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MGS to launch scholastic programme

FROM January next year, Methodist Girls’ School will offer a unique and customised scholastic programme for its upper primary and secondary school students.

This programme is tailored for the intellectually gifted and builds on the proven strengths of the MGS education, which is well known for its emphasis on all-round development, character training and Christian education.

Called the Sophia Blackmore Class (SBC) – after its founder, Miss Sophia Blackmore – the programme has been developed and tailored by MGS educators for their more talented students who would benefit from a more challenging academic curriculum.

The school has received help from the Gifted Education Branch of the Ministry of Education and the teachers have undergone training by Dr Sandra Kaplan from the University of Southern California, a leading figure in the field of gifted education.

While adopting the broad framework of the Gifted Education Programme (GEP), the SBC is unique in that it taps on the distinctiveness of the MGS education and culture.

Seeking to empower, enrich and excite exceptional young minds, the programme will address the needs of students who may have a different pace and learning profile from most of their peers.

The curriculum

The SBC offers a differentiated curriculum that extends the core curriculum in depth and complexity. A unique feature is the out-of-school learning that will be introduced. It will include interdisciplinary fieldtrips, attachments, exchanges and summer school programmes.

Community service will be an important part of the SBC and the girls will be given the chance to use their creativity and capabilities to serve a wider community.

Students who opt for this programme will also engage in project work aimed at helping their creativity flourish, sharpening their thinking skills and providing them avenues for innovation, self-expression and exploration.

While the SBC caters to a smaller group of students, teachers are mindful that the Sophia scholars remain part of the mainstream student body.

Therefore, much of the enrichment activities will be fitted into curriculum time so that they are not overloaded by after-school SBC activities. This will allow them to join their other friends in school-wide activities, such as CCAs, and remain active within the school community.

Getting started

Come January 2005, the SBC option will be offered at Primary 4 and Secondary 1. The primary school SBC will start with one class of 35 students, while there will be two Secondary 1 classes of 25 students each.

Entry into SBC at Primary 4 will be based on the results of the GEP screening test, school results and teacher recommendations. Secondary 1 students will be invited to take the Higher Ability Selection Tests, developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research, on logical reasoning, abstract thinking, mathematics, science and the humanities.

Their PSLE results, school results, teacher recommendations, personal statements, academic and non-academic achievements will also be considered.

There will be no change in school fees for the first year, but students in the SBC at secondary level can expect to pay additional fees the year after. However, no girl who qualifies for the SBC will be denied a place just because she cannot afford the fees.

Benefits

Miss Kon Mei Leen, the Principal of MGS, said: “The investment of resources in the SBC will extend beyond the programme to the whole school. Good and innovative ideas generated for the programme will flow over to the rest of the school.

“The higher level of intellectual activity and the drive for excellence that we can expect of the Sophia scholars will have a positive effect on their peers not in the programme.”

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