Core Curriculum — Educating for Excellence

The school curriculum is made up of eight essential learning areas that are prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

  • English

  • Mathematics & Statistics

  • Science

  • Technology

  • Social Science

  • Health & Physical Education

  • The Arts

  • Learning Languages

Underpinning the curriculum areas are five key competencies.

  • Thinking

  • Understanding language, symbols and texts

  • Relating to others

  • Managing self

  • Participating & contributing


Year 4 students working on a research project about Ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.

Inquiry Learning

Inquiry Learning is a school-wide approach to learning, where many of the essential learning areas are taught through an Inquiry model:

  • St Heliers School Inquiry Learning enables students to become responsible, self-directed, and life-long learners, who are critical thinkers and effective problem solvers, with the ability to ask and act upon higher order questions.

  • Our Inquiry Learning model gives the learner a focused approach through which they can search for meaning, construct understanding, build knowledge, and respond to big ideas and key concepts.

  • Inquiry Learning is guided by the investigation of concepts which are authentic, relevant, challenging, engaging and globally transferrable. Inquiry Learning encourages a response resulting in a change in thinking and/or positive action, for the benefit of the learner and others.

Curriculum Management

The essential learning areas have a specified allocation of teaching and learning time for all students:

  • Student achievement is systematically monitored and barriers to learning identified.

  • Planning of individual classroom programmes is focused on programmes that reflect school curriculum and the New Zealand Curriculum Framework intent.

  • Year 7 and 8 students receive technology programmes at Selwyn College - an approved Technology Training Centre.

  • Intervention programmes support student learning to meet the standards set for St Heliers School.


St Heliers School has a policy of providing a small amount of homework for children on a regular basis. This promotes good work habits, learning to work independently and provides an opportunity for parents and children to share in learning experiences. In no case is this ever excessive and should always be set at an age appropriate level. If you have any questions regarding the homework set, please contact your child's teacher.