Our school value of whanaungatanga means we work hard to foster a sense of belonging and support for every student so we can meet their varying needs and learning styles. We have a number of programmes and pathways through which we support our students who demonstrate they have the ability or potential to perform at a level beyond their chronologically aged peers.

Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti aroha o tatou mahi.
Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.


Our Kitenga programme encourages discovery of self and learning through perspective. Our programme is designed to meet the social, emotional, ethical and intellectual needs of students through higher-level thinking and supports students in Years 7, 8 and 9 who participate in fit-for-purpose sessions with a specialist in this field.

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counselling in order for them to develop optimally. Columbus Group

How we define giftedness

At Mount Aspiring College, we define gifted students as those who have the ability or potential to perform at a level significantly beyond their chronologically aged peers and demonstrate this in one or more of the following:

  • intellectual and academic / matauranga
  • creative thinking / whakaaro auaha
  • leadership and social / rangatiratanga
  • psychomotor and sport / tinana
  • visual and performing arts / nga toi
  • cultural / tikanga.

We also acknowledge that intellectually gifted students may have unique needs, perspectives and learning styles that vary depending on degree of giftedness.

How we deliver the Kitenga programme

Our Kitenga students in Years 7 and 8 are offered a withdrawal programme for two periods a week. This programme is designed to meet the social, emotional, ethical and intellectual needs of intellectually gifted students through higher-level thinking and is taken by a specialist in this field. These students are identified in a number of ways, including:

  • consultation with students’ previous teachers, principals, advisors, therapists
  • parent nominations
  • teacher checklists and observations
  • norm-referenced assessments
  • peer or self nominations
  • psychological assessments from outside the school eg Woodcock Johnson, WISC

In Year 9, Kitenga students are withdrawn one day per term to connect and work with the specialist teacher.

Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent
In this video, Françoys Gagné discusses his theory of talented development which proposes a clear distinction between giftedness and talent.

Maths enrichment programmes

To support students who are ready for higher-level mathematical thinking, we offer a range of enrichment programmes for selected students in Years 7 to 10. The focus of these programmes is on developing students’ problem-solving skills. For students in Years 7, 8 and 9, we help them develop a ‘tool box’ of problem-solving skills which they can then apply when presented with a problem. In Year 10, students focus on linear algebra and are given opportunities to accelerate their learning and assessment. Selected senior students can also study tertiary-level mathematics courses such as the University of Canterbury first year engineering maths course.

Tertiary-level courses

There are a number of tertiary courses available for senior students through tertiary providers, such as Unistart at Waikato University and the University of Canterbury. These courses (delivered online) include first-year engineering maths, art history, economics, languages and linguistics, philosophy, politics, social work, and speech science.