Teacher Perceptions and Responses to the Implementation of the Gifted and Talented Initiative in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Primary Schools

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Barrington, Imogen G
  • Subject: LB1501
    mesheuropmc: education | humanities | health care economics and organizations

The central importance of primary school teacher attitudes and expertise in optimising learning outcomes for gifted children is well documented. The literature review critically analysed current studies in this field and pointed to the need for further research in the application of the Gifted and Talented initiative. The Gifted and Talented initiative was a government education policy aiming to recognise and provide for more able children in primary and secondary grant maintained schools in England and Wales. This study aimed to discover how this initiative has been received in selected primary schools by presenting a snapshot of how teachers are identifying and providing for gifted pupils in the local area. \ud As talented primary school pupils are provided with a range of activities on a regular basis, this study focused on the academically gifted cohort, where much resistance has been well recognised relating to elitism and stereotypical attitudes towards this more able group.\ud The qualitative study took the form of five individual teacher/coordinator semi-structured interviews in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, aiming to understand from a primary school teacher’s perspective their interpretation and application of the policy documents relating to gifted children. The purpose of the study was to discover if gifted children are being identified, how they are being identified and, if so, what type of provision is being offered.\ud The interview material consisted of transcripts and associated documents provided by teacher/coordinators and others obtained through research. Analysis was undertaken through thematic coding scrutiny and document comparisons of transcripts, where subjectivity is recognised due to prior involvement in education -situated knowledge. The findings suggest that the majority of schools in the local area are responding to the needs of gifted children, but the level of response differs significantly with individual school approaches and situational factors. Due to OfSTED inspection regimes that necessitate appropriate challenge for all pupils, including the gifted, teachers who may be sceptical are obliged to conform to a degree.
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