How does a gifted and talented education programme work in a mainstream primary school?

St Andrew’s Cathedral School delivers differentiated education programmes from Kindergarten for students identified as ‘gifted and talented’. But how does it work and how do parents know if their child needs the extra stimulus provided by such a programme?

The Head of Junior School, Rhonda Robson, says it becomes evident from a young age if a child would benefit from additional intellectual stimulus.

“There are a multitude of ways to identify giftedness in the early years, including precocity of vocabulary, literacy and computational skills,” she says. “Reaching milestones in walking and talking and then in early reading competency before their age peers, advanced academic performance in the early years, even social and emotional competency in pre-school and in the early years of schooling, all point to high academic potential that teachers and specialists can benchmark.

“From Kindergarten, we provide opportunities in the form of short-term extension groupings that offer intensive challenges in maths, literacy, philosophy and critical thinking. There are additional opportunities for Years 3-6 students that some Stage 1 students may be invited to join as well.”


From Year 3 – 6, St Andrew’s Cathedral School offers accelerated curriculum classes for the most academically able students. “They are able to learn content at a faster pace alongside like-minded peers,” says Rhonda. “It allows them to go deeper in their learning and go beyond the core curriculum.”

“For the exceptionally gifted student, we offer targeted interventions such as subject and grade acceleration. Students also take part in external competitions in various subject areas, competing individually and as a team. Individual educational projects are also designed with a mentor to motivate and extend exceptional students.”

One of the benefits of a Kindergarten to Year 12 school is the academic tracking and extensive opportunities that can be offered as a student transitions into secondary school. “All of our Junior School students access facilities and specialist teachers across the curriculum,” Rhonda says. “Our Junior School Gifted and Talent Coordinators also work with their secondary school colleagues so that the in-depth knowledge and understanding of each student is directly communicated and used to differentiate learning from Year 7. Subject streaming takes place across the secondary school and allows for further differentiation as students’ progress through their schooling.”


So, what do the experts recommend parents do to support their young gifted child?

Junior School Gifted and Talented Coordinator Donna Gibbs recommends parents look for opportunities to extend their child’s vocabulary. “I also encourage learning of a musical instrument or a second language. Looking for any opportunities that enhance your child’s awareness of themselves as a learner and foster a deep knowledge in a personal area of interest, will satisfy their intellectual needs from an early age,” Donna says. “Variety is key and it’s important to explore options that involve children of different ages.”

St Andrew’s Cathedral School, a Kindergarten to Year 12 Anglican school located in Sydney’s CBD, is hosting two information evenings for families with primary-aged children in coming weeks:

  • Junior School Twilight Tour on Monday 22 August at 4.30pm
  • Expertise in Literacy seminar on Wednesday 7 September from 5pm.

To book your place, please visit:


Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, St Andrew’s Cathedral School is an innovative, co-educational day school, providing students from […]

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