Hansard (debates)


Mallard, Trevor: Questions for Oral Answer — Questions to Ministers


7. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Associate Minister of Education: Does she stand by the statement in her blog about Gifted Awareness Week that gifted and talented students are “often overlooked as the attention of parents, politicians and teaching professionals is often drawn to students who are getting into trouble or underachieving”; if so, what is she doing about it?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Associate Minister of Education: Yes. The Ministry of Education is currently working with three providers to ensure continued improvement for gifted and talented students. The ministry is developing a range of online tools to support teachers so they can plan effective learning programmes for those students, and they can be easily integrated into the classroom. The Associate Minister of Education, the Hon Heather Roy, has also established an independent advisory group to provide her with independent advice about how to incorporate international best evidence into provision for gifted and talented students in New Zealand.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does she agree with the Education Review Office’s assertion in its 2008 report on gifted education that schools providing well for their gifted learners have had ongoing, in-depth professional development support; if so, why has the advisory and professional learning support for teachers in gifted and talented education been cut?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The steps I outlined in answer to the substantive question are the steps that the Associate Minister and the ministry have taken in response to the Education Review Office report, which said that about 50 percent of schools were found to be either somewhat or not appropriate or responsive in their provision for gifted and talented students.

Hon Trevor Mallard: In light of her concern about gifted and talented students being overlooked, why do the national standards not acknowledge students who are well above the standard as they acknowledge those who are well below it?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: That is one of the reasons why the Associate Minister has moved to make some changes in the support of gifted and talented students. It is important that those changes are integrated with national standards.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It was a very specific question. The question part of it asked why the national standards do not acknowledge students who are well above standard, when they acknowledge those well below standard.

Mr SPEAKER: I must say I thought the Acting Minister of Education, in answering on behalf of the Associate Minister, said that changes were being made to the national standards policy to meet the needs of gifted students. I thought that was exactly what the Minister said in his answer.