The social origins of students identified as gifted and talented in England: A geo-demographic analysis

R. J. Campbell, R. D. Muijs, J. G A Neelands, W. Robinson, D. Eyre, R. Hewston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The English education system has been shown over a long period to be catering poorly for the educational needs of gifted and talented students. In the last five years, however, a national policy and an associated strategy have been established, distinctively attempting to embed core provision for gifted and talented students in the mainstream school system. A major thrust of this 'English model' is to identify and support students from those lower socio-economic groups, and ethnic minorities, which historically have been under-represented in higher education. This social inclusivity dimension to the national policy raises substantive challenges for policy research and development. This paper provides a detailed geo-demographic analysis of over 37,000 gifted and talented students admitted to the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth in England in 2003/2005. The analysis shows that the National Academy, whilst having a student membership skewed towards groups with high levels of cultural and economic capital, had nonetheless reached significant numbers of students in the poorest areas, something over 3000 students, and 8% of students identified as gifted and talented at this stage. Possible explanations for the profile of gifted and talented students' social origins are raised, and an intervention project arising from the analysis is outlined. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages17
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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