National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth

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Logo of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth - Crown Copyright

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) is based at the University of Warwick in Britain and was founded by a government (DfES) initiative for high achieving secondary students in England. The Academy provides extra-curricular activities for students between 11 and 19 years of age. It accepts students from all schools, whether state, CTCs, Grammar or Private, in the country and accepts into it all students deemed to be in the top 5%.

The Academy itself is split into four distinct components, each of which has different aims and fields of work. The "Student Academy" is intended to provide provision directly for students; the "Professional Academy" aims to improve the provision for Gifted and Talented youngsters in schools and colleges; the "Expertise centre" intends to provide organisations with support when working with G&T students and the newly formed "Research centre" conducts research into Gifted children and the most effective methods of teaching them.

Contents

Student Academy

The Student Academy is the most publically active component of the Academy. Students can become a member of the Academy by being nominated and put forward by their school (as is more common) or applying of their own accord. Membership currently involves no joining fee because the Academy is heavily subsidised by the Government.

Admissions

The Academy has changed its admissions policy radically sinced it was originally formed. Initially, all students had to submit a large portfolio complete with an individual letter detailing why the student would like to join, and numerous pieces of evidence such as UKMT certificates, World Class Tests results, school work, SAT or GCSE results, IQ tests and references from teachers. This was then examined by a number of professionals who either approved or declined these entrants, depending on whether or not they deemed that the applicant was in the top 5% of the national population. As admission numbers grew, the Academy decided that it would be necessary to simplify the admissions in order that they could be processed at a greater rate. The new process, renamed "Loc8or" (changed from "Talent Search" - the initial title), asked for 3 different areas of evidence:

  • A letter of application in which students had to introduce themselves, along with two questions that they would address to an expert in a particular field (these questions were never actually answered).
  • A portfolio (one or more pieces) of evidence of ability from a formal or standard test (such as those above). The Academy was quoted as saying at the time: "However we know that sometimes your test results don't always reflect your true potential, so we also ask for a third piece of evidence".
  • Evidence from informal sources, such as a teacher's recommendation, or evidence of participation in an informal society or club. Coursework could also be submitted for this section of evidence.

However, at the end of 2003, the Loc8or process was simplified yet again so that all that was required (as shown here (http://www.nagty.ac.uk/student_academy/joining_nagty/documents/eligibility_criteria.pdf) (PDF)) was a single piece of evidence and a form of endorsement from the applicant's school. This change in policy has raised considerable debate amongst some parties that the less stringent application process has led to people being admitted that are not necessarily in the top 5%. The Academy deny this.

Activities

For its members the Academy offers a number of different activities, most of which are subsidised by the DfES. Some of these activities include:

  • Two or three week summer schools at universities around the country covering a variety of subjects. The aims of the Summer Schools programmes include providing additional breadth (introducing participants to subjects they might not be able to engage with in the National Curriculum), adding depth to a student's studies (introducing them to additional material in a National Curriculum subject that might not ordinarily be covered in school) and providing acceleration to learning (introducing concepts that a student might normally expect to encounter at a later stage in their school career). These summer schools are only open to members of NAGTY in Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16).
  • Outreach events on weekends and week days during school holiday periods. These vary in length from half a day to a week and may be residential or non-residential. They offer a rather condensed learning experience. Outreach events have been expanded to include lectures in a number of specific fields (for example, there was a recent lecture on the human bio-clock).
  • Online learning material (Academic Study Groups). This often includes some ways of contacting professionals in particular fields.
  • Residential week-long courses aimed at sixth form and college students. These are in collaboration with Villiers Park.
  • Internet forums allow members to chat, debate or gain moral and social support from each other.

The aim of the Student Academy is to help students to maximise their potential, by providing additional activities and services that maintain engagement with and motivation for education, especially seeking to identify and work with high ability students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Professional Academy

The Academy also provides a service for the education system of England and Wales, a service that is entitled the "Professional Academy". The aim of the Professional Academy is to work with schools to enable them to provide better education for Gifted and Talented youngsters than would otherwise be possible. In the long run they aim for a situation where as much emphasis and thought is given to the education of Gifted students as it is to people with special education needs. The Academy attempts to achieve these aims through the use of teacher training and publications.

Expertise

The Academy also has an 'Expertise Centre', the aim of which is to study 'giftedness' and what it is that makes some children more 'clever' than others, and to research the best ways of educating such children. A wider aim is generally to allow society to more widely understand the concept of 'giftedness' and encourage more research in this area.

Publications

The Academy produces a number of publications, all aimed at separate groups, but the majority of which are for use by the Professional Academy. The main publication intended for all of the students that are members of the Academy is entitled Aspire and this is published termly (three times a year). The first seven issues of this magazine were distributed to both the professional and student academy but from the eighth issue two publications were produced, one aimed at each of the two main focuses of the academy. Copies of this publication can be found on the Academy's website.


See also:

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