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G & T - is is just a fiddle?

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

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?

lljkk Mon 15-Apr-13 19:14:28

GT does not mean any extra money.
It's an accounting exercise, having ID'd him as G&T the school are supposed to document (internally) what they do to make sure he meets his potential in his G&T areas. Ofsted can specifically ask to look at the records for this class of pupil, to see if school are making a nice fat papertrail about what they do for those pupils.
I have heard that G&T is being phased out anyway.

orsino111 Mon 15-Apr-13 19:19:44

Thanks IIjkk,

Sounds like G & T is just a load of old flannel and nothing to be concerned about. He's not missing-out 'cos there's nothing to miss out on!

ihearsounds Mon 15-Apr-13 19:42:57

Ask to see the G&T policy. Yes, honestly there should be one. It states how he was identified and what they will do, such as...
More challenging lessons should be given, as well as other opportunities - clubs, visitors, trips.
Support given where needed, g&t children for example can have problems relating to their peers and find group work hard, so support would be given with social interactions.
G&t often involves letting the person work at their own pace, rather than structured.

Habanera Wed 17-Apr-13 10:28:31

ihearsounds those are helpful comments. One of my DD's problems has been group work- she feels that she either does all the work, and gets no credit, or if the pushy ones take over and refuse to work together, they all get a bad mark which she really cares about. She is very dramatic at times but has been genuinely unhappy with working with certain kids, who have done things like reached over and switched off DDs computer as the TA came to see her work, losing it-then both popular kid and TA laughed it off! DD gets very angry once home but feels very unheard at school

learnandsay Wed 24-Apr-13 16:39:04

It's just a label. A school which stretches its bright pupils is going to do more for them than one which just sticks G&T children's names in a register.

WarmAndFuzzy Sun 28-Apr-13 11:06:10

I lost all faith in the G+T programme when my son was tested by the school's Educational Psychologist as having an IQ in the top half percent (which would easily qualify him for Mensa) but they wouldn't put him on the gifted and talented programme because of (non violent) behaviour related to his ASD. Fast forward to year 4, his behaviour is miles better and he's top of his year in Maths (and not too shabby in Science). Still not (as far as we know) in G+T but doing fine without it!

I think in our school it's kind of a reward for good behaviour and listening. My son doesn't look like he's listening but knows the answers anyway. I appreciate it may be different in other schools though.

PhyllisDoris Sun 28-Apr-13 11:13:17

My DD was identified as G&T at music a couple of years ago - big surprise here too, though the school did tell us.
On questioning the teacher as to why (as I said bit of a surprise - music, really?) it turned out that DD was "good at composing".
I asked DD how she composed music - could she show me.
She had no idea - she usually copied "from Aimee"!!
Before you ask- No, Aimee was not on the G&T register!
Have to LOL!

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 28-Apr-13 11:20:27

The G&T initiative was created as a result of a court case, where a father tried to sue the LEA for help towards private school fees for his very bright daughter. The LEA's defence was that state schools can cater for all abilities so there was no need for them to provide funding for a private school. The father lost and the government came up with this. Problems with this are that they look for the top 10% in each school, and what may be G&T in one won't necessarily be G&T in another. Ds is at a selective independent secondary and he's at the top of the top set so he's very bright. He spent a term and a half in a state primary (don't ask!) but wasn't identified as G&T (despite reading since 3 and being 4 years ahead in all subjects confused)

BoundandRebound Sun 23-Jun-13 08:49:45

G & T is a laughable concept, was badly designed and implemented and generally just served to placate parents who cared about that sort of thing. A good school will extend every child's potential

This board has many G & T posters who just have standard bright kids or just very young children who are developing different skills at different rates, it is rare that a child or poster has a truly gifted or talented child. The true definition should identify a handful in a generation and not 10% in a year group in each school. We are delighted it is no longer a reporting requirement at our school.

But it's nice to be proud of your children and parents should be amazed and delighted at their achievements and abilities

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 11:34:24

BoundandRebound, while I agree that the G&T programmes are poorly designed, and many children are being incorrectly identified as G&T, I also feel that your flippant attitude towards the parents of these children is rather insulting. I am the parent of a genuine G&T son (by which I mean at the age of 2 he can read, he can name and categorise dinosaurs, he can explain atoms, and has a complete and utter fascination with space - this isn't a brag, it's a fact) and I have to say that it is your attitude that makes it difficult for parents like myself to have the needs of our children recognised. I am currently campaigning for G&T to be classed as a special need, and for specialist schooling to be put in place for these children as they actually need a whole different approach when it comes to schooling. Again, I am not talking about the kids in the top set, or the kids who can read a bit better than everyone else, I am talking about seriously smart kids who become bored in school and are subsequently labelled as 'disruptive'. A lot of these children also have sensory disorders, dyslexia, ADHD and autism and they do not need a whole load of extra work thrown at them, they need smaller class sizes, and they need an education that it tailored to allow them to learn at their own pace.

tumbletumble Sun 23-Jun-13 11:51:56


The true definition should identify a handful of children in a generation

Why? Who says?

I disagree. My DS1 is G&T at his school. I have no illusions about him - I realise he is a bright kid, not a genius. But he is in the top 10% of his class and the teachers should be aware of this and ensure he is stretched and challenged and continues to make good progress. If the G&T register helps make this happen then it is a good thing.

BoundandRebound Sun 23-Jun-13 14:49:24


Bright toddlers abound - it is difficult to judge whether that means gifted and or talented at such a young age or just thats the area of marked development at the moment. Fortunately you can feed that thirst for knowledge with trips, libraries, museums and experiences. A school child who is a couple of years ahead of the bell curve is also not difficult to serve in a school environment (should not be). Perhaps a primary school aged child working at A level or undergraduate level is actually truly gifted, how many of those do you know?

I don't believe that this is a special need and in any shape or form and money should not be diverted from those who truly have a special need in its distinct definition. I would actively campaign against any such definition to be honest.

Your child is in the top 10% of his year group on some measure - and it could be anything that puts him there- all round academia, specific subject, sport, art, music etc and you are completely right that he should have an individualised education plan that helps him maximise his potential. Any school should be able to achieve that for all children without a register. Doesn't make them any less bright and schools should not have the option to get out of this remit by holding a register.

The G&T register does more disservice to those who are 11th centile, or not yet found what they are good at, or not reached a development stage or simply weren't front of mind when the selection was made. It was an ill thought out policy by bean counters and not by educational experts IMO

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 16:54:22

I'm sorry but I completely disagree. When you have spent an afternoon with my very intelligent, very hyperactive 2 year old boy learning about nebulas and nuclear fission (As I just have) I defy you to argue that he isn't gifted and talented. It is a special educational need. He struggles to interact because he is on a level way above his peers, and it therefore inhibits his learning when in a group setting. Why should the bottom 5% receive all the funding because they struggle to learn, yet the top 5% who struggle to learn for different reasons not? The definition of special educational need is a need that affects their ability to learn (social, reading/writing i.e. dyslexia, concentration) please refer to the following government link . That taken into consideration, how can you not class a child who is so intelligent he struggles to keep concentration, a child who has behavioural difficulties because he is so far ahead of his peers as gifted? He has been able to read since he just turned two, yet when he starts school in a year's time he will be made to study 'letter sounds' because the higher level reading books 'aren't appropriate'. I'm sorry I think that this is a failing on his behalf, and many other children out there. Again, I emphasise that I am not talking about the top 10% of children in a school with the bottom 20% of the population. I am talking about seriously intelligent children with social and emotional difficulties, who struggle on a day to day basis because the world around them can't keep up. That I'm afraid is as deserving as a child with low functioning ASC who is yet to speak of any funding and intend to continue campaigning to stop attitudes like yours being the norm.

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 16:55:53

And Tumble, I agree. And if the G&T programme serves your son well, then that is brilliant news. :D But unfortunately, this type of programme would not help my son in the slightest as he needs a whole different approach to teaching sad x

Niceweather Sun 23-Jun-13 17:39:30

There is an enormous difference between being top 10% (one in 10), top 1% (one in 100), top .5% (one in 200) and the top .01% (one in ??,000).

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:51:13

Exactly. And the kids in the very top % need our help.

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 17:55:49

The deputy head at ds's school has said the brighter the child, the more issues they have, meaning they are more likely to have social skills problems, ASD etc. It's incredibly difficult for any parent to support a very gifted child, they are like a sponge that never fills and, as a parent, it's mentally draining. I really feel for ds's teachers as it must take a lot of work in the classroom. It's not a case of giving extension work for a child that's a couple of years ahead, they never stop and one question leads on to another. Then there's managing their emotional needs as quite often their social skills are no where near their chronological age. Then there's the bullying because they don't fit in with their peers and the self esteem issues which arise from this. There's also piss taking from other adults to battle with, those who will start threads on here saying 'my 2 week old has just read the encyclopedia. Is she gifted?' I don't post on here any more and I know a lot of other parents of G&T children don't either because of this.

Having a highly gifted child is a completely different ball game. I fully agree with Smiler.

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:03:53

Thank you. I signed up, hoping to meet some like-minded individuals, but I seem to have frustrated myself further with people who simply do not understand sad

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 18:09:14

I wouldn't give up just yet. smile My son is 14 now and if I can help in any way then I will. It's been a very bumpy road so if I can help to make your road a little less bumpy then just let me know. There isn't a lot of provision for very gifted children in the UK, sadly. I did get a lot of advice from the NAGT, have you looked there?

BoundandRebound Sun 23-Jun-13 18:21:40

I understand completely smiler. On both a personal and a professional level.

You are not talking about G&T the way most here do though, you are talking about a truly gifted child which is supremely unusual. Not 10% of every year group at all.

I also know that with the benefit of some more years, hindsight may well give you a different perspective.

tumbletumble Sun 23-Jun-13 18:21:55

LadyMary, that shows why you should keep posting here! You don't have to read the 'my 2yo is reading the encyclopedia' threads if you don't want to...

I think it's important for parents whose DC have a range of abilities to post here and gain support - just as on the SN boards there will be a wide range of needs, from mild to severe.

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 18:27:35

Maybe. I'd love to be able to give something back IYKWIM.

Smiler9891 Sun 23-Jun-13 22:00:41

Thank you Lady Mary. It seems to me that a lot of parents seem to move do different areas to find an appropriate school for their children. Surely this isn't fair, or right. I have over 5 years of experience working with ASC/Asp'S children/adults so I have a rough idea of what I'm dealing with. I just can't help but feel that there is a huge gap in education for the small few that need that 'alternative' way of learning. :/ Thank you all for your support though, it's much appreciated. :D x

P.S. Tumble, with respect you are on the 'Gifted and Talented' part of the site. Surely you had to expect an element of parents talking about their gifted and talented children?! Why would we appear on the Special Needs part of the forum if our children aren't classed as special needs???

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 23-Jun-13 22:08:45

No, it's not right at all. Ds has been to 6 different schools, some state some private. His social skills problems were put down as poor behaviour at 4 of them so rather than offer him support he was told he was naughty. He's at a private school. It's expensive, it takes every penny I earn, but I have no alternative because he's getting the support and they can manage his needs academically. It's academically selective but he's still called 'geek'. I really feel for those families who can't do this as it really isn't fair. sad

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