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Child Genius back on our screens

Mon, 14/07/2014
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Some of Britain’s most extraordinary children will be putting their brainpower to the test in the second series of Channel 4’s Child Genius, starting on Sunday, July 20.

Mensa, the high IQ society, has worked with production company Wall to Wall on the programme, which will see the youngsters compete against each other in a mind-boggling array of mental agility challenges.

The winner of the first season was world under-12 Scrabble champion Shrinidhi Prakash, from Orpington, Kent.

Mensa’s gifted child consultant, Lyn Kendall, is an expert adviser for the programme and said she was looking forward to the new series.

She said: “It’s really exciting – gifted children are a passion for me. I feel that this series still focuses on the intellectual but it’s got a lot more humour in it.”

The children taking part in the competition come from all very differing backgrounds and Lyn said it was interesting to see how they approached the various tasks.

But she said the best thing was seeing children who were often isolated “square pegs” in school, enjoying the company of children with the same experiences and outlook.

She said: “They are lovely children. At the start several of the parents said their children struggled to make friends, and they were sometimes isolated – but put those children together with other very bright kids and they are soon racing around being “normal”.

“That’s the thing about Mensa, for adults as well – the ability to mix with other people on the same wavelength.

Many of the children from the last series have kept in touch with each other.”

The programme not only sets the youngsters a series of competitive challenges but it follows their lives outside of the competition, looking at the different parenting styles and techniques used and the challenges raising a gifted child might bring.

In many countries academic competitions such as spelling bees are highly prized, but in the UK, being clever isn’t seen as cool.

Lyn, a gifted and talented specialist teacher, said one of the best things about the first series of Child Genius was that it had helped make other children see being clever as a good thing.

She said: “It’s really nice because it showcases bright children. One of the things that came out of the last series was that it was starting to be cool to be bright.

“Children were coming up to me at school and saying “Those kids are amazing!” and “I wish I could do maths like that.”

“It’s raising aspirations for all children, and if that is what comes out of this then that’s brilliant.”

Child Genius starts on C4 on Sunday July 20 at 9pm.