Our children's needs are unmet, parents of gifted pupils claim

8th May 2009 at 01:00
Survey shows widespread discontent with Young, Gifted and Talented programme

Parents of gifted pupils have called for changes to education for clever children, labelling current provision not sufficiently stimulating.

They also want teachers to be better trained and to make time to meet with them. In addition, they want opportunities for their children to attend independent schools.

Members of the National Association for Gifted Children also want a more creative curriculum - including the abolition of Sats - and better activities and workshops for pupils on the gifted and talented register.

Their views show discontent with the current government-funded Young Gifted and Talented programme, run by CfBT, which operates via the internet.

There have been large variations in the number of children local authorities sign up to the programme, which replaced the system run by Warwick University, which focused on summer schools.

The survey was held to mark the start of a two-year research project on the experiences of parents and carers of gifted and talented children from Austria, Turkey and the UK.

Around 43 per cent of those who took part in the survey, which was sent to 1,278 parents, want extra "giftedness" training for teachers so there is better identification of talents, 23 per cent want more grading of children by abilities, 13 per cent smaller classes and 20 per cent wanted more stimulating lessons and better provision for gifted children.

Smaller numbers of parents called for local area groups and a key worker who is independent to make sure children's needs are met.

Parents told the NAGC they would welcome more consistent advice and support. But they did welcome what they called the "freedom" of the UK education system, which allows home education and the option of independent schools.

They were also enthusiastic about grammar schools, and said the Government should offer financial support for gifted children or grants to send their children to private schools.

Denise Yates, chief executive of the NAGC, said: "The survey clearly shows that the parents of gifted and talented children are united in what they want from the education system to support them and their families.

"Over the coming months, we will be taking these concerns to government to ensure the best possible education for all children."

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