Gifted and talented in independent schools?(11 Posts)
I'm asking for a friend thinking of changing schools- she wants to know if independent schools run G&T programs- or would they argue that the small classes cater for G&T children anyway?
Huge variation from school to school so she would really need to address the question to the schools she is interested in. It also depends on she group and to a certain extent cohort of children.
There are 150 kids in DS's year. The core subjects are divided into about 7 sets. The top sets are the G&T kids.
How old is the child?
If you were talking about a highly selective senior school then I suspect a child would have to be exceptionally G&T to be outside the overall range of the cohort so the school would be used to stretching a child of that ability anyway.
Ds is in an academically selective secondary. He's in the top set so it's pretty much streamed. He still finds some of the work easy but there's always the opportunity for him to learn more. There's no G&T provision as such, they are all bright.
Depends - dc old prep gave certain children more opportunities (trips and one to one/ small interest groups) and set for some subjects for year 4, more so in 7 and 8 when there are "Scholarship" sets. At secondary it is selective anyway so range much narrower and ability grouped. SILs kids are at a state secondary and deemed g and t in various subjects but even so may only just get A or B at GCSE.
Most indies don't have a list of G&T pupils. Instead their whole ethos is to extend and challenge pupils individually in whatever way is appropriate so talented sportsmen and sportswomen are developed at national and international levels, expert artists get to complete professional commissions, talented mathematicians and scientists compete in national competitions and international Olympiads, drama students put on performances at the Endinburgh festival, musicians perform original works around the world etc. All of these things happened at my daughters' school in the last 18 months alongside all the stretch and challenge in lessons each day.
Sorry, late reply.
This will depend TOTALLY on the school. My DN's school (of which I am an old girl) doesn't run a G&T programme at all which puts some parents off but is really fabulous at extending kids within the class. By about Year 4 even the bottom learners in the class (including those with mild learning disabilities) are performing well above the national average. The G&T kids are off the charts.
HOWEVER some schools do not cater well to G&T kids, or do very well for those, say, gifted in maths but not the arts, or only cater to all rounders and don't accept that a child can be gifted in just one area. Other schools cater very well to these children but put them in different classes or a separate unit, so it may come at a social cost. One little girl I know of (different school, some 15 years ago) was in a year group of about 120 but was "promoted" to a gifted and talented unit and ended up in a class of eight children aged 5-9 years old (she was 6). She suffered socially so much that she had trouble communicating with normal children within about 2 years old her age. She could only cope with bright children or children four or five years older for the mental maturity. It was a bit sad tbh because she ended up with not a lot of friends. So... get your friend to arrange a visit to the school, and bring a list of things to discuss. Every school is different!
I also think it depends on the degree of 'giftedness'.
There's conflicting literature on this, with different people definiting 'exceptionally gifted' in different ways, but even if you just look at something like IQ scores, the range of abilities within the top 2% of the population is as wide as the range that spans the middle 96%, because of the 'humped' shape of the distribution curve.
Selective secondary schools - private or state grammar - will [as a general rule] be good at teaching the 'moderately gifted', and possibly slightly better than non-selective schools because such children will have a larger peer group in such schools who can possibly be grouped for relevant subjects e.g. maths. Weighed against that, of curse, is the social disadvantages of being educated with a limited range of people, and also the problems that may arise from being gifted in one area but not across the board.
When it comes to the 'exceptionally gifted' - those '1 in 10,000' or '1 in 100,000' children - then it is not so clear which schools are best. Some schools - superselective grammars and one or two of the very top academic independents - may have particular experience in dealing with such children. On the other hand, what such children most often need is flexibility - e.g. access to higher age groups for particular subjects, as well as nurture - and there is no guarantee that a 'normal' private school would be any better for this than a state school.
I happen to know a child in the 'exceptionally gifted' group, who is privately educated. Although initially flexible - e.g. allowing access to the maths curriculum for higher years of secondary while in the junior school - once access has been needed from outwith the school (university-level work while in KS3) it has been more difficult and parents have had to arrange it outside the school,system entirely.
My DS (year 5) is in the top five in three of his subjects based on results (not based on effort) and is pretty average in a couple of others, this is in his year of 50+ children...There is no way I would think of him as remotely G&T which I believe was a program used in state schools for identify the top 10% ....and I disagree with that label... it is meaningless because a "G&T" at one school may be very average at another depending on how academically selective it is ..... ...but prep schools I know do have scholarship streams for year 7 and 8 and start looking for that at year 6 on or so, but the whole scholarship thing is also down to the parents and the child as it is a lot of extra work not just having the smarts in particular subjects. Interestingly I watched an interview with Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winner) who said he was so into Sciences that he really tried to avoid doing anything in Humanities at school...so he may have been G&T in one area and decidedly weak in another....my DS is in top sets at prep school for some subjects and middle set for another, but they generally cover the same type of work and do the same exam at end of year, top set may work at a faster pace in lessons or cover more extension work that's all.
I think the question to ask is more how do they stretch a child who may be well ahead in a particular subject ? Some private schools are too small to set and others may not set til later ...I would think though if you have a chid that is fixated on doing Maths GCSE at 9 for some reason, you probably have to rely on external support.
Some independent schools offer a special separate programe of talks and lectures for those they've identified as gifted and talented/Oxbridge/Ivy League potential.
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