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Let's bring out their real talent

PUBLISHED: 11:40 10 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:28 05 July 2010

Steering the Project: Beth Derks and Wietske Hendriksen

Steering the Project: Beth Derks and Wietske Hendriksen

A PROJECT mentoring gifted and talented students is being rolled out in six schools across Waveney.

More than £70,000 is being injected into the area through a grant from the Department for Children, Schools and Families to help students raise their aspirations in maths and science through six innovative modules.

A PROJECT mentoring gifted and talented students is being rolled out in six schools across Waveney.

More than £70,000 is being injected into the area through a grant from the Department for Children, Schools and Families to help students raise their aspirations in maths and science through six innovative modules.

Over the next two years, pupils in years seven and eight from Gisleham Middle School, Beccles Middle, Bungay Middle, Halesworth Middle, Worlingham Middle and St Felix School, Southwold, will be given the chance to work together in a move designed to show the benefits of both subjects and future opportunities available. The project, being hosted by the Waveney Community Forum, is headed up by Beth Derks, who wrote the concept, and Wietske Hendriksen, project co-ordinator, who is helping her to implement it.

Each school has a gifted and talented pupil co-ordinator, but Beth and Wietske have attracted volunteer mentors who are willing to give their time up to help students achieve their potential.

Beth said: “My son goes to Halesworth Middle School and I was told they didn't have anything in place for gifted and talented pupils. Working with the Waveney Comm-unity Forum, I get to hear of all the funding alerts and this money became available. I came up with a plan, then we applied for the money.

“The main objective is looking at how science and maths can be used in all aspects of life and to give an insight into local opportunities for cross-curricular activities. Each project will be different and pupils with different skills will be involved in different areas.”

And Wietske explained: “It builds links between state and private schools and the Department for Children, Schools and Families asks that there is at least one private school in the partnership.”

The first module is about gaining an insight into how science and maths is applied in the workplace.

Gifted and talented pupils in ICT and English were among those chosen to work on it, knowing best how to operate filming equipment and use interview techniques.

This week they recorded interviews with professionals from M&H Plastics and Tobar at Beccles, Africa Alive! at Kessingland, the James Paget University Hospital, Adnams and Hopkins Homes at Southwold, and Cefas at Pakefield, but before they could do so they met at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, for an all- day training session.

Pupils will present their findings to each other in the form of a film during a careers fair at Halesworth Middle School on November 22.

Other modules during the project will include strategic thinking, where pupils will take part in activities to apply this ability to other areas of their learning.

This will include teamwork and problem-solving at the University of East Anglia, as well as an opportunity to produce a natural skincare product in the school of pharmacy.

They will also focus on science and sport and how to measure the body's biochemistry and energy consumption, learning skills in collecting data, handling it and the best way to communicate it.

This project will set up a link with Loughborough University and the Sports Council.

The initiative is among 23 similar projects nationwide.

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