Letter: Helping the able

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The Independent Culture
Sir: If a school has to accept the whole range of children, then the majority will fall into the average IQ band. Less able children may receive separate teaching; some are "statemented" and are allocated extra money for special help. These children are selected.

Children whose IQ is high (125 and above) are not so selected at present; they receive no extra care, and often they cannot work at the pace that suits them because the teacher may wait for the whole class to understand or complete work before progressing. This is especially true at secondary level.

Worse still, such children may be envied for "cleverness", are often teased and sometimes bullied, with the result that they try to hide their ability. In mild cases this results in under-achievement; at worst it leads to disaffection or disturbed behaviour.

In inner-city schools - those targeted in the Department of Education's plans - the proportion of under-achieving children antagonistic to the more academic is inevitably high, and the plight of the gifted is acute.

Why are some headteachers not encouraging plans to help our comprehensives keep and support the high-fliers and check the brain-drain to the private sector?

BARBARA RYDER

Bristol

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