The Gifted and Talented programme - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Joy Blaker, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council


    — Mainstreaming through the Strategies.— Institutional and Classroom Quality Standards (because they have enabled us to work closely with subject leaders on common ground).

    — The introduction of Leading Teachers for Gifted and Talented.

    — A shared understanding within our team that all we do should be cross-phase with emphasis on early intervention. This is particularly important in the case of young exceptional learners who often have social and educational needs that can preclude them from accessing a `normal' education and set them on a trail of isolation and/or poor attitudes and behaviours. With the help of the Sutton Trust and later the DfES we have a weekly class for such children from KS1 which has been evaluated at different times through Brunel and Sheffield Hallam Universities showing that teacher identification can be relied upon and that early intervention of this nature can prove beneficial in supporting children in mainstream education. But there is much more to be done in this respect.


    — Funding that is not ring-fenced (with changes of staff and other inconsistencies it becomes increasingly difficult to see how the money is meeting its focus).

    — Removal of funding from the Excellence Hubs, which in the Yorkshire/Humber region gives a strong unified lead to University education and offers a variety of provision open to all G&T students.

    — Lack of funding for G&T Leading Teachers, which compares unfavourably with that given for Leading Teachers in Literacy and Numeracy. (However, in our authority we have begun some joint generic training and the LA are funding to some extent the cover costs for the G&T LTs).

  It seems to me that we are talking about two different aspects of G&T education: high quality provision for teenage gifted learners, and the process that initiates that need involving raising teacher awareness and expertise in this area. We ask for all teachers to identify +/-10% of their gifted learners (academically able—or potentially so) and then to look across their school population for those who would be talented in any context in creative arts and sports—we cannot specify a definite percentage for the latter.

  My contention is that there is the same range of potential in any school you visit—what varies is the amount of enrichment, high quality teaching and parental support that has been offered. So asking for +/-10% of a school population simply focuses the teachers' attention on how they can engage, motivate and provide for their potentially more able learners to ensure their bright creative minds are not overlooked in the future. To focus this support on 14-19 students who live in deprived areas is to offer something too late (hard-wiring within the brain has already taken place) and to further isolate them in the opportunities they are offered because they would just be socialising with their own groupings.

February 2010

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