General Information


Choices for the future

Welcome to the subject guide for Opihi College.  By navigating through this guide you are beginning the important process of choosing subjects to take next year.  The choices are broad and lead towards your own future, so we encourage you to take this process very seriously.

When considering the subjects you would like to take you are also considering your personal goals and aspirations.  Make sure you set your sights high, and challenge yourself to be the best you can be.  Think about your academic goals, and what you need to achieve the best outcome possible, this will be an important element in determining what your future will be.

Make sure you utilise all of the advice, support and guidance available to you as you make your choices, you are not alone!  Talk things over with your friends and classmates, and discuss your plans at home with family too.  Ask questions of your teachers and mentor, and don't forget to see the Careers Advisor, you Mentor and your House Dean as well.

Choosing a course of learning is a big responsibility, so take it seriously, take your time and take your future in your hands!

Students' entry into courses is not necessarily automatic.  Courses will be checked, and students will also have further opportunity to review their own choices.


 - At Year 11 you will study SIX subjects

 - At Year 12 you will study SIX subjects

 - At Year 13 you will study FIVE or SIX subjects


Subject via Video Conferencing (VC) - ALL ENQUIRIES TO Mrs Shaw

If a student decides she wishes to apply to study a subject via video conferencing, the following process is undertaken:

 - Students discuss with parents/guardians and mentor.

 - Student discusses the VC option with their  Dean.

 - Student sees Mrs Shaw to discuss application.

A student does not automatically get accepted to study a subject via video conferencing just because she has made an application.  The following things are taken into consideration: Past work ethic demonstrated by the student or achievement record to date, past report comments (motivation, independent learning and responsibility), career aspirations and past attendance record.

In rare cases, a student may need to study a course of work via Correspondence School.  If this is the case, the student needs to follow the exact same procedure as is outlined above for VC.

Cost: Some courses may have a field trip to pay for.

Multi-level Studies

Senior students may choose a course in which not all subjects are studied at the same level.  This flexibility provides students with the opportunity to:

- Choose from a wider range of subjects.

- Shape a course to their individual needs.

- Extend where there is proven ability and confidence and to reinforce learning where there has been difficulty.

- Develop basic skills that enhance employment opportunities.


As a number of scholarships and entry to tertiary courses is dependent on Level 2 results, it is particularly important for Year 11 students to think carefully about their 2020 subject choices.  It is better to plan the Year 13 subjects and work backwards to Year 12 to ensure a clear pathway is taken.

The Careers Office is available to all students and holds current information, on careers, tertiary courses and institutions.  It is useful to visit the office and to check the websites of the tertiary institutions, as these are updated frequently.  The Career Services website, is a valuable resource.  It has sections dedicated to parents/whanau as well as Maori and Pasifika, so should encourage healthy debate about careers.  

Students who are not sure of their future directions should keep their options open, taking at least one arts subject and one science subject.  Mathematics should not be dropped without good reason.  It is also important for students to continue subjects they are passionate about.  Interestingly, employers emphasise personality, often citing enthusiasm, as being more crucial than qualifications in appointing staff.

The Careers Advisor, Guidance Counsellor and Deans are available by appointment for parent or student interviews, to discuss course selection.


The  programme provides structured workplace learning opportunities for senior school students in Years 12 and 13.  The key features are:

- A workplace learning component is incorporated into the student?s overall study programme.

- The work placement is relevant to the student?s study programme or vocational goals and the workplace learning is integrated accordingly.

- The school, employer and student formalise the arrangement before the student enters the workplace.

- The workplace learning is assessed against NCEA Unit or Achievement Standards.

- An individual learning plan is developed for each student, detailing the learning and NCEA standards to be achieved in the workplace.  Students will be expected to achieve at least 10 credits towards a work-based qualification.

- The assessment of workplace learning usually occurs in the workplace.


Senior students may go out on work exploration with an employer from our community.  This provides opportunities for students to:

1. Find out what work is like.

2. Prepare for the transition to work.

3. Find occupations that interest them.

4. Learn and practise the skills of work.

5. Work and learn in a different environment.

6. Build self-confidence.

7. Practise basic/core skills in the context of work.

There is a developing recognition of the significance of work exploration as a route towards successful employment.  Each student?s placement is individually designed to meet his or her educational or vocational ambitions.  Priority is given to students who may be early school leavers.  Selected students who are actively seeking jobs are assisted.  Parental consent is gained, students spend part of their week at work and part of it in school on an adapted programme.

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