Despite their innate talent, gifted children from underprivileged backgrounds find it harder than most to achieve their full potential.
A heartbreaking BBC documentary is following a group of incredibly bright youngsters from low-income families as they struggle to fulfil their dreams.
In the new series of Growing Up Gifted, starting tonight, gifted teenage boys Kian, Jamarley and Liam are shown for the final time on their emotional journey to defy the odds and get into further education.
The show explores the youths’ tough backgrounds and family lives, as they work to get the GSCE grades they need to progress.
Kian, from Hartlepool, Co Durham, wants to be a theoretical physicist, and hopes to go to East Durham College.
He is encouraged to do his best by his father, who said: “I ended up in a low-paid factory job.
“It ain’t fun going to a factory week in, week out, doing shift work you don’t like. It saps you. I’m giving you this knowledge. I screwed up. Don’t do what I did.”
Liam, from Newcastle, wants to be a doctor. His single mum works on a checkout and struggles to make ends meet. Liam says: “I want a life where I feel more financially stable.”
But he is disappointed when he fails to get his predicted grades in his mocks.
Liam admits: “Most of the time, I don’t see how I’ve been able to be successful or be as good as people say I am.
“They say I’m smart and talented but I’ve never really been able to see it in myself.”
His head teacher, Gordon Hart, agrees, saying: “Students from these kind of backgrounds find it very difficult to realise their potential.”
Jamarley, from Harlesden, North West London, is a talented musician.
He already has top marks in his music GCSE but needs to get the rest of his grades for a place at music college. He tries to work hard despite the knife crime in his area.
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After his dad was deported back to Jamaica three years ago, he dreams of getting his mum and younger brother to a safer place. “I want to leave Harlesden.
“My mum has sacrificed a lot. Her love, that’s what’s carried me.”
When the exam results come in, there is good news, with one teacher saying: “To pull off the results he has, when life hasn’t been a fairytale, is amazing really.”
Viewers first met the boys three years ago when they were aged 13. All three have since gone on to further education.
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