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Minister to give gifted children extra help

Gifted pupils must be given more help to fulfil their potential, the Government believes.

Estelle Morris, the school standards minister, has announced that an advisory group is being set up to represent their interests. "The attitude that gifted children can cope by themselves has let down too many people," she said.

The group, including representatives from education authorities and gifted children's organisations, will help schools create an ethos that celebrates excellence, Ms Morris said.

Deborah Eyre, president of the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) and one of the group, said she expected that the 15 members would study and disseminate good practice.

"The idea that able pupils will do well whatever - that talent will out - has been discredited by research," Dr Eyre said. "They need carefully planned opportunities."

NACE, which started in 1984 has around 1,400 members - a third more than last year. It believes that one in five children has some exceptional ability, about the same proportion as children with a special need.

While welcoming the idea, the National Association of School Masters Union of Women Teachers, found it "regrettable" that only one practising teacher was included in the group.

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