by Catherine Delahunty
This week is Gifted Awareness Week – a week when we celebrate the incredible talents of young citizens who have so much to offer the country.
The programmes offered in schools for gifted and talented children have been cut back, and schools vary in what they are now able to provide.
Programmes for gifted and talented students recognise a wide range of talents and foster the concept that excellence and innovation are not just words. They are the oxygen for the spark in many young children who just need our encouragement.
I am writing about these important programmes in the context of a narrowing of the primary school curriculum to focus on National Standards that were not trialled or negotiated with the teaching sector. These standards have had a controversial birth and continue to be problematic.
It’s not rocket science, but many gifted and talented young people come to literacy and numeracy through other topics and disciplines. Drama can help you learn to read, and music can inspire a love of mathematics – but not under this Government.
It is very frustrating to see initiatives like gifted and talented programmes being cut back. In addition, the new curriculum in primary schools now has to compete for both resources and attention with National Standards that appear to be neither national or even a useful standard.
Let us remember that teachers inspire learning; measuring and labelling does not. Every child has talent and gifts and if the right recognition and encouragement occurs at the right time, a gift and talent came become a lifelong joy and a huge contribution. That’s what this week is about.