An all-girls’ high school at Hurstville has been formally acknowledged for the work it does in developing gifted and talented students.
Bethany College is now accredited as a Newman Selective Gifted Education Program school.
Bethany’s most recent HSC results placed the college in the top 15 per cent of all NSW schools.
Strong academic performance was largely due to boosting students’ creative thinking skills, and fostering positive relationships within staff.
The college offers a Newman stream in subjects including English, science, mathematics, human society and its environment, religious Education and personal development, health and physical education.
The accreditation follows an initiative developed in 2011 by Sydney Catholic Schools to ensure educational equity for gifted students at primary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Schools go through a rigorous three-year process to become an accredited school.
They evaluate their own performance based on Sydney Catholic Schools’ Gifted Education Standards Framework, and submit evidence of their teaching practice to a validation panel that includes an independent academic who specialises in gifted education.
The panel observes Newman lessons in action, and interviews the school’s principal, staff, students and their parents to assess how effectively the school is meeting the needs of its gifted students.
When successful, schools are accredited for four years, then engage in the process again to maintain their accreditation.
The panel praised the college for its assessment with real-world links to challenge gifted students, and creating strong links with universities, gifted education specialists, and primary schools.
They also commended the school’s introduction of new elective subjects for years 9 and 10.
In addition the school developed a comprehensive reporting structure to inform parents of their daughter’s progress in the class, and delivered parent education seminars on the socio-emotional characteristics of gifted students.
It was deemed outstanding in the way it recognised and celebrated student achievement, and in the quality of professional development opportunities for staff.
It will also join the pilot to streamline entry to the program in Year 7 from feeder primary schools through a selective test.
Unlike admission into the state’s selective schools, the test results form only part of the selection process. Primary schools share data on students’ learning growth and parents can give evidence of their child’s gifted talents as part of their portfolio for entry.
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic College Burraneer also received the accreditation.