Supporting parents, supporting public schools

Gifted and talented education

In accordance with WACSSO Policy 5.6 ‘Education for Gifted and Talented students’, the State Government should provide resources and opportunities to stretch all students, including those who are gifted and/or talented. Furthermore, the school curriculum, classroom programs and, where necessary, targeted strategies should enable outstanding abilities to emerge and be identified, at any age, and for all students.

It’s important to recognise that students with exceptional ability are individuals, with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. A student may be considered exceptional in some areas, but may require additional support in others. It’s important to recognise that students may require support with behavioural, social, physical/sensory or specific learning difficulties. Direct intervention is particularly critical for these students because giftedness may only emerge when the appropriate opportunities are provided. All opportunities must be seized to enrich student learning in order to stop underachievement amongst the most able students.

Gifted and Talented programs are offered at 17 select government secondary schools, where teachers with specialist knowledge are employed to develop student talents and help them reach their full potential. Places are limited in these programs because they offer rich learning environments that are challenging and stimulating, resulting in strong demand and competitive entry. Therefore, the State Government needs to ensure parity between opportunities offered to students at selective schools and opportunities offered to students with exceptional ability throughout the government school system, ensuring that all are nurtured and challenged.

Position

WACSSO supports a targeted focus of identifying and catering for students with exceptional ability and ensuring that their learning needs are met. The government school sector must ensure that:

  • extracurricular programs for students with exceptional ability are readily accessible;
  • specialist provisions and extension are integrated into daily class time;
  • where extracurricular programs are offered, this must not be the sole extent of support for students with exceptional ability; and
  • schools are properly equipped, and teachers are supported and resourced to develop all students across the full educational spectrum.

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