Thursday, February 5, 2009

'Reluctance' to identify gifted

Mr. Keller, this article did not list an author, so I just left the BBC credic citations on the end. Hope that's okay.


Many state schools are unwilling to identify gifted and talented pupils for fear of being seen as "elitist", a report says.

The government-commissioned report assessed the legacy of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth as "thin and limited value for money".

The Academy closed in 2007, and a new gifted and talented programme started.

The government says most schools participate in this, and put forward 800,000 gifted and talented children.

It wants every state primary and secondary school to identify those who fall into the top 5% of results, though schools are not bound to identify any particular percentage of their own pupils.

But the report says: "Unfortunately many schools were initially unwilling to provide NAGTY with details of their pupils who were within the top 5%.

"Although this resistance was gradually eroded over time, there was doubtless still a substantial core of schools unwilling to play their role in this process."

It suggests that schools may be confusing "elitism" with special needs.

The government was spending £4.75m each year on the Academy, which was set up in 1999.

But the report says for its work to have more impact on a national scale, considerably more investment than this would be needed - it estimates £200m a year.


"Gifted" describes the most able pupils in academic subjects, and "talented" identifies those who excel at sport or creative subjects.

The report, by consultants ACL, says it is impossible to say whether the Academy had much impact on children's results at age 16.

The Academy had not put in place methodologies to track the progress of children it supported.

But it did praise it for increasing the motivation and aspirations of students who enrolled, and raising the profile of gifted and talented children.

Ministers wanted to allay concerns that state schools were not stretching the brightest pupils, so it set up NAGTY within the University of Warwick.

But the report concludes it was the victim of a conflict with central government over its remit.

As the Academy tried to broaden its responsibilities, government funding did not keep pace.

Because of this, failure was in some respects "inevitable", the report said.

Gifted and talented pupils were mainly identified through test results - which may work well for the academically gifted, but is not an accurate way of identifying those talented at music, drama or sport, it added.

"There was relatively little for the talented (as opposed to the gifted) - both in terms of how they were identified and the activities that were available to them, " the report said.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families says 95% of secondary schools and 78% of primary schools were already identifying 800,000 gifted and talented children.

And it says the programme has moved on "significantly" since the Academy closed in 2007.

"This is not elitism," a spokeswoman said.

"It is about ensuring that all learners receive the challenge and support they need to reach their potential.

"By helping more disadvantaged young people to attend competitive universities, we can make a valuable contribution to improving social mobility."

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LovableLoser said...

I feel our school is going in the same direction. God forbid we acknowledge that some people are smarter than others *gasp*. That could be elitist! OH NO! The educational gap that our country is facing will not be solved by trying to make everyone feel good about themselves.

ace1453 said...

Nicely put LoveableLoser. I think the sooner we seperate the incompetent from those who have potential the better. Sorry if that is offensive, but truth be told, I could care less.