Many "helicopter parents" consider their children to be prodigies but a glance around the average class reveals a gap between parental perception and classroom reality.
Nevertheless, there are gifted and talented pupils, so work as a school to identify and help them. Introduce vertical grouping, using support staff to stretch the most able as well as helping the strugglers. Use the "must, should, could" approach: divide tasks into those everyone "must" do, others they "should" do and some they "could" do if they have time.
Ask questions that encourage a detailed response. Set tasks that develop higher order thinking, using plenty of open-ended activities. Homework offers a chance for bright pupils to extend themselves, as do extra curricular opportunities. When pupils ask a tricky question, be flexible enough to go off at a tangent.
At secondary level, top sets are the natural habitat of the gifted and talented. The upside: pupils are keen to learn and less likely to misbehave. The drawbacks: you must be hot on your subject, marking work takes ages and some bright pupils have a habit of disappearing up their own posteriors.
And the best thing about the gifted and talented phenomenon? The acronym: GT. Ice and a slice with that for me, please.
Sue Cowley is an author, trainer and presenter. Her latest book is Getting the Buggers into Drama (Continuum). For more information visit www.suecowley.co.uk.