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.

If you arrive a few days before school starts, you will be able to meet with the International Student Director, Mrs Hellier, and talk about your course of study.

Waitaki Girls’ having a beautiful school uniform and our students all wear it with great pride. Mrs Hellier will liaise with the hostel supervisors and school administrative staff who will help you buy your uniform so you will look like a Waitaki Girls’ pupil from the start of the year! All of the uniform items are able to to be purchased from our on-site Uniform Shop and you can choose from new or second-hand items. . 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.  If you have a Chromebook or a laptop, it will be helpful to bring this also.

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

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

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 ELL class.

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

Within the first few days of being at Waitaki Girls’ High School, you will have the opportunity to meet with the Principal, Ms Hay. This is an opportunity to introduce yourself and let her know why you have chosen to study here and what your aspirations are as an international student.

On the second day you will go straight to the ELL 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.

First period begins at 8.40am. 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 25 minute interval, then period three and four classes before lunch at 1.25pm. After lunch you will go to period five class which begins at 2.05pm. We finish for the day at 3.05pm.

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

Study Options

English Language Leaners (ELL) Programme

When ELL 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 ELL 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 ELL 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.