G & T - is is just a fiddle?

(33 Posts)
orsino111 Mon 15-Apr-13 18:57:05

Hi,
I'm a dad, but I can't think of a better forum upon which to ask this question.

In a telephone conversation between my missus and a year head at my son's (State) school, it was mentioned by the head that he was enrolled on the 'talented & gifted' scheme. He has an aptitude for science reflected in his exam results, is science ambassador for his school and has done some public events with other pupils.

Which was news to us (and him). We've not heard anything like this mentioned, not received a letter or literature, and it wasn't mentioned when we went to parents evening just recently, or received his written report for the year. Our lad knew nothing about it.

Nor has he been engaged on anything seemingly G & T-specific, not been offered additional tuition etc. Fortunately he's very sporty/athletic so he's invariably in a state of perpetual exhaustion and not likely to want to do anymore of anything, academic or otherwise.

But the question is - seeing as the school was unable to get around to telling us his parents, let alone the pupil - is this G & T thing just a fiddle? Perhaps to just add names to a roll so some funding can be secured from the Dept for Education? Are schools actually expected to do anything with these so-called G & T pupils beyond saying they have one or more at the school?

If he really was enrolled on a G & T scheme, how could we tell anything was different, even if the school decided best to not tell us?

SaveMeNow Sun 23-Jun-13 22:18:24

I completely agree with smiler.

BoundandRebound - your posts make me want to cry. This is precisely the problem we have across the country. I have a (genuine) gifted child and it is just not understood in schools.

I am not sure what the answer is though.

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 22:24:49

That's us. sad We're looking at a private school, and they offer a grant scheme but it all depends on how many others apply and how much 'money is in the pot' as to how much of a fee reduction he would receive. Then there's his little sister, and it breaks my heart that I would even consider sending him to a private school full of opportunities, but not her based purely on financial restrictions. But how do you explain that to a child??? :'( Are you on Facebook? Just I don't get notifications from the forum and find it a pain keep finding the thread to check! My Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/gifted.northeast?fref=ts I created the page especially for parents in similar situations to myself, as I figured my 'regular friends' would sharp get bored of my endless campaigning for the Gifted population! I hope you don't mind me asking, but does your son have any other diagnoses? My son is currently being assessed for Asperger's Syndrome, though I'm fairly certain he doesn't have it. I feel awful though, because sometimes I think his life would be easier if her were to be (correctly or incorrectly) diagnosed with ASC because at least there's the funding to support, whereas there seems to be literally nothing forthe Gifted :/ x

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 22:29:22

SaveMeNow. I think there are lot of us in the same boat. I'm going to ignore BoundandRebound's ridiculous comments. The same applies to you as it does to Lady Mary, I have set up a Facebook page specifically for parents of genuinely gifted children where we can talk, and share our experiences or just ask around for tips. You are more than welcome to join, just add me as a friend using this link https://www.facebook.com/gifted.northeast?fref=ts I'm hoping to at the very least get a support network running then perhaps together we can find the answer! :D x

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 23:01:52

sad Fingers crossed. They don't usually award bursaries or grants for under 11s/13s so it sounds hopeful. It's OK to have one child at one school and one in another, you do have to match the child to the school if you see what I mean. I don't think MN send out notifications so you have to check it. There's a private message facility though, you get notified via email when there's a message. It's up by your post on the right hand side. When you have a message the envelope at the top of the screen goes red.

He's 14 and just been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and dyspraxia (they are slow off the mark here). He has hypotonia in his hands and feet so struggles to walk as he finds it painful (may be a bit of the sensory processing disorder at play here too). He has little bits of high functioning aspergers but not enough traits for the paediatrician to say this is what he has. He's generally very lovely and caring but can like to be in control and has firm views on how people should behave. He wants to debate everything which can be very draining. There's no obsessions or none of the other traits. He does get on a lot better with the teachers (he finds teenagers his own age immature) but he's always thought of himself as an adult and I don't think being an only child to a single mum has helped as children living like this tend to take on this role. He's incredibly articulate, he always has been. I have friends who believe that he's been here before (they are not loopy), he is like a little victorian gentleman though and chose his own outfit for a friends wedding; top hat, cane, bow tie etc. grin

He was speaking in sentences at 10 months, could identify all of the alphabet, shapes and numbers up to ten two weeks after his first birthday (I remember because someone bought him a toy bus with the letters, numbers and shapes on the side for his first birthday - and here was me buying him stacking cups!). He started to read at three and within an hour he was reading Mr Men books. He was reading Roald Dahl by the time he started school and just seemed to pick things up very, very quickly. He's always been a bit of a philosopher/deep thinker but he loves everything. He's the only kid I've ever met who managed to score 70% in a RS exam when he only managed to finish half of the paper. He's doing 11 GCSE's and hopes to be a barrister, which will put the annoying debating habit to good use I suppose.

I am on facebook but I don't use it. sad You can apply for DLA even though Aspergers hasn't been confirmed providing he needs more support than a 'normal' child his own age. It's hard raising a child who needs teaching the basic rules of people, especially one who will walk up to strangers and tell them that they shouldn't be smoking because it will kill them. blush

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 23:17:30

Oh, I love the smoking thing - brilliant! Our son is 3 in August, so I can't wait to see how he turns out! He told me tonight that a Nebula is a cloud of gas and dust, and that the sun is a ball of burning gas. He also told me that he thought the sun would be quite heavy to carry, bless him. I don't think he's 'severe' enough to be classes as Asperger's, but he definitely has autistic traits. We have to plan with him, and use social stories quite a bit so that he understands what's happening and when. He is quite social, and though he was quote slow to develop it, he has recently started playing imaginatively, which don't really trigger an ASC diagnosis. However, he needs planning and structure, dislikes messy play and is just super intelligent. Like your son, he was able to recognise complex shapes (hexagon, crescent, heart etc) by about 13 months, he could count to ten (though not verbally) by about 8 months, and has recently been obsessed with dinosaurs (he can name them, and categorise them etc). However, he tends to get to a point where he feels he's exhausted all he needs to know about something, then all of a sudden that's it.He's no longer interested. We're moving onto space at the minute...I just wish people would believe me. I can see in their faces that they think I'm making him out to be smarter than he is. :/ He started reading about 6 months ago, and now reads road signs, shop signs, aisle labels etc, in fact anything he possibly can. I already have to turn to google to answer some of his questions! I'm just pleased that there are people in a similar situation, because I sometimes feel as though my concerns are unjustified because A) No one else takes them seriously, and B) He's not diagnosed/categorised in any way, but the number of parents that seem to struggle to keep their children in one school is unreal. I find this particularly worrying because of his need for structure, it wouldn't do him any favours at all to keep chopping and changing schools. x

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 23:49:46

It's horrible to move them around so much. His bursary was withdrawn from his current school in October (finances of the school) and it was so stressful thinking he'd have to move again and knowing that there was no where else. It's all sorted now, thank God, but we've had some real nightmares with other schools due to bullying (staff as well as pupils!), mainly due to his poor social skills. It's always the last thing that you want as it's never in your child's best interests but there's no choice.

I try and teach him but he doesn't seem able to use what I've taught him in new situations so has to be taught again. He's absolutely right with the smoking but he's a teenager now and it's not as 'cute'. He told a couple off for swearing a few months ago but because he was inside a bus shelter they thought it was me and gave me a load of verbal abuse. It's not safe for him to do this, not for him and those around him.

There's no harm in being diagnosed with Aspergers as it does open doors to help. There comes a time when those cute little quirks stop being cute and start to become a problem and it's good to have the support in place. I think the social skills books are great but they can only cover so many scenarios and you do find that, in some cases, the social skills teaching can be like locking the door after the horse has bolted.

Academically, I'd encourage him to learn about subjects that they don't teach in school as it will reduce the chance of him being bored. We used to do a lot of extension work, so if they were learning about the egyptians we'd go to the museum in London to see the Rosetta stone and do some extra work on that. There's also music. You may find that your son is happier when he starts school as he'll be busy with all of the subjects so has less time to focus on one thing. They may expect him to 'learn' the letters like the other children but only so that he doesn't feel left out. His reading book will be far different, my son was able to read whatever he wanted to.

Just ignore other people, it's easier not to mention it in all honesty. They will say 'oh, isn't he a bright boy' when he starts to speak to them and it's better just to smile and say 'oh, he does like to talk' or something along these lines otherwise they won't get it or will have you pegged out as some sort of tiger mum. You're better off being laid back and letting him get on with it. Google is your friend but it's also OK to tell him that you don't know. wink

cory Mon 24-Jun-13 09:41:48

OP. if he is science ambassador for his school and has been involved in public events, then he has done something. It doesn't have to be 1-1 coaching; from what you tell us he has had extra encouragement and involvement in science. Doesn't sound like a fiddle to me.

LaQueen Mon 24-Jun-13 21:20:59

I have worked in some schools, where the top 20% of each class are all classed as being G&T. Which is a bit daft.

Luckily, our DDs school don't do this. DD2 is G&T, but properly so, as in she's in the top 0.01% nationally, according to her HT. But, even during that conversation 2 years ago, her HT made no definite mention about G&T - just some comments about trying for extra funding for DD2 (didn't happen).

I only found out DD2 was officially classed as G&T, by her school a few months back, when one of the governors dropped it out - according to her there are only 3 children in whole school classed as G&T, and DD2 was one of them. News to me?

DD2 is given extension work, differentiated homework and has in the past worked with the class above (this wasn't a success, older children didn't take kindly to her whupping them at maths...and she lost touch with her friends, in her own class).

To be honest...I don't think DD2 is stretched nearly half as much as she could be? But, the school have limits, and only limited time. She's happy at school, that's the main thing - and in two years time she'll go to a very good girls' grammar, where I'm confident that they'll really put her through her paces smile

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