Updated 22 January 2024
We recognise and regret the significant impact that the OurSchool Unit closures will have on you and your child(ren). We know you will have many questions as to why this has happened and what this means for your child, including what other support we may be able to provide or help you access now that your MindPlus unit is closed.
The FAQs below set out some options and answers that may be helpful. If your question is not covered, please let us know and we’ll endeavor to keep these updated.
Please do contact our CEO, Justine Munro, at email@example.com if you would like to discuss the proposal and its circumstances. Please contact Justine rather than your teacher or our Head of Programmes.
Other MindPlus options
If you are able to get your child to a MindPlus OurSchool unit which will be remaining open, we will do our best to find a space for your child there.
In Auckland, our Auckland East (Pakuranga), West (Henderson) and Central (Grey Lynn) Units are open and in Canterbury, our Christchurch Unit (Riccarton) is open. You can let us know in the Leavers Confirmation Form if you would like to do that.
Transfer to MindPlus Online
MindPlus Online is a great option for those children unable to continue at a MindPlus OurSchool Unit.
This programme can be followed at school or at home under the guidance of teachers who are experienced with both MindPlus and online learning. As far as possible, we will group former classmates and friends together in our Online classes.
If you would like to find out more about MindPlus Online to see if it would suit your child and whānau, please come along to our Zoom meeting specifically about this on Thursday 1 February at 7pm. You can register for the session using the Leavers’ Confirmation Form, and the Zoom link will be sent to you.
Talk to your school about MindPlus YourSchool
(and we will too!)
You can also talk to your school about running its own onsite MindPlus programme, supported by us. We have been successfully supporting primary, intermediate and secondary schools right around NZ to do this since 2021, with the same high impact for students as the OurSchool programme.
Let us know in the Leavers’ Confirmation Form if you would like us to connect with your child’s school directly about them offering MindPlus YourSchool.
MindPlus Clubs provide an online platform for like-minded Y3 - Y10 students to connect from anywhere in New Zealand. They collate a range of high quality learning experiences for students, including Tutorials and Badges, and connect kids with experts in the field, through Talent Activation sessions once a term. There are ten clubs covering a range of areas - Scientists, Creative Writers, Artists and Artisans, Coders and more!
You can support your child to work within their Club at home, or your child’s teacher can support them to work on it at school. You or the teacher can even set up an Individual Talent Plan to help your child explore their interests and increase their skills.
If your child was with us in 2023, they can keep working within their existing club and/ or join another one. If your child was due to start with us in 2024, they can choose a new club or clubs to explore.
You can let us know your preferences for Clubs in the Leavers’ Confirmation Form.
What if I have paid in advance?
We will provide a full refund of fees paid in advance where a unit is closing. If your child would like to enrol in MindPlus Online instead, we can arrange to refund you the difference in fees.
You can let us know your preferences in relation to a refund in the Leavers’ Confirmation Form.
What if my child has a scholarship for 2024?
We are happy for your child to transfer their MindPlus OurSchool scholarship to MindPlus Online. Because of the difference in fees, each child transferring will receive a full scholarship, even if they only had a partial OurSchool scholarship.
Can you help us stay in touch with other families?
If your child was at MindPlus in 2023, we appreciate that they and your whānau will have built friendships with other MindPlus kids and families and we can support you to keep in touch. Please let us know in the Leavers’ Confirmation Form if you would like us to add your name and contact details to an updated Parent Sharing List for your whole unit. We will email this out to all that have signed up over the next fortnight.
My child still has belongings at the unit. How can I arrange to get them?
Please let us know in the Leavers’ Confirmation Form if you have items to collect. We will be in touch with a date in early February when you can do that.
How has NZCGE been funded to date?
NZCGE was funded by the Ministry between late 2018 and 31 December 2023 to provide face-to-face and online support to gifted learners. This funding was provided under the One Day Schooling head of the Gifted Education Package. It enabled NZCGE to offer the MindPlus programme at units around the country (MindPlus OurSchool) and online (MindPlus Online) and to support schools to run their own MindPlus programmes (MindPlus YourSchool).
Whilst NZCGE also receives fees from parents and grants from philanthropic foundations, this income alone is insufficient for it to operate sustainably. NZCGE would have been forced to shut down altogether in 2019 if it had not been provided with funding at the end of 2018.
Between 2018 and 2023, the actual and real value of NZCGE’s government funding declined significantly, with no adjustment to cover the almost 50% increase in teacher pay negotiated by the government over this period. This has already led to significant financial challenges for the organisation.
Why didn’t NZCGE address this funding challenge earlier?
From late 2022, NZCGE consistently sought clarification from both the Ministry and the Minister of Education on the Government’s funding intentions for 2024, noting the detrimental impact of ongoing uncertainty for our organisation, its staff and the students and families we serve.
The Ministry advised throughout the year that it would soon release a tender for ongoing funding; but no tender was forthcoming by late 2023. On this basis, NZCGE anticipated that the Ministry would roll over existing funding for 2024 and made the decision to proceed with our normal MindPlus reapplication and enrolment process.
On Friday 15 December, we finally received notice of the Ministry’s decision in relation to our ongoing funding and the new tender. Like you, we are extremely disappointed both to receive this news and to receive it so late in the year, with parents, students and staff now facing significant disruption and uncertainty as we move into the New Year, and our students and families not being able to work through understanding and processing this together with their teachers.
What has the Ministry of Education decided?
On 15 December 2023, the Ministry of Education issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for gifted education services from March 2024 (see here). This includes funding for Targeted Additional Support funding (replacing the previous One Day School funding).
The RFP makes it clear that the Government will no longer support one day school programmes (i.e. in which students are withdrawn from their usual school environment or in which the student is required to pay fees). The Ministry will only fund gifted education programmes which are in-school, able to be tailored to local needs and which build in-school teacher capability.
The Ministry has not stated how much funding is available for Targeted Additional Support, or for the other limited services to gifted students covered by the tender, but there is unlikely to be any increase in the current small allocation. The total annual amount expended by the Government on the Gifted Education Package is around $2.5m (which represents just 0.018% of $14b pa total funding to schools). The new contracts are for 15 months only and the Ministry has made no commitment to support for gifted learners beyond mid-2025.
What can I do to advocate for the needs of gifted children with the new government?
The new Minister of Education, Erica Stanford, has visited one of our MindPlus units and spent time talking to our gifted and neurodiverse students about their needs and why specialist support and time with like minds is so important for them.
We are now asking the Minister to make a significant commitment to ensuring that all gifted students in all schools throughout New Zealand can access the support they need to thrive, benefiting both them and our communities and economy. Our innovative and proven MindPlus programme should be an important part of this.
As parents, you can help our advocacy by sharing your stories and the reality of the current education system’s failure to provide for your child’s needs with the Minister, other politicians, the media and your community. Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss this further.