Perceptions of the actions, initiatives, policies and successes, or otherwise, of the post 1997 UK Government for the education of gifted and talented children, as outlined in its Excellence in Cities proposals
This paper enquires into the implementation of the Government’s directives for the education of the ‘gifted and talented’, as specified in the ‘Excellence in Cities’ (EiC)document. The term ‘gifted and talented’ (GaT) has been determined by government diktat and its appropriateness is examined, as are the arguments about precise definitions, the identification of such children and the rationale for the Government choice. The current concern has its roots in the past, demanding an examination of the political and educational raison d’être for the evolving policies. The assessment of the results of such policies and arrangements sheds light on their suitability and relevance for the future and are thus considered. The experience of others to provide an appropriate education and the arrangements needed to facilitate the process justify a consideration of an international perspective. The examination of the philosophy, current arrangements made elsewhere and innovative proposals for the future of the education of the able aids the establishment of the criteria with which to judge the viability and implementation of the EiC arrangements. The methodology used to obtain research data involves interviews with those responsible for implementing the EiC directives at both City and school/college level. Their answers illuminate their approach and aspirations for the education of the GaT. The success of the policy and its implementation is assessed by means of a critical analysis of the management decisions taken, and the consequences at both City and School/College level. Triangulation is accomplished by the additional use of the data gained from expert witnesses, thus helping to determine the viability and practicality of the arrangements made and envisaged. The post modernist stance of the author, coupled with a qualitative methodology, and a possible initial bias towards a revisionist view of how the education of the able should be organised, should not necessarily invalidate the conclusions reached.