The Curriculum We Offer
The High School curriculum is shaped around the New Zealand Curriculum in the Junior school; and is reflective of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Standards in the Senior school – with an attempt to provide both an academic pathway for those heading to University and other tertiary studies, as well as a pathway for those who may look to enter vocational training or seek employment opportunities.
Responsibility for curriculum lies in the hands of the Deputy Principal responsible for Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting (currently Gael Ashworth), who chairs four-weekly meetings with our Heads of Faculty. Gael has also worked with a Curriculum Committee formed this year to review our curriculum, particularly in the Senior school.
Here is our current curriculum structure, working within a 25-period week:
• ALL students take English (4 hours per week), Mathematics (4 hours), Science (3 hours), Social Studies (3 hours) and PE/Health (2 hours per week).
• Students also take two “rotations”, each of 3 hours per week for a quarter of the year, around 10 weeks in total for each subject. The Technology Rotation has students taking Hard Materials, Graphics, Soft Materials and Food Technology; and an Art Rotation gives exposure to Dance, Drama, Visual Arts and Music.
• Year 9 students also study a Language for 3 hours per week, currently choosing from Te Reo Maori, Japanese, French, Thinking Skills (for those who do not wish to take a language) or Exploring Language (targeted to those who have poor literacy skills).
We also offer a Bi-Lingual class in Year 9, where students are delivered Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and PE/Health in English and Te Reo (and Technology and Art where the timetable allows).
Change for 2012: ALL Year 9 classes (other than the Bi-Lingual class) will be taught English, Maths, Science and Social Studies as an integrated subject. Students will have separate teachers (and periods) for each of the four core subjects, but will work on topics that have a common theme.
Year 9 Option Choice Form
We changed from a one-week to two-week timetable for Year 10 two years ago, to allow our Year 10 students to choose three rather than two options, and so allow them to keep pathways open towards the Senior school. The two-week timetable only affects Year 10.
Students take English (8 hours per fortnight), Mathematics (8 hours), Science (7 hours), Social Studies (7 hours) and PE/Health (5 hours); and three Options, from a choice of 18 subjects, each of five hours per fortnight.
There is also a Bi-Lingual Year 10 class who are taught Maths, Science and Social Studies in Te Reo and English.
Changes for 2012: We are comfortable with our current structure as it effectively “scaffolds” students into their Year 11 subjects. We are looking at continuing Integrated Studies in 2012 with the two classes involved in Year 9 this year; we have also added Year 10 Exploring Languages to the option list, and will be directing students who need development of their literacy into this class.
Year 10 Course Book 2012
At the start of this year the Curriculum Committee considered changing the number of subjects taken in Years 11 to 13 from five (five hours per week) to six (four hours per week). Going from five to six has two expected outcomes:
• The 80 credits required for Level One divided by 5 subjects equals 16 credits per subject - a tall order, particularly for students who “hit the wall” in one of their subjects
• Currently students pick only two of their Year 11 subjects, which is at odds with their choice in Year 10, and sometimes closes pathways in Years 12/13.
As a result, students in Years 11-13 in 2012 will choose six subjects.
In Year 11, English and Mathematics are compulsory; we have made Science optional but highly recommended. We make recommendations to students on what Year 11 English, Mathematics and Science courses they should take, and offer courses in those subjects on a number of levels (Academic, General and Foundation) to help students enjoy success. In 2012, students with “Foundation” recommendations across English and Mathematics are being placed in an Integrated Studies course (“LINKS”) which operates across three timetable lines; the new approach is aimed at lifting their level of achievement by offering a more dynamic and engaging course. Mrs Ashworth has also worked with our Heads of Faculty to encourage them to offer “General” courses that students will find contextually engaging, and you will see in our Senior Course Handbooks (check out our website) lots of interesting courses for them to take. Note that academic subjects continue to be offered, for those students who aim to go on to University.
Year 12 students will also take six subjects in 2012
Year 13: Again, students will take six subjects in 2012, although we have offered those taking five “academic” subjects (i.e. subjects where Level Three Achievement Standards are being attempted) some study spells; a heavy work-load plus a need to gain as many Merit/Excellence passes as possible, to help entrance to University courses, are the reasoning behind this.
Senior Subject Handbook for 2012