A global award in gifted education has been awarded to Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) for the systemic Identification and selection process of our gifted students. 

On 1 March 2023, SCS’ Bernadette Bentley and Nicole Shepherd attended the World Giftedness Centre Awards in Dubai to accept the ‘School Global Award Initiative of Gifted Education’ for Distinguished Academic Performance.

The award is the initiative of the World Giftedness Centre in recognition of the continuous efforts of the Hamdan Foundation to encourage and support best practices in gifted education. 

“SCS winning this award recognises the distinguished contribution of the Systemic Gifted Identification and Selection Process in serving gifted education and talent development at an international level,” said Education Officer, Bernadette Bentley.

Nicole Shephard and Bernadette Bentley at World Giftedness Centre in Dubai accepting award in gifted education

SCS’ Nicole Shepherd and Bernadette Bentley at the World Giftedness Centre in Dubai

“It has been a privilege to accept the award on behalf of Sydney Catholic Schools, my colleagues, and all of the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program schools,” she said.

The inaugural award affirms the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program and its Gifted Identification and Selection Process for gifted students, as one of the only system-wide gifted programs in the world.

The Gifted Identification and Selection Process is a research-based and contemporary best practice for identifying gifted students using objective and subjective data including the Higher Ability Selection Test.

“This award recognises the exceptional work of our education and research team and all of our Newman accredited schools.We are proud of their commitment to our students to ensure they achieve learning growth, to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.” Tony Farley, Executive Director, Sydney Catholic Schools.

This award helps to facilitate sharing of best practices in gifted education around the world and contributes importantly to the development of research in this emerging field.

“Winning the award acknowledges the Identification and Selection process as best practice internationally, which is now embedded into the identification process throughout the Sydney Catholic Schools Diocese,” said Kate O’Brien, Director of Education and Research.


Sydney Catholic Schools offers the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program to ensure educational equity for gifted learners for gifted students in music, drama, dance and visual arts, and our vocational education offerings.

The program supports all gifted students, including twice exceptional, Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and underachievers.

Newman primary and secondary schools provide high-quality professional learning for staff and an authentically rigorous program for gifted learners within a nurturing Catholic environment.

If you are interested in nominating your child for this gifted program, please visit the Newman Selective Gifted Education website link.