Senior Learning Pathways
All students in Year 11 are assessed for the St Margaret’s College Senior School Foundation Diploma. In Year 12 girls have a choice between continuing with NCEA Level 2 and 3 or choosing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme – a two-year qualification. Universities have entry criteria for both NCEA and IB qualifications.
Year 11 is an important one for all students and the subjects chosen at this level have an important bearing on a student’s future studies and career. Some specialisation may occur, but in order to keep options as open as possible and also to extend students, it is the policy for most students at St Margaret’s College to take six subjects in Year 11. All students in Year 11 take English, Mathematics and at least one Science. The remaining subjects are chosen from the options outlined in this handbook. In Mathematics and English the students are placed in classes according to their ability in those subjects and classes are scheduled at the same time. Year 10 teachers will advise the appropriate Diploma course for Year 11 students.
In order to allow the girls the widest possible range of subject choices, other subjects will be timetabled to limit the constraints on the number of option choices available. As long as numbers selecting the courses make it viable, all Sciences will be taught, i.e. General Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. It is not recommended that students take more than two Science subjects at Year 11. General Science is a good basic course from which to commence the study of Biology, but those wishing to take Chemistry and/or Physics in Year 12 are advised to take those subjects in Year 11.
Year 12 students face what will be a stimulating and challenging year. Few students will have a clear and final commitment to a career path at this stage of their education. Consequently, it is important that they keep their career options open by choosing a broadly based group of subjects. To assist them, the school offers a wide range of subjects at NCEA Level 2 as well as in the International Baccalaureate Programme. English is the only compulsory subject in Year 12 for NCEA students. We require all students to take six subjects. It is most important that the subjects chosen for Year 12 courses provide a sound basis for Year 13 courses and, in particular, lead on to the Level 3 NCEA qualification and University Entrance. Students in the International Baccalaureate Programme take the same subjects for the two years.
Year 13 is an important year both academically and in terms of social development. The girls are encouraged to take advantage of the many leadership and role-modelling opportunities provided within the school community and to show a sense of school service. The ability to be organised, resilient and self-responsible is paramount. Academically, it is a year that should be seen as an immediate preparation for university, study in a tertiary institution or employment. By the beginning of the year each girl should have some idea of her career path and some goals must be established to help her achieve this end. Her subject choices for the year are extremely important. There are no compulsory subjects, so each girl chooses five subjects from the list of those available. Selecting subjects that she enjoys and has success in are key priorities for subject selection.
Students who complete the first year of the IB Diploma are able to change to NCEA Level 3 if there are satisfactory reasons for the change. It is not possible to go from NCEA Level 2 to the final year of the IB Diploma in Year 13.
Parents and/or students should take the opportunity to discuss proposed courses with the Head of the Senior School, Ms Sian Evans, or the Deputy Head of Senior School, Mr Grant Belcher, if there are any questions or concerns that need to be answered. Girls should make provisional subject choices for next year on the form provided and hand it in to Ms Sian Evans by the stated date.
Students whose needs are best met by an alternative learning programme, may substitute some courses provided by the school with others from outside providers. These courses are in two groups. The first provide unit standards, which contribute to Level Certification but not to UE. The second provide access to university courses under the STAR programme. Entry into alternative learning programme courses is negotiated individually with students and their parents/caregivers upon request. The request should be made to the Deputy Head of the Senior School in the first instance. The table below lists options currently available for study within the school or by attending courses conducted elsewhere in Christchurch.