Gifted and Talented (GATE)

The Gifted and Talented Programme aims to develop students who are confident, independent learners who will be challenged rigorously. The programme at Shirley Boys embraces a holistic approach developing academic, creativity, problem-solving, sport and leadership aspects of boys’ education.

At Shirley Boys’ High School our definition of ‘gifted and talented’ relates to those boys who show extraordinary potential  in one or more domains – intellectual, creative, cultural, social, or physical. When giftedness is nurtured it can lead to amazing outcomes. It can also co-exist with other neurodiversities such as  ASD, ADHD and dyslexia.

The Gifted and Talented programme is implemented by the Learning Support Coordinators – Elizabeth Wilson (Director of Gifted & Talented/LSC) and Gail Collier (SENCO/LSC) who can be found in  Wahi ō nga Tautoko Akoranga – Learning Support.

Better than Before (BTB)

The extension programme at SBHS offers a range of different approaches to allow our students to be ‘Better than Before’. These include:

Differentiation - E koekoe te tūī, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kererū

Our curriculum provides; multiple means of engagement, flexible learning options, strategies to sustain effort and  opportunities for self-regulation.

Problem-Solving & Creative Thinking

The extension programme supports learners to recognise that they have a stake in the future, and a role and responsibility as citizens to take action to help shape that future. They are encouraged to develop flexible & imaginative solutions to critical problems.


Students have the opportunity to sit NCEA subjects early if appropriate to their stage of learning.


Students experience subjects which offer depth & breadth to the New Zealand curriculum as well as opportunities to apply skills outside of the classroom. Enrichment activities and competitions offer challenges that are additional to those in the curriculum. Enrichment also allows for varied grouping with peers who are similar in ability, interests or age.


SBHS offers New Zealand’s National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Gifted & Talented Year 12 and 13 students have the option of undertaking STAR courses at the University of Canterbury or Coursera courses that allow boys to learn online and earn valuable credentials from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM.


The World Scholars’ Cup, E Pro 8, Cantamath, Matangi Whenua and Ngā Manu Kōrero to name but a few.

Personalised Learning Plans - Iti rearea teitei kahikatea ka taea

If necessary students in the extension programmes are placed on PLP’s to ensure that our provision is meeting their exact needs. Sometimes this will be because of the exceptional abilities of the learner, which require a customised pathway. Or it may be because the learner is twice exceptional, with their high potential being affected or masked by their neurodiversity.

Study Skills

All students in the extension programme from Year 9 onwards are provided with explicit guidance on study methods and are guided to understand their own learning style so that they can learn more effectively.


Students in Year 12 & 13 extension programmes act as mentors to students in Y10 beginning their journeys into examination subjects whether it be NCEA or CIE. Positive role modelling & contributing to the SBHS student community are key aspects of the ‘Shirley Man’.

Sports Academy

The Sport Development/Academy programme is an area in the school designed to develop and assist committed and talented athletes to pursue excellence in both sporting and academic endeavours in a balanced and supportive environment.

Students need to apply each year and meet the entry criteria. If accepted students must still meet the criteria of the programme as well as demonstrating the key ‘Shirley Man’ values. Failure to do this will result in your place in the programme being terminated.

Criteria used in the selection process

  • Must be selected AND be an active member of their chosen codes top team for Shirley Boys High School.
  • Individual athletes need to obtain a reference from an external person such as a coach/trainer, which outlines their history and success in their sport AND how they will support them in this programme.
  • Gain applicable code teacher approval if a returning Year 11, 12 and 13 student.

(If a new applicant, the student’s Physical Education teacher’s feedback is sought)

  • Gain the appropriate Teacher in Charge of Sport approval.
  • Where applicable, attend trials which will occur at lunchtimes or after school.
  • Fitness Testing scores examined.

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Academically, the programme delivers both NCEA PE standards in Years 10 & 11 as well as iGCSE Physical Education as a means of extension for selected Year 11 students. Both courses offer challenge and rigour to underpin both the practical and theoretical components of sport.

The programme has delivered success to the students selected to the course leading to notable performances both nationally and internationally. The programme not only works to support the success of school teams/competitions but works in conjunction with external coaches to support the students in the wider world of sport. Within the past year students supported by the programme have represented SBHS teams which have placed in the top 10 schools in NZ in volleyball, futsal, rowing as well as the successes in athletics, triathlon, freestyle skiing and boxing.

Selection onto the programme embraces a number of different aspects which include (but are not limited to) performance in chosen sporting discipline, results of fitness testing, results of e-learning testing, feedback from coaches and performance across all school subjects. The programme across all year levels has minimum standards in which students have to meet to maintain their place in the programme.


As well as our traditional Academic Scholarship which is awarded to the prospective student who scores the highest on the CV Gallagher Scholarship examination, there is also the opportunity to gain the “CV Gallagher Creative Shirley Music Scholarship” and the “CV Gallagher Spartan Sport Scholarship”. Details of these can be found here.