Student Excellence Program

The Student Excellence Program is delivering a range of initiatives to support 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 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 (VHAP) and the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series (VCES)
  • 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

The Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series provides extension and enrichment activities across the curriculum to engage, challenge and extend high-ability students from prep to year 12. Schools can nominate students to participate in activities within the series according to their abilities and interests.

The department is partnering with 28 expert education and not-for-profit organisations, universities, tech schools, teacher associations, and science and mathematics specialist centres to deliver activities within the series.

Having commenced in July 2020, the series has been extended for a further three years from Term 1 2023 to Term 4 2025. Up to 100,000 more government school students will have the opportunity to participate in the series. 

A suite of face-to-face and virtual incursion and excursions, such as workshops, tutorials, conferences, lectures and competitions, will continue to engage, challenge and extend these advanced learners. Activities within the series are held in metropolitan Melbourne and regional areas, and are delivered during school hours, after school, on weekends and during school holidays. 

All activities:

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

How schools nominate students

Schools and high ability practice leaders can nominate students to take part in activities from the series according to their abilities and interests.

To browse the schedule of activities and events, refer to the Arc event hub.

The process for registering students differs for activities that occur during and out of school hours. It is generally expected that:

Activities delivered during school hours

Schools will nominate and register their students to take part in these activities. Schools will also coordinate the required parental consent.

Activities delivered out of school hours (including school holidays)

Schools will nominate students to participate in activities. Parents and caregivers will directly register their children for participation. They will liaise directly with the activity provider to organise attendance and provide consent. 

Interested families and caregivers of high-ability students should talk to their schools (e.g., classroom teacher and/or high ability practice leader) about which activities best suit their child's interests and abilities.

Victorian High-Ability Program

The Victorian High-Ability program has provided up to 48,000 high-ability students in Years 5 to 8 at government schools the opportunity to participate in 10-week online enrichment programs, in English and mathematics up to the end of 2022. A further 57,000 places will be available for students between Term 1 2023 and Term 4 2025.

The virtual program, delivered by Virtual School Victoria, focuses on extending and developing students' mathematical and English abilities.

After completing the virtual program, students participate in a face-to-face masterclass with other high-ability students from schools in their local area.

The department is centrally managing the selection process for the program based on student academic performance. It uses a selection algorithm that is based on student achievement data to assess student ability and readiness to participate in the program. A combination of high NAPLAN scores and being one or more years ahead of their peers (based on teacher judgement data) indicates high ability.

Priority of place is provided to students who are high ability and experience social-economic disadvantage, identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or reside in a regional/rural area.

Parents of students selected for the program will be provided with more information about the program by their school.

High-ability toolkit

The high-ability toolkit is aimed at primary and secondary schools and teachers to support high-ability students in their classrooms.

The toolkit has advice and information about:

  • how to identify high-ability students
  • the needs of high-ability students
  • how to support high-ability students.

Our toolkit is progressively updated with new content.

A new category in the Victorian Education Excellence Awards

The Victorian Education Excellence Awards recognises one primary and one secondary school with an outstanding approach to supporting high-ability students. The winning schools each receive a grant of up to $25000 to further support their programs for high-ability students.