Ability as an Additional Support Need: Scotland’s Inclusive Approach to Gifted Education

  • Margaret Sutherland
  • Niamh Stack
Keywords: inclusion, rights-based models, gifted education, Curriculum for Excellence, social justice

Abstract

The present paper provides an overview of the current national legislation, policies, curriculum and practice relating to gifted education within Scotland. It begins by providing an overview of the national context and historical background that, to this day, underpin the egalitarian ethos that permeates Scottish education. We discuss how historical, philosophical and political narratives that are firmly rooted in the belief that education is a right for all foreshadow Scotland’s approach to “gifted education”. The legislative shift within Scotland from a “needs-based” model to a “rights-based” model, coupled with our inclusive approach to education for all, has important implications and provides potential opportunities for gifted young people. The strengths and limitations of this approach are debated within the paper. Rhetoric and reality can, however, be unfamiliar strangers; the paper therefore also aims to demonstrate how legislative intention and pedagogical ideals have been put into practice within Scottish schools in order to meet the needs of gifted young Scots. We conclude by discussing the challenges that remain and the implications for the future, both within and beyond Scotland.

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Published
2014-09-30