Based at Warwick university, its goal is "to develop, implement, promote and support" educational opportunities for the top 5 per cent of pupils in English schools.
The academy encourages teachers to put forward gifted and talented pupils between the ages of 11 and 19 for membership. This provides access to a range of one-day events, academic support and parent conferences.
The academy set a target of 20,000 members by 2006. Its membership currently stands at 37,000. It plans to extend its work to all 200,000 pupils deemed to be in the top 5 per cent in the country.
Since 2002, the academy has also held residential summer schools. Nine hundred places at seven universities are available, with courses including space science, music technology and philosophy. Pupils from the wealthiest families pay a maximum of pound;290 for two weeks or pound;350 for three weeks. The remainder is met by the school, and through subsidies. Around 20 per cent of participants pay no fee at all, and 10 per cent pay half the fee or less.