What is the Newman Gifted Program?
The Newman Gifted Program commenced in 2012 as the Newman Research and Development Program. The aim of the program is to improve provision for gifted and talented students in Archdiocesan Catholic schools by the systematic development of a whole school program in gifted education and thus to provide a Kindergarten to Year 12 pathway for gifted and talented students. Holy Family Catholic Primary School entered the program in 2013. In 2015, there were 25 schools in the Program. Nineteen of these schools, including Holy Family, applied in 2015 to be fully accredited Newman Gifted Program schools. This entitles the school to use the Newman Gifted Program logo on all school correspondence and advertising and to continue to receive funding from Sydney Catholic Schools. In November 2016, our school was granted status as a fully accredited Newman School.
How does it work in our school?
Through funding and resource provisions, teacher capability is enhanced and school processes continually refined to ensure high quality, contemporary gifted programs operate in the school. There is a focus on ensuring correct measures are used for the identification of gifted students and on developing teacher capacity in differentiation of curriculum and assessment. The Newman Gifted Program has been the catalyst for whole school change in the approach to pedagogy, resulting in improved learning and teaching for all students, not just the gifted and talented. A tenet of high quality gifted education programs is that students are in a like-minded group for a significant proportion of their time at school. In primary schools, this may be in-class grouping or regular cluster grouping. At our school, we have clustered our formally identified and school identified students across two Newman classes in each grade from Years 1-6. In this way, students have greater opportunities to regularly work together with like-minded peers, both on challenging tasks within the class program, and on extra special interest enrichment and extension tasks and activities. These include such initiatives as ‘Tournament of Minds’, Maths Olympiad and various workshops provided across different stages and Key Learning Areas. Opportunities are sought to work with experts in various fields, including Sydney Catholic Schools Curriculum Advisors, parents with special expertise and high school students and teachers.