Image: Year 10 MacRob students mentoring gifted primary school students
In response to the Department of Education discontinuing the Academic Select Entry Network Gifted and Talented Outreach Program, Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School (Mac.Rob) and Stile Education (Stile) have joined forces to reinvent the initiative’s Gifted Outreach Program, and deliver it on their own.
The Gifted Outreach Program was established in 2014 as part of the Department of Education’s response to the 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Victorian educational provisioning for gifted and talented learners, in order to provide additional support to gifted students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether due to family circumstances, socioeconomic situation, location, or a disability.
Using Stile’s digital platform, Year 10 Mac.Rob students will mentor primary school students who have been identified by their teachers as gifted. In selecting schools to participate in the program this year, Mac.Rob prioritised primary schools in regional and rural areas, which typically have less access to special programs, and where household incomes are typically lower than in metropolitan areas.
The one on one mentoring partnership between Mac.Rob’s Year 10 students and their primary school counterparts is designed to challenge the younger students by providing a learning experience that is different in pace, depth and complexity to what they are used to. The program aims to nurture the younger students’ abilities, while providing the older students with a mentoring experience and responsibility.
Primary schools participating in the Gifted Outreach Program are Minyip, Ranfurly, Bass Valley, Healesville, Oxley, Echuca, Whorouly, Mildura South, Pleasant Street, Keysborough, Parkwood Green, St Kilda Park and Carraragarmungee Primary Schools.