Whakatane High School believes that offering a wide range of subjects allows for a greater degree of personalised learning. Every student follows a balanced, general learning programme in the junior school and a more specialised and focused programme in the senior school. The core subjects are English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Physical Education.
In addition to the core subjects Year 9 students experience a broad range of courses derived from the senior school. In Year 10 the number of subjects narrows to core and four options subjects. A school-based Junior Certificate qualification modelled on NCEA helps to ensure students are well prepared for NCEA.