Gifted and Talented learners are those with exceptional abilities relative to most other people. These individuals have certain learning characteristics that give them the potential to achieve outstanding performance (Ministry of Education, 2001).

At Maungawhau School we believe our task is to identify our Gifted and Talented Learners and give them the appropriate opportunities to enable them to reach their potential.

The following information deals with identifying and catering for children who are academically Gifted and Talented. We recognise that children can be Gifted and Talented in a wide range of areas.  We cannot cater for all areas of giftedness, but will do our best to meet needs as we identify them, by offering children opportunities for extension where possible.

The Gifted and Talented (“GATE”) Co-ordinator at Maungawhau is Ms Tania Plaisier.  Please feel free to email her if you have any questions related to Gifted & Talented education programmes at the school.


If you suspect your child may be gifted, please speak to your teacher, or Associate Principal Tania Plaisier, for information and advice.  The names of all identified gifted learners in our school will be placed on a “Gifted and Talented Register”.  Gifted and Talented education (“GATE”) opportunities are continuing to develop at Maungawhau School.

Children are identified in a number of ways – teacher nomination, observation and discussion, assessment results including assessment of children’s work, and parent information. Ongoing assessment occurs throughout the year.


The needs of these students are largely met by class teachers in the delivery of differentiated programmes in which tasks are designed to suit a range of abilities and learning styles. In-class provision includes personalised learning, grouping within and across classes, independent study, learning centres, thinking skills, inquiry learning and solo taxonomy.

Other ways in which Gifted and Talented children at Maungawhau may be provided for include:

* In-school extension programmes

* Involvement in extra-curricular activities offered at the school

* Out-of-school provision e.g. “Mindplus” 



Maths Extension- A maths extension programme is run for students with exceptional maths ability from Years 1 – 2. This is co-ordinated by Marilyn Schroeder our junior team leader . Children are selected based on results in school maths assessments and from teacher recommendation.

Philosophy for Children- Philosophy for Children sessions are run by Tania Plaisier our school Associate Principal and Gifted Co-ordinator.  Each term students from particular year levels within the school will be targeted and appropriate students will be nominated by their teacher.  Students on the “G & T Register” are given priority in terms of selection for this programme. Philosophical inquiry is a powerful practice, offering students the opportunity to question and explore issues, concepts and ideas that are important and relevant to their lives, whatever stage of life they may be at.


Future Problem Solving- The Gifted and Talented cluster classes in the middle and senior school include future problem solving work as part of the class Reading and/or Inquiry programmes for students who require extension.  For more information about future problem solving refer to the following website.   There is also a withdrawal group which meet weekly with Ms Plaisier to compete in the Stepping Stones non-competitive division of the future problem solving competition.

Maths Challenge- The Mathematics for Young Australians Challenge Stage was introduced in 2015 to our Year 4, 5 and 6 mathematicians requiring extension. Students receive a problem book containing 4 problems. They are required to present written solutions to as many of these problems as they can. The problems are challenging and require time and persistence, but are based on mathematics which should be known at that level.

Action Group- The middle and senior action group is run by Tania Plaisier, the GATE co-ordinator and Associate Principal. There is a student representative from each class in the middle and senior school. The group meets fortnightly to discuss improving the school curriculum, culture and environment.  The emphasis is on promoting student voice within the school.

Lego League- Lego League is run by Mr and Mrs Bell. Mrs Karina Bell is a teacher at our school and Mr Bell is her husband who is a past Lego League Volunteer.  Students on the Gifted and Talented Register are selected for this extension programme if they have an interest and passion for science and technology, a strength in creative thinking and can work well with others in a team.  The group meets three mornings a week before or after school and students from this group will be selected to participate in the Lego League competition based on their level of commitment, participation and ability. Lego league is for senior school students only.

ICAS Competitions- Educational Assessment Australia (EAA), who design and deliver the ICAS assessments, are a not-for-profit arm of the University of New South Wales. ICAS assessments are available to nominated gifted and talented students at Maungawhau School, based on information from classroom teachers and school assessments.  The ICAS maths, english, science and spelling assessments are available to all selected students in years 3 – 6.  The ICAS  writing  assessment is available for all selected students in years 4 – 6.  For more information about ICAS assessments please visit the following website

Philosophy for Children- Read more information about Philosophy for Children under Junior School.

Writers Festival- A group of talented writers from Maungawhau are selected each year to attend the Auckland Writers Festival. The Festival brings the very best local and international writers of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, scientists, economists, poets, journalists and public intellectuals together with audiences to explore ideas, share stories and experience brilliant conversations.

A group of Maungawhau students also attend the ACCOS Writers Festival which is an annual event involving students from the ACCOS.

Science Badges- this has been introduced as an optional home-learning activity to students in the senior school who wish to participate in some science extension.


Writing Challenges/Competitions

The following websites may be accessed by students, at home or at school, and are intended to motivate and engage our students to write creatively.  Students sign up to join the challenge.  Every Thursday a new starter/photo is added to stimulate students and they write a 100-word piece with this stimulus in mind.   Students are able to read and comment on writing completed by other students all over the world! Run by NZ authors who provide a story starter every two weeks. Students submit their entry directly to the site themselves.  Students are eligible to win prizes when they submit a story.

Nano Wrimos Young Writers Challenge National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.


Extra-Curricular/Extension Opportunities Available at Maungawhau

APPA Choir- (auditioned group which performs in parts at the Town Hall at an end of year performance)

Senior Rock Band (auditioned)

School Production Group (auditioned)

Junior, Middle & Senior Kapa Haka

Middle & Senior School Chess Clubs

Year 1 & 2 Choir

Middle & Senior School Choir

Gardening Club (middle & senior classes)

Middle School Games Club

Senior Singing Group

Indian Dance

Year 1 Singing

Folk Dancing

Ukelele Group

As well as the above extra-curricular/extension opportunities, the following activities are available at a cost to parents either during or outside of school hours.  Please contact Karen Blanchard at the school office for more information about these programmes:

Helen O’Grady Drama

Fine Young Artists


Music Tuition with Lewis Eady Music School

Out of School Provision

Mindplus – Formerly known as ‘One Day School, Mindplus offers the opportunity for gifted students to work with like minded students.  More information can be found on the NZCGE website.

Useful Gifted and Talented Websites

The New Zealand Association for Gifted Children 

Visit this online environment where gifted children, their parents, teachers and other education professionals can meet, learn from and help one another.

giftEDnewz: The Online Newsletter of the Professional Association for Gifted Education

Read the first issue of giftEDnz’s newsletter now available on the giftEDnz website.

giftEDnz: The Professional Association for Gifted Education
Poipoia a tatou tamariki ihumanea – Nurture of our gifted children.  A national association is being established to provide support for people who have a professional interest in Gifted and Talented education. To become a foundation member, visit the website and complete the online registration form.

TKI Gifted & Talented Community
This website has a wide variety of Gifted and Talented links for parents, students and teachers. Highly recommended.