For those of you who don’t already know, I am blessed to be the mother of a gifted boy, both academically and artistically. Sadly, living in Alice Springs means that we have very limited options when it comes to education, the schools here are very reluctant to cater to anyone other than the lowest common denominator, which is a shame.
Indeed, when my son was in Year 7, the local public school, Centralian Middle School, had him sit there and just draw, instead of actually providing him with appropriate academic work to complete. His teacher’s response when I brought up my concerns was laughable. She claimed that she didn’t know what to teach him as she had never met anyone like him before. Naturally she did what any qualified, professional teacher would do, and source extension work for him, right? Wrong! She did nothing, with the full backing of the principal.
Needless to say, I removed him and he began to study via distance education. Within six months he had completed Year 7, 8, 9, and in April of this year, aged just 13 years old, he completed his Year 10 Certificate.
Which now means that we are looking to enrol him in Year 11 and 12, which should be simple, right? Wrong again! I had intended to enrol him in the Northern Territory School of Distance Education, but they refused to enrol him, stating that he was not old enough. because, obviously, as we all know, intelligence is directly related to age! Unbelievable! They did have the helpful suggestion of enrolling him in another school, the Australian Christian College, but they charge a fee of $2000 per subject, and he needs to complete 11 subjects.
The local public high school, Centralian Senior College, has not even bothered to reply to my messages, and there is no TAFE nearby. There is a possibility that he can study at TAFE Queensland, which has a far superior curriculum, but he should not have to seek an education from interstate, he should be able to be educated in the state that he lives.
So as well as lodging a formal complaint with the Northern Territory Education Board, it is off to the Education Ombudsman I go, as there is no way on Earth that I will make my son repeat Year 8, 9 and 10, until he is old enough to complete Year 11 and 12! Seriously, my son is entitled, by law, to receive an education, the same as anyone else, and should not be discriminated against just because he is smart and gifted.
So, watch this space for the resolution.