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At what age does being gifted matter?

(27 Posts)
wildcoffeeandbeans Sat 06-May-17 21:19:00

I realise it's kind of a silly question – kids need to have their needs met whatever their age. But pertaining specifically to primary age, when (if at all) should we think about having DS formally identified? Is there any point in doing so? Would it make a difference in what he's offered at school before secondary age? DH and I both went to school in the US, so we're not really familiar with what state primaries provide for GT students (DD wasn't identified as gifted until year 7, but she also has ADHD which was clouding her abilities).

DS is almost 4, and in the nursery at the school where he'll start reception in September. They currently send him home with a new ORT book daily, but I don't think even that is necessary at this age, and I worry about pressuring him to perform. Eventually, though, if he does need stretching, then I'd like to have an idea of whether the school would be reasonably expected to provide support, and what that would look like.

Any guidance would be appreciated!

OdinsLoveChild Sat 06-May-17 21:26:40

It wouldn't make any difference at our school. They disposed of the G&T provision due to cut backs. Very few state schools will have the funding to provide anything extra for those high ability students.

What you offer outside of school will be of more benefit than relying on the school to provide anything extra.

OhTheRoses Sat 06-May-17 21:26:52

I'm sorry to have to advise that State schools teach to SATS. We wanted more. We paid from Yr3.

Having said that with DC2 we'd learnt the ropes, ignored the ORT largely, just read with her and put what they wanted to see in the reading record.

Both children were free readers by their 6th birthday.

BarchesterFlowers Sat 06-May-17 21:31:22

I have never heard the words G&T in real life, only on here.

Children need to be children.

We have a really bright child and we have always done things with her at home rather than relied on school. Our state school system is fantastic but you can't expect them to do everything.

Things like, she has always wanted to be a historian so we go on archeological digs and do plenty of history things everywhere we go. Books like The Story of the World Series are fab. She had covered the primary science curriculum at home by the end of year 4. She does IXL maths at home daily, plays an instrument, we spend £50 a month on books (because our small rural library is crap).

She passed the GS test without tuition/tutoring, probably because she did VR/NVR in Yr4 at home (we h/s for a year).

Why do you need anything identifying?

School/teachers do their best, they wouldn't be there if they didn't. They have got many children to look after, yours is just one of them and education isn't just the responsibility of school.

FanDabbyFloozy Sat 06-May-17 21:34:51

I would caution about labelling a child in this way. Children who stand out academically in the early years do not always stay ahead of the pack, and paying too much attention to their early brightness can make that transition harder.

One of my kid's friends is truly very bright - she writes books aged 10 and has a brilliant mathematical mind. The school do not move her out of her age group for tuition but she marches ahead in other ways, e.g. poetry, writing books etc.

BarchesterFlowers Sat 06-May-17 21:45:54

Absolutely Fan, DD started school at just four, but she was born three months early. The first two years were hard for her but then she flew. There was talk of putting her on some sort of intervention/help scheme at some point in Yr1 but it didn't happen.

She was like a butterfly, complete inability to be still and/or think about something other than the things a four year old should be doing (not school in my opinion).

Come year 4 (we must have homeschooled in yr 3 blush time flies) she was absolutely flying academically and has never stalled.

A year in age makes a massive difference at 4, not so much later on.

wildcoffeeandbeans Sat 06-May-17 21:53:04

OdinsLoveChild and OhtheRoses I'm sorry to hear that. In the US gifted provision very much varies from state to state and county to county. I was very lucky to live in a place where the GT kids were pulled out daily for special (read: amazing!) classes where we got to focus on various topics in much more depth than we could have done in our regular, slow-paced class of 30 (which probably had more to do with class size than intellectual ability). I was hoping there might be something like that here.

That was basically why I was asking – to see if he would benefit in some way if he was identified, or if it doesn't really matter. DD's high school has a GT specialism, so they have plenty of additional opportunities for kids once they reach that age.

Iris65 Sat 06-May-17 21:55:36

Look up the work of Joan Freeman. She's done a number of longitudinal studies on people identified as gifted from many different backgrounds and educational approaches. I read several of her books to try and make sense of my own life. They are invaluable and explode many myths about gifted children and their lives.

Muskey Sat 06-May-17 21:56:19

To be very honest it does not mean a great deal.

I was advised that my dd was put on the schools gifted and talented register when she was in year 3 (in this country around 8 years old) although the nursery she was at advised me when she was about 4. I did not know anything about g&t until the school advised me.

As pp have said there is no longer any provision for gifted and talented dc in state schools. For my own dd it caused no end of problems. Despite the fact that dd wasn't told people in the school (who should have known better) made it their business to find out about dd status and then made her feel uncomfortable about it.(I advise this as many people make the whole g&t thing a massive thing especially when they seem to think that their dc should be on the list and are not)

We decided to go private and her school did differentiate work for the dc on the schools list. Dd is now 13 and while she is still very bright and still studies something to death when she is interested in it but in terms of school work she and her class mates ability have levelled out. Which I believe is quite normal.

The problem is with the g&t list is that it typically identifies the top 10% in the school so obviously the abilities of dc vary from school to school

. I would encourage you to help your DC as much as you can but don't expect too much from your DC school and remember that at some point your dc ability will level out. Good luck

Iris65 Sat 06-May-17 21:58:49

Apologoes. That last sentence isn't actually necessary. What I should have said is that they explore the varied ways in which children respond to opportunities and whether the opportunities were helpful.

wildcoffeeandbeans Sat 06-May-17 22:07:56

Iris65 thank you, I'll definitely check that out.

Muskey I'm sorry that happened to your DD – it's worrying to think that labelling in itself could cause problems. There's certainly potential harm in constantly telling a child they're exceptional, especially if the child thinks that everything is supposed to come easily to them and they never learn to try hard or to recover from failure. But it's another matter for the label to lead others to treat the child poorly. Very bright children have a hard enough time as it is, especially if they're behind in social skills.

BarchesterFlowers Sat 06-May-17 22:09:21

What makes you suspect exceptional??

wildcoffeeandbeans Sat 06-May-17 22:15:19

BarchesterFlowers I meant that in general, not in any specific case. Labels can be a burden; if a child is always achieving ahead of their peers and gets regular feedback that they're exceptional, then they expect to always be so, and it can be difficult for them when they inevitably find something they're not instantly "exceptional" at.

BarchesterFlowers Sat 06-May-17 22:18:08

My experience is that schools actually really don't want to label, it is generally the parents that want a label.

Given the current funding crisis in our schools I think that parents who want these 'extras' need to consider private schooling if they are not prepared to/able to cater for their children's needs themselves.

Muskey Sat 06-May-17 22:18:42

Thank you wildcoffeebeans it was a horrible situation made worse by a tiger mum who demanded that her dc should be put on the g&t register and became obsessed with any dc who were on the list. It might have been the state school that dd was at but the whole g&t made people quite nasty. The fact that dd received no extra activities or classes did not seem to make the slightest difference.

wildcoffeeandbeans Sat 06-May-17 22:27:50

BarchesterFlowers There's definitely an element of wanting a label if it means that he's benefitted by it. But if it makes no difference then there's no point in doing so (and there are several reasons to avoid it).

Muskey That's horrible. It sounds like it really was just the label she was after. I tend to think parents like that have their identities too tightly wrapped around their children.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 07-May-17 10:37:16

As above, I don't think that this is something our strapped for cash schools can cater for these days.

Var1234 Mon 08-May-17 13:10:44

As others have said, there hasn't been G&T funding for a whole generation of school children. I think it was cut around 2008, so highly able Year 13 students currently taking their A Levels would have last had the chance to benefit from it in a meaningful way when they were 7.

The name remains, but that's all it really is now, just a name.
It relates to those identified as the top 10%. Originally it was supposed to capture the truly gifted to stop them being swept up into the independent sector, and the thinking was that they'd be found the top 5%. So originally, the top 5% by subject were identified. A few years later, when it wasn't working, the government increased it to the top 10%. However, the whole thing stopped in practice when funding was withdrawn whilst Gordon Brown was still prime minister.

As a PP said, schools teach to the test. Unfortunately, that carries on into secondary school. If you children really is exceptional, rather than just quite good at something, then state schools simply don't have either the funding nor the mandate to develop their talent.

Strix Mon 15-May-17 19:08:53

My kids are 14, 12, and. The only test that ever really mattered was the 11+.

I guess tests in primary that put them in top maths/spelling/various other sets mattered somewhat.

Sats matter a little if you are headed to state comp that uses them for Year 7 sets. But even then they are only used as one of several pieces of information that define the sets.

We haven't taken GCSEs or A levels yet. Obviously, those will matter.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 02-Jun-17 10:14:43

I think it matters more when the child is 2e. When the child has other issues they need to be catered for both the LD as well as for the giftedness. It also helps when the LD clouds the giftedness and the giftedness clouds the LD as it lets the child live up to their potential.

Pickerel Mon 26-Jun-17 06:53:36

My DS (now year 6) has been identified as G&T since reception. I know because his reception teacher mentioned it at parents' evening - no one has mentioned it since, but I assume he still is.

I understand that when the senior management team review the pupil progress data, the various identified groups (such as pupil premium, EAL, SEN) are shown separately (anonymously). Girls' and boys' progress is shown separately as well. So the idea is that the staff are aware if progress of any particular identified group of pupils is not as good as expected.

Apart from that, the 'label' made absolutely no difference until year 6, when a local secondary school offered extra maths classes once a week to pupils from nearby primaries and DS attended these (with two other children).

MaisyPops Mon 26-Jun-17 07:01:35

I don't think there is any point pushing for some sort of label.
More able is generated in most schools by entry from y6 and then subjects can also say if someone is talented in their area.
It's only on mumsnet do I see people desperate to see if their child 'counts'

Teachers pictures work to meet the needs of the child in front of them. I have some students who aren't more able who are currently outperforming some who are more able. Reason? Because some students in top stream think they are better than everyone else so don't need to work as hard, if the work is hard then they think the teacher hasn't done their job properly. Whereas my middle stream students work their socks off and end up doing work that's typically given to top stream.

Would having some label on the register change my teaching? No.

sufficatedsue Mon 26-Jun-17 07:08:17

I don't think it means much in DS's school. He's in yr 8 and I expect he would be G&T in Maths - he always falls within the top 5 of top set in anything he does ( out of 200 children in the year) but I've not heard about him being G&T. The only thing that's been said about his ability is that his year has 2 top sets in Maths but 1 of them has particularly more able students in it.

MaisyPops Mon 26-Jun-17 07:13:04

*Teacher pitches

Electrolux2 Mon 26-Jun-17 07:19:49

It was more of a 'problem' in primary school. Ds spent the last 3 years bored out his mind and they couldn't or wouldn't give him enough different work. However I didn't really push the issue and encouraged his social skill learning more at that point as he was very eccentric.
He went to a grammar and I thought he would be in the middle of the pack, I suppose I had underestimated his abilities to be honest. He's now top of his year there across most of not all subjects and I'm happy that his school are giving him enough breadth of work to keep him interested. He's currently working at A level standard especially in sciences maths and humanities. I suspect the 'problem' will re- emerge in later years as he's only year 8 at the moment.
But. He's very very happy at school and has a good group of friends and that matters a lot
I do not push at all. He reads voraciously though of his own accord and likes things like the new scientist and the economist so his breadth of knowledge is enormous

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