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Gifted pupils: too many are just ordinary, say teachers

(34 Posts)
SueW Sun 05-Aug-07 10:54:55

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2141868,00.html

MaloryTowersHasManners Sun 05-Aug-07 10:57:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SueW Sun 05-Aug-07 11:13:19

Hadn't realised Scotland and Wales even more ridiculous choosing 20% of pupils as G&T.

nooka Sun 05-Aug-07 11:27:14

Seems absolutely daft to have an arbitary cut off like that. Surely there is some random element in how many "gifted" (pretty yuck term that, I think anyway) kids there are in a given school? I was always in the top three at primary school, but probably only in the top third at my independant (and selective) secondary school. When I did my masters I was pretty much at the bottom. I would regard myself as clever, but not exceptionally so, and my two children as being pretty similar. It's all relative to the mix you happen to have in your class/school surely, and I am sure demographics play a part in that.

FillydoraTonks Sun 05-Aug-07 11:33:00

all kids are gifted

lalala

Lilymaid Sun 05-Aug-07 11:51:12

Some good sense for a change. Children who are very able academically and intellectually are not necessarily gifted. They should be taught within sets of similar ability if they are to succeed - as should children of all abilities. Calling such children "gifted" is almost as divisive as the old 11+ system.

tigerschick Sun 05-Aug-07 11:59:40

This has been concerning me for quite a while. When I worked in Manchester the school policy was that only a very few children should be classed as G&T. It might be that there were none in a particular class, but that was just the way it was.
Then I moved to Milton Keynes where they seemed to cream off the top 10% regardless. That meant that when they got children together from different schools there was a huge difference in what was considered to be G&T. There were children in the top 10% of one school that wouldn't have been in the top 25% at another - how fair is that?

Thank goodness someone is finally speaking up about this.

bookwormtailmum Sun 05-Aug-07 12:20:27

I hate the phrase 'gifted and talented' as to me, my dd is both of those things to me, regardless of how she might measure up against other children. IMHO it's not a very scientifitic (sp) method of selecting children for extra tutition. What about the children that aren't G & T - are they just abandoned in favour of these early geniuses?

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 05-Aug-07 12:33:58

TBH I was already suspicious about how many children are in the list. (only time I have worked in an environment with plenty of gifted people it was because the demands the school placed on them were unrealistically low).

I agree with Joan Freeman, children should be allowed to sign for special classes rather than just being selected for them. If they are really that talented, they will be searching for that "extra".

Pruners Sun 05-Aug-07 12:36:41

Message withdrawn

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 05-Aug-07 13:22:41

I think you can call it "extra credit" and that would do. I remember friends having a lot of fun and getting that extra challenge that way. As it was open to every one, there was no negative asumption in wanting to do it or not, besides, the most talented children hardly needed that extra credit anyway. But it made it look like an optional extra open to every one.

...And there were some non exactly talented children, joining in because of the attractive extra points. Which can only be a positive thing.

pigfrog Wed 08-Aug-07 20:16:32

Being gifted and talented shouldn't be about having to do 'extra' - it should be about doing appropriate things during normal class. In the same way as SEN children are expected to be given appropriate tasks as part of normal class differentiation, so g&t children should be catered for in the same way - they still need to run round at playtime/join clubs/play football etc in their free time just as much as everyone else!!

I also agree that 10% is a daft figure when applied to individual schools. Even if 10% of children nationally fit this criteria, this clearly won't be evenly distributed across schools. Again, as with SEN, some schools will have a relatively high percentage of children in this category, others will have hardly any. What matters is identifying those that do have SEN/G&T needs and catering for them appropriately.

Susan

Reallytired Sun 12-Aug-07 23:15:11

Prehaps there is more to be said for spending money on activities for the 10% of kids in a deprived area (who might not be quite so gifted and talented than the top 10% at St Posh's School) because their parents can't afford extra activites for them.

I had this discussion with my sil in that she feels that there are far more g and t kids at her children's school than my son's school because it is in a socially far better area.

Its a matter of where the extra cash does the most good for the country. How much of IQ is nature and how much is nuture. Would the country get more benefit if the money targetted at the top 10% was used to provide extra curricular activites for kids in very deprived areas, whatever their intelligence.

I worked at a primary school where the reception class went to legoland for their annual school outing. In contrast my son's class went for a picnic in Luton!

Personally I think it would be better if it was as rare for a child to be classified gifted and talented as to get a statement for special needs. It should be reserved for the odd 0.5% who really cannot be catered for by the mainstream school system rather than for kids who are just bright but normal.

BBBee Sun 12-Aug-07 23:18:10

they only call it 'giften and talented' so they can talk about how many G&Ts they have had.

Twinklemegan Sun 12-Aug-07 23:19:39

Sorry, I don't know much about this as DS isn't school age yet (not that I presume he'd be G&T if he was). Are these extra classes mandatory because that seems very unfair.

gess Sun 12-Aug-07 23:23:20

Agree reallytired- BTW they do that in my city. The extra money for G&T is spent on the more able pupils in deprived areas- (extra curricular activites across schools). A sensible way of spending money I think- in doing that they hope to encourage these children to stay on in full time education past the age of 16.

snowleopard Sun 12-Aug-07 23:29:58

I'm shocked - I had no idea that this G&T thing was all to do with finding a 10% quota and it was just the "top" academic performers rather than about identifying people with an actual rare gift for something and helping them. That's what I thought it was about. God I'm naive - I now see it's just more education "initiative" bolleaux...

I went to Oxford, which requires people to have performed well in school - and those who get there are probably within the top 1%. Nonetheless I didn't feel I was surrounded by "G&T" people. A few geniuses, a few very clever and interesting people, and a lot of unimaginative, hardworking, very dull, and in fact often quite dim, drones (I'm not saying which category i was/am... if any ). Top academic performance is not the same thing as having a gift or talent - which could be in any area.

SueW Sun 12-Aug-07 23:31:44

I think there's a danger of children missing out though, whichever way you do it.

E.g. just because a child's parents live in a nice middle class or even not deprived iyswim area doesn't mean they can afford to pay for lots of extra-curricular activities. So if you divert all extra funding to deprived areas, then the non-deprived children will miss out.

I see reports in our local papers about superb workshops and visits that have been laid on for inner city schools whereas the children in the suburbs where there isn't the same level of deprivation miss out. Possibly because there are enough children who can't afford it that the school can't afford to subsidise but not enough that can't afford it that the school is eligible for extra funding?

I don't know what the answer is though. Perhaps in those massive forms people are required to complete for tax benefits etc there should be a space to put in your child's school and then an extra subsidy could be paid to the school to be used towards 'educational extras'?

gess Sun 12-Aug-07 23:37:01

I don;t thnk the extra curricular activities are that great or that regular. They just get the kids together and get them to build bridges out of telephone directories or do some creative english work. They do it partly to encourage friendships across schools & so encourage an idea of it being OK to pass GCSE's. The area they focus on is one of the top 10 deprived areas in Europe as well - the social conditions are not good at all; although of course individual families may be seeking out libraries and museums and valuing education etc. The idea I think is to give the kids some safety in numbers.

Agree about Oxford snowleopard.

figroll Mon 13-Aug-07 21:29:16

I have to agree with this - I was under the impression that Mozart was gifted and talented. I was quite shocked when my dd was labelled as "gifted" - I knew she was clever, but I think that is different from gifted. I always thought that gifted meant playing the piano at 3 weeks old, or speaking fluent Latin at 2 months of age - something of that order.

At my kids' primary school, it just meant sitting on the top table for maths.

Reallytired Mon 13-Aug-07 21:36:11

Do schools bother to distinguish between a child who has been hothoused intensively and a child who is bright.

I think that the gifted and talented label is over used. It should be reserved for the child whose learning need cannot be catered for by normal differentiation of a lesson.

snorkle Mon 13-Aug-07 21:52:24

Agree, if it's the whole top table, then the school shouldn't need more money to entertain them. If on the other hand there's the odd child here & there who is way ahead of her peers then maybe some extra support is needed. These kids might not be gifted in the Mozart sense - In a sink school maybe, where say, no-one ever sits higher tier GCSEs (does that ever happen?), then a moderately bright child might stand out enough from his peers to qualify. It's the difference in abilities between the G&T child & the rest that should matter, not the absolute abilities, but 10% is way too many imo.

Tamum Mon 13-Aug-07 21:54:31

Don't know about Scotland being ridiculous- I have never heard the term G+T being used up here, it's certainly not used at my children's schools.

MrsMuddle Mon 13-Aug-07 22:53:22

Tamum, my understanding is that it's not used at all here. Children here have "additional support needs" which emcompasses the old "special educational needs" - ie, children who needed extra help due to physical or learning disabilities - children that have a short-term additional need (eg, bereavment) but also children who are, for example, especially talented in maths or music. But there's no quota. A child or teacher can ask that a child is considered to have ASN and then they can get support with them. I find the whole concept of G&T very odd. I hate the concept of labelling children.

Tamum Mon 13-Aug-07 22:58:45

Yes me too. That's why I have been glad that we don't hear about it here, hence my defensiveness

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