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While all individual students have strengths and abilities, gifted and talented students have exceptional abilities. They have certain learning characteristics that give them the potential to achieve outstanding performance.

Giftedness and talent can be seen in the following areas:

  • Intellectual/Academic refers to students with exceptional abilities in one or more of the essential learning areas (i.e. language and languages, mathematics, technology, health and physical education, social sciences, science, the arts).
  • Creativity refers to students with general creative abilities as evidenced in their abilities to problem-find and problem-solve, and their innovative thinking and productivity.
  • Expression through the visual and performing arts refers to music, dance, drama and visual arts.
  • Social/Leadership refers to students with interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities and qualities which enable them to act in leadership roles.
  • Culture-specific abilities and qualities refers to those valued by the student’s cultural or ethnic group, including traditional arts and crafts, pride in their cultural identity, language ability and service to the culture.
  • Expression through physical activity/sport refers to students with excellent physical abilities and skills, as evidenced through sport and/or health and physical education programmes.

At Ōtūmoetai Intermediate School, we are committed to ensuring that all students reach their full potential. It also includes an awareness and recognition of the social and emotional needs of gifted and talented students. This includes a student’s emotional development, their level of perseverance, resilience and inter-personal skills within a typical group of peers. We also recognise that some identification methods, and isolating gifted and talented students from their peers, could potentially have negative effects upon their social and emotional development in the long term.

This is why we have developed a range of approaches including our Incredible Minds Programme for educating gifted and talented students (CWSA) that are tailored to their needs. Students who are identified as having advanced ability, are clustered together and placed in a class that includes other clusters of students. This provides groupings representative of the wider community, but also enables these CWSA students to have advanced learning in a differentiated class room. Our gifted students, as well as having their needs met, also have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and work collaboratively with a wide range of students while not being labelled as ‘different’. Emphasis is on developing each student’s emotional IQ alongside academic targets.

Students are also given the opportunity to participate in our Friday Incredible Minds Programme which includes Mansfield and Rutherford academic classes, Arts Academy, Sports Academy, Digital Arts and Leadership Centre.


Giftedness is a complex phenomenon and because of this, our identification process is multidimensional.  We draw upon a selection of objective and subjective sources to gather the information.  These include using valid and reliable instruments such as PAT results, specific selection tests, teacher observations and parents’ knowledge. Creativity is a key characteristic of giftedness and this is valued and nurtured at our school.

All students who meet the criteria will be involved in our specialised programmes.  Information gathering is also on-going to ensure we have detailed and accurate information that assists in planning suitable strategies and curriculum adaptations to enhance the learning of these students.  We also appreciate cultural perspectives when collecting data on students.

We have staff who have been identified as having skills and being passionate about working with gifted students and they are continuously involved in professional development.  We are aware of the vulnerability of highly gifted students in areas such as: uneven development, adult expectations, self-definition, inappropriate environments, perfectionism, alienation, intense sensitivity and role conflicts, and ensure that the environment is supportive in order to assist students to cope with these vulnerabilities.

Extension opportunities may include:  Music Composition, Visual Arts, Dance and Drama, Design, Computer Skills such as web page design and presenting, EPRO8, Robotics, Science, Philosophy, Mathematics, Spanish, Technology and Leadership.

Students gifted and talented in the area of psychomotor aspects of education such as athletics, dancing/mime and sporting disciplines are given the opportunity to participate in elite skill opportunities and activities.

Incredible Minds Programme for Gifted and Talented Students

In 2025 our Year 7 and 8 Academic High-Performance Classes for Children with Special Abilities will run on a Friday.

There will be a Year 7 Rutherford class and a Year 7 Mansfield class. There will also be the same two academic high-performance classes in Year 8.

The Rutherford classes cater for students who are gifted and talented in the sciences and mathematics and the Mansfield classes cater for students gifted and talented in literacy. These classes operate on Fridays and complement the home class differentiated learning for the CWSA student clusters.

Entry is by invitation for the following classes:

  • Year 7 Rutherford class
  • Year 7 Mansfield class
  • Year 8 Rutherford class
  • Year 8 Mansfield class

At the same time as these selections are being made for Year 7 and Year 8, students will be able to audition or try out for the other Incredible Minds academies.  Selections for both Year 7 and Year 8 will be finalised by the end of Term 1.

Students will only be able to participate in one of the Academic High-Performance Classes or Academies in any one year. As a result, some students who have been accepted for more than one of these, will need to make a choice. They will have many opportunities to become involved in sports, digital learning and the arts outside of the Friday programme.

Criteria for Selection

To be selected, students must be achieving at a minimum of stanine 8 or 9 in PAT tests and asTTle Level 5 for Year 7 or asTTle Level 6 for Year 8.  The top 25 students will be selected for these programmes.


The programme for the Year 7 Mansfield classes covers: Japanese, History, Film Studies and Philosophy.

The programme for the Rutherford classes will be a combination from: Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Digital Technologies.

Digital Arts Groups

It is anticipated we will continue to provide an opportunity for students to apply for advanced multimedia learning in 2025. This develops the students’ ability to animate, create films and use advanced software. Groups will also be formed for Robotics and EPRO8.

Sports Academy

The Sports Academy provides opportunities for two different groups of school athletes, namely those identified through individual learning pathways as being our top achieving elite athletes and those students selected to represent the school at selected tournaments.  There will of course be many students who fall into both of these categories. The Academy will provide a programme of seminars and practical training sessions for those identified through individual learning pathways.  Seminar and workshop topics will include:

  • Fitness and training.
  • Professional sports career pathways.
  • Sports physiology.
  • Tertiary training options.
  • Sport BOP.
  • Guest speakers.
  • Skills workshops.

The core group of students selected for this academy will be drawn from Year 8 with students having demonstrated their ability during Year 7. Students will be invited to apply for the Sports Academy early in term 1, 2025.

Arts Academy

The Arts Academy provides opportunities for three different groups of students in the disciplines of Visual Art, Dance/Drama and Music.  The Arts Academy programme runs simultaneously with the academic classes and other academies as part of our school’s Incredible Minds programme. It involves students who have been identified as being our top gifted and talented students in these three disciplines.  Selection to the visual arts, music and performing arts classes in this academy will be by application in the first weeks of term 1, 2025.  Students will be invited to complete an application form followed by auditions. Students will be selected from these auditions and all applicants advised of the outcome of their application.

Successful applicants will spend each Friday involved in extension activities in visual arts, drama/ dance or music.

Programmes include:

  • Advanced tutoring individually and on a group basis.
  • Workshops with experts from the community.
  • Out of school visits and tours.
  • Entry to a variety of competitions and productions.
  • Individual coaching towards career opportunities.
  • Guest speakers and mentors.

Student Leadership Programme

Student Leaders are selected at the end of their Year 7 year. Students are observed during the course of the year by all staff members, and then in term 4, are nominated by classroom or technology teachers to take part in Student Leader selection trials. During the trials, the nominees are given a series of individual and group activities to participate in. A selection panel observes these activities, and based on their observations of leadership qualities displayed, 18-20 students are selected to lead the school in Year 8.

The Year 8 Student Leaders are given a range of responsibilities to perform around the school.  Student Leader responsibilities include:

  • Collection and delivery of morning and afternoon messages.
  • Hosting assemblies and public speaking.
  • Litter monitoring and hat checks in the summer terms and awarding house points.
  • Lunch duties.
  • Engraving services to name student stationery and sunglasses.
  • Welcoming families and groups touring the school.
  • Delivering speeches at the Year 6 Information Evening and familiarising families and children with the school environment and facilities.
  • Attending the transition visits to contributing primary schools with Senior Management to address the Year 6 Q&A sessions.
  • In general, being amazing role models for our incoming Year 7 students and our Year 8 students.

The aim of the Student Leader programme is to empower Ōtūmoetai Intermediate students who demonstrate leadership attributes and skills. It gives them the opportunity to mix with other students who demonstrate these skills and provides them with experiences that will grow them as future leaders in our community.