Gifted and Talented Students

(Children With Special Abilities - CWSA)

Worrying how your gifted and talented child will cope in the future? Read on:


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. - Ministry of Education 2002

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 Otumoetai Intermediate School we are committed to ensuring all students reach their full potential. This 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 able to apply to our Friday Incredible Minds Programme which includes the academic Mansfield and Rutherford classes, the 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, Australasian ICAS 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.

Programmes are provided in a variety of ways. As students with ability are clustered, acceleration in numeracy and literacy occurs as part of the daily programme. Students are also withdrawn on a regular basis to have quality time to work with others of similar ability. It allows in-depth discussion/ debate about topical issues and opinions to develop the skills that will enable them to maximise their learning. Students are taught critical thinking and problem solving skills/tools and given information about their own learning styles to maximise progress. They are taught to accurately self-assess and be reflective about themselves as learners. They are taught meta-cognition skills (learning about their learning).

We have a close interaction with our secondary schools and other educational providers. This allows us the opportunity to accelerate students in subjects that would otherwise be difficult for us to cater for. They are given the opportunity to participate in programmes provided at the secondary level. Acceleration is shown by research to be the most beneficial method of meeting Gifted and Talented students’ needs.

All students are given the opportunity to learn Mandarin as a second language.

Other extension opportunities may include: Music Composition, Visual Arts, Dance and Drama, Design, Computer Skills such as web page design and presenting, 3D printing, Robotics, Science, Philosophy, Mathematics, 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.

Friday Incredible Minds Programme for Gifted and Talented Students (Children With Special Abilities)

Year 7 Academic High Performance Classes (Friday Programme)

In 2018 the school will have two academic high performance classes in Year 7. One of these will be the Year 7 Rutherford class and the other the 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 application on enrolment for the following classes:

  • Year 7 Rutherford class
  • Year 7 Mansfield class

The timeframe for selecting these students is as follows:

21 September, 2018: Applications due by this date.
November, 2018: 2019 classes prepared based on enrolment information provided by parents and previous school. Students are placed in clusters within home classes with students at the same academic level as themselves.
First Four Weeks of 2019: All students assessed to determine their learning needs and confirm academic levels.
End of March, 2019: Parents advised of the outcome of their child’s application to the Year 7 Academic High Performance classes.

Year 8 Academic High performance Classes (Friday Programme)

For Year 8, entry is by invitation to the following classes:

  • Year 8 Rutherford class
  • Year 8 Mansfield class

Students will be eligible for selection based on their commitment, attitude and academic performance at Year 7. Entry is not automatic and students will also be assessed at the beginning of 2019 to show they are able to meet the expectations of the Year 8 programme. The timeframe for selecting these students is as follows:

First Four Weeks of 2019: All students assessed to determine their learning needs and confirm academic levels.
End of March, 2019: Students who meet the criteria for selection to the Academic High Performance Classes will be invited to participate in either the Rutherford or Mansfield classes.

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 March 2018 and students advised of the outcomes of their applications.

Students will only be able to participate in one of the Academic High Performance Classes or Academy 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 stanines 8 or 9 in PAT tests and asTTle Level 5 for Year 7 or asTTle Level 6 for Year 8.


The programme for the Mansfield classes covers: Writing, History and Literary Studies.

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

Digital Arts Groups

It is anticipated we will continue to provide an opportunity for students to apply for advanced multimedia learning in 2018. This develops the students’ ability to animate, create films and use advanced software. Groups will also be formed for Robotics and 3D design and printing.

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.
  • Nutrition.
  • 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 mainly 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, 2018.

Other students will have the opportunity to benefit from intensive training for specific events. The makeup of this group will vary depending on the event being prepared for. Events will include:

  • Multi-sport.
  • Touch Rugby.
  • Winter Tournament.
  • NZCT AIMS Tournament.
  • Athletics.
  • Volleyball.
  • Sports camp at Totara Springs.

Students selected for these tournaments would be involved in a four-week intensive training block utilising Intermediate staff and outside coaches.

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, 2018. 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.

Leadership Centre

The Leadership Centre will provide opportunities for students identified as having potential in this area. Selection to the Leadership Centre is carried out at the end of Year 7. Students can nominate themselves or are nominated by their teachers to participate in a series of activities. Based on the outcome of these activities, student leaders are selected to lead the school in Year 8.

Student leaders will be able to attend a leadership camp with students from other intermediate schools. Students will also have responsibilities to perform around the school. These activities will be subjects for discussion groups at regular intervals throughout the year as part of a school council. These will include:

  • The running of school assemblies.
  • Acting as school ambassadors on such occasions as orientation days for our contributing schools etc.
  • Taking responsibility for environmental issues that impact on the school.
  • Being the student voice as part of the school decision making process.
  • The organisation of discos, Year 8 social, etc.
  • Year 8 students will be used to mentor Year 7 students who need support with transition into our school.
  • Communication of school notices.

The aim of this centre is to empower Otumoetai Intermediate students who demonstrate leadership attributes and skills. It will give them the opportunity to mix with other students who also demonstrate these skills and to provide outcomes that will assist them to demonstrate excellent leadership knowledge and skills in their future.

2019 Advanced Learning Classes Application form