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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.


Inquiry learning

Turning kids on to learning

Raising student achievement is driving Kaiwaka School’s curriculum development and changing classroom practices.

Key competencies

Students set up new homes for penguins at Oakura School

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.

An old tradition creates new opportunities

Students at Omarumutu School in Opotiki harnessed the annual agricultural day to develop key competencies.

Introducing the key competencies 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.

A rising tide at Manurewa High School

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.

Water safety at Park Estate School

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.

Partnership makes for key competencies and learning languages success

A genuine desire to bring learning languages and the key competencies alive in classrooms supports this innovative partnership between two schools.

Lifting student engagement through curriculum integration

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

CamEast TV at Cambridge East School

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.

Ngaio School - Demonstrating key competencies

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

Outram School - Challenges

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

Roslyn School’s approach to the key competencies

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'.

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.

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.

Queen's High School - 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.

Wellington Girls’ College – Developing key competencies

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.

Mangere Bridge School – Teaching and learning with key competencies

This snapshot helps explain the progress teachers are making while exploring the key competencies. 

Leading change

Wanaka Primary School

Living the vision: ‘Empowering a Community of Learners’

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.

Place-based curriculum

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).


Exploring the principles at Green Island School

‘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?’

Merivale School

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

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

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.

McAuley High School

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.

Wairakei School

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. 

The Catlins Area School

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

Priority learners

Fairhaven student.

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 curriculum 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?

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.

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.

Capturing learning for special education students and their families

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

A collaborative approach at Redwood School

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.

Reviewing your curriculum

Rallying interest in school curriculum review

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

Murrays Bay Intermediate

Murrays Bay Intermediate considered many aspects during their curriculum development.

Papanui High School

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.

Developing the key competencies at Paroa School

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.

Student voice

Tawa Intermediate

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

Teaching as inquiry

Peer coaching at Flanshaw Road School

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.

Teaching as inquiry - capturing teachers' hearts and minds at Onerahi School

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

Teaching as inquiry at Koputaroa School

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.


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?

Sumner School

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.

Developing learning at Waimairi School

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.

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.

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.

Published on: 09 May 2014