Newman Selective Gifted Education Program
Mary Mackillop Catholic College became an accredited Newman Selective School in 2015. This was a culmination of a range of staff professional development and structural changes that began in 2012 when our College became part of the Newman project of Sydney Catholic Schools. The step towards becoming a Newman Selective School is in line with the moral purpose of Catholic education, that is, to “fuel hope in all our students through fostering the attainment of their full human potential” as well as our College mission, to “form young women Called to Life to make a difference in the world.”
As a Newman Selective School, Mary Mackillop Catholic College supports The Gifted Education Policy 2014, for systemic Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney. This policy sets out the mandate for all teachers and schools to identify, support and make provisions for gifted and talented students in their care. Through a range of identification tests, our Year 7-10 students are grouped at the start of each year, according to their natural abilities into different “flexible groupings” in the main core subjects for the year. Teacher recommendation, together with information from parents, are also considered in making decisions about students’ groupings. All of these measures are necessary to ensure that students are placed in the right learning group so as to receive the right pace and depth of instruction that suit their natural ability. The gifted and talented among our students are grouped in Newman Selective classes to ensure that they are given the opportunity to achieve their full potential through a faster, more rigorous, and more challenging curriculum. Students placement in the different groupings are monitored and reviewed each semester by a team of teachers that include members from the Diverse Learning Team, the Newman Coordinator and the Leader of Learning (Professional Learning) and students may be flexibly moved between groupings at this time. In 2016, for the first time, a Year 7 student and a Year 9 student were identified and successfully completed a compacted Mathematics curriculum for their stage. Next year, these students will be accelerated to a higher stage in Mathematics.
Apart from being in Newman Selective classes, gifted and talented students are also encouraged to participate in a range of enrichment activities that cater to the diverse range of natural abilities, such as Writers Festival, Australian Science Olympiad Competitions and Euler Mathematics Competitions. This is just yet another way how the College aims to provide a range of opportunities to extend the many natural abilities of our students that come from diverse cultural and social backgrounds.