Extension & Enrichment

At Covenant, we believe that education should be tailored to the individual. In doing so, we can specifically assist students to achieve their God-given potential. A ‘one size fits all’ education, far from being equitable, actually fails to realize this aim.

A truly Christian education should not only view the world through a Biblical lens, but meeting the needs of the individual’s ability and gifting, should be intrinsic to the way in which it is both delivered and fashioned.

In our school, there are students who are capable of achieving above the expected level of their age peers. The Extension and Enrichment programmes and strategies have been created in order to cater for these students. In the formulation of policy, the school has adopted Gagne’s (1991) definition of giftedness, which defines giftedness as “potential (which) is distinctly above average”. Thus, the various strategies are aimed at helping to reach this potential. The level and the type of intervention will be dependent on the level of the student’s capacity for more difficult work. Rather than using the terms 'Gifted and Talented' we choose to 'Extend and Enrich' our students.

The following strategies are currently pursued at Covenant:

In-Class Enrichment and Extension - In the class context, teachers are always actively working to tailor their teaching to the students with whom they are working. Some strategies used by teachers are:

Differentiated Instruction - Teachers design curriculum which allows for gifted students to work at a level commensurate with their ability. Maker (1982), points to differentiation in terms of content, process, product, learning environment. Each of these aspects can thus help to cater for the needs of the student.

Bloom’s Taxonomy - Bloom’s taxonomy charts the nature of learning- from simple knowledge acquisition to the most complex tasks of synthesising, analysing and evaluating. By creating tasks which use the upper end of the taxonomy (such as evaluating), teacher can ascertain that their students are undertaking more complex work by using higher order thinking skills.

Open Ended Tasks - Open ended tasks are a way for students to select a more complex product and thus extend themselves. An open- ended question is one which can allow for a product which is at the standard grade level of the student or can produce a product which can reach a level which is many years in advance of the student’s age.

Off- Level Testing - Off level testing is where teachers provide students with assessment designed for students beyond the grade level. It allows teachers to see where students might have already acquired the knowledge and skills being taught in a unit of work. This then allows for extension and enrichment provisions.

Alternate Units - Where students have already acquired the knowledge and skills for a particular unit of work, they can ‘test out’ of a unit and complete alternate work. Sometimes the work can be more complex or sometimes it can be different content (or both).

Pull Out Programmes - In a number of subjects, students have the opportunity to be selected for pull out programmes. These classes provide the opportunity for more complex work to be undertaken and substitute for aspects of the regular curriculum which have already been mastered. As such, they are tailored to the student who is achieving beyond the expected level of their peers. In the Junior School, pull- out programmes are rotated each term. The programmes include Science, English, Maths and Independent Learning.

Streamed Classes - In some subjects, there are some ability based groupings. This can allow for certain students to complete work at a more complex level. For example, in English, selected groups of students can study HSC level texts in the Year 9 class room.

The Passion Project (Year 8) - The Passion Project is a project based learning task which allows all students to study a self-selected area of personal passion. The project is closely monitored by staff and involves instruction in regard to research skills and referencing. Students are allocated one timetabled period per week to work on the project. The student’s work culminates in a showcase at the end of the semester.

Curriculum Compacting - Curriculum compacting involves condensing the usual academic programme in order that students may progress at a faster pace and move swiftly onto more difficult work. An example of curriculum compacting at Covenant in seen in the Mathematics faculty where carefully selected students complete Year 7 and 8 in one calendar year and move together as a group into Year 9 for the next calendar year.

Single Subject Acceleration. In exceptional circumstances, students will skip a year of one subject. Early high school and Year 10 level are often suitable times for this to occur. Rigorous testing and support is a requisite for such a provision.

Grade Skipping - In very rare cases, a student may need to skip an entire grade level. Psychological assessments, off- level testing and psychometric tests are often used in conjunction with parent/ staff/ student meetings to determine whether such a move is an appropriate decision.

Enrichment Camps - Covenant, combined with CEN, operate a number of exciting enrichment camps during term time. Taught by specialists, these camps allow students of all ages and stages to work together, to experiment and to attempt work of increased complexity. Currently, students can attend camps which focus on the following areas: Art, Drama, Writing, Maths

Pushing the Boundaries - A Year 9 interdisciplinary Extension and Enrichment Day

Extra-Curricular Enrichment - There are a vast range of opportunities at Covenant. Activities include:

  • Musical
  • Senior Concert Band
  • Assembly Music Team
  • Music Tour
  • String Ensemble
  • Junior School Strings
  • Junior Concert Band
  • Junior School Choir
  • Training Band Programme
  • Junior Brass Ensemble
  • Junior School Rock Band
  • Junior School String Quartet
  • Special Interest Band/s
  • Vocal Ensemble
  • Public Speaking
  • Duke of Edinburgh
  • The Wordsmith’s (Covenant’s creative writing club)
  • The Covenant Dance Academy (Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Acro, Hip Hop, Physical Culture)

Outer Limits Day - A Covenant based inter-disciplinary extension and enrichment day for students in Years 3- 6.

The Da Vinci Decathlon - An inter-school academic Olympics held annually at Knox Grammar School.

GATEway8 - A team based, academic gala day

Competitions -  The school both operates and participates in a number of competitions which allow students to test and refine their skills. Some of these competitions can serve as off level testing. Some available competitions include:

  • The Covenant Writing Competition
  • The Bald Covie (Covenant Art competition)
  • The ICAS Competitions (English, Maths, Science, Writing, Computing)
  • The Combined Christian Schools Public Speaking Competition
  • The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards
  • The NSW Storyteller’s Guild Storytelling Competition
  • Northern Beaches Eisteddfod
  • Extreme Eisteddfod
  • The United Nations Youth Association Public Speaking Competition
  • Rostrum Voice of Youth Student Development Program and Speaking Competition.