Monday, January 19, 2009

So much for being "gifted and talented"?

The other day in Parliament, Michael Gove MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families asked a question about "gifted and talented" pupils GCSE achievements. Now for those wondering, the Government defines someone as "gifted and talented" if they have
"one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop these abilities).
This is an important defintion to be aware of when you see the response the Education Minister, Jim Knight, who said,

In 2007, a total of 11,628 (14.3 per cent.) gifted and talented pupils did not achieve five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A* to C, including English and mathematics. These figures relate to pupils at the end of key stage 4 in all maintained schools.
So, almost 3 in every 20 pupils that are singled out as being "gifted and talented" are not actually achieving very much which raises the queston, just how low is the bar really set these days?


Croydonian said...

From tales of such told by someone I know well, the ability to breathe through the nose qualifies.

1327 said...

Some colleagues of mine had involvement with a Gifted & Talented scheme last year. From what they say the schools appeared to be dumping some of their worst pupils on it last year just to get rid of them for a while. Those children were foul mouthed plus disruptive and totally ruined the scheme for the couple of schools that had actually sent their clever pupils.

A typical nu-lab waste of time & money.

jdc said...

"one or more abilities".

They might be great at English but suck at Maths, or the other way round. Or talented at music or art but not gifted at exams.

I don't see the contradiction here.

dizzy said...

"did not achieve five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A* to C, including English and mathematics."

purplepangolin said...


That was my initial thought. However, I think that most people that one would think of as gifted in an academic subject should at least be capable of getting a C grade in any other academic GCSE.

I would be interested if anyone could post a link to studies showing correlation between abilities. It is commonly asserted that there is a correlation between mathematical ability, music and languages but I don't know the basis for this.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you think 5 GCSEs at C or above is a bar, then it is set very low indeed. Anything less than straight As, with a handful of A*s is an indication of laziness or stupidity.

If this is what 'talented' means to the government, it may explain the activities of the Government of All Talents!

Bernie Gudgeon said...

Never mind the gifted and talented, how about us dumb schmucks?

Jamie said...

I do some work with some G&T kids, nice pupils who seem interested to learn (though I don't get to see their grades etc. and only work with them on a one-off basis). Accrediting talented pupils as G&T seems a sensible thing to do - it seems to raise their aspiration levels. Just from my experience.

Chris Paul said...

Could just be G and T say music, or sport. Could be other reasons that 16 year olds have for not doign well first time round e.g. going off rails, bereavement, being early developers in something then tailing off, cramming for a while then giving up over cash.

Also, some schools have been known to spread the G&T to some fringe candidates as the resource may not cost any more for 10 than for 5 in some subjects. Never heard of it being used as a dumping ground for all the troubled ones though.

Scott said...

Speaking from personal experience, my son was tagged as G&T, not hard given that he is an evolutionary level above the bottom feeding pondlife (his peers); doesn't actually seem to make a difference, and prefers being in his regular classes as he actually learns things in those lessons.

Anonymous said...

Labour's 'gifted and talented'organiser Malcolm Powers to finally resign.?So it would seem... Labour is advertising for a new regional organiser in the south-east -well dont all rush then u have until the 26th to get yr applications in..5 gcses or less
is the minimum educational requirement,together with a proven ability not to get up Martin Salters nose...

Anonymous said...

Don't know about this govt scheme or how schools pick for it, but it is entirely possible for kids to be G&T and not be able to get 5 GCSEs. Not all bright kids are academic, and some of the sharpest people I've seen working had few formal qualifications.

Stop knocking kids by insisting GCSEs are the only means of recognition they have - knock the system instead.

Anonymous said...

12 years ago, my son was in a G&T group at his school, the group was known as the 'Academy Stream'. None of them was interested in anything less than an 'A' in any subject; a 'B' was regarded as abject failure. Went on to take the International Baccalaureate and a degree at Oxford. His sister did the IB and then took her MSc and doctorate at Bristol.

Ofsted knocked the Academy Stream on the head as 'elitist'.

Did I mention that we still have grammar schools in our area? Gives bright children from working class backgrounds a chance for a top education. There were boys in my son's class from very deprived areas and backgrounds, who went on to top universities. We're not exactly wealthy ourselves.

ZanuLab would love to abolish grammar schools as they will keep showing up the glaring deficiencies in their 'one size fits all' ideas of equality of provision, rather than of opportunity, which merely condemns bright children to mediocrity. Social mobility, by all indices, has dropped appallingly under Labour. Tick boxes and teaching to the test has replaced education. I'm just amazed how well kids actually do, considering the number of hoops they have to jump through.

Dave said...

I took GCE "O"Levels at the age of 15 and passed 5 at grades of O and above. No calculators or coursework. Just exams.
A few years later they intoduced GCSEs. An A grade GCSE was the equivalent of an O grade GCE. O Grade was awarded with a 45/100.
There were higher grades A,B,C,D & E.
I'm just an ordinary ex-grammar school boy. When I left school I could read, write, spell, do mental arithmetic.

My son was a lazy sod at school. He did no homework and no revision and still got 10 GCSEs at grade A. He said that he couldn't wait to leave school as the ignorant tossers were running riot and the teachers couldn't or wouldn't control them.

And they say that exams haven't been dumbed down and standards are rising.

Fuck off you liars. The sole purpose of the education system in this country is to keep the underclass illiterate and disorganised so they are no threat to the rulers. They can then feed them salt flavoured lard and conduct medical experiments on them before they die early.

John77 said...

Gifted and Talented includes those who have non-academic talents, such as the daughter of an old friend who is dyslexic but gifted in dance and drama. So there will be a minority who do not do well at academic exams.
The debasement of the phrase is a separate problem - my father's definition of "gifted" included Yehudi Menuhin but excluded himself (he got a 1st class degree at Oxford when he was 20). Modern usage includes me and people even less bright: soon it will become meaningless.