The Rutherford Programme

Mount Aspiring College defines Gifted and Talented students as:

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).

Put another way, gifted children have the ability to “Go beyond the known” Students can be intellectually gifted, creatively gifted, gifted in physical ability, emotionally gifted, spiritually gifted, gifted in leadership, gifted in entrepreneurship and gifted in the arts.

At MAC our aim is to assist students to turn potential into performance in all these areas, rather than a narrow focus purely on achievement based results. We also recognise that giftedness is affected by cultural values, and we welcome Te Ao Maori cultural understandings.


How Are 'Gifted and Talented' Learners Identified At MAC?

Narrow measures of giftedness and talent can tend to lock out many gifted students and here at the College we use a wide range of indicators, from the formal PAT tests or similar, to the holistic “hunch”. Nomination can come from testing, e.g. PAT, Asstle, One Day School Woodcock Johnson Assessments; from parents, and from peer recognition. We use "Identification through provision", which is an important concept, whereby quality deep thinking experiences in the regular classroom readily identify passionate gifted learners, thus providing a context that avoids the idea that students are "only gifted on a Tuesday", but in fact can access authentic teaching and learning in every class. We also have ongoing identification over time. This approach is directly supported through literature which advocates an inclusive approach when identifying gifted students.

The Rutherford Programme runs for two hours per week in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 and aims to build a programme that will be genuinely relevant and effective for gifted learners – to generate in them a high level of interest and authenticity, to develop the “tools” of thought, to challenge them to the full, and to foster emotional, social and ethical development (somebody who can do their bit for our world). Studies in NZ and worldwide show that exceptionally able children need to work with others who think and respond at the same level and in the same way as they do, on a regular basis.Topics studied are co constructed with students to take account of their particular passions, and have in the past included micronations, survival, wonder, inventions, accessibility, leadership. Students also take part in competitions such as Open Minds, MNA, NZS competitions, Young Designers awards and speed thinking, to name a few.


Mount Aspiring College Rutherford Gifted and Talented has it's own website. Click on the link to be redirected to this site.



MAC Rutherford





Mount Aspiring College | Wanaka | New Zealand | © 2013