Headlines: May 19th, 2004

A programme of summer schools organised for gifted young people were a success according to those who took part but Ofsted wants the organisers to look into why not all the places on offer were taken up. Last year saw the first full programme organised by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth and a new report from Ofsted says the the quality of learning was good, pupils made substantial gains in knowledge and understanding and in confidence and self-esteem.The report says, though, that recruitment was disappointingly low, with just over 500 pupils attending although 900 places were available. Ofsted believes this is a result of the limited knowledge among schools and parents of the National Academy’s work. It recommends the Academy to carry out further investigations into the reasons why recruitment was lower than aimed for and to take further steps to ensure that all gifted pupils are aware of, and have access to, the summer school programme;

The National Academy was established at Warwick University and ran a pilot summer school in 2002 for 100 pupils. Last year 25 programmes took place at five universities. Ofsted visited each of the schools to inspect the quality of staffing, teaching, course planning and management and pastoral care.

Figures show that pupils from 112 of the 153 local education authorities in England took part with just over a third of the 500 students coming from just 12 LEAs. Although nearly three-quarters of LEAs were represented the pupils came from only 316 schools. Girls slightly outnumbered boys and just over a third of the pupils came from minority ethnic groups.