Gifted and Talented

For what purpose do we recognise gifted and talented pupils? Most people think of one of two purposes. It either exists to give a better educational experience for the high performing pupils in schools or to give pupils a status within schools that is transferable skills in the next key stage. This is the default setting of most people.

However I know that some of you will associate G&T with elitism. Perhaps we should consider the origin of the word "elitism"?

This surely destigmatises elitism. All it means is that we acknowledge through selection that we have some pupils more capable than others. Where is the harm in that?

As a nation we apologetically concede that we have talents but that these talents are not to be mentioned in any way that improves our standing in the world. But no! Why must we downplay what we are capable of? Is there no greater injustice than seeing exceptionally talented people held back?

Some would say that people are held back by those in control who are less capable. Or who are jealous.

I coach squash to some developing players. One in particular is a natural racket player. Our age difference is over 20 years but I can guarantee you that whilst I coach him to be the best that he can be, I will try with every fibre of my being to ensure that I win. I won't cheat but I won't slacken off either. The victor always knows they won the battle through effort, determination and ability. He is encouraged by me and one day he might win. When this becomes regular, I will pass him on to the next level coach.

But what if our teachers need to feel superior to their pupils? What if our managers can't help but worry about their subordinates taking their place?

Where is the desire to nurture the talent going to come from?

Many would agree with me when I say that academically it starts in our schools. In school, it seems odd to select pupils as Gifted and Talented for non-school based activities. Let's keep G&T in schools for the subjects that are taught there.

And let's make sure that those subjects are taught by the most gifted and talented teachers on the planet!