Program of Excellence

Program of Excellence2023-05-25T15:52:56+10:00

Compass Program of Excellence

At Brigidine College, we endeavour to re-interpret the Brigidine vision for a future generation of strong and gentle young women who are resilient and equipped with 21st century thinking skills to solve problems and lead change. We strive to achieve this vision through the Compass Program. Guided by the Middle School Pedagogy, with a focus on differentiation and personalised learning, the Compass Program is developed around rigorous and challenging learning experiences for High Potential Students.

Application Process Timeline
  1. Submit an Online Enrolment Form
  2. Gather the relevant data required for the Compass Application Form
  3. Submit the Compass Form
  4. Complete Compass Testing
  5. Your daughter may be invited for an interview once test results are received and reviewed
  6. Offers are made based on the triangulation of student data
Overview of the Compass Program
  • Selective entry Year 7 class for High Potential Students supported by expert teachers
  • Personalised Learning informed by the triangulation of data and expert teaching
  • Opportunities for curriculum acceleration, extension and enrichment across core learning areas whilst adhering to the standards of the Australian Curriculum
  • Problem Based Learning projects to develop 21st Century skills with a focus on community improvement
  • Informed by Middle Years Pedagogical Approach and educational research
Development of the Compass Program

There is a growing field of research indicating that Australian schools are not catering for the needs of our most capable students. The Compass Program has been developed in response to this evidence to better engage our High Potential Students. Although there is no one definition of High Potential or Gifted and Talented Students, there are several qualities that unite these learners:

Positive Affects of High Potential GirlsChallenges of High Potential GirlsNeeds of the High Potential Girl
– Inquisitive, abstract thinker
– Enjoys challenge
– Focused concentration for long periods of time
– Highly empathetic
– Self-directed
– Complex and clever use of humour
– Desire to learn and understand
– Self-critical, perfectionist tendencies
– Questions others, rules, and authority
– Easily bored
– Reduced involvement in group work
– Bossy, overbearing or hyperactive
– Rapid pace learning
– Complex content, improved breadth and depth
– Adjustment to learning processes, products and environment to support higher order and complex thinking
– Authentic, real world problems

As such, the Compass Program has been developed on an understanding of the needs of High Potential Learners and the role of expert teachers, and the importance of authentic challenge working to assist students in achieving excellence.

Compass Program: Authentic Learners

Informed Pedagogy

Research is clear that there are as many high potential female students as male, yet adolescent girls are at risk of subverting their potential and renouncing their pursuits of achievement in lieu of accepting traditional ideas of being female and seeking acceptance from their peers.

However, research completed by Tweedale and Kronborg (2015) identified that the High Potential girl stands every chance of success when she is given the opportunity to develop her talent in an environment that values excellence, encourages challenge and resilience and is supported by teachers and family.

In addition, research completed by Rogers (2007) identifies to meet the academic and social emotional needs of High Potential Learners, programs of instruction must: allow for daily challenge, the pursuit of individual areas of interest and potential, provide opportunities for acceleration, extension and enrichment, socialising with like-minded peers and flexible learning environments.

As such, the Compass Program has been developed as a selective entry class of High Potential students who will be challenged daily and offered unique differentiations of the curriculum to support their academic development in an environment of like-minded peers.

The creation of a selective class for High Potential Learners is supported by educational evidence collected over a century detailing that special grouping for high potential learners can greatly improve academic and social outcomes for all students (Steenbergen-Hu, et al 2016).

Visible Learning

Furthermore, Hattie’s invaluable research on Visible Learning clearly identifies the role of expert teachers in developing personalised learning that challenges students, ultimately resulting in High Potential Learners achieving excellence.

A teacher’s ability to measure learning to inform the development of personalised learning programs allows students to achieve excellence. Teachers of the Compass Program will use their expertise to assess student’s strengths and areas for improvement to develop a learning progression that engages their potential, guiding them on the path to excellence.

Authentic Challenge

Learning Futurist Tony Ryan clearly details the rapidly changing demands of education and the future of work. Thus, the Compass Program focuses on preparing students for 21st Century challenges. Informed by the Mission of our College, the Compass Program strives to develop the High Potential Girls’ problem-solving skills with a focus on improving communities and serving others.

Assumptions and FAQs

Compass is for smart students; my daughter is not a straight A student so she would not be suitable.

Compass is a program developed for the high potential learner. There is no one way to identify or classify a high potential learner given their varied abilities; however, there are several commonalities:

  • Learn at a rapid rate, preferring depth of content
  • Prefer self-paced learning
  • Enjoy challenge and open-ended problem solving
  • Dislike repetition of task or learning experiences

High potential learners will not always be high achievers. They will likely be able to complete tasks quickly with limited assistance and will often experience boredom in the classroom, becoming passive in their learning. The Compass Program accepts applications from high potential students, not just high achieving students. We recognise that given circumstance and exposure, not all students have been given an opportunity to demonstrate their talent and potentials. The program aims to challenge these students whilst assisting them in developing the skills they need to further harness their learning potential.

“I applied for Compass because I felt like during primary school the learning was slow, and I was not being pushed enough (Emily, Year 7 student 2020)

“We aren’t more entitled or smarter than the core students. We are the students who were chosen because a lot of us think alike and are similar in many ways like personality, thinking and morality” (Year 7 Student 2020)

I applied (for Compass) because in primary school I had always felt the need for some sort of challenge, and I thought that this class may be able to give me that challenge” (Bridget, Year 7 student 2020)

“Being part of Compass means extension work both inside and out of the classroom, as well as many opportunities and competitions to stretch our minds and creativity.” (Pippa, Year 7 student 2020)

“Compass means we have the opportunity to get challenges in our work.” (Bhala Year 7 student 2020)

My daughter hasn’t participated in any competitions or completed any additional testing to demonstrate her academic potential.

The supporting documentation listed are recommendations only. We understand that not all students will have awards and testing results to demonstrate their potential and talents. As such, you are invited to submit any documentation that you think suitably highlights your daughter’s potential; for example: complete class work, photographs of artistic creations, referrals or letters of support from teachers, coaches or mentors. Past achievements help us better understand your daughter as a learner but form only one component of a data triangulation used to identify Compass students.

Being part of the Compass Class will isolate my daughter or she will be treated differently.

First and foremost, Compass students are members of their cohort and our College community; they participate in all activities afforded to our students and are not privileged in their access to resources or learning. Our Catholic Mission guides our program development ensuring all students are supported and can achieve their best.

“My only hesitation related to whether she would be teased or made to feel excluded by virtue of the program; finding out that the College was committed to the Compass students being integrated as fully as possible alleviated this worry.”  (Rachelle Year 7 Parent 2020)

“I was concerned that being in the Compass program ‘bubble’ might segregate her from the majority of her year level peers… Once I found out that my daughter would have ample opportunities to form connections with her broader peer group, in home room and house activities as well as in co-curricular sport and cultural groups, I realised I had nothing to worry about.” (Megan Year 7 Parent 2020)

I do not want to expose my daughter to the potential disappointment of not being selected to be part of the Compass Program.

This is an understandable worry. Applying for a selective entry program takes courage and vulnerability. It also provides an opportunity to develop resilience and form a better understanding personal goals and values.  Apply for the Compass Program is a classic example of not knowing if you do not try.  If you daughter is not successful in attaining a spot in the Compass Program we endeavour to use the data collected at part of the process to ensure she is offered other suitable extension learning opportunities where appropriate.

“My friends were applying, and I wanted to do it with them and see what would happen. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.” (Year 7 student, 2020)

“I was looking for a way to extend my learning. I will probably never get this opportunity again so wanted to give it a go while I could!” (Pippa, Year 7 student, 2020)

Application Process

We are now accepting applications for entrance into the Compass Program for 2024 and beyond.

Entrance into the program is via Year 7 only.

Students already enrolled to attend Brigidine College still need to apply for the Compass Program via the form below.

If you have any questions or hesitations about your daughter’s application, please contact the Program Leader for Excellence Renee Dunne via

Should you have any enquiries please contact

Compass Program Application Form

    Indicate the documentation attached to support your Daughter’s application for the Compass Program
  • To assist the College in assessing your Daughter’s application, detail any additional information about her learning potential and achievement. (This could include comment on her engagement with learning or cocurricular activities, commitments to outside school interests or talent development programs).
  • Max. file size: 15 MB.
    Supporting documentation is to be uploaded as one file.
  • Please provide contact details of an educational reference for your daughter - Teacher name and email address. Providing this detail allows us to make contact with the reference.
  • I give permission to Brigidine College to obtain information and give relevant information to the previous school, specialist practitioners, etc. about my daughter. I have been assured that such communication shall be conducted by the College in the strictest confidence and, at all times, uphold my daughter's dignity, and if applicable that of her family or carers.

Useful Links


  • Hattie, J (2019) Implementing, scaling up, and valuing expertise to develop worthwhile outcomes in schools. Monograph, 58, The Australian Council for Educational Leaders
  • Tweedale, C., Kronborg, L (2015) What contributes to gifted adolescent females’ talent development at high achieving secondary girls’ schools? Gifted and Talented International, 30:1-2, 6-18
  • Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M., Olszewski-Kubilius, P (2016) What one hundred years of research says about the effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration of K-12 students’ academic achievement: Findings of two second order meta analyses. Review of Educational Research, Vol 86, No4 pp 849 – 899
  • Rogers, K.B (2007). Lessons learned about educating the Gifted and Talented: A synthesis of the Research on Educational Practice. The Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol 51, Iss 4, pp 382 – 396

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