Exceptionally Able Students


Curriculum Provision for Exceptionally Able Students: CIDREE Project

Exceptionally able students require greater extension in breadth and depth of learning activities than is normally provided for the main cohort of students. In 2007 the NCCA published Exceptionally Able Students: Draft Guidelines for Teachers and it has continued to work in the area of exceptional ability. Recently, NCCA led a collaborative project involving other members of the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Education in Europe (CIDREE). The other project participants were Schweizerische Koordinationsstelle für Bildungsforschung (SKBF/CSRE), Switzerland, and Instituut voor Leerplan-Ontwikkeling (SLO),the Netherlands. The project set out to bring together some of the approaches adopted by schools and teachers to providing curriculum provision for students with exceptional ability. The project captures these experiences in a range of case studies which describe in rich detail projects and practices at national, regional, school and classroom levels. Find out more (PDF .98mb)

exceptionally able students

Exceptionally Able Students: Draft Guidelines for Teachers

The draft guidelines are a result of collaboration between the NCCA and its counterparts in Northern Ireland, the Council for Curriculum Examination and Assessment (CCEA). Due to the difference in the Education systems and in legislation related to special educational needs in the north and south, two customised versions of the guidelines have been published.

In order to draw upon the most recent research and good practice in this area, a comprehensive literature review was compiled, Gifted and talented children in ( and out of ) the classroom (2006)

Gifted and talented children in (and out of ) the classroom (PDF: 2006)

Students who are classified as exceptionally able belong on a continuum of students with special educational needs. In every school there will be a group of students who require greater extension of breadth and depth of learning activities than is normally provided for the main cohort of learners. Exceptionally able students are not a homogeneous group, and often their identification can pose a problem for teachers. To facilitate teachers in identifying these students the guidelines provide a variety of checklists: a checklist for identification across the curriculum, specific-subject checklists and a whole school identification checklist.

Purpose of the draft guidelines

The draft guidelines are designed to raise awareness of the social, emotional and academic needs of exceptionally able students and to assist teachers in planning their teaching and learning. They feature ways in which teaching and learning can be effectively differentiated for such students, in particular how learning skills can be embedded in increasingly complex content. Case studies included in the guidelines present rich real-life contexts which consider the issues around exceptionality through the eyes of teachers, parents and students.


The NCCA has sought feedback during a consultation process on the draft guidelines from teachers, school management and other interested individuals and organisations. The findings from the consultation are presented in the draft report on the consultation.  The findings indicated that the draft guidelines have been very well received by those involved in the provision of education for exceptionally able students.

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Exceptionally Able Students: Draft Report on the Consultation (2008)
Exceptionally Able Students: Draft Guidelines for Teachers(pdf 1.5mb)

Individual checklists to download as PDF

Figure 2.1 Parents'/Guardians' Questionnaire
Figure 2.2 Nebraska Starry Night: Individual Record sheet
Figure 2.3 General Checklist for identifying exceptionally able students
Figure 4.1 Sample Audit Form of current school practice
Exemplar 1: Individual Record Sheet
Exemplar 2: School or Year Group Record 

A printable version of the following is available as a WORD document to enable teachers to change the subjects as required

Exemplar 3: School or Year Group Record   (Word doc)

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