Have you already read through the information below? Skip ahead to the Subject Choices for 2023 here.
Please click here for the senior course guide overview
Please note that updates to the website are currently ongoing.
Please see your Ako Kaiako, Head of House or Head of Faculty for clarification if necessary. Thank you for your patience.
If there is anything we have learnt from recent years, it is the importance of flexibility and being able to adjust rapidly to the unexpected. We rarely get the opportunity for a practice run in life, but school does give us the best chance to try out different things and learn a range of skills.
Decisions about which courses are best to take can be straightforward; but are often difficult. Many of us have a range of interests and talents and it can be hard to decide which course will be the best for our future. It is important to remember that nothing is irrevocable! If you make a selection that appears to narrow your choices, there are generally options that enable you to address any deficits later. In your planning, think about what you will enjoy most as that will help you to know what will be most fulfilling for you in your life.
At Villa Maria College we have endeavoured to provide as much choice as we can – given our size, to enable girls to follow a variety of pathways. While university will be the plan for many girls, for others that style of learning will not suit and they will find more hands-on style of learning more suitable. It is likely that many girls will have a variety of careers over a lifetime, and increasingly there is a range of types of employment that will look different from what we have known in the past. Try hard not to be too narrow in your thinking about what you might like to do. Consider carefully what roles and pathways will provide your most fulfilling and meaningful work and life. Remember also, that no learning is ever wasted.
It is most important that you prepare for the future by developing your skills of critical thinking, problem solving, team work and communication and learn to be flexible and adaptable. Our key learning behaviours are helping you to develop the attributes that you will need for your future.
If you find your decisions difficult, seek advice from a range of people – parents, teachers and careers advisors, trusted peers. It is helpful to pray as you make your decisions, knowing the future is unknowable despite our best laid plans.
These webpages provide information that will enable our rangatahi to select a course that will be challenging and rewarding, and will provide access to further education and training at higher levels of the National Qualifications Framework.
At Villa Maria College, we place a strong emphasis on developing critical, digital and numerical literacies which will support students in their studies and life beyond school. The development of the key competencies reflects the value we place on reaching a balance between academic, physical, cultural, social and spiritual growth.
The Junior College curriculum at Villa Maria reflects the intentions of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007). This includes providing a broad range of subjects in Years 7 to 10, and ensures students have access to the eight essential learning areas from the National Curriculum Framework.
Our Religious Education programme is a reflection of the College’s special character. We encourage all students to develop to their potential. Targeted tracking identifies girl’s strengths and weaknesses and the girls’ learning needs are supported through a variety of school programmes, for example Learning Support and Gifted and Talented (GATE). Junior classes are generally grouped according to House groups for core subjects (Religious Education, Social Studies, Physical Education and Science), while Mathematics and English are randomly allocated.
The programmes at Villa Maria College provide opportunities for students of all abilities to be challenged through engaging opportunities to stretch their learning. This includes more able students and those needing additional learning assistance.
The significant changes in qualifications and assessment over recent years have had an impact on how students learn and how subjects are delivered. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is offered at three levels, and Universities and Polytechnics use this qualification in selecting students for places in tertiary training. Currently, from 2024 NCEA Level One credits may be offered, however, this will not be a target for most students.
At times, students will select subjects at different levels and Heads of Faculty may adapt the course and standards offered to better meet the needs of students. These webpages show subject choice for all levels, and enables you to make decisions based on what lies ahead in subsequent years.
These webpages also outline the important points of NCEA and will explain the credits required to gain University Entrance. It also explains the Scholarship Award. NCEA is continuing to evolve. The NCEA change package is currently being implemented across Aotearoa/New Zealand and a review of Achievement Standards is being brought in over the coming four years which highlights significant changes in the future. These webpages are one source of information to help each student make informed decisions with her parents. The Subject Choice morning is another opportunity. Students are encouraged to seek information and advice from subject teachers, Heads of House, the Careers Advisor, and others who work in a range of occupational fields.
Please note course contributions are indicative only and will be confirmed at the beginning of 2023. Parents are encouraged to contact the College if they require further information or details about any aspect of their daughter’s academic programme.
At Villa Maria College, where appropriate and practicable, we work to develop learning programmes which are individualised. Girls are encouraged to demonstrate agency and to take ownership over their learning throughout their time at the College. As our rangatahi progress through the school, greater opportunities for self-directed learning are provided. The Ako structure allows for a mentorship role by Kaiako as they support rangatahi to set goals, reflect on their progress and to take action to meet their targets.
Learning at Villa Maria is flexible. A student’s interests, strengths and passions are acknowledged as key aspects of the learning process. Learning and assessment, which ‘fits’ a student’s strengths, allows students to achieve while developing areas where they may struggle.
In the Junior College, learning and assessment are personalised through context choice, teaching to student needs, and in assessment tasks where students may have elements of choice.
In the Senior College, Heads of Houses and Heads of Faculties work to develop a holistic course for girls which are manageable and allow them the opportunity to meet their potential and achieve their desired career pathway.
Where practicable, we work to assess students when they are ready for the assessment. The total number of assessments offered are capped across subjects to minimise workload and stress and to allow students to focus on learning and curriculum coverage. Where students have particular skills or talents exceptions may be made through an application to the AP Curriculum.
The College works to manage assessment at workable and realistic levels for students and staff, without detriment to curriculum coverage. Ākonga are encouraged to display agency of their learning and to manage their time and programmes. More recently, a greater focus on curriculum coverage and the development of critical and creative learning skills, which encompasses digital literacies, literacy and numeracy skills and the key competencies has characterised our philosophy of learning. This reflects the belief that NCEA should allow staff to design and deliver a diverse range of courses, which fit student need and interest. Courses which offer real-life contexts support student learning and outcomes and allow the College to deliver courses with a Mercy vision and a focus on social action.
Some assessment at Level One provides an important structure for girls to become familiar with and practise in, the NCEA system prior to pivotal their pivotal Level Two certificate. Thus, at Level One the focus is on skills acquisition, not credit accumulation and from 2024 a full NCEA Level One certificate will not be offered to most students. Level Two and Three are key academic targets for the College and students are encouraged to strive for endorsements.
The assessments suggested are guidelines only and students are not enrolled in all standards offered in a course. Rather, students will complete a combination of standards which best fits their needs.
Sarah Kirk, Assistant Principal (Curriculum)
FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER: Subject Information available online.
THURSDAY 22 SEPTEMBER: Subject Information Morning.
FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER: All subject choice selections are due online in the student portal.
BEGINNING TERM 4: Subject Choice Conversations with Heads of Houses, and in consultation with Heads of Faculty.
TERM 1 – 2023: Subject Confirmation to be completed online after results are released.
Please Note: While every effort is made to ensure accuracy in the following information, changes can become necessary as the College works to personalise courses to meet each individual student’s needs and because of timetabling restrictions, class sizes etc. Where change does occur students will be informed. The assessment information contained herein is indicative only; subjects may alter courses and assessment to fit the learning needs of the students in the class.
*Information is correct at the time of publishing , but may be subject to change.
In the Intermediate our girls are in one of two Year 7 or Year 8 classes. The College differentiates and develops courses which fit students’ needs and abilities.
Students in the Intermediate complete integrated courses in their Homeroom classes which cover Literacy, Numeracy, Social Studies and Religious Education, which is a special feature of our programmes. In addition, specialist teaching is provided in Physical Education/Health, the Arts (Art, Music, Drama, Dance), Languages (French, Japanese and Te Reo Māori), and Technology (Digital Technology, Food and Textiles Technology).
During their Intermediate years all our students participate in the Winter Sports programme with other Christchurch Intermediate schools. Bi-annually they attend a residential camp or take part in the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival. All students are given the opportunity to learn a variety of musical
instruments with specialist itinerant teachers.
All students in Year 9 are together in House groups for core classes in Religious Education, Social Studies, Physical Education and Science. Girls are placed randomly in Mathematics and English classes across three Houses.
Students in Year 9 choose one language from ESOL, French, Japanese or Te Reo Māori.
Students will experience all the Creative Arts as part of their Arts rotation, with modules in Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts.
In addition, students take Health, Technologies (Digital, Food, Textiles), Sexuality and Financial Literacy.
There is a Retreat during Term One.
All students in Year 10 are together in House groups for core classes in Religious Education, Social Studies, Physical Education/Health and Science. Girls are randomly placed in Mathematics and English classes across three Houses. A range of options are offered to give girls choice. Girls choose (a) two full year options, or (b) one full year and two half year options, or, (c) four half year options. Only one Language is able to be taken.
Full year options:
Te Reo Māori
Half year options:
Subjects may suggest recommendations for entry to a course. These are an indication of what may be required for students to be likely to succeed in future years. Students are encouraged to talk to their Head of House, or the A.P. Curriculum if they don’t have the entry recommendations. Students are advised to look ahead to see the recommended entry requirements for subjects at a higher level in order to make wise decisions for the future. Subject changes can be made up until March 31st with the support of the Head of House.
Students entering Year 11 will follow a course that includes:
Students need to select two other subjects from the list available of Level 1 subjects. Some students choose to select an additional subject or a subject at another level in consultation with parent/caregiver, teachers and the Head of House. This is for students who are very able and who have displayed motivation, sound work habits and self-management skills.
These students will be in a cohort that has three periods per cycle in both English and Mathematics as opposed to four periods per cycle for most students. These students in the third option subject cohort will not have core Physical Education but may choose Physical Education as one of their option subjects.
Year 11 students wanting to do an extra subject:
You will have one period per fortnight less in each subject, to enable you to do Religious Studies as well as your extra subject. So you will miss a lesson once each fortnight from each of your subjects.
Also, you will not have an hour of core Physical Education, but you could still choose to do a full course of Physical Education as one of your chosen subject options.
Students entering Year 12 will follow a course that includes:
Students entering Year 13 will follow a course that includes:
Use the following formula to help guide your subject choices.
Students are offered individual Careers Guidance Counselling and Careers Interviews from Year 11 onwards. If you need further help with your choice of subjects please ask:
Ensure that the choices you make are sensible and realistic and concentrate on
what you need for the future.
|FACULTY||YEAR 7/8||YEAR 9||YEAR 10|
|Religious Education||Religious Education||Religious Education||Religious Education|
|Dance||(will include Drama, Dance,||Dance|
|Music||Music and Visual Arts)||Music|
|Visual Arts||Visual Arts|
|Y7/8: all covered||French||French||French|
|Y9: one compulsory||Japanese||Japanese||Japanese|
|Te Reo Māori||Te Reo Māori||Te Reo Māori|
|Physical Education||Physical Education||Physical Education / Health||Physical Education / Health|
|Social Sciences||Social Studies||Financial Literacy||Commerce|
|Social Studies||Social Studies|
|Technology||Digital Technologies||Technology||Digital Technologies|
|Design and Develop Digital Outcomes||(Includes Digital, Food||Food|
|Computational Thinking||and Textile Technologies)||Textiles Technology|
|FACULTY||YEAR 11 (CHOOSE 2/3)||YEAR 12 (CHOOSE 4)||YEAR 13 (CHOOSE 5)|
|Religious Education||Religious Education||Religious Education||Religious Education|
|Social Action||Social Action|
|Careers||Future Intentions Supported Study (FISS)||Future Intentions Supported Study (FISS)|
|Compulsory at Y11-12||Communication Skills||Communication Skills||Media Studies|
|ESOL (non NCEA)||French||French|
|Japanese||Te Reo Māori||Te Reo Māori|
|Te Reo Māori||La Gagana Samoa||La Gagana Samoa|
|La Gagana Samoa||Lea Faka-Tonga||Lea Faka-Tonga|
|Mathematics||Mathematics||Mathematics with Calculus||Mathematics with Calculus|
|Mathematics Numeracy||Mathematics with Statistics||Mathematics with Statistics|
|Mathematics Numeracy L2||Mathematics Numeracy L3|
|one of these only|
|Physical Education||Physical Education (Core)||Physical Education||Physical Education|
|Physical Education (Option)||Outdoor Education|
|Science Pathways||Science Pathways|
|Social Sciences||Geography||Business Studies||Accounting|
|History||Classical Studies||Business Studies|
|Technology||Digital Technologies||Digital Technologies||Digital Technologies|
|Textile Technology||Textile Technology||Textile Technology|
|Senior Semesters||Te Reo Me Ngā Tikanga Māori||Te Reo Me Ngā Tikanga Māori|
|Students choose two||Legal Studies||Legal Studies|
|Classes run for half a||Psychology||Psychology|
|year with min. class||Dance||Option Study|
|size of 20||Pasifika Studies||Financial Literacy for Life|
Note: The Villa Maria Timetabling Policy for class sizes will apply in 2022 to already established classes. Classes which are in the Senior Semesters in Years 12 and 13 will require a minimum of 20 students to run.
There are three NCEA qualifications: Level 1 NCEA Level 2 NCEA Level 3 NCEA
These are the first three levels of the National Qualifications Framework’s ten levels. The following exists for 2023. There are significant changes forecast for 2024.
FOR A STUDENT TO BE AWARDED NCEA LEVEL 1 in 2023 she must achieve 80 credits. Of these, 10 credits must be in literacy and 10 credits in numeracy standards. The booklet indicates where particular standards count towards literacy or numeracy. Please note, NCEA Level 1 will not be offered in 2024.
FOR A STUDENT TO BE AWARDED NCEA LEVEL 2 she must achieve 80 credits, 60 of which must be from Level 2 standards or above. The NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements must be met. Students should also look to obtain the University Entrance literacy requirements of 5 Reading and 5 Writing credits by choosing achievement standards with a literacy component. The course guide indicates where particular standards count towards literacy or numeracy for University Entrance.
FOR A STUDENT TO BE AWARDED NCEA LEVEL 3 she must achieve 80 credits, 60 of which must be from Level 3 standards, and 20 credits from Level 2 or higher. The NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements must be met. If they haven’t already gained University Entrance Literacy, students are strongly encouraged to consider this when making their course selection.
Credits are awarded for reaching a standard. A course will consist of standards, which may be assessed internally or externally. Each standard is worth a set number of credits. The course guide will outline the standards offered in each senior subject, together with its credit value and whether the standard counts
towards literacy and/or numeracy for NCEA and University Entrance.
Internally assessed standards are completed throughout the year. Most subjects also have a number of externally assessed standards that will be assessed in November in a formal examination situation.
Literacy and Numeracy Corequisites.
From 2024, all students at villa Maria College will gain their literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA via the new, externally assessed, Literacy and Numeracy Corequisites. To achieve the NCEA corequisite, Literacy and Numeracy standards that are worth 20 credits in total, learners will complete an assessment when they are ready to demonstrate their ability in literacy and numeracy. For most of our students this will occur in Year 10. From 2023, most of our Year 10 students will gain literacy and numeracy via this pathway.
At any of these Levels (1, 2 or 3) a student’s NCEA certificate may be awarded NCEA with Excellence, if she achieves 50 credits or more, at that level, with Excellence.
Students who achieve 50 credits or more at Merit or above will be awarded NCEA with Merit.
The aim of this award is to recognise students who perform exceptionally well in an individual course. Students will gain an endorsement for a course when they achieve 14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence.
At least three credits of the 14 must be from externally assessed standards, and at least three credits from internally assessed standards. Exemptions to this rule include Physical Education, Religious Education, and Level 3 Visual Art.
The subject information morning will be held on Wednesday 21 September for students only.
Every effort is made to meet student preferences for course selection.
When you have made your subject choices, please go online to the Villa Maria College portal and enter your preferred choices by: Friday 30 September.
To enter subject selection on the portal choose ‘Course Selection’, then use the pull down boxes to enter preferred subject choices. Please note, once the lists have been collated they go to the HOH to allow subject choice conversations to occur (often in consultation with HOF). Year 11 students should only choose their options.
Subject choices need to be made by the due date. The College works to create individualised courses and some advertised subjects may not be able to run if there are insufficient numbers. In these cases girls may be asked to make another choice.
All students at Villa Maria College bring an electronic device to school to complete their work on. Further information is available HERE.
Students will need to attend a workshop with the technician at the beginning of the year in order to be able to ‘hook’ their device onto the College’s network and wireless. They will also need to adhere to College protocols and procedures.
Scholarship will extend our best secondary students and enable top scholars to be identified and acknowledged. The aim is to assess a student’s ability to synthesise and integrate concepts – to apply higher level thinking based on in-school and independent learning. Scholarship is entered additionally to the student’s enrolled course.
The content assessed for Scholarship will be the same as that covered for Level 3 Achievement Standards. It is expected that Scholarship candidates will have completed a full year of Level 3 studies at a secondary school.
Assessment is standards-based and all assessment is external. Standards have been developed for each Scholarship subject.
Scholarship is an award, not a qualification and it will not attract credits. It will, however, earn a financial reward. There is no fee for New Zealand residents.
The following subjects are available for Scholarship in 2022:
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS: Students who are awarded Scholarship in up to two subjects receive a one-off award of $500 per subject.
TOP SUBJECT SCHOLAR: For students who are the top of one of the Scholarship subjects there is $2,000 each year for three years as long as students maintain a ‘B’ average in tertiary study.
SCHOLARSHIP AWARD: For a student who gets three Scholarships there is $2,000 each year for three years as long as the student maintains a ‘B’ average in tertiary study.
OUTSTANDING SCHOLAR AWARD: For the top 40 – 60 students who achieve three Scholarship subjects there is $5,000 each year for three years as long as the student maintains a ‘B’ average in tertiary study.
PREMIER AWARD: For the top 5 to 10 students who achieve three Scholarship subjects there is $10,000 each year for three years as long as students maintain a ‘B’ average in tertiary study.
In addition to the Endorsed Certificates and Course Endorsements, students are encouraged to aim at achieving Villa Maria Subject Excellence Awards.
Subject Excellence Awards are presented at Prize Giving for students who achieve 14 credits with Excellence in a NCEA subject. This includes results of the College examinations.
Other prizegiving awards include diligence (effort and attitude put into school work) and general excellence, for all year levels. Year 13 have a number of other awards. The top academic student will be named as the College Dux.
Further Academic Awards are presented at the annual High Achievers’ assembly in February. These students will be presented with an academic bar to be worn on their blazers. Gold Award recipients will have their names added to the Honours Board currently displayed in the Hall.
Those who achieve at least 80 credits with Excellence in Level 1, or 66 credits with Excellence in Level 2 in the previous calendar year, are presented with a Gold Academic Award.
Those who achieve 50 or more credits with Excellence in Level 2 or 60 or more credits with excellence in Level 1 in the previous calendar year, receive the Silver Academic Award.
In addition, all students who achieve an Excellence Endorsement, but no other Academic Award, receive an Excellence Academic Award in a school assembly.
Villa Maria College has a $2000 cash prize to be presented to the top vocational student in Year 12 and 13.
The award is aimed at raising the status of vocational study and recognising the achievements of students excelling in vocational education. The award also aims to inspire students to plan more carefully how their subject choices lead on to careers that suit their skills and abilities.
Students should note that some Universities set a higher standard. This is based on performance in Level 3 subjects, with points awarded for the number of credits achieved with Excellence. The most up-to-date information is available on College or University websites.
THIS IS THE MINIMUM STANDARD CURRENTLY REQUIRED FOR UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE IN 2023.
If unsure please speak to the Assistant Principal (Curriculum), Careers staff or HOH.
A person shall be qualified for entrance to a university in New Zealand if they:
* This must be achieved within a calendar year. ^ Based on NZQA results – internals and externals. These are awarded at the High Achievers Assembly in February of the following year. Gold Award recipients will have their name added to the Honours Board in the Hall. Academic Award recipients receive a badge to wear on their blazer to acknowledge this accomplishment.
*Information in this booklet is correct at the time of publishing , but may be subject to change due to COVID-19.
At Villa Maria College we want to help your daughter to broaden her potential. Students with particular gifts and talents are included on the Villa Maria College GATE Register. These students are monitored by the Gifted and Talented Co-Ordinator and extended by classroom teachers. This may include
differentiation, acceleration, multi-level studies or personalised learning programmes.
There are also many opportunities for enrichment outside of the classroom that allow students to further demonstrate and develop their skills. These include competitions, quizzes, workshops and courses. These will be promoted by the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator or relevant subject teacher and advertised in the student notices and on the academic noticeboard.
Enquiries to: Sarah Kirk, Assistant Principal, Curriculum
The purpose of Learning Support is to identify, coordinate and monitor support services for learners within a classroom context.
In the Junior College, students’ learning needs are identified through a variety of data sources. Collaboration between the SENCO, a student’s Ako kaiako, classroom teachers, and external agencies and the RTLB (where appropriate) is essential in implementing appropriate classroom interventions which best support and enhance the learning experience of students. Throughout the Junior College, progress monitoring is essential to ensure that the interventions are meeting the needs of the students.
Students in the Senior College are offered multi-dimensional supports to help with the rigour of NCEA assessment programmes. These supports are intended to reflect the learning needs of the student, providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Teachers actively offer students multiple
mediums of assessment for in-class and take-home assessments through actively using assistive technologies, student conferencing and gathering naturally occurring evidence. For time-bound assessments and external examinations, some students may be eligible to apply for Special Assessment
Conditions. These allow students to undertake examinations with the supports and conditions appropriate to their learning needs; having a Reader, Writer, the use of Computer, Separate Accommodation and/or Extra-time are the most commonly accessed conditions.
Students throughout the College who require a more intense approach to their learning programme are placed on an Individual Education Plan. The IEP process is a student-focussed, living document which is regularly updated and matures with the student as they progress through the College. The IEP is set in consultation with the student, whānau and teachers.
Enquiries to: Anna Avery, Leader of Learning Support
Y – subject available at this level
C – compulsory subject
|FACULTY||SUBJECT||Y 9||Y 10||Y 11||Y 12||Y 13|
|RELIGIOUS EDUCATION||Religious Education||C||C||C||C||C|
|CAREERS||Future Intentions Supported Study (FISS)||Y||Y|
|COURSE SEMESTERS||Te Reo Me Ngā Tikanga Māori||Y||Y|
|Financial Literacy for Life||Y|
|La Ganaga Samoa (Samoan*)||Y||Y||Y|
|Te Reo Māori||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Lea Faka-Tonga (Tongan*)||Y||Y||Y|
|Mathematics with Calculus||Y||Y|
|Mathematics with Statistics||Y||Y|
|PHYSICAL EDUCATION||Physical Education and Health||C||C||C||Y||Y|
* These subjects may offer an opportunity for students to sit an external exam: Chinese, Korean, Samoan, Spanish and Tongan. These subjects require students to largely work independently in self-managed study, with limited teaching support. In some cases, Tongan and Samoan classes may be available in conjunction with Riccarton High School. Please see Ms Palmer or Ms Kirk for further information.
Select the Year Level from the menu on the left
Select the Faculties from the menu and click “See Course Details” to view all the subjects available from that Faculty.
Example below: we’ve selected Level 1 from the menu on the left, and can now see Faculties listed on the right. Click “See Course Details” to view the subjects.