Bright sparks get a chance to shine

These year 6 students are among the region's brightest and have already secured a spot in one of the Illawarra's most sought after classrooms.

They are part of the Wollongong Academically Gifted (AG) class - a weekly year 5 and 6 extension class at Farmborough Road Public School attracting bright students from Helensburgh to Kiama.

Students get to study high level maths, analyse great works of literature, complete their own-interest projects and go on excursions to the theatre, universities and hospitals.

A select few students who were in the class as year 5 students will return after excelling last year, but class organisers are expecting a competitive application process to fill the remaining places as its popularity has grown each year.

Admission is based on a psychometric test, standardised test results, teacher recommendations and an interview with the child's parents.

Program co-ordinator Chester Meurant said he was expecting well over 200 applications for the 31 places on offer this year.

He said its popularity was linked to the success of selective high schools, noting that almost all students from the class went on to study at Smith's Hill - the region's only academically selective high school.

For Gerringong father Steven Noble, the class has been invaluable in keeping his gifted 10-year-old son Jude engaged.

Mr Noble said his son was naturally gifted and found most lessons in an everyday classroom to be very easy, meaning his mind tended to wander when he wasn't being challenged at school.

"We needed to up the ante so Jude was switched on at school," he said.

"He loves the class and you can see how happy he is when you pick him up and how naturally he talks with other kids he meets there.

"We can also see that he's learning things that, with the standard curriculum, you might not get to for another few years."

Applications close on Friday and are open to public school students who are in years 5 or 6.

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