Gifted and Highly Able

Gifted and highly able students make up as much as 10 percent of a school community and have educational needs that can be significantly different from their classmates.

They often learn faster and in different ways, requiring differentiation, extension, or acceleration.  They may show significant variation across their strengths and needs in the learning, creative, and emotional domains.  Some are gifted just in one area while others are exceptional across a range of areas. It is also possible to have a physical or learning disability at the same time as being gifted. 

There is a significant body of research that indicates issues can arise if gifted and highly able students have to sit year after year repeating what they have previously mastered. These risks include reticence, cognitive stagnation, underachievement, and lowered academic self-esteem or a feeling of social alienation.

The research is clear that intervention is necessary if gifted and highly able students are to flourish academically, culturally and emotionally. Adjustments to the learning and daily programs are necessary to extend and challenge them to reach their potential.

Our approach

At Hobart City High School, we are pleased to have expanded our inclusive education offerings to include a structured program of support for gifted and highly able students. 

Our focus is to provide a range of services for those students to better support the development of their skills, confidence and attitudes that will help ensure their future pathways are better supported.

This is an evidence-backed approach, driven by research and student, family, and community voice.  To shape our approach, we heard from over 400 families from 14 primary schools (including our own feeder primary schools); we held a focus group with students enrolled in our partner school Elizabeth College’s Advanced Academic Diploma; we met with former and current Hobart City High School students to understand their expectations and needs; we spoke to experts within the Department of Education, the Tasmanian community, and also interstate, on the practical needs of gifted students, and we looked at the most recent research.

To be considered as gifted and or highly able students at Hobart City High School, students are recognised via their ACER tests and NAPLAN scores that place them in the top 90th percentile, combined with identification by their Link In teacher and/or subject teacher and a referral to our Gifted and Highly Able team.

Our commitment

  • To provide an array of tools to ensure a challenging program is created for each of the gifted and highly able learners across our campuses.
  • To ensure the families of our gifted and highly able students have the right information about what their children should achieve… and raise their expectations where necessary.
  • To maintain a culture of continuous improvement so that every student at Hobart City High is sufficiently challenged and has the opportunity to grow their learning.

Student stories

What families should expect

We have adopted a four-pillar approach supported by Department of Education procedures to provide students:

  • Daily challenge in their specific area of talent
  • Year level and/or Learning Area acceleration
  • Opportunities to socialise and learn with and from like-ability peers
  • Differentiation in delivery, instruction, pace, and review


What this looks like for students

Supporting our students to flourish academically, culturally and emotionally


Support for students

Gifted and highly able learners receive daily challenge in their specific area of talent

·         Supported access to Department-run Gifted  Online courses

·         Access to competitions, cultural events and activities that support enrichment  and extension

·         Competitions, Extension and Enrichment Opportunities

Year level and learning level acceleration are available

·         Acceleration in a specific learning area

·         Acceleration in a year level, if appropriate

Opportunities for socialising and learning with and from like-ability peers

·         Mentoring opportunities with our partner school, Elizabeth College

·         Student hub at both campuses

·         (from 2024) Duke of Edinburgh Program (Bronze)

·         Early exposure to the award-winning Elizabeth College Advanced Academic Diploma Program

Differentiation in delivery, instruction, pace, review and practice

·         Access to Big Picture learning program

·         Activated and adjusted Learning Plan specific to their needs, if appropriate

For more information

Contact us via