Generation Gifted: What does it take for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed?

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Generation Gifted: What does it take for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed?

Post by Didge on Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:02 am

Almost two years ago, Edmund Coulthard decided something ought to be done about social mobility in this country. The creative director of TV production company Blast! Films, Coulthard was reading endless news reports that all seemed to tell the same story: fewer and fewer British teenagers were choosing to go on to university, and the gap in opportunities between children from poor and well-off backgrounds was growing by the year. Social mobility had stalled.

“More than ever, it seemed like Britain was, and is, becoming a place where a child’s talent or ambition is secondary to their parents and postcode in enabling success,” the 57-year-old says. “We thought about why that is, and how we could make a programme that would really understand the obstacles in front of them.”

The result is Generation Gifted, a landmark six-part documentary series beginning tomorrow on BBC Two. In it, Coulthard’s team follows the progress of six highly talented children from desperately low income families (episode one the girls, episode two the boys) in some of the poorest parts of Britain, as they try and navigate what’s often thought of as the most crucial school years: from Year 9 to the end of Year 11.

It is an extraordinarily ambitious project, inspired by the pioneering 1994 documentary , which followed two African-American high school students in Chicago for five years as they attempted to become professional basketball players.

Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

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