GIFTED AND TALENTED CHILDREN
A raw deal
The previous government, having made support for Gifted and Talented (G and T) pupils a priority decided, towards the end of its term to ‘ mainstream’ support. In other words it is largely left up to schools now to fund G and T support from their central pots , despite the fact that rather a lot of schools historically haven’t regarded support, or indeed identification, of gifted children as much of a priority. As the developing world begins to take support for gifted students seriously and to understand its importance ,not just for the individuals concerned but for their economies, we seem to be taking an opposite trajectory.
However, for this year at least, there is still around £9m specialist funding support available for gifted pupils, which may sound a lot, but is spread very thin. Other support comes through The Dedicated Support Grant (DSG) which the Government points out ‘supports a universal offer of personalised education to all pupils, including gifted and talented (G&T) pupils.’ But we know that the quality of support offered between schools varies, even within the same local authority. During the current financial year 2010-11 the various other support schemes include:
A strand of the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People, managed by Youth Sport Trust (£2.3m)
Regional Partnerships, to facilitate collaboration between schools, local authorities and higher education institutions (HEIs) to share good practice and deliver out-of-school enrichment opportunities (e.g. summer schools) (£1.7m)
National Association for Gifted Children, to provide support and guidance for the parents of G&T pupils (£170,00)
G&T network of high performing specialist schools with good G&T practices, providing support to other schools, managed by specialist schools and academies trust (£210,00)
Teach First advocates providing mentoring to over 250 disadvantaged learners in City Challenge areas (£412,000)
Funding to local authorities for gifted pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in receipt of free school meals (including City GATES funding and Targeted Support) ( £4.0m)
Are we confident, particularly in these straitened times, that our most Gifted children will receive the support in schools that they deserve to fulfil their potential? Or do our policymakers (which seems more likely) think its up to the parents to fill the gaps and provide the necessary support and, if so, what about gifted children in our most disadvantaged communities?