I will be meeting with the DP at our school this Thursday regarding our son, and do not hold high hopes for what they will offer us. He is currently Yr4, and although his teachers over the years have made comments about his abilities, no one has identified his giftedness (as per NAG requirements). We had him tested recently, and am hoping the assessment will help me get somewhere with the school.
At this stage I am unaware of anything being done in our school to challenge bright kids at all, let alone meeting the needs of kids classed as G&T. The most recent ERO report doesn't mention anything about G&T policies etc, not even any recommendations. This is a school of over 500 pupils, so there must be a lot of G&T kids missing out if I'm yet to see anything up to Yr4!
So, although I'm aware of the policies etc they must have in place as per NAG's, what do I do to argue my point if they blank me? Its one thing to have to have policies, but what should I realistically expect they will do for my son? Or do I have to start putting my hand in my pocket to pay? - We're in a small town, so all other options have a travel factor for us to consider (as well as cost).
At the risk of sounding very negative, my Year 2 boy with two assessments of giftedness is STILL not recognised by the BIG school in Auckland because he doesn't behave (BORED). They think I'm a joke, I'm sure.
I'm doing everything I can to have my boy see the world through my eyes (yes, he is attending the ODS, my and his saviour!).
Well, I went - it wasn't good, but it wasn't bad. DP honestly said she couldn't answer a lot of my questions. She said that they expect all childrens needs to be met in the classroom, hmmmm. On the other hand, she was positive about what I was trying to do for my son, and wasn't dismissive at all.
What concerned me most was the impression she gave that they don't have a policy for G & T kids, and the statement that "I've only seen one gifted child come through this school" - the school roll is around 550, and she's been there quite a long time, there must be a hell of a lot of kids getting completely missed.
What is the point of MOE having policy in place if they don't enforce it? And if teachers are so far removed from the modern interpretation of giftedness, then perhaps work needs to be done on educating the educators, before they start worrying about putting policies in place that are being completely ignored?
Luckily, our level-headed, well-rounded 8yo is coping 'reasonably' well in the system at the moment. But that is probably more down to his very competitive streak (has to be first for just about everything), more than anything to do with how is school is challenging him.
Will now have to think about other options for stretching him, as well as wondering whether it will be me who tries to argue the case for G&T kids at our school. If I can get them to start a discussion about it, then that would be progress, but I'm not sure I'm up for the battle!
I think this type of reaction is pretty standard. I too have a gifted eight-year-old boy (as assessed by Gifted Education Centre two years ago) who is a Year 4 but in a composite Year 3/4 class.
The principal accepts that there are many (possibly too many?) gifted children in the school (unlike the previous principal who - similarly to your DP - had 'never met one'). The current principal blames lack of funding/resources on their inability to cater to their gifted students and freely admits that my son, T, has been neglected.
I'm a teacher myself and T I know has had a disastrous year - not just because of the lack of targeted gifted teaching - but also thanks to the composite class structure. Basically he was used as a 'role model' and peer teacher. He was placed at a table with mainly Year 3s all of whom had learning and behaviour problems. I trusted the school (ha!) and initially thought it would help T's maturity to be 'used' in this way. Of course no, he ended up a very sad, underachieving boy ...
Too late I started getting 'heavy' and should have intervened far earlier. The school cried poverty but I responded that at the very least gifted children should be clustered so that they have some sort of support network. In T's class there are some very bright Yr 3s but only a handful of Yr 4s and certainly none at his level. The school responded - eventually - by moving his seating position and putting him into a 'special writing group'. T took the latter very seriously but the other children haven't - just bringing in DVD games etc rather than doing research - and the 'specialist' teacher appears to have given up after a few sessions, and they are now doing 'collage'?!
I've come to the conclusion that it's all too hard for most schools - they use old teachers who may have years of experience but frankly don't have the expertise (and dare I say intellect as I believe only gifted teachers can really teach gifted children). They may do a little professional development but I suspect it is wasted on many teachers. Like you, I find other options ...