Yet, the disconnect between the initiatives of the early to mid-2000s and last week’s announcement is much more pronounced: it has been nearly a decade since there was any targeted funding for gifted education. During that decade, we saw a shift to ‘include’ gifted children in a way that diminished recognition of their special learning, social, emotional, and cultural needs. Between 2009 and today, gifted education provisions, including initial teacher education and advanced in-depth study opportunities, have declined, possibly due to a perceived lack of importance and need. However, advocacy, professional development and research have sustained themselves, largely without Government support, and ensured some foundation to build upon today.
The Government has now committed funds for services directed to gifted children and young people through four key initiatives: supporting the infrastructure for one day a week programmes to provide greater access for more students, awards for students to participate in out of school activities, funding for online programmes, and a contestable programme for events and opportunities for gifted learners. Running alongside these initiatives, the Ministry of Education has (re)established an Advisory Group for gifted, made enhancements to the tki community, continued to support some access to specialist professional development, supported a National Network of Expertise, Gifted Aotearoa, and created dedicated roles in the Ministry for gifted education. Gifted learners have also been included in the draft Disability and Learning Support Action Plan,