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Diverse Learning Needs

At St Pius X, we strive to be a student-centred school, which provides learning and teaching experiences that are appropriate for each individual child’s zone of proximal development. Staff use a variety of pedagogies and learning frameworks to diversify the curriculum and facilitate quality learning and teaching experiences for all students. For more information, read our CEDoW Diverse Learning Needs Policy.


At St Pius X, we have an MSPEC Team (Managing School Pastoral and Educational Concerns) that is responsible for monitoring students identified with specific learning difficulties, behavioural and/or social skills. The MSPEC Team works collaboratively with classroom teachers to support and assist them in their role of developing individual plans to address the specific and individual needs of these targeted students. 

The Literacy and Numeracy Continuums are used to monitor student learning and growth over the course of a year. Classroom teachers use a variety of other forms of data to track learning gains and drive future learning directions. Discontinued Reading Recovery students are also tracked and monitored until the end of Year 3, to ensure they continue to make sound learning gains once completing this intensive and individual intervention. Classroom teachers plan and implement individual learning plans to support targeted students in achieving their goals, and monitor progress from year to year. In addition to this, Individual Plans (IP) are a key part of the school’s response to catering for the diverse needs of learners. This response may include additional support, alternative outcomes, adjustments and differentiation  to programming or the learning environment.

All students who receive ‘Student with Disability’ funding have an Individual Plan developed collaboratively with parents. Regular meetings are held with key stakeholders to discuss progress and concerns.



Gifted Education is a shared responsibility between teachers and parents. 

St Pius X follows Gagné’s differentiated model of giftedness and talent. Gagné defines giftedness as the possession of natural abilities at levels significantly beyond what might be expected for one’s age; that is, giftedness is outstanding potential that may or may not yet be evident in outstanding performance. Gagné defines talent as the achievement or performance of one or more systematically developed skills at a level significantly beyond what might be expected for one’s age.

Teachers may devise specific Individual Plans (IPs) for students who have been formally assessed as gifted. These plans may include:

  • Differentiation within the classroom
  • Opportunities for growth outside the classroom (SPLICED, da Vinci Decathlon, Maths Games)
  • A variety of grouping strategies
  • Acceleration by subject or grade
  • Modified reporting procedures

See below for more information on some of the gifted education initiatives available at St Pius X – opportunities for students to show their potential and engage in higher order thinking processes.

The ACER General Ability Tests (AGAT) is a series of tests designed to assist teachers of students aged seven to sixteen years (approximately Year 2 to Year 10) in their assessment of students’ general reasoning ability. These tests have been developed especially for use in schools.

Each of the tests assesses students’ reasoning skills in three areas: Verbal and Numerical and Abstract (visual). 

At St Pius X, all students take part in the AGAT assessment in Year 3. The results of this assessment will assist teachers in differentiating the curriculum for all students at the school.

The Slosson Intelligence Test is a verbal one-on-one test that provides an estimate of verbal cognitive ability. As it is not a full scale IQ test, the Slosson will not provide an IQ score, but rather an indication of the band in which a child may fall and also some valuable anecdotal evidence of their areas of strength and weakness. The assessment focuses on the following areas: Similarities and Differences, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Quantitative, General Information and Auditory Memory.

If students perform highly in AGAT, they are then given the opportunity to take part in the Slosson assessment.  Along with the observations of class teachers and the collection of class assessment data these two measures will assist St Pius X teachers in better targeting the specific intellectual needs of our learners.

A Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong initiative offered to students who are identified as gifted, SPLICED stands for 'Stretching Potential through Learning in Interactive and Challenging Environments in the Diocese of Wollongong'. Students complete engaging and challenging activities based on the seven Key Learning Areas.


The da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students. Students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and general knowledge.

The Decathlon is designed to celebrate the academic gifts of Australian youth by providing a stimulating and challenging competition run in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon.

The Maths Games and Maths Olympiad competitions provide an opportunity for mainstream students in Years 4, 5 and 6 to learn valuable problem solving skills and exposes them to the application of mathematical problem solving strategies and techniques. Teams of high-achieving Year 3 students may also be considered for entry to the Maths Games competition as a precursor to the Maths Olympiad. 

The Maths Games is aligned with the Australian curriculum and focuses on challenging students to think laterally and creatively when solving mathematically-based problems. 

The main aims of the program include:

  • Introducing students to important mathematical concepts
  • Teaching major strategies and develop flexibility for problem solving
  • Fostering creativity and ingenuity and strengthen intuition
  • Stimulating enthusiasm and enjoyment of mathematics
  • Providing for the satisfaction, joy and thrill of meeting challenges