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Key Figures in Education of Gifted Young People Gather

Originally published 16 September 2003

Key Figures in Education of Gifted Young People
Gather to Launch National Development Programme For Teachers

A number of significant figures in the field of education of gifted young people are gathering at the University of Warwick on Thursday 18th September 2003 to launch the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth’s programme of professional development events to support teachers and other educational professionals working with gifted young people across England.

Over 100 support teachers and other educational professionals will gather at the special launch conference entitled “Developing High Potential Youth: Success Against the Odds”. This will be the first of 33 events that will be run across England in the coming year by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth to support professional development events in the field of the education of gifted young people.

This launch conference is sponsored by The Goldman Sachs Foundation. Stephanie Bell-Rose, President of The Goldman Sachs Foundation said:

“The Goldman Sachs Foundation is pleased to sponsor this innovative scheme and to be a part of this important effort to address the challenges and opportunities facing talented young people from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds. We expect that the efforts of NAGTY will have a positive and measurable impact on the lives of young people throughout England.”

Professor Deborah Eyre, Director of The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth said:

“We are delighted to be able to launch this programme to support professionals working in the field of the education of gifted young people with such a significant group of speakers and key practitioners. The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth see it as vital to support teachers of gifted young people as well as young people themselves.”

Professor Eyre will give a short presentation which will provide the education professionals attending the conference surprising evidence on how strongly career motivated gifted young people are from a very early age. She will reveal that 417 of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth’s members aged 11-16 replied to a survey on their future goals which revealed the following surprisingly strong figures:

  • 97% Said they were already committed to achieving a place at university NB these are 11-16 year olds
  • Said they had a chosen career objective that had not altered for the last 5 years
  • The most ambitious of the gifted young people to respond to the survey came form the lowest socio-economic group (11% of the total survey). This group had the highest proportion of young people who were committed to a career objective in a professional or senior managerial role

There will also be short presentations by: Professor David VandeLinde, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Warwick; Thomas Payzant, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, and Trustee of The Goldman Sachs Foundation; and Dr Lea Ybarra, Executive Director, Center for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University, USA. These will be followed by the following workshops from key practitioners in gifted education:

  • Former Headmaster Professor Sir David Winkley, and Headmaster Pam Matty will share the story of their school - Grove School - a Primary School in Birmingham’s Handsworth area (an area of high socio-economic deprivation). Over the last twenty years it has set out to develop radical programmes for diagnosing and enhancing the talents of its pupils – impacting on national policy and thinking.
  • Peter Walsh from Sutton Trust who will explain how the Trust works with gifted and talented students, especially those from under-privileged backgrounds. It will examine how best to make effective interventions, which support young people through all stages of their education.
  • Erica Pienaar, Headteacher of Prendergast Secondary School, Lewisham will describe his experience of how teachers can deliver both an exciting learning programme and meet the demands for accreditation required by schools, parents and pupils.
  • Jeremy Taffler, Director, World Class Tests at QCA, will outline how they have been producing tests of problem solving (and mathematics) for gifted children for a couple of years now. It has proved that it is possible to write challenging interesting tasks that stretch the brightest children without requiring of them that they are already high fliers in their normal schoolwork.
  • National Provision for Low Uptake Subjects University of Warwick Mathematics researchers Dr. Trevor Hawkes and Dr. Richard Lissaman will outline their Gatsby funded project bringing A-Level Further Mathematics to able students in schools and colleges that are unable to provide it themselves.
Following the conference, Goldman Sachs International and The Goldman Sachs Foundation will host a gathering of leaders from government, featuring a presentation by David Miliband MP, Minister for School Standards, and key figures from business, education and philanthropy to discuss the role they can play in providing support to students of all backgrounds who represent the future in every sector of society.
  1. The conference begins at 10am Thursday 18 September 2003 in the University of Warwick’s Ramphal building
  2. National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth was established at the University of Warwick in Feb 2002. It is charged by the government with enhancing the educational experience of the top 5% of young people in England.