In 2000 the Ministry of Education recognised the importance of catering for gifted and talented children, and consequently allocated resources to support schools to develop programmes for these children. Over the past several years there have been a series of initiatives to ensure that appropriate education is provided for gifted and talented learners, and from 2005 it became mandatory for schools to show how they are meeting the needs of their Gifted and Talented learners.
The core principles of Gifted and Talented Education:
• Gifted and Talented learners are found in every group within society
• Schools should aim to provide all learners with an education matched to their individual learning needs
• Programmes for Gifted and Talented Education should be based upon sound practice
• Students should be offered a curriculum rich in depth and breadth, and at a pace appropriate for their ability
• School whanau should be given opportunities to be involved in decision making regarding their children’s education
Gifted and Talented education in New Zealand differs from that of other countries in several ways. We recognises that giftedness and talent can mean different things to different people, and consider it essential to provide a variety of learning experiences across various approaches - beginning in classrooms where all children are included. We also take into account cultural considerations.
GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION AT WHANGAREI HEADS SCHOOL:
At Whangarei Heads School we emphasise that giftedness and talent does not restrict itself to academics: we wish to allow opportunities for all students’ talents to be recognised, celebrated and utilised to enhance their learning across all curriculum areas.
Over the past few years we have-
Devised a Gifted and Talented Education Implementation Plan
• Discussed and finalised a school definition of ‘giftedness’ and ‘talent’
• Established an identification process
• Involved teachers in professional development
• Utilised teachers individual strengths and talents
• Built-up support material and resources for teachers
• Developed and trialled a Gifted and Talented programme
• Evaluated, reviewed and modified this programme
• Have built this into our regular planning format.
Gifted students will be identified, challenged and provided for within and beyond the classroom. Where appropriate they will be given opportunities for inclusion in specialised programmes.