Introduction

National Administration Guideline 1 (iii)c (NAG) requires boards, through their principal and staff, to use good quality assessment information to identify students who have special needs (including gifted and talented), and to develop and implement teaching and learning strategies to meet the needs of these students. Schools were notified about the inclusion of gifted and talented students in this NAG in December 2003, and have been required to implement gifted and talented provisions since Term 1, 2005.

In 2007 the Education Review Office (ERO) evaluated the provisions for gifted and talented students in 315 schools. Of these, 261 were primary, and 54 were secondary schools.

The schools in this evaluation were at various stages. Many had developed an understanding of gifted and talented education (GATE), and had implemented programmes that were beneficial to gifted and talented students. A few schools were just beginning to make special provision for gifted and talented students.

In over half the schools, school leadership supported the achievement of gifted and talented students, and this foundation was beneficial to their provision. Almost half of schools had inclusive and appropriate definitions and identification processes, and responsive and appropriate provision and programmes for gifted and talented students. Almost a quarter of schools had developed processes for reviewing the effectiveness of their provision. Nearly half the schools promoted positive outcomes for identified gifted and talented students.

A group of schools was particularly effective in providing for gifted and talented students. These were characterised by having:

  • school leadership that was knowledgeable about provision for gifted and talented students and supportive of them;
  • staff that had participated in school‑wide professional development on gifted and talented education (GATE);
  • well‑developed procedures for communicating, consulting and collaborating with the school community about all aspects of their provision for gifted and talented students;
  • well-defined and implemented policies and procedures about defining and identifying gifted and talented students;
  • responsive and appropriate programmes and provision for gifted and talented students;
  • effective self review of their provision for gifted and talented students, using evaluation information to ensure programmes met identified needs; and
  • promotion of positive outcomes for gifted and talented students, including help to achieve, and nurturing of social and emotional well-being.

The examples of good practice in this report come from seven schools representing a range of schools in New Zealand. They are presented in the same framework used for ERO’s 2008 evaluation report, Schools’ Provisions for Gifted and Talented Students, so readers can use both reports together.