal simply to protect other local schools’

It’s the ubiquitous Rob Cawley again: – Will he soar to great things or, Icarus-like, plunge down in flames?

Do you have to be pregnant to get into Field’s free school? – Isn’t that selective?

Lisa Nandy: my response to Andrew Adonis on free schools in NewStatesman

Gibb say that data on FSM eligibility in free schools now in Commons Library (Col 805W) but not yet in deposited papers

Leveson has probably asked DfE for full access to papers on the proposed Murdoch Free School in Newham:

Rupert Murdoch reveals meetings with Michael Gove over free schools

NUT take umbrage at the idea of a News International-sponsored free schools – they want an enquiry:

More on the London Academy of Excellence: – Insufficient excellence; insufficient focus on disadvantage. Fail

Kerry McCarthy on FSM in free schools data now in Commons Library: It’s STILL not online however:

Seckford Foundation plan one manager for every 12 children. One Senior Leader per 30 children.

The State of the NYC Charter School Sector 2012:

In case you haven’t seen – Shanker blog on the test-based evidence on New Orleans Charter Schools:

More on New Orleans charter schools:

NEPC study of US charter school spending compared with public schools:

he influence and impact of founders on US charter schools’ performance: – Food for thought for free schools?

We should keep an eye on this combination of vouchers and charter schools in Louisiana: – it will surface here soon

Here’s the charter schools paper from the NZ Education Policy Response Group mentioned in the article:

The intro gives context. ACT (tiny minority party) has agreement with National to introduce charter schools:

For me Ch4 is more important than Ch6. The former’s criticisms could be extended to the latter:

The NZ Charter Schools working group has its own website here:

London Zoo Fish 3 Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Independent Schools

Not sure what to make of this interview with Head of St Paul’s for Girls:  Is it a trifle smug and complacent?

Worthwhile (and much-needed?) HMC initiative to share schools’ pedagogical expertise with HE:

Martin Stephen says independent schools must evolve or face extinction:

Highlights of Independent Schools Council 2012 Census  As of now only 2011 census is on ISC’s site

Private sector being squeezed: poor schools close; better ones become enclaves of overseas students, or academies!:

Curriculum and Pedagogy

GiftedPhoenix: Willingham-style FAQs on learning styles:

OFSTED notes ‘increasing autonomy’ over curricular decisions ‘may present some contradictions’: (para 70)

RSA worries whether teachers are equipped to exploit their new-found curricular freedoms:

A necessary focus on support for gifted learners is still missing from debate on computer science in schools:

Isn’t Williams responsible for RE not being in the EBacc, since he failed to organise a Bishops’ ambush in the Lords?

A broadly pro ability grouping presentation on Slideshare:

Unusually sharp words from DFE on the decline in MFL GCSE numbers: ‘a national scandal’: National strategy forthcoming?

Is there a particular emphasis on local issues? – If you’re right, are we looking at early May announcement?

Why no answers on detail of the NC review process?

Paganism makes it on to the Cornish Agreed Syllabus for RE: – and why not indeed?

Flexible ability grouping:

NUT Guidance on the EYFS Statutory Framework:

Music education jobs under threat as announcement awaited on successful music hub bids, due early May:

Reaction to ICT disapplication exemplifies the downside of excessive curricular autonomy We need a ‘flexible framework’

Looks like the President of the ALL wants ICT-type curricular freedoms for MFL – Interestingly the ICT lobby is less sure

DfE is commissioning research on the effects of the EBacc: – EoIs to be submitted by Friday 27 April

A reminder of the weaknesses inherent in Chapter 8 of the Expert Panel report on mastery and NC levels:

The problem of preparing teachers to implement the Common Core State Standards: – Prophetic of upcoming issues here?

Sentamu returns to the charge over RE in the EBacc:  – High time the developed an alternative REBacc?

Direct link to the Tombs report for Politiea on the history curriculum: – Do not read if of a nervous disposition!

Reaction to lazy newspaper coverage of the Politeia Report on History:

DfE next steps for EYFS

If there’s such a thing as ‘maths anxiety’ is there an equivalent anxiety for each other subject? Unconvinced

John Holman says the Government won’t make post-16 maths compulsory – so what are the policy levers?

Interesting @theschoolsnet article showing they had an inside track on NC consultation: – Should publish full evidence

NC Review must reconcile contradiction between dumping primary NC levels + rectifying ‘lack of pace and ambition at KS2

Music education hubs due for announcement today. I’m assuming the details will appear here:

Music Hub announcement reaction in West Sussex: and Brighton:

Some of the new music hubs are more hubby than others:

Willingham on why learning to read English is hard (with map to prove the point):

Assessment and Qualifications

A conservative defence of A level reform built upon Robert Coe’s research:

EoIs for the administration of PISA 2015: – deadline 27 April

OFQUAL has published undertakings by the different exam boards to improve exam paper quality and reduce errors:

Harris Federation postpones IB for a year because of high cost and low take-up: – worrying sign

@mikebakeredhack asks the awkward practical questions about HE-led A level reform:

DfE’s Standards and Testing Agency seeks a ‘maladministration advisor’ ‘registrations by sole traders may be rejected’!

Julius Weinberg, VC of Kingston University, appointed to OFQUAL Board, along with Barnaby Lenon:

A whole mass of data showing the prevalence of qualifications equivalent to GCSEs in academies: (Col 535ff)

Background on the new KS2 Grammar Punctuation and Spelling Test for introduction in 2013:

FAQs on the 2013 Grammar Punctuation and Spelling Test: – includes provision for Level 6 (last Answer)

KS2 grammar, spelling and punctuation test under threat of NAHT boycott:

OFQUAL to impose partial ban on exam board seminars for teachers: – will that eradicate the content tips? Not sure

OFQUAL has published its report on Exam Board seminars but, mysteriously, it’s password-protected Why?

Direct link to Nuffield Foundation study of maths content in A levels:  – SCORE report not up yet:

@emoorse01: My take on Mr Gove at the Education Select Committee: Didn’t he imply ditching levels wholesale?

Glenys Stacey refers explicitly to A level grade inflation The Emperor’s now officially naked – there’s no turning back

The Stacey A level interview – Raises the question whether changing too much at once brings diminishing returns

KS2 English writing – moderation: Level 6 exemplification guidance:

@RealGeoffBarton: thoughts on the grammatical/stylistic characteristics of A* English students

Gove to Select Committtee Q225 ‘one area where I am very strongly persuaded…moving away from levels at primary school’

Ed Week report on US pilot of a PISA-based test for schools (using PISA 2009 instruments): – Is there an English pilot?

Whereas NUT would boycott phonics test if results go in league tables, NAHT would boycott if pass rate set too high:

NAHT also voted to disrupt new KS2 SPAG test: and (along with ASCL) oppose loss of of AS Levels:

Black & Wiliam: Formative feedback key to better learning (50 blogs, 50 days on learning theorists)


There’s no one correct way to rate schools:

Campaign for Science and Engineering suggests STEM kitemark for schools With gifted education element I hope

How might OFSTED react to a flipped classroom? – Perhaps we should ask them…

New blog on some league table findings, including progress measures, intakes, GCSE entries

The author of the US study exploring the possible import of OFSTED -style inspection responds to his critics:

Interesting parallels between this Harvard work in the US and the development of Destination Indicators here:

Jay Greene on PISA-type comparisons and the dangers associated with selection on an unvarying dependent variable:

DfE confirms publication of Destination Measures in July: so correcting what Gove said to Select Committee

DfE’s Destination Indicators brief fails to clarify if HE indicators will show RG/Oxbridge separately:

I’ve little time for ‘what right have they to inspect us’ sentiment re OFSTED, but hands off left-handed ticks!

Pearson on unlocking the power of education data: – Big questions as critical variables like FSM and NC levels disappear

309 schools inspected under new Framework 6-20 Jan 2012: 45% primary + 58% secondary inadequate/satisfactory (Col 1239W)

It’s not just GS that should be judged on A*/A GCSE grades as per Jesson Gibb told Sel Ctee DfE is considering

Pro-OFSTED leader in the Independent: – Not sure the system is right if it arouses this level of antipathy…

So, allowing for risk assessment, it’s clear new OFSTED inspection regime is tougher  – and set to become tougher still

HMCI Wilshaw continues his rehabilitation process with the profession by adopting a more emollient tone:

TES on the mysteriously invisible Jesson Schools Network Grammar Schools study:

Wow – TES editorial gets close to agreeing with what I just said about OFSTED: – wonders will never cease

NAHT on OFSTED survey results and plan for School View: – NB 90% unhappy with tone /content of OFSTED announcements

Progress on US national assessment instruments linked with the Common Core:

Strong government rides roughshod over opposition; becomes weaker, offers concessions: – opposition exacts revenge

China’s blocking publication of national PISA scores; Schleicher gives an over-simplified explanation of Asian success:

Teachers and Teacher Education

The new-style NPQH will have all the in-vogue bells and whistles: – but what about the CONTENT?

Don Foster asks if about evidence that graduates with 1st class degrees make better teachers: (Col 11) – Answer No-ish

National Scholarship Fund for Teachers Round 2 Handbook: – same priorities (why not let schools decide?) Apply by 17/5.

Regional breakdown of funded training places for the national SENCO award, Sept 2009- March 2012: (Col WA371)

NUT Survey of SENCOs:

Today’s School Workforce SFR has a really handy table (12) giving headcount of secondary teachers by subject and KS:

Given the state of graduate unemployment, it would be seriously worrying if teacher training places weren’t filled:

Useful account of current US debate on performance related pay for teachers

Interesting re Teach First costs, which I hadn’t seen before, via @jpjsavage

Interestingly Lampl’s just said a. teacher effectiveness is a priority and b. TF isn’t scaleable

Education Select Committee calls for more research into qualities that support effective teaching: (Para 42)

Education Select Committee misses a trick in not connecting prospective teacher spotting to social mobility  (para 46ff)

Education Select Committee parrots the universal but rather uncritical endorsement of Teach First: (paras 64-66)

Education Select Committee Report very supportive of universities’ role in ITE:  (Para 67ff)

Education Select Committee critical of CPD – much taken by what they saw in Singapore but few new ideas: (para 92ff)

Charlotte Leslie calls for a Royal College of Teachers: – aka a new engine of bureaucracy to replace the GTC?

One comment only on teacher performance pay: it’s a blind alley and a bonanza only for economists of education:

Teachers and Performance Pay – Big Practical Obstacles to Overcome

Sadly it was only a matter of time before payment by results made the Atlantic crossing: – I repeat, it’s a blind alley

OFSTED analysis of responses to its consultation on inspection of initial teacher education:

New blog post: @beckyallen and Simon Burgess argue that teacher selection is the wrong way round:

Here: Impact of Teach First on recruitment not very clear.

Evaluation of US pilot incentivising effective teachers to transfer to low-achieving schools:

Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching – Darling-Hammond et al:


First e-bulletin from the Education Funding Agency:

Is Administration Leaner in Charter Schools? Michigan study says they spend relatively more on admin; less on teaching

Will Mitt Romney endorse vouchers as Republican education policy? When will they resurface here?

I believe the capital constraints on free school expansion will help push school vouchers back on to the agenda:

Chapter and verse for DfE turning down the Truss idea of a funding premium for maths A level: (Col 16)

Various Year 5 Milwaukee voucher evaluations:  and various NEPC critiques of same:

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on School Funding: (Col 189WH)

Education Funding Agency e-bulletin 2 –

Central Government

The YouGov survey for NUT highlights concern at limited consultation over – and evaluation of – Government initiatives:

Wilby bemoans the loss of what used to be called the ‘checks and balances’ in the education system: He may have a point

The post that says there will be no SEN White Paper (and what there will be instead):

If you make it into Michael Gove’s office, you can enjoy a painting by one Bernard Cheese: (Col 329W)

Direct link to new NAO Cross Government Review on Implementing Transparency:

Guido and his acolytes have got hold of the Gove balloon story:

So DCMS could go to BiS who could then had over universities to DfE?

Back to the Future, or the nostalgic strand of Coalition education policy:

The conclusions and recommendations of the Public Admin Select Committee on Strategic Thinking in Government:

HEFCE has given its website a makeover:

Lib Dem proposal that education policy should be devolved to a partially elected Educational Council: Bureaucracy-heavy

DfE has published an updated ‘Myths and Facts for Schools’ document:

The Economist calls Govian reforms ‘brave’, ‘novel’, ‘risky’ and ‘bold’ –  – Yes Minister

This handy Dods supplement to The House magazine covers the No 10 operation in detail, even including contact numbers:

Here’s the Teaching Agency Business Plan for 2012-13:

The National College Business Plan for 2012/13:

Here is the 2012-15 Business plan for the Education Funding Agency, just published by DfE:

DfE has published the 2012-13 Business Plan of the Standards and Testing Agency:

14 DfE Free Schools and Academies Education Advisers’ named contracts are now on Contracts Finder (search on DfE):

Prophetic piece in the Telegraph just ahead of today’s elections:  – Interestingly omits Johnson from ‘the NI crowd’

Uncorrected evidence – Gove to Education Select Committee 24 April:

Other Reviews, Research and Reports

AERA’s 2012 Annual Meeting has an interesting theme: – You can search online for papers here:

Eurydice Report on Entrepreneurship Education in schools across Europe:

New McKinsey study on Mobile Education:

A range of new ADCS studies on the role of local authorities in school improvement:

Twigg, Devolution and Schools and Labour’s consultation document:

Direct link to new OECD study on socio-economic stratification between public and private schools: – covers vouchers

IEA Study: Policy, Practice and Readiness to Teach Primary and Secondary Mathematics in 17 Countries (excludes England)

EU (EENEE) study on equity issues in the economics of education:

This Schott Foundation Report of inequitable education in NYC should inform the London Mayor’s Education Inquiry:

Social Research Unit series of cost-benefit reports for children’s services, Investing in Children:

London Zoo Fish 4 Courtesy of Gifted Phoenix

Online and Social Media

Is blogging and tweeting about academic papers worth it? A UCL academic reports:

How to set up and run a MOOC: (Part 1 of 6)

A critique of the Minerva Project to create an elite online university from an unsurprising source:

Very useful list of 50 Best Sources of Free Education Online

Willetts speech today on open access research with support from Mr Wales: – More power to their elbows on this

Willetts pe-empts his speech later on open access to research:

The full Willetts speech on open access to research: – Sound, but he’s clearly not a Twitter user!

Willetts Speech on Open Access: Analysis

Why academic publishers’ days are numbered: – How close are we to open access educational research?

The World Bank and the EU lend their weight to the drive for open access academic research:

PA claims academic publishers earn their cut by ‘filtering’, ‘signalling’ and ‘amplifying’ research. No way Jose!

Google search education – help your students become better searchers:

EdX – the Harvard/MIT partnership that will provide free online courses worldwide:

The Virtues of Blogging as Scholarly Activity @mweller in The Chronicle –

The Edublogger is conducting a survey of the educational use of blogs:

A truly excellent and comprehensive guide to running a Twitter chat:


Progress on the RNCF’s Assisted Boarding Network: – placing vulnerable children in boarding schools

I keep forgetting to commend Donald Clark’s Plan B Blog for his very useful series on educational thinkers:

Done! 50 blogs in 50 days on learning theorists -Greeks to Marxists to present Psychologists

Deloitte offers to help HE provide a personalised student support service commensurate with higher fees:

Building excellence in education For me not necessarily teacher-led but essentially collaborative, networked, inclusive

I’m having trouble deciding whether this US article on university dress codes is a parody:

What’s the average admin cost of a truancy fine recouped via courts or child benefit? Bet it’s more than value of fine:

Academic repression of Emo subculture in Saudi Universities:  – Overly boyish female students thrown in for good measure

Shocked to see the great @DrPaulKelley has left Monkseaton – Parents unhappy new Exec HT wants to drop 2 GCSEs

At my school the be upstanding ritual was a superbly disruptive opportunity to scrape furniture across the floor:

Goading the Stodgy Middle:  – Applying this to education would bring on apoplexy in many of my acquaintance

Catholic Education Service in trouble for pushing anti-gay marriage petition on pupils

Brilliant Pink News editorial on the CES and anti-gay petitions including a telling ‘roles in reverse’ scenario:

Hope CES gay marriage investigations bring greater clarity on overlap between ‘religious’ and ‘political’ teaching:

Stiff Brook/FPA letter about CES anti-gay marriage petition:  ‘this naked attempt…to induce bigotry and intolerance’

The Welsh verdict on the anti-gay marriage petition circulated by the CES:  – schools not CES in the firing line

Educating Essex Deputy Head moves school…all the way to Brentwood:

BHA: no uncontested application for new school from a faith body rejected; just 6 of 39 non-faith applications approved

Direct link to NCB’s Beyond the Cuts report estimating children’s charities face cuts of £405m over 5 years:

This report on public sector delivery is well worth a read if you can see through the symbolic merry-go-rounds:

Brief report and a topping photo marking the first meeting of Camden’s Partnership for Educational Excellence:

Government has offered Sandwell £1m if it will drop its legal challenge over BSF:

The official position on BSF judicial review out-of-court settlements:  (Col WA426)

Priority Schools Building Programme announcement due this month (May): (Col 1239W)

Ever read a post and think – at last, a clear, succinct, balanced explanation? Try this on the economy by Colin Talbot:

US study on whether schools open too early: – Ironically undertaken in Wake County (North Carolina)

Saudi Arabia is planning an ‘independent higher authority to evaluate school education’: – A kind of OFSTED plus?

This makes an interesting read for Pearson watchers and education observers alike:

2011 CERP Literature Review on 1:1 Tuition online and offline:

Michael Rosen on schools for profit models: Asks questions re funding of Pearson School Model. Anyone have the answers?

Glatter reminds us of limited school effects and downside of a ‘no excuses’ culture: – prescribes various panaceas

Estelle Morris rehashes the ‘standards not structures’ mantra (which I too hold dear):

My alert system has only just picked up Twigg’s speech to the NASUWT:

Q: What ‘s the correlation between shared ‘religious culture’ of a church school and its performance? – A. Exaggerated

Q. Do students with water do better in exams because they’re hydrated?  A. It’s probably a proxy for wider preparedness

Interesting argument for the rejection of evidence-based practice  which misunderstands the nature of national standards


May 2012