It is important for gifted and talented (G&T) coordinators and leading teachers to garner the support of governors. G&T Update offers suggestions as to how and why governors can be an ally to those working with G&T

School governors come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. Their backing for G&T provision can be a great asset, helping you to move G&T up the agenda, secure resources and improve the opportunities on offer for your most able pupils. Keeping governors informed about your work as G&T coordinator/ leading teacher can be influential in getting and keeping them ‘onside’, and the pointers below may help you in addressing this part of your role.

Information
How do governors receive information about G&T provision? They should certainly be aware of the school policy in this respect, reviewing it regularly and considering how resources are deployed to support G&T pupils. They also share the responsibility of ensuring that all groups are represented within the school’s gifted and talented population. You might consider:

  • contributing to the headteacher’s annual report, describing developments in school during the previous year and interpreting relevant data
  • providing separate, concise written information (eg, about the national YG&T programme and its implications for your school, plus a description of your provision)
  • delivering a short presentation/training session for governors.

Understanding
Providing information is important, but ensuring that governors understand the basic principles of G&T education may need something more. Consider delivering a brief training session, setting out the rationale for the school’s approach to identifying and meeting the learning and social needs of its most able pupils. This could be backed up with a handout giving concise information about:

  • the national YG&T programme (register, learner academy, leading teachers)
  • IQS and CQS
  • how your school identifies G&T pupils
  • how teachers cater for them in lessons (personalisation)
  • what enrichment opportunities are provided outside the classroom
  • information links (eg www.nagcbritain.org.uk; www.ygt.dcsf.gov.uk/LibraryResources.aspx?libraryId=9) and optional handouts for further reading (such as copies of articles in G&T Update!).

Governors have to take in a lot of information about a wide range of matters, so keep your presentation brief, straightforward and lighthearted, and allow time for questions.

Involvement
The level of involvement you can expect from governors will obviously vary according to their other commitments. (Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers must give employees who are school governors reasonable time off to carry out their duties.)

If there is one particular person designated ‘G&T governor’, invite them into school to chat about your work and perhaps see a group of G&T pupils in action – but do remember to check out Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) status before involving governors with student groups. You could suggest that pupils invite this governor to lunch and talk to him or her about their experiences in the classroom and outside school; if any are involved in a special enrichment day, for example, this can be a good focus for discussion, perhaps with the governor taking part. Evening events are often easier for governors to attend – and do send personal invitations to any celebration events.

Support
Governors can make excellent mentors for G&T students, so be proactive in approaching them about this possibility. You might also consider involving your school governors in:

  • enrichment days
  • masterclasses
  • off-site visits (to universities, theatres, galleries)
  • residential courses
  • after-school interest groups
  • classroom support for G&T pupils
  • coaching in sport, drama, singing
  • speaking in assemblies (thus providing positive role models)
  • meetings/presentations for parents of gifted and talented pupils.

Teachers TV has a useful 15-minute video aimed at governors, but also suitable for parents, covering identification of and provision for G&T children, with primary and secondary school examples.