Mistakes hamper gifted academy

20th June 2003 at 01:00
You report (TES, May 30) that take-up for this year's summer schools for gifted and talented children has been disappointingly low.

The model imposed by the Department for Education and Skills was lifted uncritically from the United States, where conditions are different.

Two key features are "accelerated" programmes and the fact each summer course lasts three weeks.

Accelerated programmes have been debunked by subject teachers. It is time the Government listened to them.

As for the three-week duration of each summer school, ministers were told this was unlikely to work in the UK. In the US, summer vacations are longer, and there is a tradition of students spending large parts of them at "camp". It might be far better in the UK to offer a mix of one and two-week courses Dr Tony Gardiner

Reader in mathematics and mathematics education founder of the UK national mathematics summer school University of Birmingham

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