We offer a range of opportunities for extension here at Halswell School. In the first instance children’s learning needs, including extension, are catered for within the learning centre. A range of external opportunities are also offered throughout the year. We refer to our extension opportunities as our ACTIVATE programme and those children nominated are on our ACTIVATE Register.


At Halswell School, we recognise that gifted students have exceptional innate abilities and that talented students are those with a natural inclination and ability to strive to achieve outcomes significantly in advance of their peers.

Our definition of exceptional ability varies depending on the area concerned. Generally we consider a child operating two school years ahead of their chronological age as having exceptional ability.

Identification Criteria

We recognise that students will have strengths across a broad spectrum of areas. As a result we have set the following specific guidelines to assist in identifying GAT students:
Literacy: demonstrates exceptional ability within literacy
Numeracy: demonstrates exceptional ability in Maths
Science: demonstrates excellent ability in Science.
Environment: has excellent interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities which enable them to act with a passionate view to improve the environment they live in
Arts: excellent artistic abilities evidenced through drama and/or arts education programmes
Sport: excellent physical abilities evidenced through sport and/or health and physical education programmes
Music: excellent musical abilities evidenced through musical performance and/or musical education programmes
Cultural: is valued by the student’s cultural or ethnic group, including traditional arts & crafts, pride in cultural identify, language ability and service to the culture
Leadership: has interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities and qualities which enable them to act in leadership roles
Technology: has excellent computer programming skills, has expertise as a technology consumer using hardware and software. In addition to demonstrating prowess, students exhibit passion toward one or both of these activities.

As a staff we have identified that the following will be used to identify students that meet the definition of a GAT student:

  • School assessments
  • Observations
  • Parent nomination
  • Gut feeling – those that stand out
  • Listening


Children are nominated in a range of different ways including teacher nomination, parent nomination and child nomination. If you believe that your child fits the criteria please discuss this with your child’s teacher.

Extension opportunities

Often extension opportunities fall into more than one of the above categories. Different opportunities come up throughout the year and often change from year to year. Below are some examples of extension opportunities offered alongside our robust classroom programmes:

  • Writing competitions including: NZ Poetry Competition, Elise Locke Writing Competition
  • School For Young Writers extension 1 day workshops
  • Rotary Speech Competition
  • Writing groups that submit work to different publications including Otago Daily Times and Write-on magazine
  • ICAS Exams: Spelling, English and Writing, Maths, Science, Digital Technology
  • Cantamaths competition
  • Otago Problem Solving Competition
  • Epro8 – Engineering Challenge
  • Robocup
  • Digi/Made awards
  • Music groups including Rock Band and Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival Representative groups
  • Chess Club and inter school chess competitions
  • National Young Leaders Day
  • Inspire Her/Inspire Him – 1 day conference
  • Leadership opportunities in Years 7 and 8
  • Kapa Haka – festivals and performances
  • Zone and Canterbury Sport competitions