Young, Gifted And Hopeful

Posted: 16.07.06 in Blogging

I have just read in the BBC News that the government wants a register of the top 5% pupils in schools who are considered to be gifted and talented. This is so that schools identify their most able students and provide more personalised and focussed programmes for them, and give them more to do outside of school.

This will prove controversial, especially as talent and gift are difficult to measure, particularly in developing pupils, who may wander in and out of that magic 5% as they progress through their school careers.

When I was school, which was a grammar school, those that were talented were singled out. In Year 11, about 30 out of the pool of 120 in the year were selected and put into one class. For that year, that was as good as it got. I don’t feel that we were pushed or encouraged any more: rather more we were encouraged to feel a little more big-headed and a cut above.

About five of us were also carted out to visit Cambridge University in Year 9 or so… the effect was that we were taken out of school for a day, and we indulged in the feat that we had achieved in that we were considered, at that early stage, material for Cambridge. I remember that at the time I thought it would be a doddle to get there.

In Years 12 and 13, about six or seven of us were invited to “E.



C.” – or Exceptionally Able and Talented Children. This was a lesson taken in our own time to discuss our A Level subjects to a depth not expected at A Level. In practice, this was just an exercise in talking in front of a small number of people about a topic that was loosely based on our subjects and tied more with our interests. I feel that it might have been useful had I applied for Oxbridge. But seeing as I didn’t – and that I didn’t attend a single interview to get to university – it didn’t seem like a huge help.

So what good will singling out these children do? They will be expected to attend summer classes and do extra work. Not sure I would have appreciated it… Having said, I think I would have achieved much more if I felt was being monitored more closely.BBC News – What constitutes a gifted pupil?

  1. wl says:

    And I wonder how many of the 5% will be from working class families. Also it seems you’ve been among the very top of the classes throughout your pre-uni educational life. Well that’s something impressive!

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