Learning Extension and Acceleration Programme (LEAP)

The Learning Extension and Acceleration Programme (LEAP) embraces, celebrates and champions diverse learners. If you are gifted, talented, neurodiverse, in need of Special Assessment Conditions or in need of a flexible approach so you can shine in school, then we are here for you. Rutherford prides itself on its one size fits one model – our LEAP supports fit the learner, not the other way around.


Students for EXTENSION are selected through school testing, self, parent and feeder school feedback and other informal measures.  Our Extension arm offers access to a faster pace of learning, wider content areas, opportunities to race alongside peers who thirst for challenge and at the same time, flexible supports for students who need to spend time out of school or have needs related to twice-exceptionality.

Where appropriate, we offer multi-level courses (including flexible NCEA levels of study), early entrance to University through the study of distance papers, a broad range of challenging extra-curricular activities (two examples being Model United Nations and Environment Group) and access to national and international competitions.


Students who are supported through our ACCELERATION programme need support in single or multiple areas to achieve to their maximum.  We seek to accelerate their pace of learning to help them catch up, meet and exceed age-appropriate targets. The majority of students do not struggle with all aspects of the curriculum at the same time, so we believe they have the right to access to a rich, quality curriculum in a supported environment. Our learners who need support are in mainstream classes, learning alongside their age-level peers.

At Rutherford, we do not stream, we use the “clustering” model of grouping students according to their needs. We then negotiate the most appropriate supports from a wide range of options: Teacher Aides (who are highly trained and proudly professional), external supports (mentoring, RTLB, Ministry of Education), Special Assessment Conditions, regular check ins, LEAP break club – and much more.

Whether you need Acceleration, or Extension, LEAP values you in exactly the same way. You are important and we are here to help you reach the heights you seek.