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Brightest pupils not stretched

Thousands of bright children are being let down by state schools because they are not “stretched” in the classroom, an expert has warned.

Janey Walker, director of a new online service for gifted pupils set up by Warwick University, said large numbers of teachers found it difficult to “fulfil the needs” of the brightest young people.
She cited a lack of time, large class sizes and a shortage of resources in some schools.

Although many secondary schools have a good track-record with high-flying pupils, she warned that large numbers of children were still reluctant to display their true talents for fear of being labelled a “teachers’ pet”.
According to figures, around one-in-five pupils who gain top scores in English and maths exams sat at the age of 11 currently fail to go on to gain A* or A grades in GCSEs at the end of secondary education.

Last month, Warwick University launched a new social networking and education website specifically designed for gifted pupils.

IGGY – the International Gateway for Gifted Youth – will enable 13- to 18-year-olds to access stretching material in subjects such as maths, English, science and history and collaborate with peers across the world on educational projects.

IGGY – a paid-for service with free membership for deprived pupils – currently has around 2,000 members in Britain and elsewhere in the world. It is hoped that numbers will double in a year.

It was also claimed that many bright children were also being held back by peer pressure, with some members of the network complaining that it was “not cool to be clever”.

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