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New Advice For Gifted Youngsters


News: New Advice For Gifted Youngsters

Thursday, 18th March 2004
(PR 1184)

Children as young as six are being urged to stretch their minds by enjoying chess, crosswords and codebreaking games.

Ashton Primary School is one of many Lancashire schools which has been leading the way in encouraging their able, gifted and talented pupils to excel by giving them additional tuition in thinking skills.

The 27 pupils at Ashton have been identified for the "Able, Gifted and Talented" programme and receive extra tuition because of their special talent in sports, music and art while others have been chosen thanks to their academic ability.

The children are not regarded as an "elite", but are encouraged to share ideas with their fellow pupils back in the classroom and teach them games such as chess, drafts and Scrabble.

In day-to-day classes the gifted pupils work alongside the rest of the group, but also work with teaching assistants to look at an issue in more depth and might be asked to work on the computer and research a subject before reporting back to their colleagues.

The talented musicians from the school have recently taken part in a workshop with Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the children who have shown a flair for art have enjoyed the chance to work with a professional artist.

Headteacher Cath Woodall said:

"The pupils who are chosen for the scheme have grown in self-confidence and we're aware of a change in overall behaviour throughout the school.

"There's a more positive attitude towards learning. Boys tend to not want to conform and can be disruptive, but they are bowing to peer pressure and now want to be well behaved and strive to be identified as one of the gifted pupils.

"People tend to think of schools only giving extra help to pupils who are struggling to keep up, but it's just as important to help those children at the other end of the scale to make sure they are fully stretched."

Sean Hey, aged seven, said:

"I like coming to the special classes because it gives me more time to think. I enjoy working hard and love teaching my friends to play chess."

Brogan Leighton, aged nine, said:

"I like these special classes because they make me think in a different way."

Lancashire County Council is keen for all of its schools to meet the needs of their able, gifted and talented pupils and has issued guidelines to help teachers and governors.

Extending provision for these youngsters is a national priority as research has shown that they do not always achieve their true potential.

The new guidelines include self-evaluation and audit forms to allow heads to take stock and plan for the future with AGT pupils recognised in school paperwork and procedure in exactly the same way as SEN or English as an additional language pupils.

Notes for editors:

The school is among 15 in the area making-up the "City of Preston Excellence Cluster" which is a Government funded initiative aimed at helping schools in deprived areas to raise standards.

For further information please contact: Jane Bullock on 01772 533521




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