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New Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth Announced as Search Begins for Brightest Youngsters

Originally Published 25 February 2002
The country's brightest young people will soon be given the chance to stretch their abilities and to vote for the subjects they would like to learn more about, thanks to a National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth launched by School Standards Minister Stephen Timms today. Announcing that the University of Warwick has been selected by the Department of Education and Skills to lead the Academy, Mr Timms said:

"We ignore the needs of our most able young people at our peril ? if we are to have a truly inclusive education system we must enable every single child to fulfil his or her potential, including those with exceptional ability."

"The Academy is a further step in the Government's commitment to bring down barriers in education by stretching the most talented young people and encouraging excellence in learning and I am particularly pleased that as well as the University of Warwick we have been able to secure the expertise of the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University in the USA and the Research Centre for Able Pupils at Oxford Brookes University."

"The new Academy will place this country firmly at the centre of the world stage in this field, providing an internationally recognised centre for research and development, as well as becoming the centrepiece of our national strategy to support and improve gifted and talented education. In building on experience both in England and abroad, we are forging a pioneering new partnership between leading exponents of gifted and talented education and opening up new opportunities for able young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to win places at our most prestigious universities."

As well as being supported by the two core partners - The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, and the Research Centre for Able Pupils at Oxford Brookes University - the University of Warwick will also work with a network of other universities - including the University of Durham, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of York in developing the Academy. The Academy?s activities will include:
  • A "Talent Search" offering innovative means of identifying and diagnosing ability;
  • Summer School programmes;
  • An innovative outreach programme;
  • On-line learning materials;
  • Support for parents and educators.

During its pilot year, the Academy will concentrate on the most academically able 11 to 16 year olds, with distinct programmes for the most able 5% and the most able 1%. Later, it is expected to cater for older and younger students, as well as those with talent in specific areas such as sports or the creative arts.

Professor David VandeLinde, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick said:

"Warwick is delighted to be chosen to deliver the Government?s vision for the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth. We have the expertise, the partnerships, an environment of excellence and the drive to succeed in establishing a uniquely English National Academy. In my years at Johns Hopkins University, I was privileged to witness the growth and development of a similar programme and to see what a difference it made to the lives of so many young people. I therefore retain a strong personal commitment to the creation of similar opportunities for gifted and talented youth in this country and believe that the University of Warwick and its partners will deliver a National Academy of which we can all be proud."

The national talent search begins today, with the Academy inviting students to register an interest in taking part in its first pilot Summer School for 100 students aged 11-16 to be held at the University of Warwick in July/August 2002. Anyone who is interested in knowing more about the Academy ? including the Summer School - should call 024 76 574 213 or go to and fill in a simple on-line registration form where they can also vote for the subjects they would like to learn more about.

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708 email: Out of hours: 07767 655860

Alex Curling, Department for Education and Skills Tel: 0207 925 5112/07785 710936 email:

Gill Sanders Oxford Brookes University Tel: 01865 484453 Email: Out of hours: 07811 614408

Charles Beckman, Center for Talented Youth Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD Tel: +00 1 410-516-0186 email:

Further Information
Notes for Editors

  1. When filling in an on-line form to register their interest in participating in the new Academy, young people will be asked to indicate which subject(s) are of particular interest to them.
  2. This information will be taken into account when planning Summer Schools, outreach programmes and other activities. The government first announced its intention to establish an Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth in the White Paper, 'Schools Achieving Success', published 5 September 2001. 'Gifted' is used to mean academic ability, and 'talented' for ability in creative arts or sports.
  3. The Academy can consider charging fees for some or all of its services, but must ensure that these are not a disincentive to pupils from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds. The Academy will make sure that those who cannot afford to pay do not have to do so.
  4. The Academy is expected to cost £20 million over the next five years, and will be supported by a combination of taxpayer funding, University, business and philanthropic support, with the eventual aim of making it largely self-funding.