G and T provision in secondary - help, please!(12 Posts)
I'm trying to find out whether schools are obliged to make any kind of provision for gifted and talented. I've looked online, but am struggling to find anything up-to-date.
Background: My Yr8 son is in a secondary which is moving away from streaming. He is getting increasingly bored and unchallenged, esp in maths which he is v good at. Trying to get extension work does not seem to be doing much, and I feel that I need to start becoming a bit more pushy (something I've resisted doing...)
Any tips about what I should be asking for, and whether there is anything they have to do?
oops - signed with wrong username...
it should read tadpolefeet!
They don't have to anything after they get to / on course for a certain standard (A* at GCSE)
Math is what, 5 hrs a week? Does he hate the rest of school time, too?
If you find out that I am wrong OP, then please share because I am in exactly the same situation with both my sons (year 7 and year 9).
The school will talk of G&T programs, extra curricular clubs and extension work but it doesn't add up to what you might reasonably call an education.
IME the best thing you can do is add breadth to an education for a very bright child- extra curricular activities etc. Think carefully about what you are hoping for your child and how their "G+T" status falls within the normal range and also if they are equally good in all areas or not.
By this I mean- what benefit to your child if they get maths A level standard at 14/15? If he's that stellar in one area but "just" A/A* in english is that a good , and most importantly, happy place for him to be as a person?
I have no answers. I know that my kids are probably G+T in some way as they have all been at the top/near the top in most subjects in a school that only takes the top 10% as a superselective anyway. We chose to use music. We seem to have managed to raise kids that are happy and thriving at uni/postgrad level - they might have been the same had they been " stretched more" at school but I can't help thinking that going to uni much younger that 18 isn't ideal ( you can 'drink for a start !) but I could be wrong.
just my 2p worth - your son should just get the work done,and in maths there is no excuse for less than 100% if he is very able , then read a book on calculus or what ever takes his interest. G+T or not he is entitled to 1/30 the of the teachers time like everyone else .... and he should learn to stretch/educate himself....a skill for life
Thanks for the replies. I'll try to answer them.
My key aim for both my children and their education has never been around achievement, but about enjoyment. I've sort of followed the idea that if they enjoy the subject they'll be a happy child (and probably do well or ok!). I would never push my child to take any subject early (let alone go to Uni!), and have never asked for my child to be classified as G&T. However, I am really sad to see my son who used to love maths, complain about how bored he is. So, as you suggested Helen, we've told him to do the work (and yes, he is pretty much always getting 100%) and then ask for extension work. But getting given another worksheet or a text book of maths puzzles and left to get on with it, doesn't seem like being "taught" maths. (He's pretty bored in other subjects too... but maths was really his 'thing' so that's why I focused on that.)
The school's page on G&T on their website mentions catering for G&T by streaming - but they've decided to get rid of this, so the website is clearly out of date.
They also mention "Membership of the Young Gifted and Talented Programme organised by the DfE" but I can't find out what this means.
I was hoping that other parents of 'bright' children might be able to tell me what their schools offer their children...
DS1 and Ds2 are at a school that still sets NC levels. Both DS1 and Ds2 have been given year end targets for this year that are identical to their levels of actual attainment last year. Ds2, for example, got 90%+ in the official level 6 sats exam but still his target this year is 6A.
DS1 is a similar story, except that the target he got this year is the one this same school reported that he had reached last year.
So, officially the school has no plans to move them vertically into new areas of learning. How about horizontally then? Expansion rather than progression etc? I spoke to the head of dept and he assured me that he'd not allow any pupil to be bored or left to stagnate I told him both boys were reporting boredom. He said they weren't. I said they were. He said that was disappointing. I asked what he planned to do with them as they'd already long since mastered the work they are doing in class. He replied that I shouldn't think they are the only highly able ones. I said that was good to hear - perhaps he could devise something that all fo them could do. He said he had - they could inspire the others in their class who are less able. He said less able children love to be inspired by classmates who sail through the work.
The school is outstanding in every category. The ofsted report found nothing that the school could do better - including G&T provision.
DD's school streams in almost every subject, including math, early on. They also have challenges (tournaments, races, UKMT?, contests, events against other schools), peer-marking, and creative captains for every subject. The top test scores get shared heavily (not sure that's official) so the high achievers know who to see as (friendly) rivals. They start finishing early GCSEs at end of yr9 which focuses the mind (for better or worse). There's no special G&T programme.
There's a positive ethos at the school (I think) about everyone trying their best and respecting everyone's achievements whatever they may be.
In my experience, success & happiness at school is mostly about having a good social life & the rest falls into place. DD is in a group of sporty brainy ambitious girls & their favourite boys. DS2 has a group of quirky lads with supportive parents but behavioural problems. DD & DS2 are doing well. DS1 has no confident social connections at school and will underachieve.
My son was an absolute horror when bored at school. [G&T, Aspie & ADHD]
He was allowed to 'enrich' by using the library and online resources to expand what he had already completed in class. He did have oversight from science teachers to check his ideas for additional experiments he wanted to explore.
His school saught input from Ed Psych's to help head off boredom as he would walk out of lessons if they taught something he already knew. It was very tough for the first three years at secondary. We were all advised by Ed Psychs and NAGC not to push and let him be the lead and ask for what he felt he needed when he felt he needed it.
To begin with he just moped and moaned about boredom, then he gradually joined special interest lunch-clubs and would occasionally ask to head off to G&T events his school told him about. Over time he lost interest in the G&T events and began to ask for either extra work or permission to head off and self study further which he found far more fun.
Things became a lot easier after he made his options choices as it was he who camped outside the headteachers office refussing to move from the spot unless the head agreed he could do maths, stats,all three sciences, a BTec in Engineering and an additional BTec in software in addition to computer studies english and product design.
I think many schools are a bit wary of teenage hormonal years clashing with parental expectations and hopes. If it had been me going in and pushing the school I doubt things would have changed. I can honestly say my sons secondary really pulled out the stops when it was clear it was my son doing the pushing to be allowed to research and create an enriched circuluum. I just backed his corner when the head asked me if I thought my son understood how much extra work he was asking to take on.
[My son left school last June, he rejected the school pushing University at him and went via the Advanced Apprentice route. His years of learning to self advocate along with being G&T paid off. He now gets paid silly money for p/t work and silly money to study his degree. All his uni costs and tution fees are being paid for by his employer.]
As your son is now in year 8 perhaps this would be a good time to encourage and ask his ideas on what he thinks would help him to work towards a solution he could then suggest to his teachers/ head of year. Whilst it can be a tough ask of a 12-13yr old the skills they pick up as they begin to self-advocate and cope with frustration and boredom through the school system can really help when they hit the questions of what happens to them after yr 13.
I don't think it is possible to teach maths without streaming, unless the school does flip learning. How can a teacher pitch a lesson to a child who is struggling with the three times table, while seeing another progresses onto factorising quadratics? And yes, extension work does in general mean put a worksheet in front of the child and don't teach them anything specific. What else do they have time for? No wonder there is a shortage of maths teachers.
Do you feel confident enough to teach your child at home? Would the school allow him then to take work into class to get on with quietly? What does your child want? Would he be happy doing maths at home if it meant putting more hours in?
Also, a teacher has 30 children in a class, you have only one. Which will you regret more when he leaves school, that you did not try to get him a better education or teachers you no longer see thought you were a bit pushy?
As well as the online rescores given by Irvine, there's also Hegartymaths.
In my view, maths teachers are trying to do a good job often under the imposition of ridiculous conditions, so meeting them and trying to work out a way through it is always a good plan. Conversely, make sure your bull** meter is fully charged before your conversation with them starts as their easiest way forward is to fob you off.
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