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School snapshots

These snapshots describe how schools implement the national curriculum in ways that suit the particular needs, interests, and circumstances of their students and communities. They are organised under headings to help you find a theme that relates to your own school context.


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Arrowtown School – Lighting up minds through project based learning
Year 7 and 8 students from Arrowtown Primary School designed and created illuminated ski suits for a competition run by the school in collaboration with NZ Ski. Teachers Grant Hammond and Joe Bailey explain their journey in implementing “Illuminate” – a project that has lit up the minds of their senior students and the slopes of Coronet Peak.

Papakowhai School – Celebrating Samoan Language Week
Jo Henderson is a teacher of year 5 and 6 students at Papakowhai School. In this snapshot, Jo describes an integrated art and social sciences project that she planned for her students for Samoan Language Week. Find out how Jo demonstrated the NZC principles of cultural diversity and community engagement through this sequence of learning activities. 

Menzies College – Localised learning at Mimihau Stream
This snapshot describes a hands-on, localised project that encourages students to solve problems, develop resilience, and practice teamwork, and has led to a much greater engagement in learning. 


Howick College – The innovation stream
Learn how teachers at Howick College have adopted a new integrated approach to learning in a mainstream secondary setting.

Alfriston College – Theming the curriculum
When Alfriston College in Manurewa, Auckland, opened its doors in 2004, the year 9 teachers decided to establish their programmes by collating and categorising learning around conceptual themes. 

Fraser High School – Curriculum integration
Teaching and learning has been revitalised at Fraser High School through curriculum integration and the use of authentic contexts.

Northland College – Setting up a trades and enterprise school
Northland College is a small rural, co-educational secondary school with 440 students in the heart of the Far North. Students from years 9 to 13 travel to the college, mainly by bus, from as far west as the Hokianga and as far south as Mangakahia. 

The Catlins Area School – Aviation studies
Students at The Catlins Area School are working towards exciting new career opportunities in the aviation industry.

Community engagement

Arowhenua Māori School – Catering for our community
Students at Arowhenua Māori School are now familiar with working with their local community and being in charge of an entire event.

Sumner School – Developing our vision with our community
The Sumner School Vision for Teaching and Learning originated from a desire by school management and the Board of Trustees to create an authentic school charter document.

Merivale School – Consulting with family and whānau
The staff at Merivale School share how they discovered a way to effectively engage with the whānau and community of their school.

Owairaka District School – Building community relationships
Owairaka District School is a multi-cultural school that values and appreciates students from all of our cultures. We have an Open Door Policy and encourage community support and interaction.

Te Kopuru School – Engaging with our community
Te Kopuru School explain how there is no one-way to engage the community in the life of a school, and provide an example of what is working for their community.

Cultural diversity

Papakowhai School – Celebrating Samoan Language Week
Jo Henderson is a teacher of year 5 and 6 students at Papakowhai School. In this snapshot, Jo describes an integrated art and social sciences project that she planned for her students for Samoan Language Week. Find out how Jo demonstrated the NZC principles of cultural diversity and community engagement through this sequence of learning activities. 

Rangikura School – Pasifika parent group leads learning
During Sāmoan Language Week the staff, students, parents, and wider community of Rangikura School came together to enjoy an array of activities and celebrations which were organised by the school’s Rangikura Matua Pasifika Parent group.

Henderson South School – Samoan achieving success as Samoan
Find out how Henderson South School is nurturing gagana Samoa and helping Samoan students achieve success as Samoan. 

Curriculum design and review

Menzies College – Localised learning at Mimihau Stream
Year 12 students from Menzies College have been catching and tagging trout in Mimihau Stream, sharing their findings with Fish and Game New Zealand. By gaining a more accurate picture of life in this waterway, students have challenged the assertion that Mimihau Stream is dead.

Arrowtown School – Lighting up minds through project based learning
Year 7 and 8 students from Arrowtown Primary School designed and created illuminated ski suits for a competition run by the school in collaboration with NZ Ski. Teachers Grant Hammond and Joe Bailey explain their journey in implementing “Illuminate” – a project that has lit up the minds of their senior students and the slopes of Coronet Peak.

Tomarata School – Developing our leavers’ profile
Learn how the community of Tomarata School has created a school leavers’ profile by exploring and defining what a future oriented learner looks like.

Hororata Primary School – Discovery learning
Marty Gameson, principal of Hororata Primary, shares how discovery learning aligns with their school vision and explores how it can be applied to improve learning outcomes.

Green Island School – Exploring the principles
"How do we make this document (The New Zealand Curriculum) alive in our school? How do we reflect the front elements in our units and in our teaching?"

Ormiston Junior College - Designing graduate profile badges
Kat B. Liu-Asomua, Associate Leader of Learning at Ormiston Junior College shares the school’s journey to design their graduate profile badges.

Ngatea primary school children.

Ngatea Primary School – Leading change
Principal Neil Fraser and Deputy Principal Karla Hull explain how they focus on meeting the needs of all learners, staff included. Their school vision encourages them to take risks to make strategic, well informed school wide changes.

Boulcott School – Our school curriculum plan
Two years ago, Boulcott School began their curriculum journey with a staff car rally.

Murrays Bay Intermediate – Curriculum design and review
Murrays Bay Intermediate considered many aspects during their curriculum development.

North East Valley Normal School – Our curriculum planning day
When we’re developing our curriculum do we really take into account the needs of the significant number of Māori children and their families in our school?

Raumati Beach School – Vision expo
Raumati Beach School chose an innovative approach to the community consultation phase of their curriculum development by holding a Vision Expo.

Waimairi School – Curriculum development
This snapshot is adapted from the blog of Principal, Mike Anderson. Mike takes us through the first three phases of curriculum development at Waimairi School and gives us some insights to where they are heading next.

Papanui High School – Our school improvement initiatives
Papanui High School is a decile 6, co-educational secondary school with a roll in excess of 1500 students. We are a diverse community with approximately 40 ethnic groups represented.

Digital technologies

Clifton Terrace Model School – Moving towards digital fluency
This snapshot explains how teachers at Clifton Terrace Model School are embedding the use of digital technologies across the curriculum. 

New Lynn School – Growing digital fluency
New Lynn Primary teacher Christina Fortes is equipping her students with digital literacy skills so that they able to use digital technologies in smart ways. Christina is also looking at ways to integrate the new digital technologies curriculum into her classroom programme so that students can become skilled creators of technology.

Enterprise and financial capability

Alfriston School – Enterprise education in action
Years 4 and 5 at Alfriston School undertook a number of Education for Enterprise (E4E) projects. These included a Grandparents Day, Spider Expo, Crimebusters (to improve the security of the school), and a unit on "beanies" (adding them to the school uniform). 

Target road school children.

Target Road School – Financial capability and whānau engagement
In this school snapshot, Christine Templeton, Deputy Principal of Target Road School, describes how and why they have drawn their community into learning about financial capability.

Clayton Park School – Enterprise learning
Clayton Park School, a large multi-cultural school in South Auckland, built a community of learners by exploring ways for children to be more in control of their learning and engaged in classroom research.

Kai Iwi School – Enterprise education in action
Kai Iwi School is a four-teacher, full-primary rural school north of Wanganui. It has a roll of 93 students. One of the projects undertaken by the year 4, 5, and 6 class was to design a fitness trail for the school.

Lauriston School – Developing an enterprise culture
The development of an enterprising culture at Lauriston School has moved from a single unit of learning, where specific economic terminology was used and integrated into other areas, to become a fully integrated model.

Linwood College – Community connections to support enterprise
Linwood College, Christchurch, is a low-decile, co-educational school that has actively developed partnerships with the community and got involved in enterprise education to help change the perception of the school.

Onehunga High School – Enterprise education in action
Onehunga High School is a decile 3 school situated on the fringe of central Auckland. The school has a reputation for being enterprising and progressive, including a separate Business School and a Building and Construction School.

Whanganui Girls’ College – Our school magazine
Whanganui Girls' College applied an enterprising approach to an annual school tradition – the school magazine. This project gave the students responsibility for all aspects of the magazine’s content, presentation, and production.

Whangarei Girls’ High School – Being an enterprise school Girls'
Anne Cooper, the principal of Whangarei Girls’ High School, believes taking an Education for Enterprise approach to learning begins at the strategic level. Identifying the values and school culture you want to develop, and having specific goals for the development of an enterprise culture within these, are the first steps.

Lyall Bay School – Benefits of a radio station
After nearly ten years of radio broadcasting we catch up with staff and students at Lyall Bay School to learn how Maranui FM has helped to build learner agency, key competencies, and community connections.

Future focus

Oakura School – Homes for penguins
Oakura Community and the Department of Conservation (DOC) had a project to do and needed some assistance. So they went to the obvious place for help and approached the children at Oakura School.


Johnsonville School – Capturing achievement through learning stories
Learning stories enable teachers at Johnsonville School’s special education unit to show their students are making progress, no matter how small the steps.


Redwood School – A collaborative approach
A collaborative approach between classroom teachers, parents, the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), senior management, and outside agencies has proven successful in meeting the needs of learning support students.


Wellington Girls’ College – Learning support
Learning support teachers at Wellington Girls' College explain how they are integrating the key competencies into their programme, with very pleasing results.

Inquiry learning

Kaiwaka School – Turning kids on to learning
Raising student achievement is driving Kaiwaka School’s curriculum development and changing classroom practices.

Key competencies


Cambridge East School – CamEast TV and the KCs
Students at Cambridge East School have set up their own successful TV show, CamEast TV. The school embarked on the project as part of their ICTPD contract, and have taken delight in watching their students succeed and grow as they learn.


Central Regional Health School – Developing KCs
At CRHS-City in Wellington the key competencies are central to the development of student IEPs and group work plans.


Fairfield Intermediate School – Introducing the KCs and an integrated curriculum
Fairfield Intermediate School’s curriculum focus has been to couple introducing the key competencies with quality planning for an integrated curriculum.

Ilam School/Alexandra Primary School – Leading change
Principal Lyn Bird has led school change and introduced the key competencies at two different schools. In this interview, she shares what she has learnt.

Teacher and students.

Mangere Bridge School – Teaching and learning with key competencies
This snapshot helps explain the progress teachers are making while exploring the key competencies.


Ngaio School – Demonstrating key competencies
Ngaio School students have been using different approaches to learn about how people demonstrate the key competencies.

Omarumutu School – New opportunities through an old tradition
Students at Omarumutu School in Opotiki harnessed the annual agricultural day to develop key competencies.


Outram School – Using challenges to develop the KCs
Outram School has chosen a unique approach using 'challenges' to focus on the development of the key competencies.


Paroa School – Developing the KCs
Principal Peter Bayliss, from Paroa School on the West Coast, has worked with his staff to develop a curriculum map to guide their school curriculum development.

Queen's High School – Developing a common language
Principal Julie Anderson explains how staff and students at Queen's High School in Dunedin have developed a common language for the key competencies.


Roslyn School – Our approach to the KCs
Teachers and students at Roslyn School designed and produced a set of five posters, for use across the school, to highlight what each key competency meant to them.


West Melton School – KC kids
Julia Cider wanted a way to make the key competencies more meaningful to her students, so she transformed them into a set of child-friendly characters for her classroom – the 'KC Kids'.


Wellington Girls’ College – Developing the KCs
Georgina Gallagher talks about how involvement in the Tech Angels programme at Wellington Girls' College has provided opportunities to develop the key competencies outside of the classroom.


Matamata College – Linking with the local intermediate to bring the KCs alive
A genuine desire to bring learning languages and the key competencies alive in classrooms supports this innovative partnership between two schools.


Park Estate School – Water safety and the KCs
Following discussions with the children and staff at our school, Park Estate, we found that while the children spent a great deal of time around water, their confidence levels were very poor.

Māori achieving success as Māori

Te Akau ki Papamoa School – Cultural Inclusiveness
Principal Bruce Jepson shares his kura’s vision and journey in becoming one of New Zealand's leading mainstream schools in normalising the delivery of te reo Māori and cultural competencies and the positive impacts on student achievement, school, and community culture.

Clendon Park School – Māori achieving success as Māori
This school snapshot explains what Māori achieving success as Māori looks like at Clendon Park School. 

Fairhaven Special School – Culturally responsive pedagogy
Fairhaven Special School staff share their learning journey towards becoming a more culturally responsive inclusive school.

This school story is relevant to all schools reviewing their curriculum with their community.

North East Valley Normal School – A new environment, a new outlook
North East Valley Normal School explore how well they take into account the needs of the significant number of Māori children and whānau at the school when developing curriculum.

Papakowhai School – Using the MASAM framework
Papakowhai School use the MASAM self review framework to help ensure they are delivering a culturally responsive curriculum. Principal Mark Smith explains how the framework has supported his school’s journey in enabling Māori students to achieve success as Māori.


Raurimu Avenue School – Ka Hikitia and well being
A commitment to Ka Hikitia and well-being lie at the heart of dramatic changes and curriculum development at Raurimu Avenue School, near Whangarei.

Wairakei School  – Working in partnership with Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Schools in the Taupō area, including Wairakei School, have worked in partnership with Ngāti Tūwharetoa to ensure students learn about their iwi, its history, places, and stories. 


Manurewa High School – A rising tide
The thinking and pedagogy that underlies the new curriculum is proving to be an ideal springboard for Māori teaching and learning programmes at Manurewa High School.

Place based curriculum

Mountain View School – Cultural Landscapes
Find out the why and the how of Cultural Landscapes at Mountain View School. 

Oturu School – Authentic learning in our community
Oturu School encourages hands-on opportunities for its pupils – focusing learning through connecting to the community, authentic learning, place-based curriculum, and Community Problem Solving (CmPS). 

Pasifika achievement

McAuley High School – Community problem solving
McAuley High deputy principal Louise Addison shares her own and her students’ experiences with community problem solving and how this links to the future focus principle. 

Student voice and student agency

Kaimai School – Play based learning 
Kaimai principal Dane Robertson shares his findings about play based learning and Kaimai School’s journey so far to put this into action.


Mackenzie College – Thinking skills
Students explain the process used to find out about the 'thinking' skills needed in order to learn, and how Mackenzie College could provide for this.

Tawa Intermediate – Student voice
Tawa Intermediate teachers asked their 21st century learners what they want from their 21st century school.

St John Bosco School – Learner agency
This snapshot describes how teachers at St John Bosco School are supporting learner agency in older prefabricated classrooms. 

Teaching as inquiry

Flanshaw Road School – Peer coaching
In this snapshot Dr Cherie Taylor-Patel, principal of Flanshaw Road School, explains how peer coaching was developed and reveals the highlights and challenges. Cherie offers advice to other schools wanting to use peer coaching to support their teachers' inquiries.


Koputaroa School – Teaching as inquiry inquiry
Koputaroa School principal Regan Orr introduced and led teaching as inquiry throughout the school, resulting in a collaborative, supportive, and motivational learning experience for all.

Onerahi School – Teaching as inquiry
At a recent teacher only day Onerahi School staff explored the effective pedagogy section of the document and the model of teaching as inquiry.



Cotswold School – Developing our vision
Is our vision for our students and their learning clear and shared? Does it express what we want for our young people?


Wanaka Primary School – Living the vision
Living the vision: "Empowering a Community of Learners"

There are many ways to share your school snapshots:

Email your snapshot together with supporting images to nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz, or arrange an interview and we will write the snapshot for you.

Updated on: 13 Aug 2018