Is your child asking really interesting questions? Do they complete tasks without much prior explanation of what to do? Perhaps they eat up books? These are just some of the things that parents of Gifted & Talented (G&T) children first notice. AFF Education & Childcare Specialist, Lucy Scott, tells us more…
G&T children have the potential to develop significantly beyond what is expected for their age. “Gifted” is the term generally used for youngsters with high ability in academic subjects and “talented” are ones whose abilities are in practical subjects.
I was contacted by Helen, the mother of a G&T Army family with four children who wanted advice because they were mobile.
Helen highlighted the time it takes to accurately assess children when they are new to a school and difficulties in accepting previous assessments. She says: “It was apparent that Sam and Anika were particularly academically adept early on – we’re not talking Oxford University next year or anything, but they are ahead of the curve despite moving regularly.
“We were very lucky to get both Anika and William into an exceptional school. However, this last move was painful. Sam attended three schools from 2012-13 and Anika and William missed out on two weeks because I refused to split them. When you move like we do, staying together is important.
“There’s still stuff I wish I knew! How much ‘at home’ work is too much? What more can I do to help when they become disheartened? Where do I find a reliable, universally-recognised and respected measure of academia that I can take from school to school?”
Another Service family contacted me who moved from overseas to the UK.
It took nearly two years and successive meetings with the headteacher to get help for their child including an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and G&T sessions run by the local authority.
They eventually received support however, so it’s worth being persistent: “Our daughter had undergone testing and was labelled as ‘gifted’.
“She attended the first of two sessions for G&T children with a children’s book author. She gleaned much from this day and I was finally filled with a sense of satisfaction that after over a year of pushing and questioning, something had finally been done!”
Although there’s no requirement in law in England and Wales for schools to list G&T children, Ofsted and Estyn (Wales) will assess how the more able as well as the less able are supported.
The new Pupil Information Profile is specifically designed for Service children to provide your child’s new teacher with immediate, relevant information, so this should give schools advanced notice of when a G&T child joins them.
SCE schools also support G&T children overseas. Either speak to the school directly, or look on their website.
If you’re still having difficulty getting support for your G&T child or would like to share your experience with others, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Extra-curricular activities and advice www.parentsintouch.co.uk
- Older children www.mensa.org.uk/gifted-talented
- National Association for Gifted and Talented Children (charges apply for some services) www.potentialplusuk.org
- G&T in Northern Ireland www.nidirect.gov.uk
- G&T in Scotland www.directscot.org
- SCE schools list www.sce-web.com