Presenter Abstract & Bio

Three years of hope and despair: Refocusing the curriculum for gifted learners

Greg Longney, Director of Learning and Enrichment, Barker College

Conference Focus Area:  A continuously improving curriculum with a focus on meeting the needs of gifted learners.

Presentation: Paper


The title is adapted from Michael Cooney's book about the prime ministership of Julia Gillard and very nicely captures my experience of trying to reframe one school's curriculum and teaching practices to better meet the needs of all learners, but particularly the most able.

This presentation will share the experiences of how a school has recognised its shortcomings in the area of gifted and talented education and what it is doing about it.

The presentation will draw on the experiences of students, teachers, and parents, captured through a process of ethnographic research conducted as part of the Association of Independent Schools’ Elevate program for High Potential Learning – even the labelling of students as gifted, or as being of high potential can be problematic!

The presentation will also share the steps that have been taken to develop curriculum, to support staff to better understand gifted learners, and in the area of assessment. More precisely, change has occurred through a focus on testing and data and how we assess and track student progress. It has also occurred by changing the way we group students in classes and how we differentiate learning and assessment within classes.

Above all, it has been a process of being more knowledgeable and better equipped to respond to the needs of all students.


Greg Longney a teacher of History and the Director of Learning and Enrichment at Barker College, Hornsby, NSW. Whilst for most of his teaching career he has largely been unaware of the needs of gifted learners, he was awakened to this vital area of education through a change of role in 2016. He has developed a deep interest in gifted education and it has sharpened his belief in the importance of a well-designed curriculum to deliver the best learning outcomes for all students. Prior to this role, he was Head of History for nine years during which time he completed a MEd (Research) at Monash University with a focus on how teachers understand second-order historical concepts.

Tel: 02 6260 5660

Email: acsa@acsa.edu.au

© Copyright 2019 by the
Australian Curriculum Studies Association

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Tel: 02 6260 5660

Email: acsa@acsa.edu.au

© Copyright 2019 by the
Australian Curriculum Studies Association