Let the tall poppies flourish

A new Australian collection of papers on topics relating to justice in the education of gifted students edited by Dr Susan Nikakis, Gifted & Talented Education Officer Catholic Education Office Melbourne, will be launched at Parliament House by David Southwick MP on Tuesday 16 October 2012

Edited by: Dr Susan Nikakis

Publisher : Heidelberg Press Heidelberg, Victoria

Front cover: Mr Martin Tighe (Original painting)

Foreword: Mr David Huggins

Acknowledgements and Introduction:     Dr Susan Nikakis

The papers included are

1          Why do gifted students need justice?  Dr Susan Nikakis  

2          Seeking justice for twice exceptional learners.  Ms Carmel Meehan

3          The voices of gifted girls call for justice.  Ms Carmel Meehan and Dr Susan Nikakis        

4          Justice for gifted rural students. Dr Margaret Plunkett

5          Gifted from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island perspective. Delsie Lillyst and Prof Mark Rose

6          Justice for gifted marginalised students.             Arrigo Dorissa

7          The Hidden Girls. Challenges facing gifted girls in Saudi Arabia.  Mr Faisal Alamiri

8          Justice for Gifted boys Mr Paul Double

9          Justice ‘across the ditch’. Dr Janna Wardman

10        How to nurture artistically gifted students. Jane Strickland,

11        Justice for highly able gifted and talented secondary students with a passion to learn, but who may or may not be typical ‘high academic achievers’. Christine Ireland

12        Final words.  Dr Susan Nikakis

The book can be purchased by:


  • Emailing an order to info@heidelbergpress. com.au
  • Fax an order to Heidelberg Press on 03 9459 8827
  • Post order to Heidelberg Press, PO Box 234, Heidelberg VIC 3084

The book retails for $70 and there is a $10 charge for postage and handling.

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students

Australia is engrossed in welcoming home the athletes who participated at the London Olympics, planning street parades for them and evaluating the effectiveness and cost of the Australian Olympic campaign

It was great to read an opinion piece by David Southwick MP, Chair of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students,  in The Age newspaper today

It expresses very similar sentiments to one of my posts on Sprite’s Site blog on2 July 2012 http://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-un-olympics-bower/

Here is part of that post

On 25 July 2011, the day of the first of the hearings for the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students, http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/etc/article/1339

the front page news was

Cadel Evans wins Tour de France



This led Carmel Meehan, President of the VAGTC, to say during her evidence

“We celebrate people like Cadel Evans. He had a problem that he has solved in a physical way, and we have him on the front page of our papers today. We have people like Gustav Nossal and people who are working in stem cell research in our universities and who are doing brilliant work, but we do not see much of that on the front page of the paper. Our gifted and talented students are the resource that we have to solve those problems and the people who tomorrow will be at the cutting edge of helping humanity to survive.”


“We acknowledge our sporting heroes. We have a very good model for acknowledging excellence in our sporting domains. That could be transposed very easily into celebration of academic excellence, problem-solving, music and arts. In this country if we have good leadership in acknowledging gifted and talented people and celebrating their successes in the way that we celebrate our sporting heroes’ successes, then we are well on the way to having a very smart next generation coming through.

What we are looking for is equity for all the fields, whether it be in sport, arts, dance, mathematics and science, or whatever. In a level playing field let us celebrate it all, not one at the expense of the other.”

On 12 August 2011 Cadel Evans was given a street parade through Melbourne http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/08/11/3291187.htm

Extract from Sprite’s Site blog entry 21 June 2012

On Wednesday 20 June 2012 the report of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students 2011 was tabled and the report posted at http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/etc/article/1341
with the full 336 page report in PDF form at http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/etc/Past_Inquiries/EGTS_Inquiry/Final_Report/Gifted_and_Talented_Final_Report.pdf

The recommendations arising from the Inquiry can be found on the VAGTC website at
Recommendations from the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students

The Age newspaper reported on the findings of the inquiry at

If you follow Sprite’s Site you may remember that on 2 July 2011 I was busy writing a submission for this inquiry and had delayed celebrating Sprite’s blog birthday because of it http://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/hard-to-please-everyone/

My submission to the Inquiry can be read at