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Monday, December 14, 1998 Published at 14:51 GMT


Gifted pupils to get extra support

In future, there could be support for gifted sports players

Children with "special talents" in Scottish schools are to be given extra support.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar, has announced that £14m is to be invested in specialist teaching for children who show great ability in areas such as music or dance.

Mr Dewar also raised the possibility of extending support to include children who have shown great promise in other performing arts and to include other parts of the curriculum, such as sport, science and information technology.

[ image: Donald Dewar says that opportunities for talented pupils will be more fairly distributed]
Donald Dewar says that opportunities for talented pupils will be more fairly distributed
"Pupils with special talents must have the best opportunity to develop them as part of their school education," said Mr Dewar, speaking at Knightswood Academy, Glasgow.

The funds, Mr Dewar said, would help ensure that "pupils from all across Scotland can have access on equal terms to schools offering specialist provision".

The funding will include support for three existing centres of excellence, including the dance school at Knightswood Academy where the minister was speaking and two other music schools, Broughton High School in Edinburgh and Douglas Academy in Bearsden.

A Scottish Office consultation paper, outlining the proposals for gifted pupils, asks whether specialist provision should be spread across a wider number of schools or whether it should be focused on a small number of designated schools.

The funding is drawn from the Excellence Fund which over the next three years will provide £320m to improve standards in Scotland's schools.

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