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Encouraging Tall Poppies Low Priority

The Government has placed a low priority on addressing the special needs of gifted children, and puts at risk New Zealand's proud record of academic excellence, according to a student advocate for the gifted and talented.

The warning comes after a written question from ACT's Donna Awatere Huata to the Minister of Education (attached) was released to Vice-President of Prebble's Rebels, Gavin Middleton.

Mr Middleton has many years experience of working with gifted and talented children in South Auckland, and said "the Minister's attitude shows a tragic disregard for the urgency of this issue."

"A working party on the needs of gifted children should be established now, not in some vague, undefined 'due course'. We cannot continue with our 'one-size-fits-all' education system that takes no account of individuals' special needs."

"We need to encourage excellence in every field of academics, culture and sport, and to dispell the envy of achievement which exists in New Zealand."

"Our education system must focus on developing tomorrow's achievers, producers and champions. We must strive to be the best, instead of fearing failure and reducing everything to the level of mediocrity. New Zealand education and society should be about encouraging our tall poppies to bloom, not about restricting their growth."

"The bottom line is that parents know more about what's best for their children than any bureaucrat. Successive Governments have consistently ignored the special needs of our tall poppies, and, sadly, this Government looks no more likely to address the issue" Mr Middleton said.

ENDS

For more information, contact:
Gavin Middleton (+64) (04) 4758521
gavin@darkness.net.nz

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