Key Aspects of the Biretta Program

Boys in the Biretta Class study all their core subjects together as an Oratory  (ie Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Italian), in a similar fashion to the boys in the mixed ability Homerooms. The Year 8 Biretta Program operates in identical fashion. The Year 9 Biretta Program differs slightly in that some boys from mainstream classes may gain admission to the Advanced English and Mathematics classes which are also available to Biretta students.

It should be noted that our Biretta Class concept differs significantly from streaming which is usually associated with a whole year level group being allocated to differentiated classes on a sliding scale from the ‘top’ class to the ‘bottom’ class. The Biretta Class is only one class: all other Homerooms in Years 7-9 remain mixed ability classes.

Boys in our Biretta Classes cover essentially the same syllabus material as other classes. However, academically talented students often display the ability to:

  • learn new material in much less time than their peers
  • readily retain a quantity of information
  • handle abstract and complex ideas
  • simultaneously focus on a number of tasks.

Consequently, the pace at which the material is undertaken and the depth and breadth of the material covered is adapted in the Biretta Classes so that it is tailored to the needs and capabilities of particularly able students. Pre-testing will take place at the beginning of units to determine the extent of the boys’ existing knowledge. Where appropriate, syllabuses will be compacted to permit a range of enrichment and extension activities. In this way, boys who might otherwise become bored studying material which they might already know, will have the opportunity to learn in a stimulating, fast-moving environment.