London, Jan 6 : A Government research has found that bright pupils in the UK are being failed by teachers, who do not stretch them and give them enough individual attention they need.
A study by the Department for Children, Schools and Families found that gifted students are regularly put in the wrong ability groups and are set targets that are too low. In many schools, young people who show early promise are left to fall behind. According to the study, almost a quarter of the 140,000 kids who achieve an above-average level 3 in assessments at the age of seven do not go on to score high marks in tests at the age of 11.
The findings are a significant blow to the Government, which has spent almost 400 million pounds on gifted and talented programmes in last 10 years in a bid to convince many middle-class parents that bright children will be nurtured in the state sector.
The report, entitled 'Able Pupils Who Lose Momentum,' discovered faults in the 37 primaries all over England visited by Government advisers.
Researchers found that one of the key problems was the failure to put kids into ability sets or groups. Even when kids were put in classes with children of similar abilities, clever children were still grouped with other 'lower ability' pupils when carrying out work.
"Children often worked exclusively in mixed-ability groups and rarely worked with children who were making similar rates of progress. They often perceived themselves as additional support to less able pupils. But the majority of children said they would have liked more opportunities to work in ability groups or independently," the Telegraph quoted the report, as stating.
It was also found that less than 50 percent schools had good systems to track and monitor pupil's progress.
Reviews of how kids were performing were rare and it was not uncommon for targets to remain unchanged for more than a term.
In about one in four primaries that were visited, the targets set for bright kids were often pitched at a low or rudimentary level.
Teachers over-stressed on simple functional skills, such as 'join up your handwriting', 'finish more worksheets' and 'be neater'.
School advisers found that some of the students, particularly girls, were 'invisible children' because they were quiet and undemanding, which led to teachers giving them less time.
"Many children said they rarely received help from the teacher when working on their maths. Some expressed the view that their teachers always work with the pupils in the 'lower groups', while others said a few able children monopolised the teacher's time. Some children talked about wanting to do the more challenging work that these pupils were given," the report stated.
Stephen Tommis, the director of the National Association for Gifted Children charity, said that schools still fail many students.
"There is greater awareness than there has ever been, and gifted and talented children are on the political agenda. But it seems to be taking an awful long time for the idea to permeate through to the schools," he said.