International Student Information

“Welcome! We are very happy to welcome you to Waitaki Girls’ High School.”

To help you understand what will happen in the first few weeks, you may like to read the following outline. Mrs Hellier is ESOL teacher and the International Coordinator.

If you arrive a few days before school starts, you will be able to meet with the International Student co-ordinator and talk about your course of study. The hostel supervisors will also help you buy the school uniform so you will look like a Waitaki Girls’ pupil from the start of the year! You can choose from a second hand one from our school shop, or buy a new one. We have a summer uniform and winter uniform. You don’t have to buy both at the same time. It is ok to buy the summer one first and get the other winter uniform items later. If you start school soon after you arrive, we will organise your uniform on your first day. You will also be helped to set up a bank account either by the hostel supervisors or Mrs Hellier.

On the first day you will need to bring a pen and paper, your passport and insurance documents.

Come to school at 8.30am. When you arrive, come to the main school office.

Give your insurance documents and passport to Mrs Hellier, the International Student Co-ordinator, for safe keeping.

You will also meet the ESOL teacher, Mrs Hellier. For the first few weeks, you will be with Mrs Hellier in an orientation class for ESOL so we can establish what your needs are for learning English and what subjects will be suitable for you.

While you are in the ESOL class you will be given a tour of the school, and you will be introduced to another student as a buddy, who will help you to find your way around. They will talk about what time you can have morning tea and when lunchtime is. If you have any other questions they will be able to help you or find someone who can.

When you meet Mrs Hellier, she will talk to you about the subjects you would like to study at Waitaki Girls’. She will also ask you what sports and cultural/musical activities you would like to do and what your future plans are. Once she has this information, you will go to the ESOL class.

On the second day you will go straight to the ESOL class and Mrs Hellier. You will spend the next week or two in this class and practise English with the other girls, so we can find out what classes will suit you best. Once you feel ready, we will set up your timetable and you will gradually start your chosen subject classes.

In each class your subject teacher will tell you what books you need to buy and you will be able to buy them in town with help from your buddy in the hostel.

After period one there is a bell and you go to Whānau group, which is like a home room for your House group. Then you have period two, followed by a twenty minute interval, then period three and four classes before lunch. After lunch you will go to period five class. We finish for the day at 3.20pm.

If you are not sure about anything at all, please feel free to ask!

Study Options

ESOL Programme

When ESOL students arrive at the start of the year, they are placed in an Orientation Programme where they are familiarised with the school, our procedures and courses available to them. Courses are finalised after diagnostic testing and discussion about future goals. The testing covers the skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening to English, grammar and vocabulary.

Students are encouraged to work towards qualifications for ESOL such as OCESOL (Oral Communication in English for Speakers of Other Languages), a qualification of the NZ Speech Board, IELTS or TOEFL. The OCESOL exam caters for different levels so students can be successful and gain oral confidence at the appropriate level.

Those studying for longer than a year at Waitaki may also gain credit towards NCEA in ESOL and other subjects.

All programmes are based on real-life situations, using authentic vocabulary. Students develop skills in oral, aural, writing and reading English as well as understanding grammar concepts and increasing their vocabulary knowledge.

New Zealand Curriculum

The school year runs from the end of January until mid-December and is divided into four terms. The New Zealand Education System is summarised below:

Primary School

  • (Age 5-12) Years 1-8
  • This may include Intermediate School (Age 10-12) Years 7-8

Secondary School

  • (Age 13-18) Years 9-13
  • Year 9 & Year 10 = Junior school
  • Year 11 – NCEA Level 1
  • Year 12 – NCEA Level 2
  • Year 13 – NCEA Level 3 & Scholarship


  • NZ Universities & Polytechnics
  • Qualifications: Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates


Those choosing to study for longer than a year at the school may be working towards National New Zealand qualifications in NCEA.