A strong gifted education program can provide a range of opportunities for students whose natural abilities place them in the top 10 per cent of their peer group.

With so much information available in the gifted education space, identifying a gifted child can be challenging, and knowing how to support them can be even more difficult.

Here are guidelines to help you identify if a gifted education program is suitable for your child.

Is your child curious, creative, extremely focused on an area of interest?

Do they learn new ideas or skills quickly and easily, display a good memory, or enjoy thinking in complex ways?

If any of these qualities sound familiar to you, you may have a gifted or high-ability child on your hands.

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) Manager: Curriculum and Innovation, Jacinta Russo explains that while there is no single measure of giftedness, it is common for gifted students to demonstrate reasoning abilities beyond their age.

“Signs of giftedness could include demonstrating advanced speech, reading, mathematical ability, advanced humour or logical reasoning ability at an early age,” said Ms Russo.

“A gifted child might show an ability to retain and recall detailed information, to think critically or philosophically well before their peers.” – Jacinta Russo

Various assessments can provide schools with additional information to consider alongside certain behaviours you might have observed in your child, helping in the recognition of gifted students.

Identification, differentiation, and extensive support

A high-quality gifted education program will accurately find your child’s strengths and adjust learning to develop their talents, as well as provide support in areas where they may need help.

A strong gifted education program supports both the academic and social and emotional aspects of giftedness,” said Ms Russo.

This includes students considered ‘twice exceptional’ – that is, gifted students who also have a learning or developmental disability.

“For students suspected of having a second exceptionality, professional assessments are sought to ensure a full understanding of the student.”

Supporting the gifted child

In 2011, SCS started its Newman Selective Gifted Education Program to make sure balanced opportunities were available for gifted learners in both Catholic primary and secondary schools.

Supporting students from Kindergarten to Year 12, Newman schools provide high-quality professional learning for staff and a thorough program for gifted learners within a nurturing Catholic environment.

SCS embraces Francoys Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent, recognising abilities in intellectual, creative, social, and physical areas. 

The Sydney Catholic Schools gifted education framework is integrated into a three-year review process for schools. This ensures that schools are using research to develop programs for gifted learners in various academic and creative fields.

In our commitment to excellence, many Newman class teachers pursue foundational or postgraduate qualifications in gifted education.

Teachers are encouraged to share ideas, resources and opportunities throughout our vast system of schools, and can offer a learning journey from primary to secondary school, ensuring your child’s education continues to progress.

We recognise that gifted students have specialised needs and require a customised approach to learning that goes beyond the traditional classroom for them to excel and grow.

While there is a focus on supporting gifted students in the academic space, SCS also provides opportunities in art, music, drama and dance, giving each student the chance to foster their unique abilities.

Gifted Education is supported through high-quality professional learning for staff throughout all 147 Sydney Catholic Schools. Schools within the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provide an authentic, rigorous gifted education program which nurtures the unique abilities and interests of gifted learners.

An emphasis on excellence in all areas of education – from academic to vocational, sport and the arts – helps Sydney Catholic Schools nurture the potential of all students in their 147-strong network of primary and secondary schools.

Click here to find your nearest Catholic school.