The Australian and West Australian Curriculums ask us to provide for all groups of students, irrespective of education settings, with access to a wide and empowering range of knowledge, skills and values. In a standard educational setting it is often difficult to cater for the specific needs of gifted students, sometimes leading to them becoming ‘at risk of not achieving to their full potential’.
In traditional classes high achieving students are seldom given work at an appropriate level for their abilities. They may be given busy work when they finish the class work, or used as an aid to the teacher in supporting the weaker students. GATE (Gifted and Talented) programs in high schools and PEAC (Primary Extension and Challenge) only cater for a small group, the top 2-5%, of academically gifted students. Recent research has shown that students in the top 15% academically need to be provided with specialised programs if they are to meet their potential.
In keeping with Key Element 1 of the Classroom First strategy, ‘success for all’, South Halls Head Primary caters for academically talented students within the school by providing Challenge Classes. These are specialist programs run by highly skilled teachers that allow students opportunities and challenges to achieve their full potential.
Challenge Classes are provided from Years 3 to 6 and once the student enters that class he/she remains with that group of students for the rest of their primary schooling. With South Halls Head Primary running Challenge Classes, parents of talented students feel confident that, in sending their child to South Halls Head Primary, their child will be provided with an education tailored to their specific academic needs. The Challenge Classes provide a pathway within the government system to Comet Bay College, Perth Modern School or Halls Head Community College.