Author Deborah Eyre. Posted on 17-March-2016

It’s educationally reassuring to think that some people are born gifted and some are not. We just find the ones who are and ensure that they have the right educational opportunities. Simple. That’s what we thought when I started working in this field 35 years ago. But as the 20th century wore on it became increasingly apparent that spotting those people in childhood is unreliable and difficult. Conceptions of what it means to be cognitively gifted continues to fragment rather than converge so making assessment difficult. At the same time, across the world gifted cohorts were found – regardless of the assessment processes used – to be stubbornly biased against the disadvantaged. People tried, but the result was always the same. Statistically speaking, gifted cohorts in schools and in enrichment programmes are dominated by more advantaged students. Gifted education is often therefore criticised as advantaging the already advantaged.


Author Deborah Eyre. Posted on 12-January-2016

Remember when we thought girls could not achieve as highly as boys? We thought it was genetic because that’s what most psychologists believed. Well life has certainly proved otherwise and girls are currently outperforming boys at every level in school in the UK.

So why are we still so wedded to the idea that other groups of pupils are incapable of achieving highly? We continue to think that our ‘potential’ defines us and that this will inevitably define educational outcomes. We routinely institutionalise this by calling students less able, more able etc.


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