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South Sydney High School

South Sydney High School

Care Opportunity Success

Telephone02 9349 3868

High potential and gifted education

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.

Curriculum differentiation

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 differentiation is key to ensuring 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 SSHS 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 began at South Sydney 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 Thursday 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 Thursday at lunch and you will meet chess players or students from our enrichment classes sharing ideas for cross-curricular projects they are engaged in, such as film making or preparing for a public speaking event.

Staff mentors, who are strong supporters of all things SSCIM, include Mr R. Chadwick from the TAS department and Mr A. Warrington from our English department, who is a wonderful supporter of all things chess related and usually comes to SSCIM club on a Thursday to encourage fellow enthusiasts in our student population for this game of skill and strategy.

The giant chess set in F Block; visible from the club's home in the drama room, offers us a lovely outdoor venue for the club's chess enthusiasts who successfully approached our parents and citizens association about funding for the chess set in 2014.

SSCIM camps

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 try to arrange an evening camp-fire.

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.