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.
Duration - 2:11
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.
The following principles guided the development of the HPGE Policy:
- 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.
Gagné's adapted model
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. Gagné's model has been adapted for NSW Public schools.
According to Gagné, natural abilities are those which develop informally from birth through which potential is shown. Gagné's model describes these natural abilities as the building blocks used to systemically develop abilities in a given field of talent. Importantly, natural abilities develop over the whole course of a person's life, but probably more during a person's early years.
Natural abilities, or aptitudes should be understood as signs of high potential that forecast or predict the possibility for future high achievement in fields of talent. For high potential and gifted students, these abilities are more likely to manifest themselves in their younger years where limited systematic learning activities have begun to transform their ability into developed competencies or mastery.
What do we mean by high potential and gifted students?
Duration - 3:30
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.
find the potential
develop the talent
make the difference.
End of transcript.
Domains of potential
The domains of potential describe the four broad categories of natural abilities found in Françoys Gagné's adapted model of Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent DMGT 2.0 (2009). These definitions apply to all students, including high potential and gifted students.
The domains of potential may not be mutually exclusive and are highly influenced by one another.
Potential on a continuum
Potential exists along a continuum, where differing degrees of potential require differing approaches and levels of adjustment and intervention.
Gifted and highly 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 development and 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 optimise their 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.
The policy should be read in conjunction with:
Aboriginal Education Policy
Assisting Students with Learning Difficulties policy
Australian Professional Standard for Principals (AITSL)
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL)
Curriculum Planning and Programming, Assessing and Reporting to Parents K-12 policy
Leading and Managing the School policy
Mentoring Students Policy
Multicultural Education Policy
Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff
Psychological Tests Policy
School Excellence Framework
School Excellence Policy
Selective High School and Opportunity Class Placement Policy
Student Welfare Policy
Wellbeing framework for schools
Workplace Learning for Secondary Students in Government Schools policy
For specific enquiries related to High Potential and Gifted Education, please contact:
- (02) 7814 2274
Principals and teachers should seek advice from their Director, Educational Leadership and local Strategic Delivery teams.
Parents, family, and community members should consult their child's teacher, school principal or their nominee.