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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 13:17 GMT
Search for brightest pupils
Warwick university
The academy for gifted youth is based at Warwick
Teachers and parents are being urged to nominate gifted children to take part in special out-of-school events.

The school standards minister, David Miliband, said a nationwide search for England's brightest young people - called Loc8or - would be launched in the New Year.


I'm sceptical about the need to increase this programme to create an elite group of young people

John Dunford, Secondary Heads Association
Mr Miliband wants to see thousands of children from a variety of backgrounds being put forward to take part in programmes run by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth based at Warwick University.

Speaking at the National Gifted and Talented Education Conference in Birmingham, Mr Miliband said the most gifted children were not necessarily those with a string of A grades or those who sat at the front of class.

The minister wants 150,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16 to benefit from the summer, weekend and evening sessions available at Warwick.

Nominees will be asked to present a portfolio to support their applications, which may include examples of schoolwork or prize-winning entries in local competitions.

Mr Miliband also urged teachers to spend as much time with the brightest children in their class as with the less able.

Elitist warning

But John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, expressed concern that the government's talent search could create an elite of pupils within schools.

"The gifted and talented programme in inner cities has meant there is a greatly increased range of opportunities open to young people from poor backgrounds.

"But I'm sceptical about the need to increase this programme to create an elite group of young people at a tender age."

And teachers would continue to focus their efforts on helping those who needed it most, said Mr Dunford.

"Teachers spend a great deal of time preparing additional materials for bright children but it remains the case that children with learning difficulties rightly take up more of the teacher's time," he said.

See also:

13 Feb 01 | Education
19 Feb 02 | Education
28 Aug 01 | Education
01 Aug 02 | Education
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