Gifts and talents

11th January 2008 at 00:00
It is interesting that ministers have decided to include "gifted and talented" pupils in secondary league tables to tackle underachievement. But the effectiveness of this move remains doubtful.

Differentiated teaching and provision in the mixed-ability class have remained a big challenge, as confirmed by many Ofsted reports. Most schools keep a register of high-flyers, but few have adequate means to cater for their needs.

Unless government gives specific resources to meet pupils' additional needs, the pressure of subject-based league tables alone will not be enough to raise achievement, particularly where pupils' talents are non-academic.

Perhaps what the ministers really mean are the academically brighter pupils that can be found in most schools, including the low-achieving inner-city schools. Even if ministers mean the gifted pupils, it is worrying that they see pupils' talent only in terms of national curriculum subjects.

Husain Akhtar, Independent inspector of schools (retired), Harrow.

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