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Gifted and talented

why isn't there a gifted school in the UK?

60 replies

smellroses · 07/04/2012 23:33

Does anyone know why there is no specific provision for gifted children at a school in the UK? This is quite common in other countries. It could be offered with a boarding element in order to increase the intake.
Is it because (as in my experience) British people don't like anyone to know of their child's abilities? Or is it because there is already good provision for the academically able within the independent and grammar schools?
However, not all G&T are academically able or live near a grammar school (or can afford school fees...
Do you think there would be an apetite for a Gifted "Academy" to open?

OP posts:
LadySybilDeChocolate · 07/04/2012 23:40

The Government has always had the (misguided) view that the state schools can stretch all pupils, no matter what their ability. Hmm There was a legal case about 10 years ago, the father of a very bright girl wanted the LEA to pay for a private school for his daughter as her needs were not being met in her current school and she was being bullied for being bright. The LEA won the case as they claimed any school can cater for G&T children. I moved my son into a private school after 1 year as they couldn't cater for him.

ibizagirl · 08/04/2012 08:31

My dd is very able and on G&T (not that it does or means anything in my opinion). When it was time to put down high school choices i was going to put down three local private schools and see what happened. I told head of primary school about it and he spoke to the lea and said dd would get a place at catchment school (which is a rubbish academy) so i didn't bother. Dd wasn't provided for at primary school. Now year 8 she is doing very well at an outstanding high school. I don't think state schools can stretch all pupils at all. Dd was always left to her own devices at primary or had to help others less able instead of being given something to challenge her. It was always left to me to find harder work. In high school she is in top sets but the work is all the same within the set iyswim. She is on level 7 (but getting marked an 8) for german and some are only scraping a 5 but they all get the same work.

EGGteacher · 08/04/2012 20:29

There used to be provision because the government paid for Assissted Places at selective independent schools. At the school I went to in Liverpool between 1991-1998 so many kids were on them that it was basically the case that if you were bright enough you could go there, you're parent's income didn't stand in your way. It made it a very healthy place and I feel privilaged to have been there at that time.

However, the government did away with that scheme and didn't replace it with anything.

EGGteacher · 08/04/2012 20:32

My apologies for the spelling and grammar errors there- doing said alma mater a disservice. I blame the Easter wine. [bugrin]

talkingnonsense · 08/04/2012 20:34

Well Gordon brown went to a special school for g and t in Scotland. And look how that turned out. Best not, I think.

Iamnotminterested · 08/04/2012 21:40

Can't block the images of "Sorry I've got No Head" and their sketch of Ross, the only pupil in his school for gifted kids, out of MY head; Also the picture of a child pushing a door to gain entry to his school for gifted kids when there is a sign saying "Pull". Grin

Betelguese · 09/04/2012 21:59

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ragged · 12/04/2012 10:54

I went to school with special programme for G kids. It sucked. I was bullied badly & the school blamed me for all my social problems (terrible price of being so clever, you know). Very strange though, how I didn't have those problems when I attended 3 other schools without special G programs.

My niece went to a private school for G kids, they chucked her sharp out for emotional problems.

So am not a fan. If in UK, wouldn't they need to be boarding schools, outside of a few larger urban centres? Can't imagine that suiting many folk, either.

Colleger · 20/04/2012 20:56

The selection process would be open to abuse with pushy parents coaching their kids for entry when they weren't actually gifted.

Theas18 · 20/04/2012 21:20

Hmm. I suppose we're lucky with a supersselective grammar system if ou have a g&t child ( at my kids schools they are naturally all academically able/g&t because of the selection but also there are many artistically and sportily g&t- ds has an olympic hopeful fencer in his year and dd1 has a made who is an equestrian competing at a high level).

There are g&t arts schools. We have elm hurst ballet school up the road and specialist music schools are well known ( pretty much all the kids have bursary funding).

My feeling (and I honestly don't know how g&t/bright/ just above ordinary my kids are) is that hot housing - with a levels ar 12-13 etc doesn't make or long term academic sucess or happy children/adults. Certainly our schools expect lots of the kids - they are expected to ace the exams (and do) but also do everything else as well ( eg last year they did a production of Cabaret including an intensive rehearsal schedule just before a level exam leave!)

Betelguese · 23/04/2012 23:09

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seeker · 23/04/2012 23:14

Because academic success is only one part of being at school?

Betelguese · 24/04/2012 11:05

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wordfactory · 24/04/2012 15:03

There are some DC though, for who mainstream education is not going to be the best way to fullfill their potential.
My friend's DS is so gifted that the teachers were suggesting other measures. They were very honest about their ability to teach him.

A special school for the gifted was mooted but it's in the States.

He is now settled in an uber selective school in London with day release to university to study maths and physics. He also has internet access with professors at MIT and watches some online lectures.
It would be simply daft to have him sitting in GCSE maths.

There is a littel girl in DD's school who is gifted and school have put in a raft of measures to keep her well served. She's up a year and has extra lessons in Latin, Greek and Maths with pupils several years ahead. She plays three instruments superbly and the music department have been great, giving her free access to the piano etc every break time.
The parents are very keen to keep her in main stream until 11 if they can, but it's been an uphill struggle I think.

These DC are rare though, and I don't know if there are enough of them to justfy a whole school.

Betelguese · 24/04/2012 21:12

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seeker · 24/04/2012 21:19

There is a BIG difference between what most people think of as G and T, and the sort of children who cannot be carded for in an ordinary school.

EdithWeston · 24/04/2012 21:25

There's the BRIT Academy which caters for G&T in performing arts, in the state sector. It has a higher than usual joining age, I think. Anyone know how it deals with distant pupils? Or is less than it seems, and just the best from amongst those who can reach Croydon?

TalkinPeace2 · 26/04/2012 21:37

but as Richard Feynmann so accurately pointed out, the vast bulk of gifted / talented children are just learning at an accelerated rate and at age 25 will be back within the top 10%
so a good parent will pull them sideways through school not push them forwards

Rustygecko · 20/05/2015 23:05

I find it odd that you quote Dr Feynman - and yet can find no reference to him ever saying it - except your quote, which indicates that maybe you invented the quote to bolster your point of view. So - where did this quote come from?

Rustygecko · 20/05/2015 23:06

Ah the modern British malaise "education isn't really about education."

Rustygecko · 20/05/2015 23:09

Unfortunately Labour governments are opposed to the idea that anyone might be intellectually gifted (although have no problem with the idea that a child could be gifted at sport and pour fortunes into it --- there's a reason for that but that's another conv). Conservative governments just don't want to pay for poor kids to go to the rich kids school.

Mistigri · 21/05/2015 06:49

In France some areas have gifted classes with admission based not on academic ability but on IQ (over 130 or top 2.5%).

The problem is that these classes tend to attract gifted children and especially boys with concomitant learning or behavioural difficulties. They are not a good option for gifted children who are academically able and don't have any particular issues. We didn't even bother considering this option for my daughter.


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var123 · 21/05/2015 11:03

I thought Gordon Brown just went to Kirkcaldy High, albeit he was in the G&T classes. (No one ever said wisdom or common sense goes hand in hand with IQ...!)

I wish there was state provision for highly able children, but with the exception of a small handful of grammars, there just isn't. It feels to me that the emphasis on the least able and has been for quite a while - maybe half a century. I don't know why: it must be a political thing to do with the electorate and pressure groups.

Seeline · 21/05/2015 11:09

I think it's because if you identify a group of children as being academically very able, it is seen as implying that those remaining are 'stupid' or 'thick' or have 'failed', as per the 11+ criticisms. Therefore the most able remain uncatered for, rather than adjusting the system so that those not so brilliant kids can have equal chances at receiving the best education for them.

lljkk · 21/05/2015 11:16


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