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Brightest will be talent-spotted

Specially-trained assessors are to be deployed to help schools spot and nurture Wales's brightest children, as part of a pound;50,000 funding package for more able and talented pupils.

Jane Davidson, minister for education, lifelong learning and skills, also pledged to look at how schools can tap into the resources of universities to bring on gifted children. However, Peter Black, Lib Dem education spokesperson, said the award was too small and would have limited impact.

The National Association of Able Children in Education Cymru (NACE Cymru) has been lobbying the Assembly for more money since its inception in 2003.

It says schools and local authorities have been slow to take up schemes for brighter students, fearing it will segregate them from their peers. But the charity's own research reveals that focusing on able children can have a positive effect on pupils of all abilities.

Johanna Raffan, NACE Cymru secretary, said: "Although pound;50,000 is not a great deal of money, it is a start in helping schools provide for their more able and talented children. We are also pleased with the minister's enthusiasm."

The money will fund the training of Welsh and Welsh-speaking NACE assessors, and help 10 schools a year to undertake NACE Cymru's quality award scheme.

Speaking at a conference for able and talented pupils last Monday in Llandrindod Wells, Ms Davidson also announced a consultation on new guidance on standards for these pupils.

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