Guide for Parents
Whāngai ka tupu ka puawai. That which is nurtured, blossoms then grows.
Welcome to MindPlus OurSchool! We are delighted that your child is going to be joining us this year, and we want to make sure that starting with us is as easy as possible for them - and you.
We’ve put together this Guide to MindPlus OurSchool to answer some of the questions you may have about MindPlus.
Please read through this first as well as our FAQs here. If you still have a question, please contact us.
What is a MindPlus day?
Our MindPlus day starts at 9am, with the classroom being open from 8:30am. We finish at 2:45pm and expect
parents to collect their children promptly. Students attend on a specific day, one day a week. In each class,
we group together students who we think will work well together. At each unit, we usually have at least one
class of older children and one of younger children.
When does MindPlus start and finish in a year?
We start our MindPlus year in the second week of Term One and end one week before the end of Term Four.
This gives children a chance to settle into regular school before they start MindPlus and not to miss out on the
end of year activities at regular school at the end of the year. We keep to the same terms as public schools in
Term Two and Three.
What happens during a MindPlus day?
In the MindPlus day, we set aside time for three different focuses:
Conceptual Development - where we explore together thinking skills in relation to a particular universal concept - in 2022 it was patterns and in 2023 it is discovery
Talent Development - where our students go deep into an area they are passionate about, including MindPlus Clubs, connecting like minds across our programmes across New Zealand
Personal Development - where we explore ideas around giftedness and neurodiversity and learn together about skills and strategies to navigate personal and social development
Each of our classes develops their own journey across these areas that reflects the interests and skills of the students.
From time to time, our teachers bring in high-quality specialist tutors into the class to work with all students or groups of students, usually in an area of talent development. We also add in opportunities to explore outside the classroom together on trips, such as to a university or a special exhibition. If a trip is planned, the MindPlus teacher will contact families to ask for permission and often will ask for support with transport or supervision. MindPlus Clubs, specialist tutors and trips are at no additional cost for MindPlus families.
MindPlus Clubs can be accessed at any time and more information can be found on our website here.
To see what goes on during the MindPlus OurSchool day, click here.
Do we have MindPlus homework?
No! We don’t set homework at MindPlus - although we often find that students choose to spend their own time continuing to explore things they’ve learnt about at MindPlus and deepening their experiences in their passion area. That’s always great to see! MindPlus Clubs are always available and are ideal for that continued exploration.
How do parents get involved?
We love to see parents at MindPlus and are very happy for you to pop in and see your child working with us, as well as keeping in touch by Hero, email or phone (see the next section on Communications). We do need parent help for MindPlus trips and as support crew at MindPlus events and we’ll let you know as these opportunities come up.
What if MindPlus is not working out for my child?
We know that MindPlus is just one option you have for your child and our aim is always to support your child and your family. If MindPlus is not working out well for your child, your first port of call is always to chat with your child’s MindPlus teacher. Make a time to chat and let’s see what we can do together to make things work. You can find all staff emails under their photos on the People page of our website here.
If together you decide to finish your journey with us, fill in the Leavers Form.
More information about leaving and fees is in the section about fees.
What do students need to bring?
Students should bring their own snacks, lunch and drink with them each day. Water is preferred for a drink - no fizzy or energy drinks please. There are kitchen facilities, including a fridge, kettle and microwave, in most of our classrooms for students to use (with supervision and support as needed). We have a lunch-time supervisor over the lunch break so that our students can stay in the MindPlus classroom if they would like.
Please let us know if your child has particular dietary requirements and/or allergies. Due to potential allergic reactions, eggs and nuts, or food containing eggs or nuts, are not allowed in MindPlus classrooms.
Students don’t need to bring any stationery or resources unless they want to - we provide all of these as part of the programme.
We provide devices for students to use at MindPlus but if your child has their own device they are welcome to bring it to MindPlus and use it during the learning programme. As our classrooms use internet provided by the host school, our BYOD policy reflects the conditions set by each host school. Devices brought to MindPlus are at your risk.
We also recommend that valuable items like electronic items, money, jewelry and toys stay at home.
What do students wear?
Learning at MindPlus is active! Children should wear comfortable clothing that will allow for painting, gluing, working on hands and knees, building things, etc, and a sun hat for the summer months. We recommend naming clothing - we keep a lost property box in our classrooms for things that are left behind.
What happens if my child is sick or has another commitment?
If your child is going to be absent from their MindPlus day, please let us know in Hero. Click on Report An Absence and let us know why your child will be away. If we haven’t heard from you by 9:15am, we will be in touch with you and/or your child’s school. Please note that fee refunds are not given for days when your child is absent.
What happens if my child has a medical condition?
We need to be aware of any illnesses, allergies or medical conditions a child has, and/or any medications they need to take at MindPlus. We ask for this information as part of the Hero enrolment process but please do keep us up to date if anything changes. If your child needs to take medication during the MindPlus day, please give this to your child’s MindPlus teacher for safe-keeping, along with instructions - medication should not be left in your child’s school bag.
What happens if I need to contact my child urgently?
If you need to contact your child urgently during their MindPlus day, please contact your child’s teacher directly. If you have any difficulties, please contact our office on 0800 769 243. All our contact details are here.
Do you take photos of the students and their work?
We do regularly take photos and videos of students in action at MindPlus. We do this to record students’ learning and to share with you as well as to display in class. We also use photos and videos of students on our website and social media but do not use students’ real names to identify them without consent. We will ask you when you enrol for your permission to use photos and videos for these purposes and are very happy to respect your wishes.
How do we ensure student safety under Covid?
We are committed to operating our MindPlus programmes nationwide in a way that keeps your children safe and learning. To do this we comply with all requirements of the Public Health Orders, the Ministry of Education and our Host Schools. Please have a read of our most up-to-date Covid response. This may change over time and we will keep you updated via the Community Feed in Hero.
We are committed to open, regular communications between you, our MindPlus teachers and your child’s regular school teachers.
We know that families are always keen to know more about what their children are up to on their MindPlus days - and sometimes our children are not super forthcoming with details! It’s important to us that parents do feel included and part of the learning going on, so please get in touch anytime for an update or with ideas on how we could communicate with you better.
How you can communicate with us
Your first port of call, if you have anything you’d like to discuss about your child or the MindPlus programme, is to get in touch with your child’s MindPlus teacher. If you’d like a specific time to chat, please get in touch to set this up as well, as sometimes right before or after school isn’t the best time for a good in-depth discussion. If there are things you’d like to discuss further, you are welcome to contact our Deputy Programme Manager. You can find all staff emails under their photos on the People page of our website here.
Communicating about your child
Our MindPlus teacher will proactively be in touch with you to share good news about your child’s progress as well as if they have any questions or concerns. We welcome you to visit your child’s MindPlus class at any time - just make a time that suits you with your child’s MindPlus teacher. We are also happy to welcome regular school teachers and principals.
Hero is our ‘one-stop shop’ app for checking in with what’s going on in your child and their MindPlus class. You can download Hero to any device here. When you start your MindPlus journey with us you will be asked to enrol in Hero, and you can find out more about how to do this below in the Hero Guides and Instructions section. If you currently use Hero for your school, your accounts will be linked and will show up side by side
Through Hero you will get:
Weekly Class Updates - to keep you up to date with what’s happening in your child’s MindPlus class each week, with news, notices and upcoming events. These are in Community Feed. You can comment on these posts - our teachers love to hear your thoughts. These comments are first moderated and then can be seen by all parents in your child’s MindPlus class.
Learner Profile Updates - in Terms 1, 3 and 4 we will update you on your child’s learning through the Learner Profile. We will also add any special highlights of your child’s MindPlus journey in the the Learner Profile These are in the Learner Profile under your child’s name.
Termly Invoices - more information about these are in the Fees and Scholarship section. Invoice and payment information is found under Finance
Reporting on Progress and Achievement
Each term our teachers will update you on your child’s progress and achievement. In Terms 1, 3 and 4 this will be through the Learner Profile in Hero. We can also provide a specific reference for school entry or placement on request - just ask your child’s MindPlus teacher at least a fortnight in advance of this being needed.
Where to go in Hero
Side Bar (Left-Hand Side)
Home - The main page on the Hero site.
This has quick accessible buttons to the main pages of Hero.
Community Feed - This is where you can find weekly class news and other updates.
My 2023 Class - This is where you can find your child’s class.
Learner Profile - This is where you can find termly individual updates about your child.
Finance - This is where you can find your invoice for the term.
Term Dates - these are our New Zealand wide dates, not ones that are specific to your child’s MindPlus class. For any specific changes to your child’s MindPlus class, please check the Community Feed.
Changing the notification settings in Hero
Click on the profile icon in the top right hand corner.
Click “Edit Profile”
In the “My Devices” section, change the settings to the preferred form of communication.
** If you download the Hero app, notifications are prioritised to push notifications on your phone.
Help! I’ve forgotten my password!
Enter the email associated with the account.
Click the “Forgot Password” button below.
Click the “Submit” button.
Check your email (double-check in your spam/junk folder too!)
Report an absence
Add your email address (the same one you used in the enrolment form) then click NEXT
Click the NEW USER? button.
Click SUBMIT. This will send an email to the address with your password details.
Check your email (double-check in your spam/junk folder too!)
An email that looks similar to this will arrive in your inbox within 5 minutes.
Click the link to a secure page to enter your chosen password.
Enter a password to set for your Hero account
Welcome to Hero!
If your page looks like this or no details appear, please contact the NZCGE Office and request Hero Access.
If you receive this error when looking at the finance section, you did not select to view finances when you enrolled in Hero.
Please contact the office and request finance access.
Logging into Hero for the first time
Click on the “Report an Absence” on your Home Screen or Navigation bar.
Click on a pre-made answer or add more information in the “Additional Information” box below.
Then press “Send” button below.
Downloading Hero onto your phone
Go to your preferred app store
Search for hero by linc-ed
Click on Install
Log in and continue as normal
Printing a Statement/Receipt from Hero
Login to Hero.
Click on Finance
To print your statement:
Click on Full statement
Then click CTRL P and print your statement from there.
To print a receipt
Click on View all payments
Click on Full receipt, this will generate a WORD doc for you to print your receipt.
Connecting with our MindPlus whānau
We know how valuable it is to connect with other MindPlus families and we will help you to do this. This is through a shared MindPlus class parent contact list that you can opt into, and is confidential to MindPlus families. Keep a lookout for this in Hero Community Feed early each term about this.
We also come together online at least once a term for some fun events!
Some key events in the MindPlus calendar are:
Term One - Welcome Night - Early in Term One, we invite parents and Contributing School teachers to an afternoon or evening meeting so you can meet your child’s teacher and other parents.
Term Two - Gifted Awareness Week Whānau Night - We celebrate Gifted Awareness Week together in June each year with a super-fun evening of games and sharing for all the family and regular school teachers at each of our units and online as well.
Term Three - Whānau Morning - This is a great opportunity for families and regular school teachers to join in with a MindPlus session and for your child to show you their work and meet their MindPlus friends.
Term Four - Expo and Graduation- Our Expo and Graduation evenings are a wonderful way for our students to share and celebrate their learning with family and their regular school teachers, as well as for our year 8 students to celebrate graduating from MindPlus.
Our other regular communications with our MindPlus whānau include:
Pānui - Each term, we share a Pānui by email with families and schools across Aotearoa, keeping you up-to-date with what’s happening with our programmes, students and gifted education more generally, and sharing events and opportunities.
Facebook - Our NZCGE Facebook page is not our main means of communicating with families but we use it to share interesting articles and learning as well as information for the wider community interested in gifted education around events and opportunities coming up.
We’ve heard from families that you want to learn more about giftedness and about ways to support your child.
We are committing to supporting you with that through:
Online learning modules - short learning modules in Teachable that you can sign up for. These are free and on-demand. Start with our Introduction to MindPlus module and explore from there. If there is a specific learning module you would like to see, just let us know!
Regular parent learning opportunities - we hold regular online parent learning sessions across each year. Keep an eye out for these in the Community Feed of Hero
We value our relationship with you and your family and we want to be clear on what you can expect of us, as well as what we expect of you and your child.
We have comprehensive policies on privacy and health and safety (including accidents, Covid precautions, bullying, managing behaviour etc). We can provide you with these on request and all policies will be online soon.
Our commitment to you
We are committed to providing you with:
A specialist gifted education programme for a day each week.
A high-quality, experienced teacher with a strong commitment to gifted education and to their own ongoing professional learning.
A safe, inclusive, welcoming learning atmosphere.
Regular communication with you and your child’s regular school teacher about how your child is doing and an ongoing invitation to talk with your child’s teacher about their progress and how we can better support you and them.
In some cases, circumstances outside of our control may limit our ability to provide these things (eg a drop in student numbers). In such circumstances, we will do our best to find a suitable solution and to keep you informed of the issue we’re dealing with and what steps we are taking.
Your commitment to us
As we work together to provide the best possible MindPlus experience for your child, we expect you will share any information or insights that will help us to support your child. You know your child best and sharing your wisdom benefits us all. We expect you to keep us up to date on any changes that might impact on how your child is doing at MindPlus.
We ask that you bring any issues you might be concerned about with your child or the MindPlus programme to us promptly so that we can work together constructively to address any issues.
Our expectations of your child
At MindPlus, we expect our students to aim high and to challenge themselves across many dimensions - intellectual, social and emotional - and our MindPlus teachers will support them in this.
We expect MindPlus students to be open-minded and curious, to take on new challenges, to reach out of their comfort zone, and to make connections with their like-minded peers, and again, our MindPlus teachers will support them in this.
We expect our students to use internet-enabled devices appropriately and safely, in keeping with our policies and procedures around device use. Our MindPlus teachers will make these expectations clear and visible and will work proactively with students around online safety.
We expect our students to contribute to the safe, inclusive and positive learning environment that MindPlus provides, by behaving appropriately in the online environment, respecting their MindPlus teacher and peers, and working together to have a great experience with us.
NZCGE is a non-profit organisation which operates on the basis of parent fees, Government funding and philanthropic donations. Our mission is to ensure that all gifted kids in New Zealand can access the specialist support they need to thrive. We support students whose families cannot afford to access this support through our Scholarship Fund and by developing a range of programmes at different price levels that families can access.
What are the fees for MindPlus OurSchool
Term Fee: MindPlus OurSchool costs families $720 per term (incl GST).
Application Fee: There is a one-off Application Fee of $30, payable when you accept your child’s Place Offer at MindPlus.
Annual Donation: We also ask parents for a $50 Annual Donation, whenever in the year you start. This donation is tax deductible and you can download your receipt from Hero, under Finance
How and when do I pay the fees?
Term Fee: Your termly invoice will be in Hero at least two weeks before the start of each term. You will get an email notification when the invoice is there. Payment must be made, or an automatic payment set up, before your child starts the term. Payment can be made directly from Hero or through electronic banking, and these details are included on the invoice. If the term fee for the past term has not been paid, your child cannot continue at MindPlus for the following term.
Application Fee: This is payable through the link on the Place Offer Confirmation Form.
Annual Donation: We will provide an invoice for this at the start of each year, or when your child starts at MindPlus. You will get an email notification when this invoice is there. Payment can be made directly through Hero or through electronic banking, and these details are included on the invoice. You can download a receipt for tax purposes from Hero, or donate the rebate back to NZCGE using the link on the receipt.
What happens if my child is away OR the class is cancelled?
If your child is away from MindPlus for any reason, we cannot provide a refund (see our Financial Terms and Conditions).
In the rare event of a class cancellation, we can provide you with a credit for the following term on request. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request this.
These Financial Terms and Conditions apply to all children attending MindPlus programmes. If we need to vary these Terms and Conditions, we will notify you before the start of a new year so that you have the opportunity not to continue on the new terms.
Do I get a refund for absences?
NZCGE is a not-for-profit organisation, but we do need to be financially viable. So that we can meet our financial commitments, we cannot give a refund if your child is away from MindPlus, for whatever reason. In the rare event that we cannot hold a MindPlus class, we will arrange either a credit or refund for you.
What if my child leaves during the year?
We understand that sometimes families want or need to leave MindPlus during the year for a variety of reasons. If MindPlus is not working out for your child and family, please have a chat with your child’s MindPlus teacher to work out how we might make things work better. If together you decide that your child will be leaving, you need to fill in our Leavers Form. Please note that advising your child’s MindPlus teacher or our office is not sufficient.
What happens about fees if my child leaves?
In order to fulfill our financial commitments, fees are non-refundable. Our terms and conditions for fees are:
If your child is leaving MindPlus within the first two weeks of a term, you only need to pay for those two weeks, provided the Leavers Form has been completed before the start of week three of term.
If your child leaves MindPlus after the first two weeks of term, fill in the Leavers Form. You will be liable for the fees for the full term.
If your child will be leaving MindPlus at the end of a term, fill in the Leavers Form before the end of that term, so that you are not charged for the term ahead.
When we receive your Leavers Form we will send you your final invoice.
If you feel there are exceptional circumstances, please contact our CEO on email@example.com to discuss.
What if I can’t pay the fees?
We understand that sometimes families can experience financial difficulties in making payments. Please let us know as soon as possible if this is the case and we will work with you to establish a manageable payment plan to ensure any debt is paid.
If we are not able to agree on an acceptable payment plan with you, your child will not be able to continue at MindPlus until the debt is paid and we may need to refer the outstanding debt to a debt collection agency.
Where can I get help with fees?
We know that these fees are significant for many families. If this is the case for your whānau, we suggest that you work first with your school to support your child to attend. Some of our schools support families with up to a 20% subsidy. Some families may also be able to approach iwi, churches or local trusts to find support.
If external support is unavailable and you would not otherwise be able to afford for your child to attend MindPlus, we do have a Scholarship Fund which is available to assist a small number of students who meet its criteria. We are working hard to raise more funds for the Scholarship Fund from trusts and foundations and individual donors. We ask families who can afford it to consider “buy one, give one” - providing a scholarship for a child who would otherwise not be able to attend MindPlus to join the programme alongside your child. You can find out more here.
How do I apply for a scholarship?
If you have not been able to find support through your school and you meet our criteria, you can apply for a full or part scholarship to MindPlus OurSchool from our Scholarship Fund. With a full scholarship, you will pay $380 per year; with a part scholarship, you will pay $1,520 per year.
We have a strategic focus on increasing the number of kids who are right now significantly under-represented in our programmes: girls, Māori and Pasifika students, and students from low decile schools. We also have a limited number of scholarships available for students with significant potential that may be unable to be fulfilled without specialist gifted education support.
To be eligible for our main scholarships, you and your child must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Your child identifies as a girl or gender diverse
Your child identifies as Māori and/ or Pasifika
Your child attends a school in a lower socio-economic area
To be eligible for our exceptional circumstances scholarships, you will need to show only that:
Your child has significant potential that will be unable to be fulfilled without the support of MindPlus OurSchool
You also need to show us that:
Without the scholarship, your family could not afford for your child to participate in MindPlus.
You’ll need to provide a statement that outlines your family’s financial position, and you are able to provide information, such as a family budget, to support your statement.
You have made an effort to find other sources of financial assistance for your child, including by working with your school. You’ll need to provide a statement that outlines the steps you have taken.
We award scholarships in December to start the following year. Applications open in Term 4.
This means that if you are joining MindPlus during the year, there will not be any scholarships available that year. You may, however, apply for a scholarship in Term 4 for the following year.
You can only apply for a scholarship once you have a Place Offer.
For new students, we provide Scholarship Application Form details in Place Offers made during Term 4.
For existing students, we provide Scholarship Application details to families in Term 4.
Given that you have already shared extensive information on your child in your Application Form, we try to keep the Scholarship Application as brief as possible.
Once we have received your Scholarship Application, we will assess whether:
You meet our criteria and;
We have a scholarship currently available that fits your child’s needs
You will be advised before Christmas whether your child is being offered a full or part Scholarship for the following year.
How long is a scholarship for?
If you are awarded a MindPlus Scholarship, this continues with your child for as long as they are at MindPlus. If your child leaves MindPlus but would like to return, you will need to re-apply for a Scholarship.
Do you still have a financial subsidies scheme?
We are no longer operating the subsidies scheme for new students. Existing students who were supported under the financial subsidies scheme in 2021 will continue to be supported on this basis for as long as they want to stay at MindPlus. If your child leaves MindPlus but would like to return, they will no longer have a subsidy and will need to apply for a Scholarship.