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Support for gifted children long overdue

Labour
2000 web siteGifted students will gain official recognition under a Labour Government, Labour education spokesperson Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard was speaking to the Association of Gifted Children in Auckland and said official recognition of gifted children was long overdue.

"The needs of gifted children often go unrecognised and as a result they can suffer emotional and social damage, or significantly underachieve," Trevor Mallard said.

"The community suffers if we do not harness the vast potential of our most gifted youth. The line between brilliant achievement and destruction is a very fine one. We have to move to gain economically, culturally and socially from positively supporting talent in New Zealand.

"We have not determined how official recognition will translate into support for those children as we do not have enough information on the situation in New Zealand to work out where the priority areas are.

"So we are committed to establishing a working party to investigate ways to address the needs of gifted children and we will use the findings of that working party to implement help for gifted children.

"The kind of direction we will be seeking from the working party includes what professional development teachers need to cater more effectively for gifted children, as well as pilot programmes and research needs.

"I am also confident that parents of gifted children who have found themselves up against a brick wall when they have tried to advocate on behalf of their children will benefit from Labour's proposed parent advocacy service.

"That will be established within the Office of the Commissioner for Children and provide an outlet for parents who have concerns about their child's schooling, before the need for costly legal action," Trevor Mallard said.

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