The Curriculum – Mātauranga
At Akaroa Area School we strive to deliver an engaging programme that incorporates all the essential learning areas in the New Zealand Curriculum and makes full use of our unique environment as a resource for learning
We recognise that the transition to school is a vital period in the lives of our students. To that end our primary focus is upon establishing a strong foundation through the delivery of the core curriculum, specifically literacy and numeracy, whilst also providing a broad and enriching programme with opportunities for integrated learning.
When students progress from junior to “middle-school” (years 7-10) exciting opportunities develop with students making full use of the skills of specialist teachers and facilities. During these critical middle school years the teaching of literacy and numeracy remains a primary focus that flows across all areas of the curriculum. We recognise the importance of turning our students attention to career pathways as soon as possible. To assist our students in making wise future career choices, we offer ‘taster’ courses particularly in languages, technology and the arts.
This philosophy continues into the senior school. The courses offered each year are a balance between staffing resources, student choices and student needs. It is at this time that our senior students need to make more definite decisions about their future career pathways and we as a school are committed to providing our students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to make informed decisions.
The New Zealand Curriculum is taught in the three Junior School classrooms where a comprehensive programme provides a strong foundation in the core areas of reading, writing and maths. Teachers also utilise the natural resources and heritage we have in our local environment to enrich our teaching and learning programmes.
Students move through the three Junior School rooms remaining in each room for 2 years. With around 60 students from year 0 to year 6, each class will have approximately 16 students. This ratio of students to teacher allows teachers to work closely with the needs of each student.
Room 1 Year 0-2 Ms Hyland
Room 2 Year 3-4 Miss Mann
Room 3 Year 5-6 Ms Aislabie
The junior classes are able to make use of specialist rooms such as the computer suite, technology rooms, science lab, and the gymnasium. Junior school students have a vast array of opportunities culturally, artistically, academically, physically, in sport and through Outdoor Education. Our junior students (plus Year 7 and 8) also participate in inter-school sports and cultural events as part of the Banks Peninsula Schools Learning Community Cluster during the year. Year 5 and 6 students have further sporting involvement in the Lincoln Zone Tournaments and a yachting programme.
Emphasis is placed on building a strong rapport between parents and teachers through a comprehensive reporting system and accessibility to teachers. The Junior School has an assembly every second Friday (Akaroa Mail day). Parents and community members are all welcome to attend. If your child is a new entrant, visiting some assemblies prior to their starting can help with the settling in process.
The Special Education Needs department work closely with teachers and students providing assistance and extension as required. In addition to classroom music programmes ‘one to one’ music lessons are available for students interested in learning an instrument.
One of the great advantages we have in Akaroa Area School is our small class numbers (generally less than 20). This allows students to gain a lot of individual attention from teachers. We are lucky to have attracted an excellent staff to our school. We have very high expectations of our students in terms of behaviour and this, together with our focus on building positive relationships and small class sizes, means that learning time is maximised.
The intermediate years (7 and 8) provide a good transition between primary and secondary schooling. Our year 7 and 8 students have small classes and the advantage of having specialist teachers in well resourced departments.
Years 9 and 10 can be seen as the foundation years, where students develop a solid base of knowledge in a wide range of subjects with some subject options available prior to selecting specific subjects in year 11.
The Year 7 – 10 subjects are: English, Mathematics, Science, Technology (Hard and Soft materials), ICT, Performance Arts including Kapahaka, Social Studies, Physical Education, Visual Arts, French, Maori, Health, Music, Sport and Drama.
Our students perform extremely well in NCEA assessments and examinations with the encouragement and assistance of our teachers. In Years 11-13 students are guided through subject choices for learning programmes related to their interests and career preferences. Students begin the process of selecting their subjects in term 3 of the previous year in consultation with their teachers, the curriculum co-ordinator, careers advisor and parents, so it is very much a collaborative approach.
Student subject choices in Year 11, but more particularly Year 12 and 13, are driven by student career pathways. Year 12 and 13 students also have the option of participating in an active Gateway programme which combines work experience with formal qualifications in a trade of the student’s choice.
Our teachers and students integrate many aspects of ICT and computer use into their daily programmes.
At the beginning of 2014 our school began a 1-1 computer initiative for our students from years 7 to 13. The leased computers are assigned to individual students for their work, at school. Year 7 to 10 students use Chromebooks and the older students use laptops. Junior students at our school have the use of netbooks, iPads and the computer suite which is equipped with iMacs.
Computers are used for research, communication, word processing, data entry, creative activities such as drawing and designing, image manipulation, creating presentations, watching instructional video, the editing and production of video and the accessing of teacher’s online resource materials and programmes. Information is produced and shared between teachers and students, and between teachers, students and their parents.
Our senior students also use their computers to connect with their distance-learning teachers and to access and produce work for these classes. Students also practise the basics and extend their understanding and knowledge of the various curriculum areas through the use of computer games and online programmes, for example Mathletics, Maths Buddy, Languages Online and Spelling City.
Students with learning needs in literacy can use built in and downloaded computer accessibility programmes, text recognition and text to speech to help them access and read information that they would not be able to read independently. This therefore boosts their confidence in reading and writing.
Projectors are installed in all classrooms and are used for presenting information in a class situation. Many teachers use a form of interactive whiteboard which allows their students to be more involved in their lessons. ICT is a great motivator at Akaroa Area School. Our students really enjoy using their computers to help them in the various aspects of their learning.
When a student wishes to take a subject that is not currently offered at school we do our utmost to source external courses on which they can be enrolled. A very wide range of courses is on offer from equestrian studies to classical studies. The following are some of the learning providers which we use:
Travel and Tourism organisations
Telford Agricultural College
Most distance learning providers send electronic or written material and/or other resources (eg. DVDs), and mark assessments for earning both Achievement and Units Standards.
NZNet is different in that it is a network of schools which provides NCEA subjects via active video conferencing sessions which are supported on-line by interactive learning management systems such as Moodle or Google Apps. Teachers are based in other (mainly Canterbury) schools. This means that the students have all the support and immediate feedback advantages of being in a regular class. Distance learning is generally used for students in our senior levels (Year 11 – Year 13) but is occasionally used for other students with particular interests or needs.
Akaroa Area School prides itself on the support available for students with special needs. These children are referred by classroom teachers and receive support either in the classroom or in the specially resourced Learning Support rooms, individually or in small groups. Extra assistance for assessing the needs of these students and in the planning of appropriate programmes, is provided by specialist services when necessary. The school also recognises the learning needs of highly able students and these needs are catered for in various ways.
Akaroa Area School is part of the Banks Peninsula Reading Recovery cluster. Reading Recovery is an effective early intervention programme designed for children who have completed one year of schooling. Selected children have daily individual sessions with our Reading Recovery teacher to enable them to become independent learners of reading and writing. Lessons are planned to meet the specific needs of the children and time in the programme varies between twelve and twenty weeks.
English is the study, use and enjoyment of the English language and its literature, communicated orally, visually and in writing for a range of purposes and audiences and in a variety of text forms.
At each level in Akaroa Area School we teach language skills and strategies which enable our students to communicate effectively in all areas of English. We draw on a wide range of texts which address ideas and issues that challenge our students and address the values and principles outlined in the NZ Curriculum whilst seeking to develop their key competencies. Literacy in English gives students access to the understanding, knowledge and skills they need to participate fully in the social, cultural, political and economic life of New Zealand and the wider world. To be successful participants, they need to be effective oral, written and visual communicators who are able to think critically and in depth.
Akaroa Area School recognises and celebrates cultural diversity. We provide a learning environment that encourages and promotes Tikanga Maori me Te Reo Maori (Maori culture and Maori language). La Culture Francaise et La Langue Francaise (French culture and language) is promoted and encouraged as it is significant to our community and cultural history. At Akaroa Area School all students from Years 1-10 are taught Maori and French.
Mathematics and statistics teach students to develop the ability to think creatively, critically, strategically and logically. They learn to structure and to organise, to carry out procedures flexibly and accurately, to process and communicate information, and to enjoy intellectual challenge.
Mathematics and statistics have a broad range of practical applications in everyday life, in other learning areas, and in workplaces. For these reasons all students learn mathematics to year 12 and some students will choose either calculus or statistics at year 13.
Within each year level, learning programmes are designed to meet the needs of individual students. Support is available for those students who find the work difficult and extension provided for those students needing more challenge. Students have the opportunity to challenge themselves mathematically by entering competitions such as ICAS mathematics and Cantamaths.
NCEA courses are designed to cater for the needs of students on a year to year basis.
Physical education and health are taught as separate subjects at Akaroa Area School with dedicated staff in both subject areas. A minimum of two hours of practical PE lessons and one health lesson comprise this area. Within PE students experience a range of team and individual sports including traditional team sports such as netball, basketball, football, touch and more alternative sports such as Ultimate frisbee and turbo touch. Individual sports include athletics, fitness studies and aquatics.
Cross-curricular links to Literacy (year 7), Numeracy (year 8), ICT (year 9) and leadership principles (year 10). Students are given a range of tasks in class and as extended learning opportunities to extend their global understanding of these subjects within the world of sport.
Students are encouraged to peer coach at all year levels to improve their own understanding of their physical development and improve their understanding of how to progress through the PE national curriculum.
Science learning should start from what students know already. The nature of science is how scientists work – at Akaroa students learn to think and behave like scientists. The other strands provide contexts through which students can develop their understanding about the nature of science. The curriculum states that students need to see the relationship of their science learning to the world around them so they can see its relevance to their lives. In the unique environment of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula these real world contexts can give students opportunities to use their growing knowledge in meaningful ways.
Social Sciences provide the context for students to explore their world and learn about the past, present and future. It includes how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens. Contexts are drawn from the past, present, and future and from places within and beyond New Zealand.
The new curriculum offers opportunities for teachers at Akaroa to tailor their social studies teaching around the needs and interests of the students
The Banks Peninsula area overflows with contexts for the teaching of the Social Sciences, with its geological origins, geographical features, rich historical tapestry and diverse and talented community. The opportunities to engage and enthuse students are endless as the history of our unique location has very real connections for teaching and learning.
Technology comprises of three strands; Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge, and the Nature of Technology. All three strands are integrated into learning programmes, although not all units of work will necessarily include all three.
Junior School teachers usually teach Technology as part of an integrated topic.
Connections are often made when studying the way people live or have lived in the past. Exploring the use of tools and materials is often a feature of such a study as well as opportunities to explore technology through news and current affairs.
Although not formally part of the Technology curriculum Technology challenges are a good way of giving students practical learning experiences .
Years 7 – 10
Learning Programmes are adapted to suit the interests and needs of our students with a focus on Textiles, Food Technology and Hard Materials Technology. A significant number of students continue with Food Technology as there are many opportunities in the Food and Hospitality industry within Akaroa.
As a Technology Training Centre Akaroa provides technology for the contributing schools.
Little River and Okains Bay students follow a similar technology programme at Years 7 & 8
At senior school level the learning programmes include standards with a vocational focus.
Hard Materials, following the BCITO programme and Unit Standards
Computing, using industry based Achievement Standards.
Hospitality / Home Economics, using HSI Unit Standard resources and NZQA Achievement Standards
These courses are all industry based programmes and follow the learning intentions of the associated ITO and more importantly the aspirations of our students, with the exception of Home Economics which is under the umbrella of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum.
Akaroa Area School excels in Visual Art. Teachers make use of local artists and craftspeople who are frequently involved in running workshops as part of the visual arts programme. A strong emphasis is placed on studying the Visual Arts of the Maori. An annual exhibition takes place at the Orion Powerhouse Gallery. The school has also previously exhibited in Christchurch.
Dance and drama are valuable areas of learning seen to be vital for the development of communication skills and self- confidence. Students are given
the opportunity to participate in these areas through workshops, festivals and school-wide performances. Theatre Sports is a sport option and a team competes each year at the annual Canterbury Area Schools Sports and Cultural Festival. Akaroa Area School participates in the bi-annual Banks Peninsula Cultural Festival.
Music is valued and well supported in our community and our students respond by enjoying every opportunity they have to perform.
In addition to the classroom programme students are able to take individual lessons with an itinerant teacher of music offering piano, flute, clarinet, saxaphone and recorder. Guitar lessons are available through a privately arranged tutor.
Instrumental musicians and the choral group take part in performances throughout the year. Most years the school attends the Country High Schools’ Music Festival, the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival and our own local performances. Every alternate year the schools on Banks Peninsula combine for a Cultural Festival, a display of the singing, dancing and playing talent in our home town. Our school production is performed on alternate years to the festival.
We are a popular destination for visiting musicians. Our students are able to attend performances given in Akaroa and Christchurch.
With our excellent sports facilities, we can offer a range of sports and physical activities to our students.
We participate in a number of regular events throughout the year. At junior level this primarily includes competition with the other Banks Peninsula schools – Little River School, Duvauchelle School and Okains Bay School. Years 5 – 8 take part in two Lincoln Zone Winter Tournaments for rugby, netball, hockey and football.
Banks Peninsula Schools Events:
· Cross Country
· Winter Tournament,
· Kiwi Sports
The senior students participate in Combined Country High Schools Tournaments. Annually the three day CASAFest (Canterbury Area Schools Association Festival) is hosted by one of the Canterbury Area Schools. In 2012 it was held in Akaroa and in 2013, Hurunui College will be hosting this event.
Combined Country High Schools Tournaments:
· Athletics February
· Swimming February
· Tennis March
· Outdoor Tournament June
· Indoor Tournament August
EOTC is curriculum-based teaching and learning that extends the four walls of the classroom
At Akaroa Area School we believe that the utilisation of both our local and wider environment is an integral part of our student’s education. Learning outside the classroom has the potential to support learning in ways that are consistent with the vision, principles, values, key competencies and effective pedagogy statements in both the NZ Curriculum and the Akaroa Area School Charter. We aim to fully use our unique environment as a resource for schoolwide learning.
Our EOTC objectives are;
To enrich the learning experiences of the students of Akaroa Area School through the utilisation of our local and wider environment
To ensure the safety of all participants through robust and thorough practices.
To ensure all participants (BOT, Principal, Providers, Staff and Students) are fully aware of, and comply with, their roles and responsibilities.
All students, junior and senior, are involved in house competition where students participate as part of a house team at school competitions such as swimming, athletics and cross country.
The school houses are: