A Hawke's Bay deputy principal has slammed research indicating top Kiwi students are reluctant to celebrate their successes because of "tall poppy" syndrome.
The Canterbury University study by PHD student Louise Tapper over 18 months tracked 11 year-nine students identified as gifted and talented. Findings indicated some top hid their talents for fear of being labelled nerdy.
Interviews with students, parents and teachers also revealed the students often hesitated to celebrate achievements for fear of offending their peers.
However, Napier Boys' High School deputy headmaster Bruce Smith said 11 gifted students at five different high schools was an insufficient research sample: "It's not very extensive research."
Tall poppy syndrome was not an issue at the school, he said.
New-entrant testing at year 9 identified high achievers, Mr Smith said.
"We have accelerate classes where all of those boys are put together. In year 10, a lot of them are doing NCEA ... so they're extended by doing NCEA."
High achievers were celebrated via an "Elite Performers" group which included top arts, academic and sporting pupils.
"They get to wear a special jacket and the first boys into that group are our top academics in year 12 and 13. We celebrate success all the time, so I don't think they feel any tall poppy syndrome," Mr Smith said.
Mrs Tapper said several surveyed students were concerned about getting a nerdy name, and most had been called a nerd.
"Able students are encouraged to be the best they can be but ... have learnt to keep quiet about their successes or else someone will turn around and be offended."