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CTY Ireland is the only dedicated Centre in the country serving the needs of young people with high academic ability. The Centre provides enrichment courses to help stimulate and challenge those students who fall into the top 5th percentile. (The Centre also provides courses for bright and motivated students).
Based in DCU, over 35,000 students have accessed CTYI courses since its establishment in 1992.
Colm O’Reilly is Director at the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland.
When people think of high academic ability, they immediately think of a prodigy like Mozart, or Einstein, Picasso or Bill Gates. While these people quite obviously had high ability, they are certainly the exception rather than the rule.
At CTYI we are looking for students whose verbal or numerical ability places them in the 95th percentile. Some students may have high ability in both areas, which is great too, but the vast majority of students will be stronger in one area. Some students too are strong in one area and very weak in the other – this is fine too.
The courses at CTYI allow students to learn at a level that is more appropriate to their academic ability. All students need to be challenged, and gifted children are no different, just that their level is much higher than what you might expect. It is important for them to access a learning environment that is motivating and challenging, so that they can learn the tools of scholarship. In less challenging environments, students can’t learn about the need to devote time and study to their learning, because everything comes easily to them. They can quickly, and erroneously, learn that everything should come to them with ease. Then, when faced with a problem that they can’t figure out, they don’t have the necessary skill-set to derive a solution.
CTYI courses for high ability students have many benefits. Firstly they bring like-minded, equally able young people together. This has a hugely positive and grounding effect, in that the students learn that they may not be the smartest in the class, and that there are others out there that are better than they are. While initially their confidence can take a knock, it levels out as they begin to perceive a more realistic sense of themselves and their abilities. They can see the extent of their capabilities, very often for the first time, as the glass ceiling on their learning is smashed and they begin to see more clearly their strengths and weaknesses.
CTYI gives students greater focus and motivation. Time and time again, students return to school with a greater sense of what they are interested in and know what they need to do to achieve their academic goals.
Most importantly, CTYI is a place where they get to meet with like-minded students, who are interested in the same things they are. If you are eight years old, and have an interest in astronomy, you may find it difficult to find a friend who shares that interest in your class or even your school. Coming to courses at CTYI, they will meet other children who share their passions in an environment that is secure and encouraging. CTYI opens up a whole new world of subjects, providing students with the opportunity to hone their skills in what they love and maybe find new topics to captivate their interest.
Anyone wishing to become a student at CTYI must first be aged between 6 and 16 years. The first step requires them to demonstrate their ability to us. This can be done either through an assessment at CTYI or by submitting an educational psychologist’s report for review.
Please follow the links below for more information on our testing approaches:
If you would like to take an assessment, please click on the relevant link;
If you have already been assessed by an educational psychologist, please forward us a copy of the report, along with a completed application form and fee to CTY Ireland, Dublin City University, Dublin 9.
Please follow the links below to access more information and discussion on high academic ability.
Parents and Teachers Advocacy Website
An Online Survival Guide for Parents & Teachers of Gifted Children in Ireland
Giftedkids.ie also host regular webinars on issues relating to raising and the education of academically talented children. Please refer to their website Giftedkids Webinarsfor more details.
The November 2010 webinar was presented by Dr. Colm O'Reilly and Catriona Fitzgerald of CTY Ireland, who tackled the issue of Social and Emotional Sensitivities.