What my child learns

You will find that what (and how) your child learns at secondary school is quite different to when you were at school. Nowadays the focus is on developing a range of skills and abilities that they need to continue their education, get into the career they want, and be successful in life, rather than just teaching facts and figures.

State and state-integrated schools and kura use the National Curriculum as a framework to develop teaching programmes that are relevant to their students. Primary schools and kura begin delivering the National Curriculum and secondary schools continue it at the higher levels.

National Curriculum

What will my child learn in Years 9 and 10?

These are the first two years of secondary school. 

In these years your child will learn English, mathematics, science, health and physical education, social sciences, and can choose from a range of options across the arts and technology. Optional subjects may also include languages, economics and textiles. 

Schools and kura can vary in the optional subjects they offer so ask your child's teacher or dean or check the school or kura website for more information on the options they offer.

What will my child learn in Years 11, 12 and 13?

In the senior years your child will specialise in subjects that fit with their interests and abilities, and their tertiary education and career plans. During this time there's a greater choice of subjects but the teaching is still guided by the National Curriculum. The subjects your child takes in these years will be assessed in relation to NCEA. Read more about NCEA.

NCEA Education(external link)

In Year 11 most schools will require your child to study the core subjects of English, mathematics and science, although there may be a variety of classes they can take in these subjects. As well as these core subjects your child will take three other subjects. English and mathematics credits are required for NCEA Level 1.

In most schools in Year 12, English is a compulsory subject, and in Year 13 there are usually no compulsory subjects. You child can choose what they study from the subject areas offered by the school or kura or if a subject they're interested in learning is not offered, they can talk to the school about doing the subject through Te Kura (The Correspondence School) or through a neighbouring school.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) can help with information on the subjects available at secondary school, and are your first stop for information about NCEA. Find out all about NCEA from the NZQA website.

NZQA – Understanding NCEA(external link)

Careers NZ can also help you and your child to make decisions about subject choices, and provide guidance about NCEA, career planning and ongoing study.  Check out the Careers NZ website for information and tools to help, or call them toll-free on 0800 222 733.

Careers NZ(external link)

Go to the Youth Guarantee website, see how your child's skills and interests relate to industry, and work with them to begin to planning a pathway from NCEA Level 2 into a vocation or career. 

Youth Guarantee(external link)

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