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G & T Register - any point?

(41 Posts)
IndigoBell Mon 11-Jul-11 11:15:25

Discussing G&T policy at govs meeting tomorrow, and started thinking about it...

Am I right in thinking there used to be a req for 10% of kids to be on the G&T register - but the req is gone, and now it is totally up to the schools discretion?

Does school even have to have a G&T register at all?

Is there any point of having 10% of kids on the G&T register? Wouldn't it be better to just have 'gifted & talented' kids on it?

Is there any point in it at all? Or does it just generate more paperwork for teachers? I mean you can offer differentiated and extension activities without having a register or some kind of IEP document.....

GooseyLoosey Mon 11-Jul-11 11:21:57

No point at all as far as I can see. All that matters is whether children are given support in the classroom. Anything else is a sideshow.

blackeyedsusan Mon 11-Jul-11 11:42:20

personally, as a teacher i think it would focus your mind if you had to identify children. I think a lot of teachers find it easier to teach and support the lower end of the spectrum. it is more obvious that they are struggling and need support to reach their targets. it is easier not to stretch and support the more able children as they accomplish things easily and are going to reach end of year targets. this would be failing them.

it would probably need to be more fluid than an arbitory 10%. x sublevels above expected, for example. I have worked in schools where there were 3 parallel classes and one had a very average group of children, and the others had a significant proportion of brighter children because they had been allocated those classes on entering school and had not been mixed up yet to even it out.

as a parent of a bright child(and a not so bright) I would be happier knowing that teachers are visibly stretching/searching for able children, even if my child didn't get on the list (I would know that they had looked and she didn't meet the criteria rather than worrying that she had been overlooked altogether and allowed to coast. )

also the expertise at stretching the most able will raise expectations across the class and filter down to the next brightest group helping them too. it would also feed into staff development.

PatriciaHolm Mon 11-Jul-11 12:43:28

if the school is doing it's job properly, i can't honestly see the need. Ours doesn't do it anymore, and didn't tell parents when it did anyway; it just got on with the job of stretching the more able and supporting the less able. Not sure how those activities change in any way by the arbitrary (and incorrect) labelling of the top 10% as "G & T". The labelling also raises expectations in some parents that cannot be justified/fulfilled; a child in top 10% in many cases will not be truly gifted, just advanced in one subject, quite possibly temporarily. And the abilities of the top 10% in one school, even in different intakes of the same school, will differ markedly; DD's year, for example, seems to have a number of kids who are well advanced, whereas DS's seem a far more homogenous lot!

If school still ran the scheme, DD would be in it for both literacy and maths, which would be lunacy. She's bright, but i wouldn't have said for a moment "gifted". We have a couple of truly gifted children in both, and they are light years ahead (e.g working at Yr4/5+ levels in Y1). DD is set level approriate work anyway, as are ALL the children in her year.

If the school has historically proved poor at identifying and supporting the better able, maybe a push to recognise them is helpful, as susan says. But if the school is doing it's job well already, I can't see the point.

IndigoBell Mon 11-Jul-11 15:04:29

Aaaarggggh - so 1 teacher thinks they're useful, and 2 parents think they're not?

Any more views from teachers?

mrz Mon 11-Jul-11 18:39:17

As a teacher (SENCO/G&T coord) I think they are pretty pointless and not particularly helpful. The top 10% in my school could be the bottom 10% in your school (or vice versa)
I think we should all be meeting the needs of the individual children without a meaningless system.

AbigailS Mon 11-Jul-11 19:07:08

I'm a G&T co-ordinator as well and I find it pretty pointless. We make sure we support and extend the most able children, just like any child, both in the classroom and with extra activities. The G&T register is so limiting. It has caused huge debates at our school as to the definition of giftedness. The data we are expected to use to identify the children can be clumsy and either include children that are not really "gifted" or miss out children that are. Governors and the powers that be like it because we can set targets and measure data (my bug-bear of reducing children to data instead of seeing the unique talents of each individual). Also it's disheartening for parents if their DC suddenly slips from being the top 10%, when actually their child is still above average and making good progress, but a couple of new children move to the school, or another child suddenly takes off and soars.

MigratingCoconuts Mon 11-Jul-11 19:45:47

My understanding is that the G&T list has to be porduced by law. Yes, it does not particularly pick out truely gifted children but I guess it does highlight that the top 5-10% of a school/class do need to be considered just as much as those with other special needs.

blackeyedsusan Mon 11-Jul-11 19:59:27

I think i was speaking as a parent of a bright child mainly. one who does not seem to be challenged with the only measure I can see, ie reading books. also a parent who has listened to (and probably should have ignored) complaints about the standards of education in school, and have read the ofsted report that states the school doesn't challenge the more able children.

completely agree that challenging gifted/bright children should be happening, unfortunately there does not seem to be evidence of it at dd's school.

cat64 Mon 11-Jul-11 20:18:57

Message withdrawn

Teachermumof3 Mon 11-Jul-11 20:46:02

Totally pointless in my opinion. If it were identifying genuinely gifted children then it's different, but when it's the top x in each year; it's utterly pointless and gives parents false impressions about their child's ability. There's lots of scope for boasting when parents find out that Jimmy is 'G+T', leading to crushing disappointment when they move schools, to find Jimmy isn't gifted anymore!

Even identifying truly 'gifted' children is a bit pointless actually, as we would all know they were gifted and would be catered for; writing it on a spreadsheet isn't going to change that.

magicmummy1 Mon 11-Jul-11 20:48:13

Dd is on a "list" but I don't think it makes much difference in reality - I think her teacher would cater for her needs regardless, so I can't see what value a list can add.

And the top 10% thing is really very arbitrary. Due to the nature of the catchment area, there are lots of very able children at our school who probably don't make it onto the list but would if the school had a different demographic. But their needs must still be catered for, so the list is all a bit pointless IMHO!

IndigoBell Mon 11-Jul-11 20:50:46

Thanks everyone, that gives me a lot more confidence for tomorrow's meeting.

But is maintaining a G&T register law or not? I had a feeling I read on here that it is no longer law.....

MigratingCoconuts Mon 11-Jul-11 20:54:18

That would be good news if it was! (hope you are right)

G&T lists should be helpful but not forced....otherwise it leads to what other have said.

swash Mon 11-Jul-11 21:19:12

Dd is on the list. According to her teacher, kids go on it if they are exceptional in a certain area - she doesn't go by percentage.

I think the G&T list ensures that each new teacher is forewarned about a child's abilities - and it ensures the school gives some attention to the brighter kids as well as the average ones and those with special needs. It is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

dragonmother Mon 11-Jul-11 21:31:25

I think it's a good thing to highlight to some teachers that all children need to be challenged not just the average and lower ability ones. I say some teachers because I am sure that there are plenty who don't need to be reminded of this.

I speak as a parent who has basically had a concern about progress brushed off because 'ds will be fine'. Fine is the aim at our school it seems, even for a very bright child hmm

pointythings Mon 11-Jul-11 21:51:50

A good school will be able to differentiate without using lists - G&T is such an emotive term and yet no-one knows what it really means. Going by the 10% rule both my DDs are, but I'm very hmm about it - they are both about 2 years ahead of chronological age, but by no means taking GCSE at 8 and A-levels at 11 so to my mind they are just bright.

I do like the way they are supported in their schools with interesting extension activities and I like it that the school has high expectations of them - one of the nicest things any teacher has said about my DD1 (yr5) was that she works hard - maths comes easy to her, but that work ethic will serve her lifelong.

cat64 Mon 11-Jul-11 23:28:08

Message withdrawn

munstersmum Tue 12-Jul-11 10:25:50

Indigo Don't know if this free download might help - not read it all.
Also seem to recall, as you do, need for actual register has been discontinued.

https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DCSF-00379-2008

IndigoBell Tue 12-Jul-11 11:23:35

Thanks MunsterMum.

I was searching for something more recent than that doc. On another thread someone else said it had been discontinued in April this year.....

I'm getting really nervous about tonight's meeting. smile

Both my sons are on the G&T register. I don't know if they are set appropriate work in class or not (they probably are most of the time) - but them doing two after school science lessons run by the secondary school does not compensate for the whole year's science done in class.

munstersmum Tue 12-Jul-11 13:15:25

Does seem there is a shortage of current articles. I think we are in a hiatus before next new grand education policy.

Don't feel nervous. I've seen you help a lot of people on here & I'm sure you're setting out to help more than just your two now. smile The rest of us are glad someone is out there raising such questions.

There are articles saying govt strategy ceased last year & so no more ring-fenced money eg;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/7062061/Ministers-pull-the-plug-on-gifted-and-talented-academy.html

If you have time for a longer read on ways forward (or just p19-25 if now in hurry!);
http://www.cfbt.com/evidenceforeducation/pdf/5542_G&T_FINAL(Web).pdf

munstersmum Tue 12-Jul-11 13:18:10

I'm really going now but see this & scroll down "parental engagement is crucial".

http://www.gifted-talented-update.com/bulletins/international-report-suggests-ways-forward-gt

aliceliddell Tue 12-Jul-11 13:25:34

I thought the 10% rule was so they don't get overlooked even at 'challenging' schools. Obv. not all the 10% will be gifted but all the truly G&T will be in the top 10%. They used to get summer schools in eg creative writing. Prob not now.

IndigoBell Tue 12-Jul-11 14:00:15

Thanks MM.

Alice, I just don't see how having a G&T register stops the top 10% get overlooked.

And I don't want them to just go to occasional extension activities after school - I want them catered to in every lesson - same as I want average and below average kids catered to.

And if there is an extension activity offered I want them to choose the right children to go on it - not the person who was top of the class in Sep.

But what I do want is to cut out unnecessary paperwork for teachers.

AdelaofBlois Tue 12-Jul-11 15:01:58

Have just been told (despite trying to preserve my PPA afternoon by hiding in the junior library) that I am going to be G&T coordinator next year (the one job I never wanted to have). And yes, I will have to butt into my colleagues classrooms to make a damn list.

G&T is, basically, pointless. 20% of this school go to grammars, so half of a 'selective' group wouldn't make a register here, even though there would be less able children on it at my son's new school (where 6% go to grammars). It raises expectations from parents, proves inflexible (how could he be gifted last year but not now?) and, unless staff are actually willing to do something, is a whole room of paperwork for no educational advantage.

Above all, the problem is that G&T lumps all kids together, as if they had the same need, and my head even wants a club for them! Can you imagine doing that with SEN kids-let's get them all in a room and thus help ASD and ADHD sufferers to become a bit more normal. Absolute crap.

There are, for instance, three kids in my current class I might think of as 'gifted'. One reads at an exceptionally high level but is incapable of independent work, largely because his Mum decided that he should be taught to read everything he could say, so hit him with flashcards at 18 months. One is brilliant at investigative stuff like science and history projects, but can't write neatly or read at anything but slightly above normal levels. The third is simply very mature in her understanding of the world and of people, largely through being the only child of a troubled single Mum, so excellent at literacy and creative work, and above average for Maths. There are perhaps three or four other kids who are by no means gifted but whose reports would show them to be higher achievers than the first two across the board. All these children require different interventions, and I've tried to help them this year. Putting them on a register, and even worse putting them together in a club, would not have helped.

So, yes, it's pointless. But parents like to have a G&T policy in place, parents who have kids who perform well on entry will be more likely to choose the school if it's visible, and probably results may rise over time as a result of active pursuit of register/club etc. But the causality of that is not what my Head will think it is.

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