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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Lecturers to teach bright pupils
Student at the National Academy for Gifted and Talented
Extra lessons could be provided to motivate the most able pupils
University lecturers could be brought in to teach the brightest pupils in schools in England.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, about to unveil a White Paper, wants schools to provide more "personalised" lessons for different ability levels.

This will include specialist teaching and "masterclasses" to stop the most "gifted and talented" pupils losing interest in lessons.

Such "tailored" learning would initially be for 11 to 14 year olds.

There have been reports that identifying such talented youngsters - about the top 5% of the year group - would depend on the results of the tests taken by pupils at the age of 11.


Speaking to newly-qualified teachers, at a meeting arranged by the Training and Development Agency for Schools, Ms Kelly promised extra funding to help schools provide a more customised approach to learning.

Ruth Kelly
There will be more one-to-one and small group tuition for pupils
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly

There will be an extra 120m for individual tuition and 335m of school funding earmarked for the "personalisation" of lessons.

In particular, this would support catch-up lessons for pupils who were falling behind - and more challenging lessons to keep talented youngsters motivated and "stretched".

For these high-flying pupils, the Department for Education and Skills suggests that extra money could be spent on extended lessons in schools - and a range of out-of-school projects, such as "weekend masterclasses and holiday schools".

The plans outlined by the education secretary also envisage that schools could bring in outside partners, such as "lecturers from higher education and further education".

Education ministers have spoken of the need to encourage particularly talented pupils - and to stop them feeling "embarrassed" by their ability.

Former education minister, David Miliband, said that support for gifted pupils was an attempt to counter-act the "very British mentality which says it's wrong to celebrate success, and worse still actively to encourage it".

Research from the University of Glasgow, published this summer, showed that many gifted children were underachieving - and that this group needed specific support from teachers.

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth estimates there are about 200,000 such gifted children in the school system in England - and it warns that "it is sometimes assumed that gifted and talented pupils will achieve success in the education system easily. This is not always the case".

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