AMBITIOUS plans to maximise the achievement of gifted and talented youngsters across the country were unveiled by the Government using the borough's university as a backdrop.
Lord Andrew Adonis, the minister for schools and learn-ers, was at Brunel University in Cleveland Road, Uxbridge, last Friday to appeal to primary and secondary schools in England and Wales to aid the development of gifted pupils, many of whom, it is feared, are going unnoticed.
He was addressing a conference at the Able Children's Education Centre, which runs the Urban Scholars Programme.
For the last eight years, Brunel has had a unique 'intervention programme' aimed at supporting bright young people aged 12-16 to enhance their academic development.
The scholars are selected by nine different local authorities across London and attend a series of Saturday and school holiday sessions at Brunel.
This programme is something Lord Adonis wants to see extended throughout the country, with greater links between universities and secondary schools.
He said: "The school system at large must feel closer to the university system. Brunel has played a strong role in this already.
"A child whose confidence or interest in education is destroyed when they are young risks having them destroyed for life.
"Primary schools especially must ensure they have a proper programme for gifted and talented children.
"We are sending 20,000 of the best teachers to work in our most disadvantaged schools, with a dedicated support team behind them. This way, all pupils will have access to the gifted and talented programme.
"Teachers should be actively identifying the most promising students - regardless of back-ground - and nurturing their talents, whether they be academic, artistic or sporting"
The Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown, also spoke at the conference.
She is a patron of education charity Shine, which sponsors Brunel's Urban Scholars Programme.