A colleague of mine in another school wanted to start an extra-curricular club involving a media project. As this could easily hit a number of cross-curricular themes, one of the Deputy Heads suggested he go and see the Head of English, Head of Drama, Head of ICT and the G&T Co-ordinator.
This got me thinking. And looking around. We have a number of school clubs. The ‘traditional’ clubs – sport, music, drama – all seem to have the usual cohorts of the very sporty, the very musical and often the more disenfranchised, respectively. But the other clubs all seem to draw almost if not exclusively from the G&T register.
As a teacher, there are advantages to this – you get the more able students, the more enthusiastic students, the more independent and hard-working students. This means that the outcomes are likely to be better and there will probably be fewer side-issues to deal with.
It seems to me though, that excluding the 90% of students who aren’t on the G&T register is a little unfair. Yes, the majority of those 90% would probably exclude themselves – but at least that is their choice. Why should only the academically gifted be given the best opportunities?
Drama is a case in point. Some of the students that struggle academically, and often those amongst the most challenging students we face suddenly thrive and find a place to participate and add value, both to their education and to the school, in the Drama department’s productions.
I have no doubt that targetting and stretching the more able children is important, but I just can’t help but feel a bit eliteist if I support the idea of G&T only opportunities.