Worried that gifted students languish without help

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Craig Petersen, head of the Council of High School Principals, called the high potential and gifted education policy excellent, but said schools needed support and expertise to ensure it was implemented well enough to bring about cultural change in an area that had long been overlooked.

“Technically, the support is still there, but not in a way that is useful to schools,” he said. “It should be a priority for the ministry to maintain the quality and efficiency of the implementation of what is a really strong policy.

“Research indicates that we screen between 10 and 20 percent of our students who are not being adequately cared for because they are not children in the OC class (opportunity class) or who are passing the exam. selective entry to high school. At the lower end of that range, we have 100,000 students in our school who will benefit from the implementation of this policy. We are really upset about this.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education said: “Finding and supporting gifted students remains a priority for the department. The High Potential and Gifted Education team has never been a stand-alone unit.

One of the signatories to the letter was Dr Geraldine Townend, an expert in gifted education at the University of NSW. She said the group disbanded before all schools had a chance to access its training and that the boards suggested gifted education was no longer a priority for the department.

“Schools embraced it and got that support and specialists they could lean on,” she said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen now that it’s gone.”

AAEGT President Melinda Gindy said she had been contacted by distraught parents that they would no longer have a point of contact to help them work with the school to raise their children. “I am concerned that this illogical decision will simply lead to a repeat of the futile results of previous gifted policies,” she said.

The department spokesperson said the advisory group had advised the HPGE team to develop a revised policy and teacher training on how to identify and support students. “Their role was not to provide direct support to schools,” he said.

“They’ve created great policy and professional learning that is delivered by the ministry’s program teams. It will continue.

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