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.