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Parkes High School

Parkes High School

Inspiration, Innovation and Inclusion.

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High Potential and Gifted Education

Parkes High School Gifted Education Program

There are varying definitions of Gifted  and Talented students, but this one  by Francoys Gagne is the approach reflected in the new HPGE POlicy (see below):

Gifted: “A gifted person is born with extraordinary potential in some domain of ability, such as intellectual, social, psychomotor or creative.”

Talented: “A talented person is developed after the exertion of both personal and environmental catalysts and perform in a field of human endeavour at extraordinary levels.”  Francoys Gagne 1985​

Note that a gifted person is born with potential - not a fully developed gift.

Also note that to develop a gift into a talent requires exertion - in other words, it takes hard work and continuous practice.

 A website to showcase gifted enrichment activities and provide useful resources for parents and teachers called HPGE at PHS. Be sure to explore using all the drop-down boxes.

The current Gifted Education Policy is due to expire at the end of 2020.

A new policy is set for mandatory implementation in all schools at the beginning of 2021. 

High Potential and Gifted Education Policy 

Teacher Qualifications

By the beginning of 2020, more teachers will have be qualified with the UNSW GERRIC mini-COGE (Certificate in Gifted Education) to help identify and support high potential and gifted students.

They are: Ms Helen Vere, Ms Skye McLachlan, Ms Rebecca Ryan, Ms Helen Back, Mr Peter Luck and Ms Tracy Dawson.



We are implementing a new staged approach to support our gifted students. Year 7 and Year 8 students who have been tested as having high potential are combined in one class for English, Maths and HSIE lessons.

Classwork is supplemented by enrichment activities, which include gifted studnts in other age groups including Aurora studnts and primary school students. Information about enrichment activities can be seen on the Gifted Education at PHS site.

Gifted Education Website

These students are working to a challenging syllabus written for them by teachers trained and experienced in teaching gifted students.  Examples of their work can be seen below.

Example of writing from HSIE class - Ms Bec Ryan

This diary entry is an example of what can be achieved by practising the learning habit of drafting and rewriting until excellence is achieved. With the help of Ms Ryan, Ellen kept working on her writing until she achieved excellence. At her recent professional learning at UNSW, completing the mini Certificate of Gifted Education (COGE), this type of learning was reinforced as being extremely effective by  Dr Geraldine Townend, gifted education expert and presenter at the mini-COGE course. 

Diary Entry by Ellen Dolbel



Dark menacing storm clouds rolled over the hills as the rain fell intensely against the hard ground creating a welcome relief. If only I could offer such relief to my sons and wife from the painful agony, they are all experiencing. I can no longer count the blistered boiled spots leaking pus that itch constantly. I know I must keep my distance and I try to distract myself by starring out across the plains’ beauty. I try but I cannot help but peer into my wife’s eyes and see her struggle, discomfort and throbbing pain.



As the sun shyly appeared, gleaming through the trees, the first piece of food pierced my youngest boy’s mouth, a sparkle of hope surged through the insides of my body. Taking a short step in the direction of my family, a fear of uncertain helplessness shot through my heart shattering it into thousands of pieces. To see a faint smile, appear on my son’s face, as if a rehearsed performance, gave such pleasure to me. The future is still uncertain, but things are looking up from here. The puss no longer leaks, the eyes no longer weep and the crust on my wife’s blistering skin is beginning to lose its redness. I feel the worst may be over.



Three suns have passed, the third moon is just about to set, and I finally feel peace being gradually restored from the intense harm that has come upon my treasured family. At the rising of the next sun, when the kangaroos awaken, I will strike and prepare the first decent meal for my family, as their gaunt faces no longer look as ghosts. I look forward to a feast to build my families strength.


1789 (The unexpected)

Painful torment struck, and a turn for the worse. The constant hesitation flashed as if it were not real, but I knew they were all gone. I was alone, yet it felt like they were still with me, I could feel their spirits. Nature was all I had left the connections were not biological but most importantly they weren’t deep enough to capture and guard the torn hole in my heart. In amongst the beauty of the land I felt so small and distant from the rest of nature, unexplainable feelings spread as deadly as the horror that spread and viciously took out my family without a fear of regret. If I would of known they would pass while I was out hunting I never would of gone. I’m drawn to starring at the lifeless kangaroo hanging over the stump, swamped with flies while death itself surrounds the emptiness of my body. I am alone.                              

In another rpoject, the Stage 4 class are creating entertainment  facility for the younger generation, to cater for new families moving to Parkes. They identified a need for small children in these families to have places to play, like the adventure parks seen in other towns.

The construction of the inland rail & the local mines mean there are lots of families moving to town. This project was community based, and students used ideation to think of various ways to support this section of the community.

Stage 4 Gifted and Talented English

By Helen Back, English Faculty

The Stage 4 Gifted and Talented class studied the concept of Romanticism through the poetry of William Wordsworth and Banjo Patterson throughout Term 2. The class explored how the values and principles of Romanticism were expressed through two very different contexts and for varying purposes, then composed a comparative essay to explore the concept, use of language and compare and contrast a text from each poet. All students applied themselves diligently and put in   enormous effort in what was a challenging task, with many excelling at analytical writing.

An excerpt from Toby Collins essay, Year 8:

Banjo Pattersons “The Man from Snowy River” communicates to the audience a romantic view of the Australian Bush and the tale of the underdog. The poem describes the beautiful, but harsh Australian landscape and the courage of the horseman who triumphs in the end. It is the characteristics of bravery, endurance and risk taking that the horseman from ‘The Man from Snowy River’ displays, that builds an understanding of the Australian identity and what it is to be Australian. It shows the never give up attitude that Australians have when faced with challenges. The horseman continued to capture the wild horses and bring them back even though no one thought he would achieve this. Patterson uses similes and metaphors to describe the beautiful scenery and to show the power of the horseman. The simile in the last stanza “Where the air is as clear as crystal” describes the beauty of the bush land, purity of nature and an untouched landscape. Whereas the following similes “he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down it’s bed” and “He followed like a bloodhound on their track” shows the bravery and determination of the horseman. Therefore, this Australian Bush poem expresses the  value of Romanticism in describing the beauty of the Australian Bush and the tale of the underdog.

An excerpt from Kelsey Mann’s essay, Year 7:

The poem ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ meets the conventions of Romanticism highly effectively. Banjo Patterson describes The Bush and the life of a drover through “rose coloured glasses”, showing only the positives of this lifestyle and therefore romanticising it. Patterson communicates the high value he has for the natural landscape when he famously romanticises it by describing “the vision splendid” and “the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars”. In romanticising The Bush Patterson invariably diminishes the city, espousing the beauty and purity of nature opposed to the foetid city. He also compares the hurried and greedy lifestyle of people who live in the city to the peaceful lifestyle of people who live in The Bush. Patterson applies dense language to create a detailed explanation of his surroundings, this creates images of the beauty of the natural landscape compared to the imagery of the dirty city. Patterson then uses personification to romanticise nature and The Bush when he uses the line ‘murmur of the breezes’ to create imagery of how peaceful being in nature is. Therefore, the poem ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ meets the conventions of Romanticism highly effectively.

Enrichment Day for Gifted Students from the Henry Parkes Learning Community


 To end Term 3, Year 9 students shared the Design Thinking skills process with Year 5 and 6 students from Parkes East and Parkes Primary schools as part of our gifted enrichment program.

To end Term 3, Year 9 students shared the Design Thinking skills process with Year 5 & 6 students from Parkes East and Parkes Primary schools as part of our gifted enrichment program. Some of our PHS students learned this problem-solving process at the Game Changer Challenge in Dubbo earlier in the term, and revisited their experience to teach their peers and younger students (kids teaching kids is a powerful learning tool!)

The Design Thinking process begins with empathy, trying to understand what the problem is and who has the problem, in order to create an effective and appropriate solution. It also places a lot of emphasis on using the imagination to come up with ideas and testing them before deciding on a final design.

Our problem was the increasing rates of loneliness and anxiety in young people: the twofold solution was that Year 9 students designed and made a pet rock to give to their younger buddies, and the Yr 5 & 6 students created an enclosure in which their pet rocks could happily live.

Apart from learning new thinking and collaborative skills, all students made new connections, had fun and finished the day feeling positive and enthusiastic.