Boys' High in project to assist gifted pupils

Southland Boys' High School has become a base for professional development as part of an initiative that provides guidance for teaching gifted and talented children.

Assistant principal Linda Dalzellsaid Boys' High was the anchor school for a cluster of schools taking part in the Education Ministry-funded Gifted and Talented Professional Learning and Development initiative.

Donovan Primary, Fernworth Primary School, Salford School, Waihopai School, and Waverley Park School are also involved.

It is one of five clusters in the South Island that have been established by Te Tapuae o Rehua, a consortium of Ngai Tahu, the University of Otago, and the University of Canterbury.

"The idea was that [the consortium] wanted to look at a secondary school and the schools that contribute to them, and look at planning and delivery of the curriculum to gifted and talented students," Mrs Dalzell said.

The teachers involved in the cluster would meet to discuss how to identify students who were gifted or talented, or both, and would look at how they were working for those students, she said.

Part of their early work would include deciding on definitions for gifted and talented.

"It means different things to different people. Making a definition for your school to identify those students who are either gifted or talented, or both, and developing programmes within classrooms that will meet the needs of those students."

While the definitions had not yet been worked out and were not simple to define, Mrs Dalzell said she believed a gifted student was one who was generally in the top percentile of a curriculum area and showed subject strengths.

A talented student usually had skill in a particular area, often culture or sport, but not exclusively, she said.

The initiative was also about schools building resources and sharing best practice with each other, Mrs Dalzell said.

Those involved in the cluster group would meet once or twice a term and would have targets to implement along the way, she said.

The Southland Times