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How were you told?

(65 Posts)
Clarence15 Sat 18-Jun-11 09:23:23

How and when were you told that your child was G&T?

Do schools actually make a point of telling parents? Is the child aware that they are in this category?

I know that my dd is bright, and she's working in the higher end of the class above at the moment. But she's not in a G&T category (as far as I know) although her teachers have always told me she's very bright.

Is it important to you that you have this title for your child, in order to ensure they are properly challenged, or are you happy to let the school get on with it? Do you actively speak to the school about it or not?


lovecheese Sat 18-Jun-11 11:35:03

What use is a "Title" if it means nothing in practice? I guess different school's have different policies, some will tell you, some wont. If she is working with the year above then surely that's a pretty big clue that she is being stretched. She doesn't need a formal "Label".

Clarence15 Sat 18-Jun-11 12:08:28

Sorry, didn't make myself clear, I'm not bothered at all whether she's given a title or label (would prob rather she didn't) but wondered whether others preferred to know? I wasn't sure if it's something that is actively shared with parents or if it just goes on in the background? I guess I'm asking whether I should take a more proactive approach in asking teachers about this?

I've not mentioned it before to them, but I suppose I'm just wondering if she could be considered gifted by the school and I just don't know!

musicposy Sun 19-Jun-11 09:17:01

When my eldest went to secondary, we got a letter saying she was on their gifted and talented register (and would be getting extra homework hmm ). She'd always been top of the class at primary, gone on lots of able pupil courses, etc, but they never actually gave us the G&T label. It was both reassuring and annoying at the same time getting the letter, tbh. Reassuring because I hoped it meant they would make sure she achieved to her potential, annoying because from that moment on they weren't interested in anything practical or non-academic she did and wanted her just to work very hard to get into a fantastic uni. It was a very double edged sword.

With DD2, I knew when she was extremely young - I didn't need a school to label her. I told them before she ever started that she was extremely gifted and, of course, they were a bit hmm because lots of parents obviously tell them that. In later years they never actually said, "yes, she is", but when at 8, they put her in the 11 year old class - against our will and better judgement - "to cope with her academically", we knew she was obviously on their G&T radar (and also took her out of school, but that's another story!).

juuule Sun 19-Jun-11 09:19:05

We were told by letter.

med80 Sun 19-Jun-11 16:07:43

Letter but verbally 1st. Told which subjects too.

cory Sun 19-Jun-11 16:20:49

We did have a letter in junior school. In secondary, the only official confirmation was the other day when dd was chosen to represent her school at a G&T event. But it's not actually as if that told me anything I didn't already know; I've lived with this child all her life, I know more about her strengths and weaknesses than the school can ever do. And speaking to the subject teachers about her actual achievements in their subject is far more informative than just a G&T label imho.

I have never seen challenging her as something that is entirely up to the school anyway: the way I look at it, it's partly their responsibility, partly ours, but as she grows older the main responsibility must be hers: I would have little time for a child of secondary age (unless from an intellectually deprived environment) who sat down and moaned that she couldn't learn because the school wasn't challenging her.

DadAtLarge Mon 20-Jun-11 20:12:33

"I would have little time for a child of secondary age (unless from an intellectually deprived environment) who sat down and moaned that she couldn't learn because the school wasn't challenging her."

Contrary to popular opinion, not all intelligent children are natural self-learners and if left entirely to their own choices many would learn only those subjects they found interesting (nothing wrong with that, BTW, but it's a course better suited to home educated children). Also, some subjects are easier to learn oneself while others could be positively dangerous for a teenager to dabble in without supervision.

Clarence15, to answer your original questions, if there is some defined benefit to the label - say extra resources - then it's worth demanding the label. The school won't necessarily notify you, but will have to disclose it if you demand. FoI and all that.

"Is the child aware that they are in this category? "
Oh, no, you can't tell children they're G&T. OMFG, think about how the poor other children would feel!

If a child has an obvious talent at singing or acting they get to show off their skills and are first choice for the school play. If they're good at football, it's immediately obvious when they're having a kick-around. But if your ability is in an academic subject that's a different matter altogether. These are schools, we can't have nonsense like celebrating academic ability.

cory Tue 21-Jun-11 09:01:15

It is not about being a natural learner, DAL, it is about the fact that a child at secondary school level is old enough to jolly well take some responsibility.

I also have a non-gifted 11yo ds who is as far from a natural learner as anyone could possibly be- if he mucks up secondary school , I still won't think it is entirely the school's fault. He is not a baby, he is somebody who is gradually growing into an adult, and adults can't just sit down and blame other people.

Learning how to access learning safely is part of what you have to do when you get to secondary age, just like organising your own shopping trips or sports outings. Even non-gifted secondary school pupils have to learn this skill. I don't see why it would be more dangerous for a gifted child to search the internet for information on arguments for against the theory of global warming or to go out and buy a study guide in chemistry (GCSE and A-level guides easily accessible in all decent book shops) than it is for a non-gifted child.

No child of secondary school age will be able to limit their learning to material provided and vetted by the teacher, because that's not how the learning process works at this stage.

Obviously, this is different from the younger levels- but so it needs to be; these are young people who will, at least some of them, eventually be heading for university and need to learn independence. And to think ahead, "I may not enjoy this subject but I will need qualifications for later".

Ds may well make some stupid decisions here and not work as hard as he could; that wouldn't surprise me at all. But he will have to learn to accept that they are his stupid decisions- and that the responsibility for sorting them out will be his.

cory Tue 21-Jun-11 09:14:26

Please note though that I am talking about secondary school children here, not primary school, and of children without an additional SN that might make it harder for them to take responsibility.

I may also be ever so slightly influenced by my own experience, as a university teacher, of so many bright young people whose lives are made more difficult by the fact that they have got into the habit of always blaming someone else (no, I haven't done any work because nobody made me).

I accept that not everybody is a natural learner, as in "somebody who will feel a need to find information for their own satisfaction". But most children from a reasonably non-deprived background should be able to work out by the time they get to their teens that a substantial proportion of the rewards in life are for initiative and if you want the rewards you take the inititatives, whether you enjoy it or not. And if you decide not to, you stand by your decision.

mumblebum Tue 21-Jun-11 09:20:14

Our (primary) school has a policy of not telling parents. I think the secondary school here is the same actually. I found out DD was on the register because I had a talk with her teacher about her, because I was concerned about what was happening with her at school. Her teacher told me, unofficially, then to reassure me that her needs were being addressed.

bruffin Tue 21-Jun-11 09:33:03

Told at parents evening for DD in maths n primary.She was given extra lessons and taken to various g&t days at the local secondary school.

When DS started secondary he was told in class that he was on the list for cat scores, and at parent evening for science and geography. But it seems ever moving and sometimes he is selected for things and other times not. I think having an interest in the subject goes a long way. Somehow DS got himself into the 6th form electronics club when he was just yr7.
We have never been told DD at seconadary is on any list however she is invited to the gifted and talented music day next week.

DadAtLarge Tue 21-Jun-11 09:36:10

I would still blame the school if an intelligent child wasn't being challenged enough. It's the school's job, they have trained professionals to do this. If they weren't challenging a child who was struggling they'd be taken to task for not doing their job. Why are intelligent children worth less?

You simplify it too much. Not all highly intelligent children come in one particular personality type. Some are very good self-starters and are happy to sit for hours with a book to amuse them. Others, boys in particular, may need more guidance and supervision. Some are more easily distracted, others may need competition to shine. The needs of gifted children and the best approaches to teaching them are well documented in several good books. Most state schools teachers have never read even one. The approach that works for your DD is not one that works for all gifted children.

"I don't see why it would be more dangerous for a gifted child to search the internet for information on arguments for against the theory of global warming"
Then, I'm sorry, but you don't see very well.

The internet is a dangerous place. Apart from obvious risks to children, there's a lot of misinformation and bad information. Even internet savvy adults like me sometimes get caught out. For example, I was reading a medical article yesterday about a certain drug. I was pretty convinced from the good case they made to support their argument. It was only when I dug into other areas of the site that I discovered the article was paid for by a certain pharmaceutical company. Further research revealed that this company owned the licence to manufacture the drug.

The more gifted a child is the earlier they'd be accessing internet resources and the earlier we need to teach them the appropriate internet skills and build into them the cynicism required for contentious material (like the extent to which global warming is man made. Or why armegeddon is/isn't due in October this year.)

I believe gifted children should be encouraged to become self-learners, encouraged to take responsibility for their learning. But, if anything, helping them develop this independence can be even more time consuming than teaching a non-gifted child.

crystalglasses Tue 21-Jun-11 09:42:43

My 13 year old dd1 came home and casually mentioned over supper that the school had given her a letter to give to us saying she was gifted and talented but didn't know what she'd done with it. After some arm twisting by us she found the letter, all screwed up, at the bottom of her school bag. She didn't think it was a big deal because she though that all the children in her class would have got one. She wasn't treated any differently at school as far as we know but in the school holidays she was sent on a number of residential accelerated learning programmes at various universities, which she loved and which gave her a taste of university halls and facilities.

crystalglasses Tue 21-Jun-11 09:49:48

We never discussed her G&T label with other parents and as far as I know nor did my dd1 talk about it with her friends, as she was embarrassed about the whole thing. It's not really the sort of thing you boast about except to grandparents and maiden aunts as it rankles with lots of people.

lincs2 Tue 21-Jun-11 15:09:39

Dad you make some good points. My ds is way ahead of the rest of his class for reading. (not exceptional but on g and t register) However, motivation is a realy big problem for him. It a real struggle to get him to read his school reading books but he will read a strategy guide for his computer game.

cory Tue 21-Jun-11 21:18:20

DAL, you missed that my last post was not about my self-starting dd but about my lazy and difficult-to-motivate ds. So dd and her personality type has nothing to do with the argument. My point is that I do have a child who is not a self motivator, and I still think that now that he is growing up he must take some of the responsibility, just as he has to take responsibility for his own hygiene and fixing his own breakfast. (I wouldn't say he is a natural breakfast fixer either).

As for the internet dangers, you seem to have missed that I specified that I was only talking about secondary school children. And the way the national curriculum works, all secondary school children (at least in state schools) have to start their own resource finding in Year 7- they get trained in this- so the fact that a gifted child might want to start earlier has nothing to do with my argument. I was talking about an age where all children- regardless of giftedness- are expected to face these dangers. Just like they are expected to face the dangers of unaccompanied shopping trips or school field trips where they are not constantly under the eye of a teacher.

wordfactory Wed 22-Jun-11 08:29:18

Cory it is an interesting question as to whether it is a school's job to motivate its students.

Certainly in other areas of life, motivation has to come from within.

DadAtLarge Wed 22-Jun-11 08:40:14

cory, I didn't miss anything.

We're talking about gifted children here.

Your gifted DD has restricted mobility and you seem happy that her giftedness is being catered for by her being given a book to sit in a corner and read. Or something like that.

And you'd like others with gifted children to lower their expectation of schools. The way to argue that is not to present that children are uniform widgets, all needing (and capable) of taking charge of their own education (and their own motivation). And that they can all do it to the same degree of competence!

""I would have little time for a child of secondary age (unless from an intellectually deprived environment) who sat down and moaned that she couldn't learn because the school wasn't challenging her.""
Thank goodness you're not my child's teacher. You obviously have no clue on educating gifted teenagers!

To the OP: The real problem isn't whether or not schools tell parents about their child being on the G&T list. The real problem is schools don't care as much about gifted children as they do about other children. Among the schools that do seem to care, most are better at giving the impression they care than actually doing anything for gifted children. Some use the parent notification as a PR tool. If we tell you we've put your child on the list you'll be reassured that we're taking her giftedness seriously.

Some parents are easily fooled (or satisfied).

cory Wed 22-Jun-11 11:52:25

I don't want everybody to lower their expectations, DAL. I would not be at all happy if all dd got from her school was to sit in a corner with a book; in fact, the one time that happened (at junior school) I threatened to sue the school- as I have frequently mentioned on education threads.

But I still think it is grossly unfair of you to claim that this is the only thing that will happen to a gifted child in any secondary school. You talk about schools as if they were all the same and as if you had experience of every single one of them. Dd gets a lot more than this from her secondary school. A good teacher will enjoy finding ways of stimulating learning and go beyond the curriculum because they care passionately about their subject. They enjoy it so why would they not want to see somebody else enjoying it and wanting to learn more?

At the same time, I want all my children to be aware that education is a two way process. The school has to take some responsibility and they have to take some. I was revolted when I heard my also-gifted niece proclaim that "of course the teachers can't expect us to do any work if they don't make it fun for us all the time". She was a seriously bright girl but had a totally passive attitude towards her own learning. She ended up working in a call centre. Which was just as well because she certainly was not mature enough to get anything out of university. She is coming back into education as a mature student. She needed to grow up first, nobody else could do that for her.

Suggesting that teenagers must not do their own research on the internet because it is too dangerous sounds a bit odd- surely this is the ideal opportunity to teach them internet safety and help them to identify useful material? There are plenty of scientific articles out there, and that's the sort of material secondary schools can use to stimulate thinking in subjects such as physics and biology. And they do.

DadAtLarge Wed 22-Jun-11 17:43:30

"You talk about schools as if they were all the same and as if you had experience of every single one of them."
I have limited experience of secondary schools, but extensive experience of primary schools, the culture, the rules, DfE and OFSTED expectations, the responsibilities, targets, budgets, G&T .... you don't need to visit every school to know how the system works.

As I've stated in other threads, there is simply no way any state primary with 25-30 pupils in the class can cater well for the brightest children. They can't even cater "adequately". If they are they are likely failing in their jobs because their focus should be on the children who are struggling, not the bright ones.

I completely agree with you that there should be some motivation from the child, but by the time they reach secondary school, our system has knocked a lot of the interest, enthusiasm and curiousity out of them. Schools work methodically, year after year, to average these kids down (even though teachers don't realise/won't accept this). Schools don't celebrate intelligence and are shy to recognise academic achievements publicly ... in fact, they play this down. They don't even rank performance competitively. Who's top in your DC's class for English? Who's at rank #5? Nobody knows.

"We can't discuss things like that!"

"It's not helpful to rank them! How awful!"

I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but it's a fact that underplaying academic ability has become an art form. That ain't a big motivator for the gifted child. These children need to have challenges, they need to achieve, they need recognition for achievements that were hard earned.

"I heard my also-gifted niece proclaim that "of course the teachers can't expect us to do any work if they don't make it fun for us all the time". "

But is that entirely her fault? How and why did she come to expect, after seven years of primary school, that it has to be fun all the time? Schools dumbing down material to better engage slower learners comes back to bite us in the ass when the other learners reach secondary.

KATTT Wed 22-Jun-11 20:18:24

DAL - have you found this site?

It's set up by people opposed to free schools

Typical quote, talking about the joys of mixed ability classes, "The more able took great pride and felt a great sense of responsibility in helping classmates who needed more support and the latter benefited from a natural and inclusive environment in which they were inspired to improve their learning alongside a classmate."

You see, education is not about getting the best from every child, that would be to exclusive smile

HidinginaHardHat Wed 22-Jun-11 21:22:08

Told in a parents evening when i enquired as to the level work being offered and was advised DC is on the G+T for several subjects and learning with the top end of the year above. DC is happy, school are happy, i'm struggling to keep up smile

DadAtLarge Wed 22-Jun-11 22:10:28

"The more able took great pride and felt a great sense of responsibility in helping classmates who needed more support and the latter benefited from a natural and inclusive environment in which they were inspired to improve their learning alongside a classmate."

I love that, KATT.

There is an argument that intelligent children should be able to work with others of differing intellectual ability. Nobody has a problem with that. However, teachers and schools consistently refuse to accept the well documented truth that gifted children learn best when working in small groups of similar ability. Why won't they accept this? Because schools can't provide such an environment. Rather than accept this truth they make soothing noises and try to dress up their limitation, as they've done in the quote above, as a Desired Outcome.

Most teachers have even come to believe theirs is the best way to educate gifted children!

"more able took great pride and felt a great sense of responsibility in helping classmates"
That's not how the few gifted kids I know feel. They're sick to death of being free teaching assistants.

Good luck to I can understand their motivation. They dress it as localism and supporting the fantastic local schools. It's also a bit of desperation. There are huge and game changing moves afoot that will change the whole landscape of state education in the next few years. These parents know it and are panicking.

1. Budgets are tight and getting tighter. Much, much tighter. Don't believe all that Coalition nonsense about freezing the edu budget. In real terms and in per pupil outlay, it's falling.

2. To add to that there are several hundred applications in the pipeline for free schools (which schools will be sharing the funds pot).

3. Hundreds of other schools have applied for Academy status which is having a big impact as academies' financial contracts with the DfE is often giving them an unfair share of the funds (though even with this extra money they're under-funded)

4. LAs are bleeding profusely. Academies taking money away has meant LAs have had to cut large numbers of services. Some are so desperate they're considering reducing the length of the school day, hiring non-teachers to teach and other drastic measures.

5. Some private schools have applied for Academy status as well which should really throw the cat among the pigeons. If indies succeed, fee-paying pupils will all get funded by the DfE from the existing budget. That alone could turn out to be quite a hoot.

6. Teachers are going to be dumped left, right and centre. The unions will find they can't do a damn thing about it. Academies will follow TUPE to the letter and still layoff large numbers of staff. Non-academies simply won't have the money and will have to lose teachers in droves.

That's just some of the stuff that's going to happen in the next few years. Education is going to be in an even bigger mess. The pupils who are most going to suffer are gifted pupils and SEN ones (the latter to a lesser degree).

KATTT Thu 23-Jun-11 08:07:40


You're chirpy today!

If there's one thing to be learnt from the last labour government, there's no correlation between money and results in education.

All that money over the past years and my daughter's (ofsted outstanding smile) school only provides qualified teachers for 3 and half days a week.

I guess from my point of view it really can't get any worse and so, if Gove can change some things, it's going to get better.

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