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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:30 am 
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Our good but very large primary has a special policy to enrich those pupils deemed 'gifted and talented' (G&T). (Not sure if many others do? I thought I read the G&T policy was being phased out)? I think this is quite a small group with (I have to say).

Anyway, I am in favour of all children being enriched and being pushed to go above and beyond expectations. My question is are not all children deserving of this special 'enrichment'? In my experience if all children had similarly bespoke programmes created for them you'd see many children doing more than any might have thought possible, the 'middle ability' becoming the 'high ability' etc.

I always feel rather depressed at parents evenings if I am told not to worry my child is reaching 'expected levels'. I always hope for rather more but if they are pegged as 'middle ability' for example I've found this might not be straightforward.

This policy seems to have been ramped up at our school as Ofsted apparently found that the 'brightest' pupils weren't being stretched enough.

Is it fair that only a select group are singled out for an enriching curriculum? If it were a fee paying school would this be less or more acceptable? Does being in an 11 plus area make any odds?

The recent British tiger mums programme was interesting. I wonder how many of those children would be seen as G&T at our primary for example? Of course many of the children featured may have been but you'll see my point. With enough practice a young child with an 'average intellect' could access a special programme and come to see himself as G&T and be promoted as such. That may not always be a good thing of course but it's interesting I think...

I've devised my own programme for my non G&T children as have many of us here I think. :) The results can be surprising and impressive also as many of us know.


Last edited by Cranleigh on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:56 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I guess it all comes down to funding and staffing in schools. At DS2's primary there is money for SEN children whichever end of the learning spectrum, however the majority of the money goes to help those with learning difficulties followed by those designated G&T and if there is any left it is used to enrich the learning of the majority that fall into the "meeting expectations" category. Basically this means that the G&T children get enrichment activities if they are lucky and the "average" ability children go without. There certainly seems to be an ethos of getting the children to L4 so that the school has ticked the necessary boxes as far as the government is concerned and not going any further.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:05 am 
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Thanks for reply - so ideally all would be 'enriched' but it comes down to money and 'best' allocation of limited resources.

What is G&T and is there a universal measure? A child working at level 3 in Year 1 for example? A child who it's believed has a 'gift' for maths? Don't think they CAT test KS1 pupils?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:32 am 
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Location: Essex
Oh yes, it would be lovely if all DC were "enriched". That would then just come to mean "properly taught", wouldn't it?

To my knowledge, my own DC have never been identified as being G&T. The school is spectacularly poor at communicating with parents, though. If DS wasn't G&T in his year, I cannot think of any other child who would have been. He did have extra sessions on a one-to-one and small group basis when he was at PS but the reason for this was never really explained. At parents evening his teacher said that only the other member of staff could comment and that she wasn't available! DD has been firmly pegged as being of middling ability, so G&T isn't even an issue. One of DD's classmates, who is G&T, gets no extra attention. Lower down the school there is a hotch potch of some G&T pupils being enriched while others aren't.

I don't have a problem with the brightest getting enrichment as they usually take up far less teacher time than the least able. As usual, though, it's those in the middle who miss out. It may be that teachers' children are getting preferential treatment in being identified as G&T but I suspect it's more complicated than that. Teachers are probably "doing the right things" with their DC from a very young age. Of course other parents do too but as a group, teachers are perhaps best placed to do this. Don't get me wrong, there are instances of outrageous favouritism. There are a couple of teachers' children at our PS who are chosen for every honour/captaincy/trip even when it's not supposed to be applicable to their year group! Many parents have complained but the Head values the staff in question and is prepared to let it go.

The bottom line is that if every child was taught according to their individual needs and abilities, there would be no need for G&T.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:50 am 
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Agree with much of what you say. Just to be clear I don't think it's favouritism that has led to the inclusion of teachers' children in our G&T group more a case (for many) of having been exposed to 'the right things' from an early age as you say.

We are a state primary if a school was fee paying and accelerating one group ahead of another would this be 'fair'?

I suppose the message being sent is that 'we can spot superior potential' when children are very young & when resources are limited we'll allocate to this group ahead of others? What if others miss out with similar potential?

I fear the idea of 'high', 'middle' and 'low' ability has become more entrenched recently & it's all more arbitrary than many believe, especially early on.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:32 am 
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My children have always been placed in the lower groups up to around year 3/4 and as a parent , your heart does sink when you realise your child although not SEN does struggle and isn't top of the class. However, putting your own feelings aside, I have to say my children are now out performing those children who were always striding ahead and top of the class at the beginning of their schooling. I don't know why this is...extra help at home, maturity or perhaps being in a group where they can " amble " along and become confident in their abilities. It's probably all individual ...and that's where the problem is, isn't it ? You can't always teach a whole class or even a group according to each persons own needs.

My advice would be to just " top up " at home and then you have the enormous satisfaction of knowing that your child's achievements are also down to you...and as a parent , that's one of the most important jobs we can do .


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:57 am 
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However, a student rated as G&T at one school is often middle of the road- at best - at a different school.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:59 am 
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I think we sometimes misunderstand the reason for this gifted and talented business. In an average class the middle ability children should be stretched and enriched by the day to day schoolwork, the lower ability children will struggle and the "so called" G and T will coast (don't all jump on my back and talk about differentiation, I am only giving a theory as to why it exists and the middle ability children don't "need" it). Therefore the lower ability children need extra help and the higher ability children need stretching.
As the BBC would say the opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect my personal opinions.
The problem with G and T is how to choose who is labelled G and T, and what criteria can they base this on in such young children.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:24 am 
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Our state primary does G&T and proud of it. It is usually top 10 % of the year cohort. Last year they concentrated on English, this year it is mostly math. They do math puzzles with our local grammar school teacher. Also the children have an opprtunity to attend workshops and other educational events outside the school.
My friend's DD goes to the fee paying school. Last year (year 6) she was selected to attend enrichment classes in English, Math and Art. Then she was recommended to sit the schoolarship exam, and now In year 7 she was streamed to the top groups for most subjects. Must say that she joined indie only in year 6, and was not identified as G&t in our primary. Her current school is not very selective and most students have average attaintment. So yes, indies seem to stretch their bright students as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:47 am 
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I am not sure if our Primary has the G&T program. But year 5 and 6 have a maths club for the top 10 students who are expected Level 6a and b. They do not have maths lessons with the class but go to this special teacher. Thats all well and good but for kids who are exceptional in English like my ds1 has no choice but to do what is being done in the classroom. Every parent meeting, over the years, I have urged the teachers to stretch DS1. But they tell me there is no programs for kids good in English/writing. :( . I wish G&T programs were made available in all schools.

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