Evaluation of the effectiveness of the implementation of the 'Gifted and Talented Education' Leading Teacher Programme

Client: National Strategies | NFER Contact: Matthew Walker

Gifted and talented (G&T) children are those who have one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop these abilities). G&T pupils are to be found in every school and have as much right to personalised support to reach the limits of their capability as do other children. This means that activities within the classroom should offer sufficient challenge and interest, and that extra-curricular opportunities should be provided for them to further their particular talents.

The 2005 White Paper ‘Higher Standards, Better Schools For All’ lays out the Government’s ambitions for gifted and talented children and the vision of personalised learning seen as instrumental in achieving it. A particular focus is the raising of aspiration, motivation and attainment amongst otherwise disadvantaged children. One of the strategies proposed in the paper is the identification of a trained ‘expert’ or ‘leading’ teacher in every secondary school and primary cluster; the National Strategies are currently providing a programme of support to local authorities and schools to implement this.

This piece of evaluation research has been commissioned by the National Strategies to inform the development of their programme, with the guiding questions for the evaluation outlined below.

Research questions

The broad aim of the research is to develop a clearer picture of the extent to which, and where, the leading teacher programme is being effectively implemented. Associated research questions concern the factors or ‘enablers’ facilitating effective implementation, and the obstacles or barriers to this process.

Impact and outcomes

The NFER will produce a summary of emergent findings in November 2008 and a comprehensive final report in December 2008. This will present the findings from all three strands of the research, more details on which are provided below.

Research design and methods

The research will have three interlinked strands or phases, each employing a different research method. These are:

After agreeing and piloting the survey instrument, it will be administered on-line by NFER’s dedicated survey administration department. This initial survey will explore the range of models employed across the country, and the progress that has been made to date as regards implementation of the scheme. The survey will provide valuable information on the development of the programme and help provide a steer for the identification of the sub-sample of authorities for more detailed study in the next phase of the research, the telephone interviews. These interviews will be used to explore the different experiences of authorities that have made good progress in implementing the programme and others where it has proved more of a challenge. In the final phase of the study the focus will shift to schools, and the process of implementation at that level, with the sample being narrowed down yet further to allow for an in-depth investigation of developments in four of the authorities participating in the earlier series of telephone interviews.


The circulation of this report will be at the discretion of the client, but it is anticipated that in addition to the National Strategies themselves, the findings will be of interest to policy makers, local authority officers with responsibilities for local G&T activity or school improvement, and school staff - in particular senior management and current or prospective leading teachers.

Time scale: August 2008 - December 2008

NFER Project Code: CGT


Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (2005). Higher Standards, Better Schools for All: More Choice for Parents and Pupils (CM. 6677). London: The Stationery Office.