The Tasmanian Association for the Gifted (TAG) welcomes the announcement by Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten that gifted students would also benefit from the Better Schools funding. (The Mercury, 10th July)

Gifted students, who comprise 10 to 15 per cent of Tasmanian students, many of whom are unidentified, have special education requirements that are very often difficult to provide for within in the normal classroom environment and unlike students with other learning difficulties, their needs are not supported by Government funding.

President of TAG Lynne Maher said contrary to common perception, gifted students do not reach their potential without the appropriate educational opportunities. These may include individual learning plans, working with intellectual peers rather than just age peers, and special programs.

“In fact, these students can be at risk of disengaging, underachieving, developing behaviour problems or dropping out,” she said.

“Minister Bill Shorten has demonstrated his understanding that the educational needs of all children are important and this funding is a positive step towards meeting those needs”.

Ms Maher welcomed the fact that the Better Schools funding would assist teachers by providing professional development opportunities to improve their knowledge and understanding in identifying and catering for the needs of gifted students. This has been a long neglected area in teacher training.

TAG, a non-profit volunteer run organisation, works to provide opportunities for the education of parents and teachers including a biennial conference, which this year will be at Elizabeth College, Hobart, from September 6-8.

International specialist on gifted education and visual spatial learners Dr Linda Silverman, from Colorado, US, is this year’s keynote speaker and will present a number of sessions for parents and teachers along with her keynote addresses.

The conference will include more than 40 sessions with speakers from overseas, interstate and throughout Tasmania.

TAG website:
Lynne Maher, President of TAG