Highly able children

One of Mensa’s core aims is to ‘identify and foster human intelligence’. With that in mind, the board of British Mensa appointed a Gifted Child Consultant and established the Mensa Gifted and Talented Support Programmes, to assist educators in their work with highly able young people and to support young members and their families.

British Mensa has about 2,000 members under the age of 18. They are full members of the society, and are offered the same range of benefits as adult members –  magazines and newsletters, Special Interest Groups and social events. They are encouraged to join their own group – Junior & Teen – and take part in Family Mensa events arranged across the country.

In addition, our Gifted Child Consultant Lyn Kendall works with Mensa to create support programmes and events for people living and working with gifted children.

To watch the ITV Central News series Bright Sparks, which examined some of the issues around being and bringing up gifted children, click here.2,

Ways to identify highly able children

A highly able or ‘gifted’ child is normally identified as having a cognitive ability or IQ in the top 5% of the population. They may display some or many of the following behaviours:

Mensa Youth Membership

To qualify for membership of Mensa, children aged over 10 and a half can sit our Supervised IQ test. Younger children need to be assessed by an educational psychologist to find out their IQ score, which can then be submitted via a Prior Evidence application.

Support for highly able children

Our Gifted Child Consultant, Lyn Kendall, works with Mensa to create support programmes and events for people living and working with highly able children. Her services include conducting one-to-one consultations, running workshops and summer schools for gifted children, and creating teaching materials for Gifted and Talented Coordinators. She has advised the DfE and local education authorities on their policies and has long worked with gifted children organisations.

Lyn, who is also a member of Mensa, has over 40 years’ experience working with children of all ages and intellects, focusing mainly on the fields of Special Educational Needs and Gifted and Talented Education. She holds a master’s degree in Special Needs and Inclusion, and is a qualified psychologist, a member of the British Psychological Society and a CBT practitioner.

Lyn provides advice and support for parents and professionals alike, as well as undertaking media work for programmes like Victoria Derbyshire and This Morning. She appeared regularly on Channel 4’s hit TV show Child Genius, where she collaborated with the production team behind the scenes as well as being a panellist.

Potential Plus UK

We work very closely with Potential Plus UK to represent the interests of children with high learning potential and to advocate for them on a wider stage.

The parents and carers of our members aged 18 and under are also eligible for free associate membership of Potential Plus, giving them access to an even wider range of events and resources. For more information, visit: www.potentialplusuk.org

Helping teenagers to aim high

Every year, we host the Young Mensans’ Future Paths conference, which aims to demystify the process of applying to and studying at Oxford or Cambridge universities. As well as the chance to talk directly to admissions tutors from both universities, the event includes inspirational speakers and the chance to look round one of the historic colleges.