Supporting educators

All schools have high potential and gifted students. School leaders and teachers need to ensure that learning experiences meet the needs of these students.

Teaching and learning experiences should be supported by research into effective practices for facilitating high achievement and talent development. Optimal learning environments, where students feel supported and encouraged to achieve excellence in their learning, will ensure that all students including high potential and gifted students have the opportunity to achieve their best.

Professional learning is available to support leaders and teachers to effectively implement the High Potential and Gifted Education (HPGE) Policy.

HPGE Curriculum reform – information for leaders

This resource assists school leaders with implementation of curriculum for high potential and gifted learners. It includes:

  • HPGE alignment in Curriculum reform Engage, Enact and Embed phases
  • HPGE key actions and guiding principles
  • diversity in HPGE and the 4 domains
  • responsibilities of leaders and teachers
  • professional learning questions regarding
    • assessment
    • explicit teaching
    • questioning
    • pace
    • innovation
    • authenticity

HPGE Curriculum Reform – Information for leaders (PPTX 4194 KB)

School leaders and teachers should design learning experiences that foster talent development across all domains of potential – intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical.

5 key actions provide a framework for schools to support implementation of the policy.

5 key actions

  • Evaluate school procedures, programs and practices, and analyse student growth and achievement data to inform school planning and policy implementation.
  • Assess and identify the specific learning needs of all high potential, gifted and highly gifted students.
  • Implement evidence-based procedures, programs and practices that meet the learning and wellbeing needs of all high potential and gifted students and facilitate talent development.
  • Collaborate with families, school communities and the wider community to enhance growth and achievement for all high potential and gifted students.
  • Build teacher and leadership capacity through engagement with quality research and ongoing professional learning on effective practices to improve growth and achievement for all high potential and gifted students.

5 key actions video

Watch '5 key actions' (5:56).

5 key actions – High Potential and Gifted Education Policy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this video may contain the images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

The 5 Key Actions high potential and gifted education


[Deb Summerhayes – Director Secondary Education, NSW Dept. Education]

Deb Summerhayes

The 5 Key actions are really about evaluation of school processes and programs and practices, assessing, identifying and implementing good practice to support our students. Collaborating with family, school and wider community around what high potential and gifted education is all about. And most importantly, building teacher and leadership capacity so we can best meet the needs of these young people in our schools.

[Text on screen – 1. Evaluate… school procedures, programs, practices and student achievement to school planning and policy implementation.]

The first part of looking at the policy and how it sits within a school context is to actually be able to acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful things that schools do every day for students with high potential and gifts. And then looking at what you're doing really well and where you'd like to go into the future so schools can be even responding to the needs of those those students even better. One of the things that is in the pipeline is a planning tool that actually links really closely to school plans and SEF (School Excellence Framework) and it allows you to look at how you might integrate the policy and evaluate your work against the SEF and against your school plan.

[Text on screen – 2. Assess and identify… the specific learning needs of all high potential, gifted, and highly gifted students]

Every school has young people who have high potential. It is not uncommon for young people to be able to express high potential and talent in a number of domains. And so I think that it's really important as educators we're able to identify that despite our perceptions around background, cultural, language, ability, etc., we're mindful that sometimes we need to look deeper to see a student's potential for learning. And then once we're able to identify it and actually provide what young people need, we actually start to see that potential flourish. Teachers as practitioners understand the importance of assessment and data and how that informs our practice. I'm not talking about testing kids until their eyes bleed. What I'm talking about is the great work that professionals do every day and their consistent teacher judgment. You walk around a classroom, you observe on a daily basis where students are at and what they are doing and that's informing your work as well.

[Text on screen – 3. Implement… evidence-based programs and practices that meet the learning and wellbeing needs of high potential and gifted students and facilitate talent development.]

As teachers, we can provide high challenge learning activities for everybody. And then we see who rises to that challenge and how they embrace that opportunity. And we might actually learn something different about some of the students in our classrooms. And that idea that as great educators, what we're doing is differentiating for the learning needs of every student that's in our classroom and for our high potential and gifted education students, it's exactly the same. It's being able to identify, to challenge, to meet their learning needs, but also give them a safe space where they can actually feel comfortable to put their hand up and show us that they're actually quite clever or quite capable or quite musical or quite able or really good in that social emotional space where they are our school leaders, our mediators and our students who are building community. One of the groups that perhaps have not had their learning needs met in this space are students who have been identified with disability. And that concept, that as educators, really being able to target where that young person has high potential and making sure that the adjustments aren't just about the basic engagement and access, but the adjustment is really about allowing that young person to flourish and really achieve at a high level if they're capable of doing so.

[Text on screen – 4. Collaborate… with families, schools and the wider community to enhance growth and achievement for all high potential and gifted students.]

We are encouraging communities of practice and we're encouraging teachers and schools to work together. Metropolitan, non-metropolitan, finding people who are interested in the same sorts of things you are in this space. It's really important with high potential and gifted education students that we are connecting with other community groups and other opportunities in the community that linking young people to particular industries or particular spaces for further education. It might be about linking them to talent development, sporting programs, or creative and performing arts opportunities in the community.

[Text on screen – 5. Build capacity… of leaders and teacher by engaging with research and professional learning about effective practices for high potential and gifted students.]

One of the great strengths of this policy is the very large and deep literature review that underpins the work and the importance of research that informs our work as educators. But what we also need is for you in your schools to look at that research and read that literature, but then think about how you might actually operationalise that in your school in an action research context. As time goes on, we're very keen to be really responsive to what schools are telling us you need. We will continue to seek out research and evidence around the four domains of high potential and gifted education and be sharing that information with schools. We are all leaders of learning and it's really important that we focus on how we come together and have a really clear view about what we want to do to build the capacity of our high potential and gifted students.


Find the potential

Develop the talent

Make the difference

Copyright 2019 NSW Department of Education.

We acknowledge the contribution of the following groups in developing the policy:

  • NSW Primary Principals’ Association
  • NSW Secondary Principals’ Council
  • The NSW Teachers Federation
  • The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group
  • The Federation of Parents and Citizens Association of NSW
  • The Isolated Children’s Parents Association
  • Gifted Learners with Disability Australia
  • Gifted Families Support Group
  • Academics and consultants from across NSW, Australia and internationally
  • Directors of Educational Leadership (DELs)
  • Principals
  • School leaders and teachers

[End of transcript]

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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