Course selection

Junior Courses

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, Design Thinking and Physical Education & Health.

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 two option subjects per semester (2 terms). Options allow you to try subjects you know very little about or that you want to study further because you enjoyed the subject in Year 9.

You will be examined on your core subjects, excluding Physical Education, in December.  You will be required to have a good year of practice and assignments to support your achievement in these examinations.

Year 9 Curriculum Guide

Year 10 Curriculum Guide

Senior Courses

The senior school allows a seamless mix of academic and vocational subjects which all contribute to the NCEA qualification.

Year 11 students study English, Mathematics and a Science, plus three other subjects towards NCEA Level 1. All students are expected to achieve their literacy and numeracy requirements by the end of the year. Year 12 students study six subjects of their choice (with English being strongly recommended) towards NCEA Level 2. Year 13 students study six subjects of their choice. Where appropriate, students in year 13 are encouraged to enter the NZ Scholarship examination.


How To Prepare For Years 9-13


Pūāwaitanga Programme

The Pūāwaitanga Programme (Accelerated Learning Programme) extends more academically able students in the core subject areas and requires involvement in a range of co-curricular activities.

Students selected for the Pūāwaitanga experience challenges tailored to their learning needs. Selection to this programme is made following an entry test held in October of the previous year. Students achieving significantly higher than their peers can be promoted into Puawaitanga.


Whakatāne High School is a lead school for the Gateway Programme catering for students in Years 12 and 13.

Gateway assists the school to make learning relevant for students and to broaden their options by offering them both traditional and workplace learning.  Gateway students pursue individual learning programmes, which allow them to gain new skills and knowledge in a workplace in our local community.  The learning is hands-on and practical.

Students are assessed in the workplace against unit and achievement standards which contribute to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), as well as industry-specific qualifications.

Gateway is not a work experience programme.  It is a programme that helps ensure that our students have a smooth transition from school to work or further training/education.

Gateway students are currently working in a wide variety of industries including, hospitality, automotive, retail, tourism, engineering, and building, which to date, have been the most popular.

This is a very successful programme providing students with both industry-related qualifications and employment.

Te Aka Mātua

Te Aka Mātua is a whanau-based programme which encourages the caring and sharing values and teachings of our tīpuna, ancestors. We aspire to:

  • support and promote Māori academic achievement
  • provide holistic learning opportunities for all students in a supportive environment
  • provide Tikanga Māori and Te Reo Māori experiences for students, staff and parents

Māori Values

Staff involved in Te Aka Matua acknowledge Te Kawa o Ngāti Awa (Mataatua protocol). In addition to the school’s values, we promote the concepts and values inherent in

  • whanaungatanga – fostering relationships
  • manaakitanga – support and respect for each other
  • taha wairua – spirituality

Te Aka Mātua endeavours to prepare students to participate confidently in both worlds, Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Whānui. Academic achievement is valued and esteemed within a cultural context that validates what has been passed on by our tīpuna. This programme is dependent on support from our whānau and we welcome and encourage parental involvement. The retention and achievement of Māori students through to the senior school and on to tertiary education is a high priority.

For all Te Aka Matua classes we endeavour to target students who want to be involved actively in their learning and acquire good, consistent work habits. A commitment to this will be a compulsory study of Te Reo Māori, Te Ao Haka and Nga Toi Māori for all Year 9 and 10 students for the entire academic year. A seniors will commit by participating in at least one of the following kaupapa; Te Reo Māori, Te Ao Haka, Whakairo or be an active member of the school's kapa haka group.

Being a part of Te Aka Matua is a privilege and maintained through effort and commitment. Students apply for entry to Te Aka Matua on enrolment and along with their whanau, will be interviewed by a Te Aka Matua staff member.


Search Site