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Gifted Education program – MESH X

At Penrhos College, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of gifted education in Australia. We are determined to ensure that we continue to offer exciting learning opportunities that provide suitable challenge to meet the needs of each individual student.

As strong advocates for gifted education, we are proud to work with leading organisations to ensure we are offering researched-based best practice. In addition to being a ‘school cooperating with MENSA’, we are also a member of the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales’ (AISNSW) and the UK’s Innovation Unit’s, Elevate Community of Practice.


At Penrhos College we believe that it is our responsibility to provide every girl with the opportunities that she needs for her to reach her academic potential.

The Gifted program, also known as MESH X in the Secondary School aims to:

  • Optimise opportunities for gifted students to engage in rich, rigorous learning that will challenge and extend them.
  • Enhance self-esteem and sense of accomplishment among gifted students.
  • Ensure that students with high potential are appropriately provided for so they are not at risk of underachievement.

Research informs us that gifted students may require different ways of learning for them to reach their potential. That is, they need to be catered for differently (Gagne, 2007).

We aim to ensure gifted students feel valued in a learning environment which both challenges and supports them to pursue excellence, develop a passion for lifelong learning and to feel inspired to become an extraordinary woman.


The MESH X Specialist case manages gifted students at Penrhos College, meeting with each student and monitoring her learning journey throughout Secondary School. In recognition that every gifted student is unique in her abilities and interests, a personalised learning journey is designed to cater for her particular needs.

This may involve going outside of the curriculum, along with other targeted strategies such as; curriculum compaction, alternative assessment tasks, real-world problem solving and integrated projects.  For some students, subject or year acceleration may be offered after extensive consultation and planning.

Intellectually gifted students require holistic educational provisions that link cognitive and effective developmental needs (Smith, 2017). The Gifted Program at Penrhos is designed to be responsive to the differing cognitive and social-emotional stages of gifted girls.

Key Stages Key Focus Key Questions
Year 7 EXcite - Understanding of self learning - Critical and creative thinking skills - Collaborative skills Who am I? How do I learn?
Year 8 & 9 EXtend - Individual potential and growth -Goal setting and building self- regulation - Compacting and extending the curriculum - Higher order thinking skills Just how much can I do?
Year 10 -12 EXplore - Realising potential and goals - Personalised programs and options including: mentorships and partnerships or accelerated programs Where can this take me?

Research shows that the emotional maturity of intellectually gifted students is usually beyond their same-age peers (APA, 2017).  For this reason, establishing connections with like-minded peers across a range of ages is important for gifted students. In addition to the rigorous academic curriculum, there are numerous opportunities for gifted students to engage and collaborate with other gifted students in a range of competitions and co-curricular offerings, including:

  • World Scholars Cup
  • Future Problem Solving
  • UN Youth Voice and UN Evatt Trophy
  • First Lego League Robotics
  • Da Vinci Decathlon
  • Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad
  • Philosophy Club
  • Debating
  • Chess Club


American Psychological Association, Coalition For Psychology In Schools And Education. (2017). Top 20 principles from psychology for preK-12 creative, talented, and gifted students’ teaching and learning. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ed/schools/teaching-learning/top-twenty-principles.aspx

Gagne, F. (2007). Ten commandments for academic talent development. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(2), 93-118.

Smith, S. R. (2017). Responding to the unique social and emotional learning needs of gifted Australian students. In E. Frydenberg, A. J. Martin, & R. J. Collie (Eds.). Social and emotional learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific: Perspectives, programmes, and approaches (pp. 147 – 166). Singapore: Springer.