Gifted Opportunities and Accelerated Learning Program – G.O.A.L. Program

A Gifted and Talented Program exists at St John Bosco College to enable students with a special interest or ability the opportunity to attain their full potential. We believe that as part of our commitment to the development of the whole person, we have a responsibility to cater for individual differences and to actively encourage all students to achieve their potential. We therefore acknowledge that our gifted and talented students should be both recognised and catered for appropriately.

When using the terms ‘giftedness’ and ‘talent’ we have adopted Professor Francoys Gagne’s definitions as:-

Giftedness - a potential that is distinctly above average in one or more domains of ability;

Talent - a performance that is distinctly above average in one or more fields of human performance.

The G.O.A.L Program offers a challenging curriculum that stimulates the interests and abilities of the gifted and/or talented students who are selected. It aims to create a learning environment that encourages students to engage their abilities to the greatest possible extent, promote creativity and higher cognitive skills, and prevent student under-achievement.


Identification of gifted and talented students is carried out within each subject area as soon as possible and regularly updated. This identification involves a range of people and may include subject coordinators, teachers, parents and students (peer or self). A wide variety of methods are used including the Checklist of Learning and Behavioural Characteristics from Secondary Teaching TAGS, primary school recommendations, MYAT and NAPLAN Test results, subject specific competitions, College assessment tasks, etc.

In addition to assessing level of performance, the following checklist is a useful indicator of student potential:

  • is an avid reader
  • has avid interest in science or literature
  • needs little outside control - applies self-discipline
  • is creative in new ideas, seeing associations, pursuing innovations
  • has the capacity to look into things and be puzzled
  • reveals originality in oral and written expression
  • displays a willingness to accept complexity
  • has the capacity to use knowledge and information other than to memorise
  • shows superior judgement in evaluating things
  • is a good guesser
  • learns rapidly, easily and efficiently
  • uses a large number of words easily and accurately
  • asks many questions of a provocative nature
  • has a power of abstraction, conceptualisation and synthesis
  • has an interest in cause-effect relations
  • is persistent

Note: it is not expected that any gifted child will show all the traits listed or that these traits will necessarily be manifested in a positive manner. For more information go to


As gifted and talented students and their needs are diverse, St John Bosco College offers academic challenges of various types and levels. Since year-skipping or subject-based acceleration are viable for only a select few, enrichment and extension courses are the preferred educational provisions. Enrichment courses go beyond curriculum areas and include Critical Thinking and Philosophy, whereas extension courses are in Key Learning Areas and present work at least two years above the student’s chronological age.

Students are withdrawn one period per week and work on an individual/group project under the guidance of the Gifted and Talented Facilitator. The following list gives an indication of the type of group which students may be invited to join:

  • Year 7 Maths Extension/Enrichment: Students work either individually or in small groups on units of work that require mathematical strategies and creative problem solving skills.
  • Year 7 English Extension/Enrichment: This group looks at traditional units of English which would normally be taught to an older year group.
  • Years 8 – 10 may choose to work on a Personal Interest Project under a contract system. Projects need not be from a Key Learning Area but must be challenging and require research and presentation in an appropriate manner. Topics can be as diverse as bioethics, eighteenth century poetry, Japanese architecture, biological warfare…the list is endless!
  • Year 10 Philosophy: An examination of philosophers, philosophical concepts, ethical considerations and personal responses to the ‘big questions’.

Participation in the G.O.A.L. Program is voluntary and by invitation, but is encouraged among those who have been identified. The Program is open-ended with the teacher acting as a facilitator and the emphasis generally on self-directed learning within a small group (6-12 students). The group may have a variety of structures eg students working on a group project with each student approaching it from a different aspect; each student working on an individual contract based upon the student’s specific interest/ability; each student working on an individual project/competition entry; class centred learning. Regardless of the group structure, the aim is to develop problem solving, independent learning, creative thought and higher order thinking skills.

Outside Organisations and Mentors

The College promotes participation of gifted and talented students in activities with outside organisations such as state/national competitions, workshops/seminars for gifted students and academic challenges such as SPARKATHON. To encourage participation in University organised Holiday Programs such as GERRIC, the College offers scholarships to cover participation costs. Candidates are expected to meet a number of criteria, write a letter of application and also write an evaluation of their experiences for the College newsletter.

In order to facilitate challenging activities and promote cognitive growth within gifted/talented learners, students have access to highly trained and experienced mentors from selected fields. The G.O.A.L. Program currently benefits from the expertise of two scientists from ANSTO who act as mentors within the fields of Nuclear Science and Forensic Science.


G.O.A.L. Excursions are designed to provide opportunities and activities beyond the College that widen the students’ horizons and challenge their pre-conceptions, knowledge and skills. They are designed for particular groups and therefore are quite diverse. Some examples of regular excursion destinations/opportunities are: ANSTO; Writers’ Workshop Days; Gifted Student/Philosophy Days.