What kind of students do you teach?
We teach Gifted students – that is, students with high intellectual potential. We are the only specialist school for Gifted students in Australia.
We define Giftedness according to the definition developed by Subotnik et al., 2011:
Giftedness is the manifestation of performance or production that is clearly at the upper end of the distribution in a talent domain even relative to that of other high-functioning individuals in that domain. Further, giftedness can be viewed as developmental, in that in the beginning stages, potential is the key variable; in later stages, achievement is the measure of giftedness; and in fully developed talents, eminence is the basis on which this label is granted. Psychosocial variables play an essential role in the manifestation of giftedness at every developmental stage. Both cognitive and psychosocial variables are malleable and need to be deliberately cultivated.
Subotnik, R. F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Worrell, F. C. (2011). Rethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education: A Proposed Direction Forward Based on Psychological Science. Psychological Sciences in the Public Interest, 12(1), 7.
What curriculum do you use?
We use the Australian Curriculum because we found it to be the most flexible to tailor programs for individual students while ensuring the delivery of a comprehensive education.
For a copy of our Curriculum Handbooks please email email@example.com.
How big are your classes?
We use flexible learning groupings, placing students in the group that is relevant to their learning ability in any given subject area. These groups are kept small, ideally about 15 students.
What is your approach to extension work?
We engage students according to their level of ability, rather than their age. This means that if, for example, a student is working at Year 5 level in English Receptive Skills and Year 4 in Biological Sciences, they will be placed in the appropriate classes.
We regularly provide Professional Development in Differentiation to educators across Australia.
Do you do IEPs?
We develop Personalised Education Plans for each of our students, in consultation with the student and parents or caregivers and in consideration of the student’s intellectual potential in various areas, level of ability across subject areas, health information, any external services, and also the student’s interests, strengths, motivations and goals. Personalised Education Plans are at the heart of how we deliver curriculum at Dara, allowing us to meet each student’s particular educational needs.
What if my primary school aged child is ready for high school level subjects?
All of our teachers hold multiple qualifications and are qualified in the specific areas of Primary Education and Gifted Education, with a number of our staff also holding Secondary Education qualifications in specific subjects. This ensures our staff are collectively qualified to teach Gifted students at any level.
My child is Twice Exceptional.
We teach Gifted students and understand that every child is different and may bring a variety of considerations to their school environment. We are able to accommodate our students’ needs, both in the classroom and through on-site third-party provision of therapy and other supports. Our staff regularly undertake professional development in a variety of areas to support this.
My child struggles socially.
We support the social and emotional development of our students through mindfulness education and the implementation of choice theory. Our staff are able to support our students holistically, whenever a need arises.
When are school tours?
We provide school tours as part of the interview process. Once an applicant has provided sufficient evidence of giftedness to meet our requirements, they proceed to the interview stage. At that point, the Principal, and another staff member, will interview the applicant and answer any questions. A tour will then be given, usually lead by a student peer. This provides the applicant with a personalised introduction to the school so that they have the relevant information to decide whether to proceed with enrolment if an offer is made.
How can I apply?
Applications are always open through the application form here on the website. Applications will be considered for our next intake. Our intakes vary depending on our available places. See the Applications page for dates.
What evidence of giftedness do you require?
We require a psychological assessment as evidence of giftedness. If you’re having trouble getting started, we can provide you with a list of psychologists and tests we have found include the relevant information. If you would like a copy of the list please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any other evidence of giftedness, e.g. school reports, portfolios of work, ICAS competition results, etc., may be included to reflect the applicant’s particular strengths in support of the application.
We don’t have our psychological evaluation report yet / our appointment isn’t for a while – should we hold off on submitting an application?
As long as you expect to receive your psychological evaluation report within a reasonable timeframe from the closing date for the intake for which you wish to apply, we welcome your application.
What should I bring to the interview?
At interview, we are primarily interested in information about the prospective student’s learning needs and goals. Anything the applicant would like to bring as examples of their learning will be considered. What would your dream school be like? What do you love to learn and why? What is it that engages you in learning? Bring whatever showcases the answers to these questions.
NB: we are primarily interested in interviewing the prospective student, so please don’t come to the interview without them.