Is this REALLY what G&T is all about?

(16 Posts)
harticus Wed 30-Oct-13 19:14:21

My 6 yr old DS has been identified as gifted by his primary school.
The Head has assigned him a substantial history project to complete by Christmas.
Whilst the project is enjoyable for him, the extra workload on top of all of his other schoolwork (it is a very homework-y school) is very stressful for him. He is simply too tired to fit this into his day as well.

I thought differentiation for G&T pupils was all about providing more challenging work within school hours not dumping excessive amounts of work on children out of school.
Or have I misunderstood?!

wearingatinhat Wed 30-Oct-13 23:16:41

Could not agree with you more harticus. The bright kid gets extra homework! At the other end of the spectrum, whilst there may occasionally be a little extra homework, they tend to get 'pull out' sessions and differentiated work.

Whilst DS used to create his own projects like this 'for fun', by the time he finally got some G&T work from school, he had totally 'switched off' school work and refused to do it.

I suppose you have to be grateful that they have made some effort and acknowledged his ability but this is just paying lip service to adequate provision and doubtless will be waved at ofsted as differentiated work!

Periwinkle007 Thu 31-Oct-13 09:25:35

I agree - it shouldn't be just extra work to do at home, especially for a child from a family who would do plenty outside of school to interest him/her anyway.

Gifted and Talented in school is all quite odd in my opinion. Some schools rave about it and make a big to do, others don't tell the child or parents, some differentiate in class and others send extra stuff home whilst others do nothing at all. In some schools there could be a gifted and talented register where not a single child is actually gifted or talented but they are just better than the others and in other schools you can have plenty of extremely bright children who can't fit on the school list.

Traditional 'gifted' isn't generally what is covered by schools with their register and as a result I think many teachers really just don't understand extremely bright children.

What you can do about this extra work I don't know. I think I would be inclined to ask the school the question. You can say that you do plenty to occupy him at home but you are worried that additional homework will put him off rather than encourage him. Your question isn't unreasonable and hopefully they will tell you they are differentiating in school too.

out of curiosity why a history project? do you know? is it a particular interest of his? I thought G&T was Maths or English so it could be a bit unfair if a child is given history when they would rather write a story. well it does to me anyway. So much of a truly gifted child is to allow them to develop their talent themselves at home in the way they want to and keep the work for in school.

wearingatinhat Thu 31-Oct-13 09:26:58

Just for clarity, this is the only type of G&T work my DS got too - extra homework!

Periwinkle007 Thu 31-Oct-13 09:36:22

hmm hoping that doesn't happen in our school. mind DD1 is only in Yr1 and I don't think the school make any fuss about G&T. I don't even know if they have it.

lljkk Netherlands Thu 31-Oct-13 09:43:49

It depends on the kid, DD would have loved that project but don't do it if he doesn't enjoy, it's just a suggestion.

I think people expect too much of schools. There are so many ways you can support your G child to extend themselves, too much to expect the school to think so creatively about each child, their methods are bound to be more limited than what your child can think of themselves.

Hassled Thu 31-Oct-13 09:47:04

Your understanding of differentiation for G&T pupils is the same as mine. If the project is just all too much, then don't do it; it doesn't seem fair and he's still so little at 6. I agree it looks like lip-service.

jojane Thu 31-Oct-13 09:49:46

Ds1 is g&t in english, only found out as teacher mentioned it in passing at parents evening!

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 31-Oct-13 10:01:07

That sounds awful sad I would have thought it would have been about giving extension work and making sure e is challenged with maybe some optional extras to do at home if there's time.

Dumping a massive project in a still very young child is a lazy cop out!!

They may be G&T but they are still children with equal needs as the rest. They need to relax play see friends etc NOT be buried under homework

harticus Thu 31-Oct-13 13:15:57

Thanks for comments everyone - glad I am not alone in this!

The choice of project is his own. We settled on it in order to dodge the HT's original plan which was for him to read the entire canon of a famous children's author and write critical reviews!
I am beginning to think the are utterly clueless.

This extra work is the only way in which the school is addressing the whole G&T issue. I would be much happier if he was being given more ability-appropriate work within school hours.
I agree Giles - I think this is an easy cop out for them.

@lljkk
I think people expect too much of schools. There are so many ways you can support your G child to extend themselves

As a matter of fact we do plenty of things to support my child - but there are only so many hours in the day and he is only 6.
My son is having to forsake other things he likes to do in order to complete it.
There is no thought behind this - it is vacuous box-ticking for Ofsted.

Periwinkle007 Thu 31-Oct-13 20:23:32

if it is coming between him and doing things he wants to do then I would say no.

keepsmiling12345 Thu 31-Oct-13 21:37:40

OP if you disagree with the extension work set, why not simply say to your DS not to do it and advise the teacher what you have agreed? On so many threads on this site, teachers are accused of not setting harder work for "bright" or "G&T" children. I am comfortable with how my DD is being stretched both in breadth and depth at her state primary but I know other parents are keener on approaches which are more about pushing the children to get through levels quicker. My DD's school don't label G&T but do make clear that they extend certain children in different ways to encourage their continued learning. I would suggest you speak t the teacher about your concern and say that you are not keen on your DC having more work but would like to understand what is done in school time.

harticus Fri 01-Nov-13 08:55:40

Alien - yes that is the conversation I will be having after half term. But we are also looking at other schools now. This school is trying to "drive up" results by fostering a very competitive environment. Children were assigned a research & writing project for half term and were told that only the very best would get a house point. The are Yr1&2. If very young children spend their half term doing work they should ALL get a HP.

I really like what Periwinkle007 said :^So much of a truly gifted child is to allow them to develop their talent themselves at home in the way they want to and keep the work for in school^

During this half term it has become all the more obvious as DS has had time to rediscover things for himself - he has been playing instruments and drawing and writing stories again.
I think a lot of his frustration with school stems from not having the time to explore life for himself.

keepsmiling12345 Fri 01-Nov-13 18:23:42

Agree OP it sounds like unfortunately your DS's school is not able to differentiate as well as many others. I assume, since you mention "vacuous box-ticking for Ofsted" that it is a state school and I suppose I was just keen to ensure you appreciated that other state schools are perfectly capable of differentiating in a way that doesn't mean simply giving more work. I also agree that holidays allow time for children to rediscover and spend time on what they enjoy. But I am also a great believer that true differentiation or extension at school also allows them to do this.

Acinonyx Mon 04-Nov-13 21:26:40

Oh - the project thing! Dd was asked to do a project on a topic of her choice - she chose not to do one at all and that was that. Completely agree that schoolwork is for the school day and we don't really want more of the same at home. I'm told this is a common 'solution' - give them an extra project and the g & t box can be ticked off.

More recently we have upped the extracurricular activities and she is very engaged with those (more than school). I find it quite taxing for me personally, running around and keeping track of it all - but she's happy.

Proper differentiation for everyone is the proper solution. I don't expect that every minute of every lesson - but I do want it during the school day.

natellie1970 Fri 08-Nov-13 15:25:43

When asked how my dd high school was going to support her they said categorically no extra work as that's like punishment for being clever the work will be different a whole project to do at age 6 seems ott to me

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