Children’s learning charity Potential Plus UK has asked all political parties and other agencies to outline how they plan to give fair treatment in education to this country’s high potential learners.
Potential Plus was established in 1967 as The National Association for Gifted Children and supports the needs of gifted children whose potential has not been formally recognised. Launched on February 12, its manifesto was produced following consultations with parents and carers from around the country. It asks all those who see the importance of supporting these children to register their support for the manifesto’s simple five-point plan to help ensure that these children receive an appropriate education as well as fair treatment in their learning.
Denise Yates, chief executive of Potential Plus UK, says: “We should be celebrating the gifts and talents of every child. However, our most able children are often made to feel they are merely the product of pushy parents or some form of hot housing. At a time when so much thought and investment has rightly been put into supporting children with special education needs and disabilities, it is surely the time to take this one step further? In the run up to the election we need to hear the views of the political parties about how they intend to support children with high learning potential and their families.”
Amongst other things, Potential Plus UK is calling for:
· the removal of ceilings on attainment so that each child is able to show what they are capable of achieving;
· a universal commitment to high-quality staff awareness-training and development within nurseries, schools and colleges to ensure all staff understand how to work with high potential learners;
· the recognition of children who have both high potential and a special education need or disability as a separate category of special needs called dual and multiple exceptionality and an equal approach to the treatment of dual and multiple exceptional children in education;
· the establishment of an ‘every high learning potential child an advanced reader’ scheme along with appropriate reading strategies and books with the right content for the age of the able reader;
· more support for potential high attainers from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure that they succeed;
· government support for piloting new learning approaches such as e-learning and distance learning for children with high learning potential, including those who are home educated;
· a universal commitment to partnerships between schools and parents/carers of high potential learners including the provision of information to all parents/carers about how their high potential learner will be supported in school or at home
Denise Yates continues: “We shouldn’t accept second best in this or excuses about why these children with high learning potential cannot be supported. They have the potential to grow up to be the scientists, composers or inventors of tomorrow; but this is not a foregone conclusion. They also need the right understanding, nurturing and education to make sure that they contribute to this country’s future economic growth and are not made to feel like second class citizens or left to become the disaffected youth of tomorrow.”
For a summary copy of the Manifesto click here: