Good idea shines out of glossy brochure

4th January 2008 at 00:00
Mike Kent wrote "A modern-day parable of the penpushers" (TES, December 14) about gifted and talented education. It is not a new idea. It was prompted amongst other things by Deborah Eyre's groundbreaking book, Able Children in Ordinary Schools (1997) and a Select Committee Report on Highly Able Children (1999). I have successfully used ideas from the gifted and talented initiative to improve learning opportunities for able pupils in my mixed ability classes. I have also helped other teachers to do so. In June this year I was a judge at a 'Thinkathon' in Luton. A number of primary schools, many from deprived areas in the borough, took part. Their teachers had been trained to teach thinking skills by the De Bono foundation and practised them with their pupils.

The pride shown by the Year 4 children as they each received a medal from the headteacher of the host primary school was a really uplifting moment for me.

So don't be put off by glossy brochures, unfathomable jargon and extra paperwork. Unfortunately, the Government often gets in the way of its own good ideas and this is definitely one of them.

Peter Leyland, Teacher, writer and researcher in gifted and talented education, Maids Moreton, Bucks.

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