Gifted education advocacy groups have banded together to help others understand that too many gifted children face prevailing attitudes that often dismiss and devalue them as learners.

“There are huge misunderstandings about this group,“ claims Brooke Trenwith, president of the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children, “and this misunderstanding leads to a lack of adequate learning provisions to meet their diverse needs.”

Deborah Walker, chief executive of the New Zealand Centre of Gifted Education says without opportunities to develop and extend their innate abilities, gifted children’s talents, creativity, innovation and sensitivity can be left unrealised.

“We believe there are some serious issues facing the next generation: unsustainable use of resources; increasing poverty; increasing obesity; disparate education outcomes; homelessness – to name but a few,” says Walker. “In order to find viable solutions to the issues facing us, we need creative innovators to develop solutions and lead systematic societal change.  If nurtured, our gifted children will often be those innovators.”

Karen Bush, chair of giftEDnz, the professional Association for Gifted Education, agrees.

“We have many amazing tamariki and rangatahi in New Zealand and some of them are gifted. We should never be afraid to support, develop and celebrate the abilities and potential of our gifted learners.”

Advocates are heartened that both the Coalition Agreement and the Labour Party Education Manifesto have identified gifted education as a future area of focus.

In his Education Summit speeches last month, Education Minister Chris Hipkins stated, “… evidence also shows that our education system is not delivering for all students. It does not cater well either to those with educational disadvantages or for the gifted and talented.”

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