Gifted & Talented

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 SBHS our definition of ‘gifted and talented’ relates to those students who have exceptional or high-level abilities in one or more areas identified within our learning culture. These students possess or have the potential to go beyond the norms of their level. These students embrace the culture & responsive environment which they are surrounded by. The definition is not fixed and is reviewed yearly to allow flexibility within cohorts and developmental pedagogy.

Our practice & methodology is based upon knowledge of formal data, proven research in the specialist area of gifted education, identification procedures from feeder schools as well parental input. Our programme embraces key aspects of the ‘Shirley Man’ and facilitate the students to be highly motivated in their learning.


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


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 curriculum as well as opportunities to apply skills outside of the classroom.

Differentiated curriculum

All curriculum areas offer challenging, thought-provoking topics & projects to fully extend the key competencies & skills vital to attain at the highest possible levels.


SBHS offers NCEA. Some Year 13 students have the option of undertaking STAR courses at the University of Canterbury.


Students have the chance to undertake a variety of academic competitions in order to apply their skills against other students regionally, nationally & internationally such as in ICAS examinations or Cantamath to name but a few.

Individual Learning Programmes (ILP) Gifted+ learners

If necessary, students who are identified as 2E (twice exceptional) or Gifted+ an additional learning need (neurodiverse) will be placed on a learning plan to ensure their unique needs are met.

Accelerated students will have a learning plan co-designed by the relevant Head of Faculty and the Director of Gifted & Talented.

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.

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’.


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.

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, for students starting in 2024 there is also the opportunity to gain the “CV Gallagher Creative Shirley Music Scholarship” and the “CV Gallagher Spartan Sport Scholarship”. There are also additional scholarships awarded annually, the details of these can be found below.

Application forms can be found here



2023 Y9 Scholarship Winners: Abraham Vaoga (Spartan Sport), Harry Woodhouse (Academic), Kash Perry (Creative)