The Senior School

Academic Programmes

Tararua College offers a wide range of subjects within innovative programmes. These provide many different learning opportunities for students to gain qualifications in both conventional academic and vocational courses, and cater for all levels of ability.

As part of the normal classroom programmes there are extension and remedial programmes.

Senior students work towards passing from an extensive range of NCEA credits, unit standard credits, and/or towards National Certificates.

It is the College’s philosophy that no student should embark on a particular course of study without due consultation between student, caregiver and the College subject teachers and Deans. At all levels information is distributed early to help students plan their courses for the following year. When making selections, students should bear in mind:

Their interests

The subjects they like

The subjects they are good at

Requirements for tertiary courses

Their career interests

Recommended Prior Learning

Most courses at Years 12 and 13 have prior learning requirements. This means that for the student to understand the subject at this level, they should have studied it previously. If you do not meet the prior learning requirements for a subject you want to take, you must consult with the Head of Department or Teacher in Charge of that subject.

University Entrance Requirements

To gain entrance to a NZ university, students need:

A minimum of 42 credits at Level 3 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, including a minimum of 14 credits at level 3 or higher in each of 2 subjects from the approved subject list, with a further 14 credits at level 3 or higher taken from no more than 2 additional domains on the NQF or approved subjects.

A minimum of 14 credits at level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the NQF.

A minimum of 8 credits at level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori: 4 credits must be in Reading and 4 credits must be in Writing.

The literacy credits will be selected from a schedule or approved Achievement Standards and Unit Standards.

It is possible for students with high academic achievement to apply directly for entry to university at the end of their Year 12. The student will have to apply for discretionary entrance to the university. It is based on Level 2 NCEA credits with the additional requirement that students meet the literacy and numeracy standards for university entrance. Such students will have a strong academic background.

NZQA Approved Subjects:

The list of approved subjects for entrance to university.


French (Second Language)

Music Studies

Agriculture & Horticulture

Painting (Practical Art)



Physical Education





History of Art

Photography (Practical Art)

Classical Studies

Printmaking (Practical Art)

Computing Science

Design (Practical Art)

Sculpture (Practical Art)


Mathematics with Calculus

Social Studies

Mathematics with Statistics


Media Studies

Te Reo Rangatira or Te Reo Maori


Year 11

In Year 11 students will take six subjects.

A course in Te Reo Maori or English is compulsory for all students. Students may study both Te Reo Maori and an English course.

Science is compulsory for all students unless a written exemption is obtained from the Principal.

All Year 11 students take a Mathematics course so that they do not restrict their career choices later on.

For their sixth option, students may choose from Physical Education and Health or Drama or another subject. Students taking ‘another subject’ as their sixth option will be invited to do so by the Deans.

Most Year 11 subjects offer Achievement Standards which earn credits towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1, for which eighty credits are required. Unit Standards, where offered, also earn credits towards the NCEA and in some cases towards other national certificates.

Subject List For Year 11 (availability subject to demand)


Building Construction and Allied Trades

Digital Technologies



Food Technology





Mechanical Engineering


Senior Physical Education

Sport and Recreation

Primary Industries


Sport Science


Physical Science

Technology Drawing

Te Reo Māori

Māori Performing Arts


Year 12

In Year 12 all students take Health and Study and five other subjects. Most Year 12 subjects offer Achievement Standards that earn credits towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2, for which eighty credits are required. A course in either Te Reo Maori or English is compulsory for all Year 12 students. Students may study both Te Reo Maori and an English course.

Subject List For Year 12 (availability subject to demand)

Visual Art

Building, Construction and Allied Trades



Classical Studies



Food and Nutrition

Food Technology and Nutrition



Mathematics With Calculus

Mathematics With Statistics



Senior Physical Education

Sport and Recreation

Technology Drawing

Textiles Technology

Te Reo Māori

Māori Performing Arts

Vocational Courses

It is possible for students to undertake study in career related courses. These will be available as an option on the timetable. All courses work towards a national qualification other than NCEA on the Qualification Framework.

These courses are a privilege and as such students must have approval of their Dean to take part. The selection criteria are:

Willingness to do block courses, work experience and practical lessons out of normal class time – holidays, lunchtime and after school.

Commitment to both vocational and conventional subjects so work is kept up to date.

Agreement to pay prescribed fees at the start of the course or to make alternative arrangements such as automatic payments.

National Certificates are composed of industry specific units and generic units which will be taught in the conventional subject options so it is necessary to consult with your Dean to ensure you do all the necessary subjects to obtain the National Certificate.

NOTE: Only courses with sufficient numbers can run.

Multi Level Study

Some students may, after consulting the appropriate Head of Department and their Dean, study one or more subjects at a level other than the year for which they are enrolled. If you want to do this, please see your Dean and consult the senior course booklet.

Planning Courses

There is a list of all subjects offered in senior classes at Tararua College in the curriculum chart insert in the Course Information Booklets. Students are advised to check this list carefully to make sure that they will be able to follow their chosen tertiary education and career path.

The list indicates subjects which contribute credits to National Certificates other than the NCEA.As can be seen, some Year 12 courses do not lead to courses in Year 13.

If you are planning to enter university you should ensure that you will be able to study at least four university entrance subjects in Year 13.

Some subjects may not be offered if student numbers are too low or the subject may be taught in combination with the Year 11 or Year 13 class in that subject.

Before making a final decision students (and parents/caregivers) should talk to as many people as possible. These people should include the Deans, Careers Adviser, Guidance Counsellor, teachers in a particular subject area, a Deputy Principal, and students who have taken the particular subject.