Do any of these scenarios and behaviours look familiar for your child?
If this sounds like your primary school aged child, then you might want to consider whether an Opportunity Class (OC) is what your child needs for optimal learning. Keep reading for how you can assess if your child is ready and what the appropriate next step may be for their learning journey.
How do you know whether an OC program is the right fit for your child? In this blog, we cover 5 key indicators to observe in your child to help you determine whether it is the right environment for their final years of primary school.
First, let us set the context by introducing you to Opportunity Classes.
Opportunity Classes (OC) are offered in government primary schools and cater to academically gifted students in Years 5 and 6 with high potential.
These dedicated classes enable students to learn at a more advanced level with other students of similar academic ability. The teaching methods and content is designed to challenge your gifted child.
Over 12,000 applications are received each year for 76 primary schools with opportunity classes across NSW. The application process begins from Year 4, when students sit the OC placement test. Admission to an OC involves the review of school assessment scores and a placement test for entry in Year 5 for a two-year placement program.
Opportunity Classes are about more than whether your child will make it through the application process successfully. The question is, is an OC the right environment for your child’s learning needs?
To determine whether an Opportunity Class environment is a good fit for your child, look for these 5 indicators:
Does your child consistently achieve high marks across all subjects, with little to moderate effort? Perhaps they are considered one of the “smart ones” in classes, understanding new concepts almost immediately when introduced by the teacher. If so, this is a positive sign that OC might be what they need.
Is your child constantly seeking activities that challenge their thinking? Maybe they tend to jump ahead to new content in their school textbooks with the desire to continue progressing in their understanding of the subject. An OC classroom covers advanced content compared to peers in their year group, content that is more appropriate for the level and pace of your child.
In the standard classroom, your child tends to stand out for their giftedness, discouraging them from performing at their best for fear of being different. Yet, when they are around other students of similar academic ability, they are more actively engaged in learning. OC allows your child to learn and work with like-minded peers with similar abilities, helping them excel.
This is an indicator you may need to delve into further. Disengagement with learning can be for any number of reasons. One of which is that your child finds the content they are learning not challenging or believes it is something they already know. In an OC learning environment, teachers do not have to cater to a wide range of abilities and can focus on engaging higher ability students.
The Selective High School application process is extremely competitive. If this is a goal your child wants to achieve, the OC program is a great stepping stone. It will help your child better prepare for the placement test through years of advanced learning, increasing their chances of success.
If your child demonstrates less than 4 of the indicators, then you may want to re-consider whether applying for OC is the right choice for them. Allow them to learn in their current classroom environment, addressing any underlying needs together with their teacher.
If all the above resonate with you as you reflect on your child’s behaviours, then applying for OC may be a step in the right direction.
Next, have a conversation with your child to see whether the idea of applying for and participating in an OC program appeals to them. Note it is a highly competitive process! To find out more about OC, read our blog Everything You Need to Know About Opportunity Classes. Also, consider whether it is worth it as not all schools offer OC. If your child is successful and their school does not offer an OC program, they may need to change schools to participate in the program.
If you decide to go ahead, great! At Global Education Academy, we offer an OC Preparation Program to help students prepare well for the OC Placement Test. Get in touch with us today for more information.