Department program

Student Excellence Program

The Student Excellence Program is delivering a range of initiatives to support Victorian government schools to provide a great learning environment and build teacher capability to support and extend their high-ability students.

Access to a high-ability practice leader and funding for every government school

Every primary and secondary school now has access to a High-Ability Practice Leader, who: 

  • acts as a point of advice for their teacher colleagues in relation to high-ability students
  • coordinates students from their school to participate in the Victorian High-Ability Program and the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series
  • communicates their school’s approach to the education of high-ability students within their school community

In addition, every primary and secondary school is receiving funding to expand their support for high-ability students. Schools can use the funding to develop, deliver and coordinate their programs for high-ability students, or undertake professional learning to support this.

Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series

High-ability students from Prep to Year 12 will benefit from the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series, a new series of high-quality, funded extension activities across all areas of the curriculum. Schools can nominate students to participate in activities within the series according to their abilities and interests.

The Department is partnering with more than 20 expert education and not-for-profit organisations, universities, Tech Schools, teacher associations, and science and mathematics specialist centres to deliver activities within the series.

Up to 100,000 Victorian government school students will have the opportunity to participate in the series from Term 3, 2020, until Term 4, 2022.

Over the two-and-a-half years of the series (subject to health requirements in place at the time), activities will be held in metropolitan Melbourne and regional areas, and delivered during school hours, after school, on weekends and during school holidays.

All activities will:

  • be free for participating students
  • have a minimum duration of 90 minutes and be conducted in groups
  • be across one or more learning areas of the Victorian curriculum.

How to register

The process for registering students will differ for activities that occur during and out of school hours:

  • Activities delivered during school hours – schools will register their students to participate in activities, as well as coordinate the required parental consent for these activities.
  • Activities delivered out of school hours – schools will refer students to participate in activities. Parents and caregivers will be responsible for registering students in these activities and will liaise directly with the activity provider to organise attendance.

In 2020, places will be filled on a 'first-in, first-served' basis. In 2021 and 2022, schools and students who have not participated in the activity will be given priority access.

Interested families and caregivers of high-ability students should talk to their schools about which activities are the best fit for them.

Victorian High-Ability Program

The Victorian High-Ability program will provide up to 48,000 high-ability students in Years 5 to 8 at government schools the opportunity to participate in 10-week online extension and enrichment programs, in English and mathematics.

The virtual program, delivered by Virtual School Victoria, will focus on extending and developing students' mathematic and English abilities.

After completing the virtual program, students will participate in a face-to-face masterclass with other high-ability students from schools in their local area. All masterclasses will incorporate the latest COVID-19 advice and risk mitigation strategies to maintain a safe environment for students and staff.

The Department is centrally managing the selection process for the program based on student academic performance. Parents of students selected for the program will be provided with more information about the program by their school.

High-Ability Teaching Toolkit

All teachers will have access to a 'one-stop-shop' of online resources, including professional learning and a teaching toolkit. This will provide teachers with practical, evidence-based resources and guidance to better support their high-ability students.

Underpinned by research and informed by experts, the toolkit will include:

  • detailed advice about the needs of high-ability learners
  • effective assessment and identification practices
  • high-impact teaching strategies (including differentiation)
  • leadership approaches required to maximise achievement for these learners.

The Toolkit will be released on the Department's website and progressively updated with new content.

A new category in the Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

From 2020, the Victorian Education Excellence Awards will include a new category that recognises one primary school and one secondary school with an outstanding whole-school approach to supporting high-ability students. The winning schools will each receive a grant of up to $25,000 to further support their programs for high-ability students.