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“You’re So Smart, You’ll Be Fine”: The Trap Of Being Labelled “Gifted And Talented” As A Child

When I was around nine years old, I returned to my room after a chat with my parents expecting to be able to make objects move with my mind. Yes, like Matilda.

I had just been told I was “gifted and talented”, so like any young imaginative child with an obsession with all things Dahl, I of course believed this meant my powers – which I knew I always had – were about to kick in. Once I stopped trying to control the weather and actually read the letter we were sent, I would learn that I was in fact gifted in English and talented in Drama.

The government scheme was created in 2002 and aimed to advance the educational development of students, with the ability or potential to develop significantly ahead of their peers. To my dismay, aside from the power of words, I remained a mere mortal. Still, a certain type of power was forged that day: my special ability to coast. A reality had been created where with little effort on my part, I excelled. And this reality wouldn’t be shattered until nearly a decade later.