As many as three-quarters of state schools are failing to push their brightest pupils because teachers are reluctant to promote 'elitism', an Ofsted study says today.
Many teachers are not convinced of the importance of providing more challenging tasks for their gifted and talented pupils.
Bright youngsters told inspectors they were forced to ask for harder work. Others were resentful at being dragooned into 'mentoring' weaker pupils.
In nearly three-quarters of 26 schools studied, pupils designated as being academically gifted or talented in sport or the arts were 'not a priority', Ofsted found.
Teachers feared that a focus on the brightest pupils would 'undermine the school's efforts to improve the attainment and progress of all other groups of pupils'.
This is notwithstanding official policy:
Schools are meant to identify the top 5 to 10 per cent of pupils as 'gifted and talented' and ensure they are given appropriate tasks to help them achieve their potential.
One suspects that this problem is not confined to the United Kingdom.
Gifted students are a society's future engineers, scientists, doctors, and leaders. Weighing them down, Harrison Bergeron-style, with boring make-work, refusing to provide them with stimulating challenges, in the name of "equality," is not only unkind to the students but is a strategic error that prevents a community from reaching its own full potential.
(Via Rob Port at Say Anything blog and on Twitter.)