"Gifted students learn more rapidly, retain information more effectively, and require less repetition of instruction, and the teacher of a class of gifted students can respond to this both in teaching and lesson planning." (MiracaGross, GERRIC, 2004)
The Pathways for Accelerated Learners program runs parallel to the mainstream learning program.
It is an inclusive program in which teachers aim to foster advanced academic skills and processes, while challenging students at an appropriate level that is sensitive to their needs.
- students are able to cover core learning from the Australian Curriculum at a faster pace, with less repetition and with the provision to compact the curriculum as appropriate
- students are able to engage in more abstract, complex and in-depth content within subject areas, with opportunities to participate in a range of authentic problem-solving activities requiring higher order thinking
- curriculum differentiation for gifted and talented students will include enrichment and extension activities
- students are able and to learn and practise advanced research skills
- students are provided with the opportunity to work independently
- students are provided with the opportunity where applicable to work with a subject or social mentor
- students are provided with the opportunity to develop the skills to be socially and psychologically adaptable, reflecting a sense of responsibility to themselves and to society
At Curtin Primary School, all Kindergarten students are tested in Term 3 for possible entry to a year 1 PALS class. Their literacy and numeracy ability and attitude to challenging learning tasks is also considered. Discussion is then held between the Gifted and Talented coordinator, Executive and Kindergarten teacher prior to consultation with parents.
Students are tested using an internationally recognised school ability test. Those students, who score in the upper stanines, are offered a place in a PALS class for the following year. Following consultation with teachers and parents, some students identified as gifted may remain in a mainstream class. They are able to enter a PALS class in a later year if recommended by their teacher or requested by parents following the same consultation process.
Students new to Curtin Primary School are tested as appropriate throughout the school year or at the specific request of their parents or teacher. Standardised test results such as NAPLAN and ICAS can be used to determine the right classroom setting for individual students. School reports and work samples are also used to develop a profile for gifted and talented students. Confidential psychologists' reports may also be used to place gifted students in PALS classes.
The school has a P-6 Gifted and Talented coordinator, with post-graduate qualifications in gifted and talented education, who consults regularly with the Principal and Executive to oversee the program. The coordinator also teaches a PALS class. The PALS teachers meet regularly to review the program and the Student Support committee monitors the needs of individual students as required.