Gifted and Talented

“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.”

In St. Mary’s, we believe that every pupil has been blessed with unique gifts and talents. We, therefore, consider all pupils to be gifted and talented and we are committed to identifying and developing the unique gifts and talents of pupils. We understand that the gifts and talents of individual pupils may take many forms and we value the vast range of gifts and talents demonstrated by our pupils, both within and beyond school.

As a school, we aim to:

  • identify the unique gifts and talents of individual pupils using a variety of methods;
  • nurture the unique gifts and talents of individual pupils by providing opportunities for pupils to explore and develop their gifts and talents;
  • encourage pupils to recognise, value and use their unique gifts and talents, particularly for the service of others;
  • create an ethos where difference, including difference in ability, is accepted;
  • address the specific needs of gifted and talented pupils;
  • set personal, challenging and ambitious goals in line with the unique gifts and talents of individual pupils and support pupils to maximise their potential; and
  • promote the confidence and self-esteem of individual pupils by nurturing and celebrating their unique gifts and talents.

While some pupils may present as gifted or talented in a specific field, other pupils may demonstrate exceptional ability across a wide range of disciplines. Pupils may be regarded as gifted and talented if they demonstrate exceptional skill or ability in one or more of the following areas:

  • general intellectual ability or talent;
  • specific academic aptitude or talent;
  • sport;
  • visual arts;
  • music;
  • drama and performing arts;
  • creative and productive thinking;
  • languages;
  • leadership ability;
  • mechanical ingenuity; and
  • special abilities in empathy, understanding and negotiation.

In St. Mary’s, the unique gifts and talents of pupils may be identified through:

  • teacher observations (e.g. qualities of a pupil that may make them appropriate for leadership roles such as Class Prefect, House Official, Subject Mentor, Peer Mentor etc.);
  • teacher assessment (e.g. pupil performance in CM tasks and examinations);
  • information received from parents/guardians (e.g. regarding success / achievement outside school);
  • information received from previous schools (e.g. primary schools);
  • peer nomination (e.g. voting for Student Leadership Team, Student Council elections etc.);
  • self-nomination (e.g. auditioning for a school production, attending a trial for a sports team etc.);
  • information received from external assessors (e.g. Educational Psychologist);
  • information received from external agencies/groups/organisations (e.g. local sports clubs / youth clubs); and
  • analysis of school data (e.g. examination results).

In St. Mary’s, we aim to address the specific needs of gifted and talented pupils through:

  • lesson planning and delivery (e.g. differentiation);
  • a wide and varied extra-curricular programme; and
  • a range of enrichment and extension activities.

In St. Mary’s, provision for gifted and talented pupils includes:

  • participation in internal and external competitions (e.g. British Biology Olympiad, UK Mathematics Challenge, Soroptomist Public Speaking, Rotary Young Leaders of the Future, Young Cook of the Year etc.);
  • opportunities for Student Leadership (e.g. Student Council, Peer Mentor, Subject Mentor, Class Prefect etc.)
  • membership of a sports team (e.g. football, camogie, hurling etc.);
  • participation in sporting events and activities (e.g. Ulster Swimming Gala, NEEBSA Track and Field Athletics etc.);
  • extra-curricular activities (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh Award, Arts Award, choir, school productions etc.);
  • membership of school clubs and societies (e.g. Club Mhuire, Geography Club, Book Club, Drama Club, Film Club, Mini Enterprise Company etc.);
  • enrichment and extension opportunities (e.g. Young Applicants in Schools and Colleges Scheme, Extended Project Qualification etc.)

Each year, the gifts and talents of St. Mary’s pupils are recognised and rewarded by external organisations through schemes such as:

  • Ulster Colleges’ All-Star Awards;
  • University of Ulster’s Talented Athlete Entry; and
  • University Entrance Scholarships.

VALUING UNIQUE GIFTS AND TALENTS

  • “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
  • “You are the manager of the gifts God has given to you. They may be great or small in your eyes, but they matter to God.”
  • “Your gifts and talents are God’s gift to you. What you do with these is your gift back to God.”