About the policy

The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy (HPGE) was announced by the Minister for Education on 4 June 2019. Implementation of the policy across the state is supported by an integrated professional learning program.

The policy will be operating in all public schools in NSW from the 27 January 2021, aligning with the new four-year school planning cycle. Schools do not need to create their own school 'policy' for high potential and gifted students.


The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy applies to all NSW public schools, teachers, and students. It describes a framework to develop the talent of high potential and gifted students. The policy provides advice to implement effective learning and teaching practices.

The policy promotes engagement and challenge for every student in every school across intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains of potential, while explicitly identifying and addressing the learning needs of high potential and gifted students.

Fundamental to the policy are issues of equity and excellence. High potential and gifted students have advanced learning capacity compared to same-age students and, as a result, require talent development opportunities and differentiated teaching and learning practices to ensure their specific learning needs are met.

High potential students are found among students of all backgrounds. Gaps in achievement, known as excellence gaps, may exist between different groups of high potential and gifted students unless specific support is provided. Such gaps further entrench inequality and disadvantage.

Rationale and development

The new policy replaces the 2004 Gifted and Talented Policy. It reflects recent research which indicates that high potential and gifted students will not develop their potential without additional support and differentiated learning experiences.

From February 2017, the policy development process included the undertaking of a literature review, an analysis of student achievement data, broad and comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders, and a deep respect for school leader and teacher professional judgement and wisdom.

How and why - High Potential Gifted Education Policy

Duration - 2:11

Video transcript

Since the NSW Department of Education released its 2004 Gifted and Talented Policy our understanding of what works best in teaching and learning has progressed.

The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy has been developed to optimise student growth, wellbeing and achievement across 4 domains of potential.

Advances in research and teaching practice have led to a better understanding of:

• talent development

• student achievement and under-achievement

• creating optimal learning environments

The Department has also responded to:

• renewed strategic directions

• a range of reforms

• new student achievement data

The Department conducted an extensive consultation process with a range of key stakeholders, and commissioned a new data analysis from CESE and reviewed the literature.

This policy is part of our core business, not an added extra. It is designed to meet the needs of a more diverse range of students and align with other departmental documents and policies which apply to our schools.

We will provide support to schools and teachers to implement the policy using 5 key actions through:

• our webpage

• and professional learning

Together let’s find the potential, develop the talent, and make the difference.

End of transcript.

Guiding principles

  • All students, regardless of background or personal circumstances, require access to learning programs that meet their learning needs and support to aspire to, and achieve, personal excellence.
  • Our commitment to high expectations for all students includes high potential and gifted students.
  • Achieving excellence for high potential and gifted students is underpinned by effective school environments including quality teaching, learning and leadership.
  • Potential exists along a continuum, where differing degrees of potential require differing approaches and levels of adjustment and intervention.

Guiding principles - High Potential and Gifted Education Policy

Duration - 5:09

Video transcript

Sue French - Strategic Project Officer, NSW Dept. Education:

The High Potential and Gifted Education policy is the new policy which will replace the 2004 Gifted Education Policy.

We've learned a great deal more about how students learn.
We've learned a great deal more about what teachers can do to support student learning and we've started to recognise that in every school in New South Wales there are students who will benefit from this new policy.

So the high potential and giftedness sits underneath the four domains that we're looking at.

Four domains of intellectual physical creative and social emotional.
Those four domains don't exist in isolation from each other.
They're highly influenced by each other.

But you will see students manifest primarily often in one or more of those domains.

What we're aiming for is to really raise expectations in our schools of students and of teachers.

But we're not just trying to do that in order to fulfill a test of some description.
What we're really trying to do is we're trying to build student's capabilities to serve them for the rest of their lives.

And that doesn't just serve them it serves everyone in their community.
So the policy applies for preschool to Year 12.

It does that because we know the earlier that we can intervene the better the student will perform in the end.

We're actually being explicitly inclusive of a whole range of students that we actually see reasonably under-represented at the moment and those students include students with disability. They include students from rural and remote locations.

They include students of Aboriginal background and students from migrant and refugee backgrounds. And students at risk.

In this policy what we really try to think about is what ability does the student have.

The teacher's role is to turn that ability into high performance and it's not good enough just to get an A.

And it's not good enough to get a band six.
It's about. So what's the next step? How do we get better? How do we go forward?

And in this policy we're really promoting that idea of teachers knowing these students well. Now I think many teachers already do not only knowing them by testing but through observation through conversations through samples of student work.

And it doesn't mean that you do more work. It means you do better work.
And I would think that you might be even do less work but it's better.
When we started to develop this new policy. We decided that they needed to be a few different elements to the work.

The first was that we wanted a literature review so that we could have a look at how the research had changed over the last 14 or 15 years and to have a look at how that could impact on the way we teach students in our schools.
The second part of it was to consult widely.

So we consulted peak bodies like the P&C federation.
Like New South Wales Teachers Federation the Secondary Principals Council, the Primary Principals Association.

What we were trying really to do was to bring together the research, the concerns of interested people. like parents, like academics and the professional knowledge and wisdom of teachers and educators. So we're trying to bring those aspects together within this policy because the stronger we build our young people, the stronger our communities will be.

End of transcript.


The policy draws on Françoys Gagné's definitions of giftedness and talent established in the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent DMGT 2.0 (2009). The definition of high potential students across intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains expands the group of targeted students of earlier policies.

What do we mean by high potential and gifted students?

Duration - 3:30

Video transcript

The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy applies to all NSW Department of Education school staff and teachers.

The department is committed to supporting all students to achieve their educational potential.

The policy recognises that high potential and gifted students require support to optimise their growth and achievement.

So what do we mean by high potential and gifted?

Professor Françoys Gagné suggests that potential exists along a continuum, where given optimal conditions, high potential can lead to high performance and achievement.

Gagné outlines that students may exhibit potential in one or more domains including intellectual, creative, social-emotional, and physical.

High potential and gifted students are found across diverse family, socio-economic, language, cultural backgrounds and different geographic locations.

So what's the difference between high potential and gifted, or even highly gifted students? Well?

High potential students are those whose potential exceeds that of students of the same age They may benefit from an enriched or extended curriculum and learning opportunities beyond the typical level of their age peers.

Gifted students are those whose potential significantly exceeds that of students of the same age. They typically develop talent and achieve mastery notably faster than their age peers.

Highly gifted students are those whose potential vastly exceeds that of their age peers. Highly gifted students may require specific and significant curriculum adjustments to meet their learning and wellbeing needs.

When teachers and school leaders recognise high potential, providing optimal learning conditions will make a difference in supporting the development of talent.

So let's...

find the potential

develop the talent

make the difference.

End of transcript.

Circular diagram with labels of high potential, gifted and highly gifted of gradually lighter colour and  increasingly smaller radi

Highly gifted and gifted students are sub-groups of high potential students.

Legislation and related policies

Education Act 1990 (NSW)

The Education Act 1990 (NSW) regulates the operation of and practice of all schools in NSW.

The provision of quality education in every NSW public school is a fundamental government responsibility through the NSW Department of Education. It is realised through:

  • policy implementation
  • educational leadership
  • support for schools and teachers.

The department’s strategic vision is that every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves each year and that every student is engaged and challenged to continue to learn.

Our system promotes and values the achievement of all students. High potential and gifted students with ability in intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains must be provided with the circumstances and resources to support talent development.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth) applies to all organisations and government departments.

The policy builds on existing provisions for students with disability in NSW schools by making clear the requirements for high potential and gifted students with disability, in that provision of education should not discriminate against students on the grounds of disability.

Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Commonwealth)

The policy implements the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Commonwealth) as they relate to high potential and gifted students with disability. NSW schools and teachers are expected to comply with the standards.

Seeking advice

For specific enquiries related to the policy, please contact the HPGE P-12 team at hpge@det.nsw.edu.au

P-6 contact numbers:

  • (02) 7814 2274
  • (02) 7814 2549
7-12 contact numbers:
  • (02) 7814 2683
  • (02) 7814 2872

Principals and teachers can seek advice from their Director, Educational Leadership and local School Services teams.

Parents, family, and community members can consult their child's teacher, school principal or their nominee.

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