An Acronym Too Far

Is it me or has someone at DfES Towers gone bonkers?  Do we really need another term to describe or otherwise pigeon-hole children.  This time it appears to be an effort to redress the balance over the labelling of children as either “Gifted & Talented” or “Special Educational Needs”.

The DfES publication “Gifted & Talented Education.  Guidance on preventing underachievement: a focus on Dual or multiple exceptionality (DME)” introduces us to the concept of an SEN pupil who might actually have other talents!  Well, thank goodness, for a moment I thought that a label was a prerequisite in today’s educational climate.

I recognise that there are differing schools of thought.  Some believe that labels enable us to tailor educational provison more exactly.  Others feel that labels are too restrictive and prevent children from maximising their potential, they are merely shoe-horned into a “type” by seemingly well-meaning educational psychologists.

However I do feel that far too much emphasis is placed upon a reductionist approach to the process of teaching and learning.  Sure, catogorising individuals based in their cognitive ability would enable better provision of personalised learning.  But an over reliance leads to a person’s full range of talents being unexplored.  So do we need to know what DME is?  Or ought we already know that any one child has an array of gifts and talents that we as teachers must recognise and allow to flourish.


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