The 2018-2021 Department of Education Strategic Plan identifies access, participation and engagement as a major goal. To enable schools to provide appropriate differentiated learning opportunities and make adjustments for their gifted and highly able students, the Department provides procedures and resources for schools, information for parents, extended learning opportunities for students and professional learning support for educators. These resources ensure gifted and highly able learners are challenged, inspired and successful in all aspects of their school lives.
Our key support areas
Support for gifted and highly able students is provided across the following key areas:
Supporting gifted pre-school children
From birth, some children consistently show behaviours that indicate they are progressing more rapidly than usual, in one or more areas of development.
Parents are often the first to notice that their child is developing differently to other children. Research shows that parents are the most reliable source of information about their child’s development, their interests, and the way that they learn. Parents have a critical role to play as their child’s first educator.
Information for parents of such young children is provided in the document called Supporting Gifted Pre-school Children.
Early entry to School
Early entry to school is a provision made for children who have been formally identified as being gifted. Under the Ministerial Instruction No 15 Early Entry to School, those children may begin school at a younger age than usual. All applications for early entry to school are assessed by the Early Entry to School Cross Sectoral Placement Committee.
Parents interested in finding out more about giftedness in young children and what early entry to school means for them, should read the document called Early Entry to Kindergarten Frequently Asked Questions.
Details about the process of applying for early entry to Kindergarten on the basis of being gifted are outlined in the document called Early Entry to school for Children who are Gifted Cross Sectoral Guidelines.
If parents are thinking of applying for early entry to Kindergarten for their child, they should contact the principal of their local school. This should be done early in the year before enrolment is desired, wherever possible.
Parents need to complete the Early School Entry for Gifted Students application form (PDF) Early School Entry for Gifted Students application form (Word). The form should be lodged with the school by the end of August (mid Term 3), in the year before enrolment is desired, to allow time for assessment of the application. As part of the process, a registered psychologist must do an assessment of the child to determine their level of cognitive development.
Psychologists who assess children for early entry to Kindergarten are encouraged to use the preferred testing instrument: the Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition, Australian Standardised Edition (WPPSI IV Australian)(PDF) the Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition, Australian Standardised Edition (WPPSI IV Australian)(Word).
All applications for Early School Entry are to be emailed to: Gifted.Highlyable@education.tas.gov.au
Extended learning opportunities for students
The Department provides a range of online learning programs to meet the needs of gifted and highly able students in schools state-wide. The programs are collectively known as the Gifted Online programs and they provide online extension and enrichment across a wide range of learning areas. Students from Prep to Year 10 are selected by their school to participate in the programs.
Gifted Online programs are facilitated by teachers who are very experienced in extending and enriching learning for gifted and talented students. Students are able to connect and learn with other gifted and highly able students from around Tasmania through the Gifted Online programs.
The Department of Education also supports a range of competitions for students including; the Young Archies Awards for portrait painting, the Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize for history and the What Matters Tasmania writing competition.
The Young Archies Awards are modelled on the famous Archibald Prize for portrait painting. Awards are presented in year level categories, (for Government school students from Kindergarten to year 12) for the best portrait of a man, woman or child, created by a student in a Tasmanian Government school or college.
What Matters Tasmania is a writing competition for students in government schools from years 5 to 12. It provides an opportunity for them to write (and have published) an opinion essay about what matters to them in society today; what they would change if they could and the action they believe should be taken to build a better society.
The Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize is a history competition for year nine students in all schools that helps promote and preserve the meaning of the ANZAC spirit in the Tasmanian community. Students respond to a selection of questions with an essay or audio-visual presentation.
Prize winners have the opportunity to study Australia’s participation in the Great War by taking a study tour to visit significant World War I landmarks and battlefields on the Western Front in Europe.
Further details about all competitions are available on the Awards and scholarships for students page.
To ensure gifted students have access to engaging learning experiences the Department has a clearly defined procedure to enable subject and year level acceleration. Acceleration of Gifted Students Procedures allows gifted students access to learning at a more rapid pace based on their readiness and motivation. Enquiries and more information about acceleration should be directed to the school principal.
Extended Learning Procedures
The needs of gifted and highly able students varies depending on their individual profile, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Extended Learning for Gifted Students Procedures outlines many options and flexible provisions available for students and schools. Enquiries and more information about extended learning opportunities should be directed to the school principal.
Professional learning for educators
School leaders, teachers and psychologists in Government schools who are working with gifted and highly able students have access to professional learning and a collaborative online community called ‘Support for Extended Learning’.
The community provides ongoing professional learning through events and expert guest speakers; online dialogue; as well as access to information, research, resources and practical strategies relating to the learning, social and emotional needs of gifted and talented students.
To join the online community, contact Inclusion and Diversity Services, the Manager Gifted and Highly Able (details below).
A professional learning program for classroom teachers called Gifted Insight, is available through the Professional Learning Institute. It is also available to teachers at any time of the year through blended delivery (a mix of online and face to face) by arrangement with the Manager Gifted and Highly Able (details below).
Enquiries about provisions made for the education of gifted and highly able students in Tasmanian Government schools can be directed to Inclusion and Diversity Services at this email address: Gifted.Highlyable@education.tas.gov.au
Support for parents of gifted children
The Tasmanian Association for the Gifted (TAG) provides resources, support and regular activities for parents of gifted children.