Physical domain of potential illustration of practice

Learn how a high school supports talent development in the physical and intellectual domains of potential.

Covered in this illustration of practice are key the actions:

Watch Talent development in the physical domain video (7:16) exploring how Narrabeen Sports High School supports talent development in the physical and intellectual domains of potential.

How does your school find high potential in the physical domain?

[On Screen: Text reads 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this video may contain the image, voices and names of people who have passed away']

Amy Birungi

The High Potential and Gifted Education policy recognizes that students may demonstrate high potential in and across one or more domains. Intellectual, Creative, Physical and Social/Emotional. Students with high potential in a physical domain may well be our next leaders in sports science and medicine, coaches, olympians, actors, dancers, choreographers and many other things.

So that our young people can achieve highly in these four domains it is important that we create an optimal environment for talent development.

With these students in mind, The department has developed a physical domain discussion paper and supporting illustrations in practice. These resources assist teachers and leaders to apply evidence-based practical strategies so that students can succeed and thrive to make positive contributions to their school and to their community.

Tracey Postle

Although our school’s a sports high school and we have a sporting intake of about a third of the students who are also a comprehensive high school, and we also see that high potential in one domain is not exclusive but often showing high potential in other domains, such as social, emotional, intellectual and so on.

We accelerate students with high potential in the physical domain by providing competition, encouraging competition by cluster groupings - so by having athletes together - by having real expert coaches that understand what kind of skills and abilities need to be developed in that area and also having an involvement with external sporting organizations as well, so we really get to know what the demands of particular sports are.


Hi. I am Maiia. I'm 11 years old. I started playing tennis when I was around four.

Samantha Rodgers

Maiia is a classic example of someone who has high potential across multiple domains.

Tracey Postle

She's an elite tennis player. She's also been accelerated two years past her age cohort in general subjects and also another year acceleration in math. So she's working with a year nine mathematics group.


When I first started acceleration math, at the start I would think, ‘This is going to be so hard’. But then when I actually come into the class and we start learning, it's just like, ‘this is just, like, exactly the right speed’.


Hi, my name's Ruby, I'm in year 9 and I go to Narrabeen Sports High School.

I started skateboarding when I was five years old. Some of my major achievements have been recently in Argentina. One of the world skate events. I got a silver medal for Australia. In surfing, I'm a two-time state champion and I've won one national title.

Jacqueline Hampson

Ruby is a very talented athlete, but she's also a very high achiever academically in school.

I teach science and when we're talking about physics and we're talking about waves or we're talking about forces in motion, she's able to make those connections because she thinks of herself out on the waves or she thinks of herself on the skate ramp and she can actually put herself into that and make the learning authentic for her, and you can just see the cogs turning in her brain.


The school is super flexible with my learning. They give me timetables. I can train and still go to school when I'm away. I can use Google Classroom to do my assessments and they're really helpful with all my learning. When I come back, the teachers are super understanding and they give me change of assessment dates and yeah, I couldn't ask for any more.

Tracey Postle

We encourage mentorship. So very much our elite athletes can work in small groups with individual teacher mentors that assist them with organization, the demands of school as well as the demands of their sport.


The school supports me a lot because it lets me have a very flexible timetable. It lets me leave early for some of my training. It helps me with my missed assessment tasks, with all my homework that I've missed because of my tennis.

In my toolbox, I have power, I have strength, I'm fast, I'm young. I have a lot of people supporting me.

Samantha Rodgers

Maiia is a highly motivated athlete. She shows great resilience and also sets some very realistic but achievable goals.


Another thing that really contributes to being an elite person is how dedicated you are, how much time you take out of your day to just train, just to get better.

Because you can be very talented, you can be like the best set of everybody, but if you don't take the time to nurture and, like, use that talent, you have, it's just it's eventually just going to fade.


Well, obviously, keeping a balance of surfing, skating, school and then like hanging out with your friends. I find it the hardest out of everything to balance.

Samantha Rodgers

Ruby is an incredibly motivated athlete. She spends a lot of time training, so she has to manage her training loads and workloads. She also has to balance her academics during this time, and she's got great support in her family and staff who allow her to achieve academically, but also in the physical domain.

Jacqueline Hampson

This is what I love about the new policy: is that it's more inclusive and it sees the potential in a diverse array of people. It's not just in the intellectual domain.

Samantha Rodgers

The High Potential and Gifted Education policy and the focus that it has on all for domains, in particular the physical domain, in my role as a PDH/PE teacher has been amazing in that we can have the learning and development to assess and identify our students who have these natural abilities; their strength, this speed, their power and what we can actually do in order to unlock their potential.

Jacqueline Hampson:

Look at the policy and see what has been included so that we can start to see some of the characteristics of each of the students and tailor the learning and opportunities.

You're not alone in this situation where it does take a team and it takes a school and the family and community to help translate that potential into talent. And it's really exciting, as well, when you get it right and that the students feel supported and you can see them thrive.

[On Screen: Text reads 'Find the high potential, develop the talent, make the difference']

[End of transcript]

Professional learning questions for school leaders

How does your school find high potential in the physical domain?

What procedures, programs and practices are currently in place to support talent development for high potential and gifted students (HPGS) in the physical domain at your school? Is there anything additional you could implement or develop further?

Jacqueline Hampson says that it takes “a team approach to translate potential into talent, including a school, family and community.” How does this relate to what is already in place at your school? What else might you consider?

Ruby mentioned how flexible the school was in supporting her talent development. As a leadership team, how do you support students who excel in the physical domain in managing competing demands?

Teachers might believe that if they are not a sport or PDHPE teacher, they are not responsible for the physical domain of potential. As a school leader, what would you say in response considering:

  • the physical domain refers to natural abilities in muscular movement and motor control in any subject area.
  • the HPGE Policy refers to all 4 domains of potential for every student, in every school.

How do you see the role of mentorships in supporting HPGS in the physical domain? How might you implement mentorships in your school context?

Professional learning questions for teachers

Tracy Postle recognised that “the domains of potential are not exclusive” and Samantha Rogers recognised that students might “have high potential in multiple domains”. Discuss a student you know with high potential in multiple domains.

Maiia mentions the importance of dedication. What other characteristics did you notice that may indicate high potential in one or more domains in Maiia?

What did you notice about the similarities between Maiia and Ruby’s talent development journeys?

What strategies could you implement to encourage students to maintain balance in their life through their talent development journeys?

Maiia shares “…in my toolbox I have power, strength, I’m fast, I’m young, I have a lot of people supporting me…”. How crucial is support from others during talent development in the physical domain? What makes you say that?

Maiia mentioned that talent should be “nurtured”, or it will “eventually fade”. What does she mean by this, and have you seen this happen to students? Why do you think this occurred?

External factors can hinder progress and achievement. How might you recognise these factors and support students?


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  • Implementation

Business Unit:

  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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