Gifts should be nurtured, not ignored

6th May 2011 at 01:00

Matthew Syed is unfair to suggest that identifying gifted and talented children is corrosive and damaging ("Talent is a myth. With hard graft and hours of practice, any 'ordinary' child can get a 'gift'", 22 April).

My own research established that children who have a particular gift or talent need the recognition that in turn motivates them to continue to practise and put in the hours of work. Mr Syed himself agrees that some children start off better at some subjects. If excelling was merely a matter of practice then every horse would win every race.

Some parents are able to facilitate their child's gift. Others either can't or, in some depressing cases, won't make any extra provision for their child. Surely it is down to teachers to help nurture any gift or talent they see in their pupils.

All children need to be encouraged to take risks and strive for that bit more. In fact, it is often the gifted child that needs the most encouragement to take risks. Funding has now been cut and those who are most vulnerable, from deprived backgrounds, will suffer most. Rather than add to the problem by denying that it exists, teachers need to find ways to encourage that spark of talent.

Helena Ferris, Primary school GT lead teacher, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

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