Programs for Gifted Students
The Gifted and Talented program in Meriden's Senior School encompasses a wide range of options and provisions. These include:
- Differentiation of the regular program to meet individual needs
- Ability grouping
- Acceleration in Mathematics
- Single subject acceleration
- Whole cohort acceleration
- Honours class in Mathematics, commencing in Year 7
- Honours class in English, commencing in Year 8
- Curriculum compacting
- Parnassus Independent Research Program
- Subject-based enrichment and extension courses
- Academic competitions
- Opportunities for Gifted and Talented Students
At Meriden the intellectual growth of gifted students is strengthened and deepened when these students work with others of similar ability and interest. It is also strengthened when they experience a rich and challenging curriculum organised around complex concepts designed to develop skills in thinking, problem solving and inquiry learning. Gifted students move through the curriculum more quickly than their age peers and for this reason their teachers compact the curriculum to provide opportunities for enrichment, extension and subject acceleration.
Meriden’s commitment to small class sizes enables teachers to know students as individuals and to cater to their specific needs within the classroom. Class placement allows students to learn with other students within a range of similar ability. It is also recognised that all gifted students are individual and, as a further measure to ensure individual success, differentiation occurs within all classes. To facilitate a differentiated curriculum appropriate for gifted students, a significant percentage of teachers at Meriden have undertaken professional development in Gifted Education provided by GERRIC in association with UNSW.
In each Year Group students, who perform consistently at a level beyond that of others in their Mathematics cohort, have the opportunity to join the Parnassus Accelerated Mathematics program, followed by tertiary courses approved by the Board of Studies. Accelerated students have the opportunity to commence their HSC course of study whilst they are in Year 10. Acceleration occurs in other subject areas as the need determines.
Gifted learners are invited to participate in the Parnassus Independent Research program which involves conducting a substantial investigation into an area of personal interest. This program intensifies a student’s passion for learning, while refining both her organisational and higher order thinking skills. Students in the Parnassus Program present the results of their research at a forum attended by parents, friends and staff.
In identifying students, ‘Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness’ is used as a foundation and students are identified through a range of methods, including testing, classroom observation and parent insights. The student’s program of study is individualised to meet specific needs in consultation with parents, teachers and the students themselves. This process is overseen by Meriden’s Head of Teaching and Learning and may involve other resource staff including the School Psychologist.
Meriden’s Gifted and Talented students choose challenging and rigorous electives for the Higher School Certificate such as Extension 2 Mathematics, Extension 2 English, Physics and Chemistry.
Great emphasis is placed on holistic education at Meriden and, as a result, a vibrant cocurricular program supports classroom practice. All students are encouraged to involve themselves in a broad range of activities and, for students who are gifted, Meriden offers specific programs designed to extend their learning. This may include participation in:
- Mock trials
- Meriden Youth Summit
- Da Vinci Decathlon
- Team-based academic competitions such as Tournament of Minds
- The Festival of Speech
- Meriden Media Group
- Subject-based extension courses
- Meriden Creativity program