Selective Education at Kooringal High School
Kooringal High School is the only selective high school in the Riverina region.
This new chapter in the life of the school commenced in 2010 when the state government expanded selective places across the state and we were chosen as the school to offer this specialist stream of education to gifted and talented students.
Each year we are able to offer 30 places in Year 7 to students who have sat and passed the State Secondary Schools Selective Test. Entry therefore is via this test which is sat while students are in Year 6 the year prior to high school enrolment.
In 2015 therefore we will have approximately 180 students across Year 7 to 12, or 20% of our enrolment, who will have been specifically academically selected for this specialist stream of education.
What is the difference between selective education and enrichment programmes?
All schools enrich the curriculum for students and in fact we do this for students in the other classes in all years.
Students in the Selective Class receive specialist educational programmes designed for Gifted and Talented students in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Language (French) and PDHPE.
In the Technology and Creative Arts subjects, where student groupings differ from the core area, these students are supported by extension and enrichment within the class they have been allocated.
Selective students complete the same curriculum as determined by the Board of Studies, the difference lies in how the curriculum is presented and the pace in which it is completed.
Selective students are therefore exposed to curriculum differentiation.
Gifted and Talented students need a curriculum that is modified or differentiated to provide them with an appropriate level of challenge. Differentiation ranges from slight to major modifications of the curriculum through adjustments to content, processes and skills. It provides a planned, documented and challenging curriculum that matches the ability of gifted students to:
· Learn at faster rates
· Find, solve and act on problems more readily
· Manipulate abstract ideas and make connections to an advanced degree
A differentiated curriculum is a program of activities that offers a variety of entry points for students who differ in abilities, knowledge and skills.
When a curriculum is differentiated teachers offer different approaches to what students learn (content), how students learn (process) and how students demonstrate what they have learned (product).
Differentiated instruction is a mix of whole-class, group and individualised activities.
How is this style of education supported at Kooringal High School?
Selective students are supported in a number of ways.
1. Executive Staff
All executive staff at Kooringal High School have undertaken specific training in Leadership For Change for Gifted and Talented Students which was delivered by the NSW Department of Education Selective Schools Unit. In addition our Head Teachers are part of the Selective Schools Curriculum network which provides ideas and resources to support the delivery of curriculum.
All teachers at Kooringal High School are provided with specific professional learning related to the needs of Gifted and Talented students and on the models of differentiation that are used to guide classroom programmes. Twenty-five teachers from all Key Learning Areas have undertaken further specific training provided by the Selective Schools unit on Quality Teaching for Gifted and Talented students. School Development Days each year have a strong focus on further developing the knowledge and skills of teachers to deliver the curriculum to this stream of students.
The school has invested heavily in resources for the education of the selective stream and is supported by resources developed by the Selective Schools Unit that exists within the Department of Education Curriculum Directorate. There is therefore a significant external support for the teachers and students in the school.
What about the welfare of my child?
The school has a strong focus on student welfare including our provision for students in the selective stream. We closely monitor progress both inside the classroom and in wider pursuits and our professional learning has also focused on the needs of gifted learners as individuals.
Our goal is to provide a safe and challenging environment where specialist education is offered in the classroom but where our selective students just feel and act like "Kooringal kids" in all other aspects of school life.