“This program allows teachers to focus on the importance of differentiation and better cater for our gifted students in Catholic schools. It will continue to support our students and their families into the future on their educational journey, as we recognise students’ potential and foster their talents.”
Gifted Education has been implemented as a new strategy across several of our schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. The purpose of gifted education is to identify “giftedness” in students and to provide appropriate educational programs and interventions to enable development of “talent” to achieve potential.
In 2016, the Catholic Schools Office identified a need to review and enhance its policies in relation to the field of gifted education to ensure the needs of high-ability students were being met in accordance with the CSO Vision Statement, At the heart of everything there is always Jesus Christ. The system’s new gifted education policies and procedures have been designed to fulfill this requirement.
The key components of the Gifted Education K-12 policy and strategy are:
- Leadership commitment
- Identification and use of data
- Capacity building of staff
- Targeted strategies for gifted pedagogy
- School-wide and cluster approach to gifted education.
The roll-out of the gifted education initiative began in 2017 with nominated secondary and associated primary schools forming clusters as Gifted Education Lead Schools (GELS). These schools trialled and are continuing to trial identification processes and appropriate educational interventions to then share their experiences and outcomes with other schools across the system. Within these nominated schools, Gifted Education Mentors (GEMs) support gifted learners and teachers and gifted education committees lead the identification process and support teachers in providing appropriate strategies to assist students.
The new approach provides an appropriately resourced model for best practice professional development for teachers and for monitoring and evaluation based on student data relating ability and achievement.
Gifted Education is an exciting new chapter for the lives of many students in our schools and we look forward to working with all the schools in the diocese during this exciting new era of learning.
The Catholic Schools Office is offering teachers a range of professional learning scholarships in Gifted Education for the next five years including up to five scholarships at Masters level and up to five scholarships at Graduate Certificate level through the University of New South Wales. Up to 50% of course fees will be reimbursed to scholarship recipients - subject to satisfactory completion of each unit. Both courses can be completed through online or blended learning and via intensive courses during school holidays.