Jump to content
The Education Forum

Gifted Children: Is this the solution?


Recommended Posts

BBC website today:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/5166240.stm

Up to 100,000 gifted pupils in England are missing out on extra help to develop their talents, an expert says.

Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said 900 schools were not recommending children for government-backed courses.

The comments come as ministers launched a register of gifted pupils to end a "terrible waste of talent".

But former chief schools inspector Chris Woodhead said grammar schools would be a better source of support.

The register follows research from education charity the Sutton Trust, which suggested just one in five children from poorer homes go on to higher education, compared with half of those from the top three social classes.

It will cover pupils already identified as gifted and talented by teachers, while schools will be urged to identify more.

Letters will be sent to every secondary school this week to encourage them to register eligible students with the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (Nagty).

The top 5% of 11 to 19-year-old are eligible for its residential and online courses.

Sir Cyril told the BBC: "We are really talking about a national talent search."

But he said that, of the 28,000 pupils eligible for Nagty membership, 11,000 did not go on to get three A grades at A-level - the usual requirement for a place at "a good university".

Of the 3,100 secondary schools in England, 900 were not recommending bright children for extra courses, Sir Cyril added.

On Tuesday, the academy announced its 100,000th member since it was set up in 2002, but Sir Cyril said that the figure should be 200,000 by now.

Research by an academic advisor to the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Professor David Jesson of York University, suggests that just 20 secondary schools are providing 10% of all England's "registered" pupils.

The Department for Education is writing to head teachers "to ensure that the background of their gifted and talented children should be broadly representative of the whole school population".

Schools Minister Lord Adonis said: "We must stop the terrible waste of talent when children don't reach their full potential.

"This register will ensure they are spotted early and don't lose out because they come from a deprived background."

Mr Woodhead, now professor of education at the University of Buckingham, told the BBC website: "If schools don't have to take part in the register then it rather undermines the whole point of it.

"But even if it were compulsory I wouldn't find it a very exciting initiative because the problem is not identifying bright children at 11.

"The problem is doing something for them and if secondary schools are not doing enough for the brightest children now why are they going to do anything for them if they are on a register?"

He added: "It is very important to try and do more for gifted children but I am afraid I do not think this is the way forward.

"If we had more grammar schools they would prosper anyway because there bright children are educated in schools for bright children."

Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts said the register was a welcome step.

He said: "Instead of the usual complacency, we now have a frank admission from a minister that there is a 'terrible waste of talent' in our schools. Spotting gifted pupils and nurturing their talent is a welcome step.

"To work, pupils must be taught according to their level of ability, which is why we have argued for setting in schools.

"The proposed register could be a useful tool, but we must not fall into the trap of thinking that achievement depends solely on passing ability tests. There is more to life than that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris Woodhead, commenting on BBC news, said that the answer to this problem is grammar schools. He said this would not happen because too many Labour MPs failed their 11+.

If the answer is 'grammar schools' it must have been a bloody stupid question.

Kent's grammar system fails the whole ability range without prejudice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris Woodhead, commenting on BBC news, said that the answer to this problem is grammar schools. He said this would not happen because too many Labour MPs failed their 11+.

If the answer is 'grammar schools' it must have been a bloody stupid question.

Kent's grammar system fails the whole ability range without prejudice.

Chris Woodhead is the most hateful man in education. It says a lot about Blair's education policy that he retained him for so long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...