Rotorua One Day School - for Gifted Learners


Opening Term 2, 2024!

What is a “One Day School”?

  • It is a programme happening during school time but outside school itself, on a regular basis, for one full day every week.
  • It is designed to provide for learning needs which cannot readily be fully met in the regular classroom.
  • It generally works in liaison with schools, as a cooperative venture. Sometimes a homeschooling family will be enrolled.

Why do gifted learners need any additional or different help?

Gifted children inherently learn differently from others of their age.

They tend to be more curious, more observant and more persistent when they are interested. They are often highly imaginative. They often have a quirky sense of humour. They tend to have a strong sense of justice. They don't always achieve highly and they may not fit in well with students who are less questioning. School can be a very lonely place for them.

How can One Day School help them?

One Day School is designed to provide a high and satisfying level of challenge – learning adventures of the mind and the imagination, exploring multiple fields of knowledge and invention.

It is also designed to meet the different and sometimes difficult emotional and social needs of the gifted child. Such a child perceives and reacts to daily experiences, to learning at school, to other children, in ways that are often much more intense than the reactions of others of their age. One Day School provides an immensely important opportunity for the gifted child to meet with others who can truly share their world and their unique perceptions.

What is the history behind this programme?

The original One Day School was founded in 1996, as part of the George Parkyn Centre for Gifted Education. It drew on the prior experience and research of the Centre’s director, Dr Rosemary Cathcart, with groups of gifted children. It began with 40 children and grew to have around 600 children. Rosemary now lives in Rotorua and will be leading the One Day School here.

How are children identified for this programme?

Children whose names are put forward are taken through an assessment process carefully designed to ensure the programme matches their individual needs. The process involves the collection of relevant information from the child’s whanau and school, followed by a half-day of activities which allow the child to work in both a group and an individual situation and to demonstrate their response to a range of hands-on learning activities and to a test of reasoning ability.

If there is a cost, how much is it?

The cost has been kept minimal. The whanau of participating children are asked to pay $50.00 per term towards resources. There is no cost for participating schools. All other costs have been funded by a Rotorua Charitable Trust, to whom we are deeply grateful.

How do we apply?

Unless you are homeschooling, all applications need to be approved by the school. However, both whanau and school can initiate an application. Here are the application forms:

More questions? Email us at