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Secondary School Curriculum 2025

Marau Kura Tuarua

Our online Curriculum Book is the primary source of information about Curriculum Option Selections. This online curriculum is designed to help you plan your courses for next year, but you are also encouraged to think about courses that you might do beyond next year. At St Andrew’s College we have a flexible curriculum, and we try to cater for all types of course combinations so that students can be confident that they can study the type of course they wish, year by year. Your choice of course will largely dictate our options structure, and so you are asked to consider carefully and select from the courses open to you. These are detailed below by year level.

High educational achievement is encouraged at all year levels in the Secondary School. We purposefully keep class numbers smaller to enable our dedicated, highly skilled teachers to closely monitor students’ progress, provide optimum teaching and learning support, and extend their abilities.

Course Outlines

Current students and parents can view course outlines by clicking here >

Learning in the Middle School

Year 9 students are tested in a nationally moderated assessment that serves as a benchmark against which students, teachers and families can measure progress. Students are well prepared for the NCEA assessments, which commence in Year 11. With pass rates for all NCEA levels well above the national average, our preparation and programmes are well proven.

The major aims for learning in the Middle School are:

  • to give students a sound grounding in the core subjects;
  • to give students the opportunity to explore and experience a wide range of other curriculum areas with specialist teachers;
  • to give students a sound preparation in the subjects they are studying for external awards and qualifications.

Years 9 and 10

The curriculum is structured so that students experience a wide range of subjects, core and options, through a wide range of learning situations and experiences over these two years.

It is important that students do not specialise in particular subject areas at this level. Gaining a broad experience is one of our key principles.

Year 11

While this year is the first year of study for external qualifications, courses at this level should also be broad‑based so that students have a number of different options in the future. Students will start to specialise more in Year 12 and this will be continued with greater depth in final year studies. For further NCEA information, please click here.

What works well in learning in the Middle School – be sure to:

  1. Set yourself both short-term and long-term goals. A Year 11 student might set NCEA Level 1 as a long-term goal and making the 1st XI as a short-term goal.
  2. Each week, plan your time after school so that all aspects such as homework, sports and social life can be fitted in. Make sure you prioritise so that the important things get done.
  3. Take good notes in class, try to personalise them and file them in an efficient and systematic way.
  4. Participate actively in each lesson.
  5. Keep up with your homework. If there are any concerns, seek help from your teacher or other support people such as fellow students, your tutor or the Dean. Use your homework time to review what you have been studying – this is a particularly good thing to do in those times when you don’t actually have any homework.
  6. Have a wall planner at home or some other form of organiser, and enter all dates for assessments, tests and projects for each term. Include other events as they might impact on your academic programme. Take internal assessment seriously. Internal assessment is the ‘real thing’. It provides results which stay on your Record of Achievement. Make sure you know precisely what is required for an assessment and, if possible, practise using exemplars from the NZQA website, as they provide a ‘picture’ of what is required of a student’s answer for the various NCEA achievement levels. Keep a record of your assessment results and be sure to use the Community Portal to access those results regularly, especially in the second half of the year.
  7. Make sure you have written down all key dates, homework and other events in a diary. 
  8. Know what is required to gain an NCEA Level qualification.

Senior College Curriculum

The core Senior College academic curriculum is comprehensive and is complemented by a huge variety of interesting subject options. Our programmes of study support the NCEA qualification framework. Talented and dedicated teachers, tutors, peer support leaders and study advisers from outside St Andrew’s are available to help you achieve at the highest level possible in your course work and external NCEA examinations.

St Andrew’s College students consistently achieve well above the national average in NCEA at all levels, and in the attainment of NCEA Merit and Excellence endorsements. There are many initiatives to encourage and reward academic success, including Academic Colours and Academic 30s certificates for our top NCEA performers.

For further NCEA information, please click here.

Senior College Diploma

At the end of our students’ time at St Andrew’s, having met their academic, co-curricular, spiritual and service commitments, they will be awarded the prestigious Senior College Diploma. This, along with a personal profile written by a staff member of their choice, is an excellent addition to their CV.

The Curriculum

The Senior College curriculum is designed to provide a wide range of options which allow students to follow their chosen path of study and achieve their potential. The expectation is that all students will strive for academic excellence. Excellence is recognised as ‘doing one’s best’. A high level of academic achievement should give students greater access to the tertiary institution of their choice or to a position in the workforce.

Most subjects in the Senior College, and many tertiary courses, have entry requirements. For this reason we advise students to plan ahead to ensure that possible avenues of study are not closed. Year 12 English is the only compulsory academic subject in the Senior College curriculum.

When choosing subjects, students need to be mindful of their own abilities and be realistic in their choices.

If it suits a student’s particular needs, they are able to take subjects at more than one Level in the same year. This is called multi-level study and is a regular feature of senior secondary schooling. We also advise students to keep their course as broad as possible within the framework of subjects offered in the Senior College.

In summary, students should:

  • choose wisely and broadly from the many courses offered;
  • have a sense of direction for their academic studies;
  • seek course counselling from relevant staff as and when required;
  • have a meaningful and personalised academic pathway for themselves;
  • seek to develop analytical thinking skills and to become independent learners.

Ways to help you learn – be sure to:

  1. Set yourself some goals – both short-term and long-term. A Year 12 student might set NCEA Level 2 as a long-term goal and taking part in the school production as a short-term goal.
  2. Plan the time you have available after school so that homework, co-curricular involvement like sport or music, and your social life can all be fitted in. Make sure you prioritise so that the important things get done.
  3. Take good notes in class.
  4. Participate in each lesson.
  5. Keep up with your homework. If there are any concerns seek help from your teacher or other support people like fellow students or your Dean. Use your homework time to review what you have been studying – this is a particularly good thing to do in those times when you don’t have any specific homework from teachers.
  6. Have a wall planner at home and enter all assessments (tests and projects) for each term.
  7. Take internal assessment seriously; it provides results that stay on your Record of Achievement.
  8. Make sure you know precisely what is required for an assessment and, if possible, practise using sample papers from the NCEA and TKI websites.
  9. Make sure you spend time preparing for every assessment.
  10. Know what is required to gain each NCEA Level qualification and University Entrance.

Planning for the Future

What might you want to study and do in the future?

We recommend that you follow a broad course of study for as long as you can during your time at St Andrew’s – there is always the opportunity to try something new along the way. Exposure to a range of learning contexts provides opportunities for learning different things and in different ways and is a good idea for all learners. Of course, as you move through the College, you will also need to consider the different requirements for future study and career pathways. This applies particularly to when you are studying in Years 12 and 13 and if you are planning to move on to study at tertiary level.

Decision Making

It is important to make a good decision.

It is important to discuss option choices before making a final selection. Keep in mind the information and advice provided on courses, and on making a good career choice. We work hard to provide a course of study that meets the needs of each and every student and have consultation and guidance available.

Core and Option Subjects

All the courses are grouped according to year level. On each year level page, you can filter the subjects by core and option at that level. Students and parents in Year 9 are asked to read the guidelines and requirements for subject selections very carefully. In Year 11, English, Science and Mathematics make up the compulsory core, and you are also able to choose from a wide range of option subjects, many of which are also taught in Year 9 and/or Year 10. In Year 12, with the exception of English, you are largely free to choose the courses that you wish to take. The College does, however, recommend that in Years 11, 12 and 13, some students take certain courses which are considered to provide additional support to their learning. It is important that the programmes you choose are best suited to your academic ability and future plans.

Entry Requirements

Students must take notice of Entry Requirements as they apply to course selections.

In Years 11, 12 and 13, class placement depends mainly on the choice of subjects and on students having met specific entry requirements. These entry requirements set a minimum level of performance on which a student is able to base successful study in a particular year and are designed to guide, not limit, students’ options. Where a particular requirement is stated, a student is expected to meet that in order for their selection to be approved. Please read these carefully.

Class Sizes and Subject Selection

It is very important that the level of staffing we have matches the demand for subjects. Option subjects will operate only if they maintain a suitable class size. While we hope that it does not occur, it is possible that some students may not get all of their preferred options, and this is why you must provide more than the minimum number when making your selections. ‘Back-up’ subject selections must be provided for such cases.


Deadlines must be met. All course selections are made online and must be made no later than 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 August.

Selections made after this date will likely mean that an alternative course will need to be chosen. The same will apply to any student who wishes to change their options later on. Changes are possible only if the courses are not full and if the new choices fit the option lines. If a student changes their mind about options after the completion of the timetable, it may not be possible to accommodate those changes. If you require further help, you must contact both your Dean and the Head of Department of the course in which you are interested.