Current provision for Gifted education at South Sydney has been informed by the new policy for High Potential and Gifted Education that was launched by the New South Wales Department of Education in 2020 and is mandatory for all schools from January 2021. This policy promotes engagement and challenge for every student regardless of background and supports every student achieving their educational potential across intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains.
Differentiation (or learning adjustment) is central to our curriculum provision in every subject at South Sydney. This supports all students to achieve their educational potential through talent development opportunities and differentiated teaching and learning practices. All students in South Sydney are afforded support from class teachers and executive in conjunction with the school’s wellbeing team, year co-ordinators and school counsellor to ensure that their specific learning and wellbeing needs are met.
In the case of students with high ability in one or more of the domains of aptitude their area of strength is encouraged by offering them the challenge of sitting prestigious Australia wide examinations such as ICAS. Students are also encouraged to enter a rich program of competitions in sporting, public speaking and debating, chess and the arts (Visual and performing). The biannual CAPA night offers performers wonderful opportunities to showcase their talent. Our School sports and Swimming days offer those with physical aptitude to extend and challenge themselves.
Special projects that focus on a particular domain of high potential or giftedness are a feature of South Sydney High School's provision for students who demonstrate high aptitude in a given area. In 2022 we presented 'House on Fire' as a school production that offered students with aptitude as performers, choreographers and designers a wonderful opportunity to develop their skills. Another production that will largley be written and created by the students themselves is planned for early 2024.
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
- to manipulate abstract ideas
- make connections to an advanced degree.
At South Sydney High School we believe that adjusting our delivery of the curriculum to meet the student's ability is key to student success. Such modifications ensure that students with strong aptitude are given opportunities to develop their gifts into talents by supporting them with meaningful and engaging learning across all subject areas.
Teachers at South Sydney High School, across all subject disciplines, place a strong emphasis on this aspect of curriculum.
Our enrichment stream program is one way in which we ensure that high aptitude learners are grouped with peers who share their ability levels, and that they are offered opportunities to extend and enrich their learning both within and beyond the classroom.
South Sydney club for intelligent minds (SSCIM)
SSCIM is a high potential, gifted education and enrichment initiative that we implemented in 2014 to offer opportunities beyond the classroom for students to undertake projects, enter competitions and gain recognition and mentoring at school for their areas of passion beyond the classroom.
SSCIM has continued to grow and has allowed students to gain wonderful opportunities in projects and competitions as diverse as chess, film making, dance, drama and public speaking.
Enrichment stream class students are generally keen to be involved, but SSCIM allows all of our student population to find a place where they can meet peers who share their areas of interest.
The club meets every Friday at lunchtime. The drama room provides an ideal location for the many projects students enjoy working on and talking about.
Walk into the drama room any Friday at lunch and you will meet chess players, rubix cube enthusiats and perhaps students discussing ideas to develop scenes they are workingon for our school production. We run special initiatives such as film making days, exursions to inter-school chess competitions and other initiatives driven by student interest. SSCIM Club provides an opportunity to those who have taken part in such experiences to plan, refine their skills and receive support and encouragment from staff and peers.
As an extension of our SSCIM club, we run SSCIM camps to facilitate student driven project based learning for students in a setting that offers them the resources, time and mentorship to pursue initiatives that extend and challenge students in their areas of special aptitude and interest.
Senior SSCIM camp is generally scheduled for the end of Term 1 or early in Term 2 and is aimed at project based learning for students in Years 9 to 11. The camp is held in the beautiful surrounds of Cockatoo Island where we stay in pre-erected tents and avail of the wonderful facilities and environment provided by the historic buildings, setting and natural beauty of the island.
Students plan and prepare meals, as well as work on projects such as film making, novel writing, photography, art and historical research. In the evenings we have exclusive use of a beautiful sandstone cinema with bean beds where students relax and share their day's progress and frustrations with their teachers and peers before enjoying a movie. We also trey to arrange an evening campfire.
Junior SSCIM camp is aimed at our students in Years 7 and 8 and takes place at Pittwater where we have exclusive use of the YHA situated in the national park overlooking the beautiful body of water at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. This location is similarly ideally situated and set up to facilitate project-based learning.
Chess tournaments, musical and performance projects, film-making, science and environment orientated projects as well as art projects and photography can all be undertaken in this wonderful setting.
Once again the making and preparing of meals as well as the organisation of rooms and the scheduling of the activities during the camp are all tasks that students both enjoy undertaking under the supervision of teachers as well as providing challenges they learn from.
Tournament of the minds
This is a problem-solving program for teams of students who are required to solve demanding, open-ended real world challenges from various disciplines. Students attend weekly lunch break training sessions and keep a journal.
Team members develop the skills to publicly perform short spontaneous challenges and team prepared longer term challenges.
Winning teams at Regional Tournaments are able to proceed to the state final, and then possibly to the Australian Pacific Final. A number of students since 2013 have trained and competed for this.
The Tournament of the Minds facilitator is Ms J Tilby, who is the contact person for expressions of interest in joining the program.
High Potential Gifted Education Special Project: Scripting and Creating the South Sydney School production 2024
Following on from our highly successful school production ‘House on Fire’ that was staged at South Sydney in Term 1 of 2023, work is already underway on our next show. This production that will be a celebration of beach culture in Australia will be largely written by the students themselves. This special High Potential Gifted project is aimed at those who may exhibit high potential as writers, performers and musicians. Below is the timeline planned for this project:
When will the show happen?
This show will be staged in Term 1 of 2024 either in Week 4 or Week 5.
What will it be about?
The show will be a celebration of beach culture in Australia.
What will the show look like?
The show will follow a day of happenings on a beach. Each ‘scene’ will have different characters but a narrator/central character known as the poet will appear in all of the scenes knitting them together as a story. Some of the scenes will be written by students at South Sydney High School and some will be taken from a play of the same name written by the Australian playwright Tim Daly for a student production at NIDA. We also intend to intersperse scenes with music and dancing choreographed by the students themselves and/or South Sydney High School dance tutors.
When will the scenes for the show be written?
A scriptwriting group will be formed on 10th February following our first workshop day with playwright Donna Abela, entitled ‘Scripting the Show’. Those in the scriptwriting club will go away to develop scenes and characters and we will come together on the following days and times to continue work on this project, test scenes by reading them etc.
Friday 24th February: Periods 1 & 2
Friday 3rd March: 8.00 – 8.45am
Tuesday 7th March: 4.00pm – 5.30pm
Friday 10th March: Periods 1 & 2
Friday 24th March: 8.00 – 8.45am
Friday 31st March: 8.00 – 8.45am
Senior SSCIM Camp: Week 2, Term 2: Scriptwriters to attend to finalise scenes
When will auditions/rehearsals happen?
Auditions and rehearsals will take place in Term 4, 2023 and rehearsals will continue during the first few weeks of Term 1, 2024.