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DD Gifted and talented in Primary School - one year into Juniors and nothing + Ofsted visit

(17 Posts)
misscph1973 Thu 07-Nov-13 15:11:33

My DDs infant school registered her as Gifted and Talented in Year 2 (she doesn't kbow). She is now in juniour school, year 4, and no teacher or other staff have ever even mentioned this to me at parents evening. Why is that? She is still at the top table in everything.

I only thought of it because the school just had a not exactly stellar Ofsted-report, where the main concern was that the children were not being challenged enough. This week, about a month after the inspection, DD come home and tells me that her class had a visit from an inspector (it sounded like it was unannounced) who interviewed her and a couple of other kids from the top table. Apparently they asked the children if they enjoyed school and if they liked challenges. I expect this is because Ofsted wants to give the school precise instruction on how to improve. But the school have said nothing to parents about this second visit - is that normal?

misscph1973 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:41:37


happyoverhere Thu 07-Nov-13 19:44:23

In my experience it is normal for children and in some case parents not to be told that "you/your child are G&T". The words "quite bright" "working above the expected level" might be used at parent consultation but rarely G&T.

Hulababy Thu 07-Nov-13 19:51:18

We have various observers in throughout the year. Our OFSTED was actually very very good , lots of outstanding features. However, we still have LEA visitors in, other head teachers, etc. and before OFSTED even more or them. Te children don't know oe from the other - so probably think they are all inspectors of some form - I guess they are really. It would be impractical to infom parents of every visit, and not really of any benefit to anyone.

I also worked previouslt at a school in special measures. Lots of various inspectors and advisors in throughtout the year. Again, other than the official OFSTED parents were not informed.

harticus Thu 07-Nov-13 19:54:17

G&T provision seems to be a complete muddle with no coherent national strategy at all.

A well regarded primary school near here has just lost its "outstanding" because of its failure to support the progress of gifted students - so I think Ofsted may be aware that a lot of schools are simply paying lip service to G&T.

lljkk Thu 07-Nov-13 20:15:07

I'm not sure I want a national coherent strategy.
Actually, scratch that. I DEFINITELY don't want a national coherent strategy.
Do not trust govt. to get it right.

ElizabethJonesMartin Thu 07-Nov-13 20:41:18

This is why if you can choose an academically selective school at age 5 if you have bright children.

harticus Thu 07-Nov-13 21:39:24

lljkk - yeah, well they aren't getting it right without one either. So WTF is the point?

IrisWildthyme Thu 07-Nov-13 21:46:31

G&T isn't an objective measure, it's relative to the rest of the children in the class

Schools basically to identify the top 10% of each class as G&T, and then do extra stuff to stretch those people (OK it's more complicated than that, but this is how the guidance is generally interpreted) - so if in infants school she was in the brightest 3 out of a class of 30 she would be classed as G&T and get that extra stretching.

In her new class, if she's only the 4th brightest out of a group of 30, she is no longer classified as G&T.

Alternatively, if she was considered ahead of her peers in infants it may just be that some more of them have caught up.

Iamnotminterested Fri 08-Nov-13 09:18:11

ElizabethJonesMartin - your comment IS a joke, right?

misscph1973 Fri 08-Nov-13 10:05:30

Thanks for all this, it's very useful. I have asked my DDs teacher for a chat to ask what is going on with the incpectors and also with the G&T thing.

ElizabethJonesMartin Fri 08-Nov-13 11:04:07

No, school like the junior parts of Manchester Grammar, Westminster Under School, Colet court, Haberdashers are all selective at primary level and plenty of parents around the country choose selective education at primary level. Not at a joke at all. Thousands of parents make this choice. I am not inventing the existence of very selective primary schools in the UK. I don't think they are some kind of secret.

harticus Fri 08-Nov-13 12:18:23

she would be classed as G&T and get that extra stretching

But that is the whole point ... it doesn't work like that.
My son is on the register and he has extra homework dumped on him but differentiation and "stretching" within school does not happen.
And it seems from a lot of posts that this is fairly commonplace.

ElizabethJonesMartin - they are all very expensive PRIVATE schools FFS!

iseenodust Fri 08-Nov-13 12:36:59

I think it can be a mixed bag even within a school. DS got the extra homework approach in yrs 2/3 but in yr4 he had some one-to-one sessions with the deputy head. We just went with the flow as he was generally happy and I'm saving pushy parent mode for secondary school.

misscph1973 Fri 08-Nov-13 13:16:56

At my DDs school they offered the more able kids a literacy club in the morning before school. That lasted a few weeks before my DD was in tears over the extra time and pressure, so we took her out of it and I was so glad we had decided not to tell her about the G&T.

As a former teacher (college in another country) I do not expect the teacher to be able to differentiate very much, it's near impossible to challenge kids differently in the classroom. I think splitting the kids into levels across their year after abilities is really the only way to do it, and I guess that is what most schools do?

With kids starting as early in school in the UK and the long school day, I actually don't think that extra academic work is a particularily good thing for kids, even in junior school.

As you can hear I am quite torn - a part of me wants my DD to fully develop her academic potential, while the other part wants her to enjoy being a child and developing at her own pace through play ;)

misscph1973 Fri 08-Nov-13 20:16:11

Well, I spoke to my DDs class teacher today, and it was a HMI inspector who had visited to make sure that the school was doing what they should be doing.

Regarding the G&T thing, the class teacher said that she had just put my DDs name forward for this (no explanation as to why nothing happened last year, tough) and that they were going to give the G&T students extra challenges. I told her how we ended up taking DD out of the literacy club for the more able children i Infants, and suggested that they did not put too much pressure on G&T children going forward and she assured me that they wouldn't start anything without my consent (there is a history of DD being placed in "Buzz Club", a lunch time club for children with social problems without my knowledge, and when I asked why she was in this club, as I hand't observed any issues, they couldn't answer - my guess is they had spaces to fill, and anyway it was only on for 5 weeks, seemed a ridiculous effort).

Had a browse on - may be worth something for some of you? I ordered some of the reading books from their books section from my local library, as I am always searching for books to fill my DD, she is a bottom less hole with reading ;) Some good inspiration for toys as well.

harticus Fri 08-Nov-13 22:16:19

Did you find out what these extra challenges might be?

I think the differentiation depends on how classes are structured and the teacher in charge. Unfortunately at my son's school they double up year groups and the class is weighted very heavily in favour of the younger children. Even though the overall class size is small the teacher is unwilling to stretch the more able children.

A conversation with her at last parents' evening was very telling. When I asked her how he was progressing in maths she said "Oh no problem - he'll pass." confused
As long as they are achieving thresholds that is all she seems to care about.

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