Because school attendance is compulsory, a school generally must support every child in their individual development from their initial situation and prevent or counteract interferences.
Thanks to the European Social Inclusion Policy, as well as the education act and guidelines for the awarding of quality seals for giftedness schools, many German states have established extensive rights for gifted people and the duties of schools. This may even entail continuous, individual support plans, extracurricular support organized by the school etc.
As an example, I will share with you the education act of and support guidelines of the state Hesse:
(6) ¹Schhool is to be arranged in such a way that shared education and learning of all students can be realized to its highest capacity and so that any student is adequately supported in their physical, social and emotional as well as cognitive development under consideration of their individual initial situation.
²It is upon the school to counteract impending failure of performance and other impairments of learning, language as well as physical, social and emotional development with preventive measures.
(7) Gifted students must be supported in their development through counseling and additional, educational offers.
Support Guidelines of Hesse:
Schools that seek to receive the quality seal must fulfill the following conditions:
- They have developed a support plan for the support of giftedness, including respective evaluation tools. Supporting gifted students is part of the school’s curriculum.
- They are able to identify gifted students (if need be, with the support of school psychologists or the counseling center BRAIN) with expertise (e.g. differentiate between gifted high performers, gifted underperformers, nondescript gifted students).
- They create individual support plans that include extracurricular measures for all existing forms of intellectual giftedness and performance abilities and revise as well as continue them on a regular basis.
- They offer professional counseling for parents.
- They collaborate with competent, extra-mural institutes on giftedness (school psychologists, BRAIN, counseling centers, universities, academies for children and teens etc.) and possibly create regional networks together with other schools.
- School staff receives regular training on giftedness support and makes use of various methods to expertly support giftedness.
- All measures are evaluated systematically (if needed with the help of school psychologists) at the end of the year. The results are documented and transferred into statistics (e.g. number of students who skipped a grade, or participated in classes of a higher grade/ school branch/ significant extra-curricular activities, or took more than one intense class; number of project teams in which gifted students are supported; success at competitions, finals, comparative exams, special learning performances, social engagement etc.)
© Frauke Niehues