A national register of gifted and talented children was launched this week
which ministers say will help schools to ensure their brightest pupils have the
opportunity to reach their full potential.
About 200,000 secondary school pupils are in the top 5 per cent of the school
population, accor More…ding to the English and maths national tests they sat as
But ministers are concerned that no more than half of these pupils are members
of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, which gained its
100,000th member this week.
Lord Adonis, schools minister, wrote to all secondary heads this week,
supplying them with access to the list to see whether any of their pupils are
eligible for the gifted and talent scheme.
He said: "We must stop the terrible waste of talent when children don't reach
their full potential. This register will ensure they are identified early and
do not lose out because they come from a deprived background."
He said schools could also identify gifted and talented pupils through other
means, such as outstanding pieces of work, teacher assessment and classroom
The register will later be expanded to include all four to 19 year-olds
identified as gifted and talented by their schools.
But headteachers remain concerned about the use of test results as a gauge of
John Dunford, Association of School and College Leaders general secretary,
said: "Children are under quite enough pressure taking these tests without also
wondering whether they will be put on a list of top performers."
He said that although the register was designed to ensure that gifted pupils
from poorer families received extra support, it would lead to pressure on heads
from middle-class parents to include their children.