Course Requirements

Course Requirements in Senior Classes:

  • Entry into all classes is subject to a satisfactory record in the preceding year:
  • Success in the Whanganui High School examinations gives students provisional entry into their subjects the following year.
  • Level 2 and Level 3 subject entry is confirmed through the NCEA examinations.
  • All students to choose six option subjects.

    To ensure students have as wide a variety of options in the future as possible, students must select a subject from each option line and one 'spare' option.

Year 11:

  • English and Mathematics are compulsory full year courses.
  • We strongly advise students to take Science

Year 12 and 13:

  • Students in Year 12 are strongly advised to continue studying an English and a Mathematics option.
  • There are no compulsory courses in Year 12 or Year 13.

For both Level 2 and Level 3 courses, Students must achieve any pre-requisites as described in the course’s outline.

NCEA Requirements:

Students gain NCEA by gaining eighty (80) credits.

In both Level 2 and Level 3, twenty (20) of these credits can come from the preceding year.

Level 1: The 80 credits must include at least ten Literacy (English or Te Reo) credits and ten Numeracy (Mathematics) credits. These credits can also be gained from areas other than English and Mathematics.

Endorsements at Levels 1-3.

Students who gain 50 Merit or 50 Excellence credits at each level of NCEA earn an Endorsed Level 1, 2 or 3 Certificate respectively.

Students who gain either 14 Merit or 14 Excellence credits in a subject (must include NCEA external examinations) within a calendar year, receive that subject endorsed with Merit / Excellence.

A Vocational Award or Endorsement can only be gained at Level 2. This appears on a student's NCEA Record of Achievement.

Students who gain 20 ‘Sector’ Related credits along with 40 ‘Recommended’ credits in any one of the six Vocational Pathways receive a Vocational Award.

Achievement or Unit Standards that contribute towards this endorsement will be clearly identified within Kamar; the student management system. 

University Entrance (UE):

This qualification is the minimum requirement to enter a New Zealand University. Other educational institutes recognise this qualification as supporting entry into non-university courses hence Whanganui High School encourage all students to take a ‘UE’ course in Year 13 if possible.

To qualify you will need:


  • Scholarship is a significant monetary award to recognise and honour top academic students at Level 3. It does not attract credits or contribute to the Level 3 qualification but is included on a student’s Record of Learning.
  • Students must demonstrate very high academic attainment in the previous year in order to enter the Scholarship examinations.

Whanganui High School Graduation Diploma

  • The Whanganui High School Graduation Diploma recognises the student’s graduation from secondary school and transition to tertiary study or the world of work.
  • The Diploma may be awarded ‘with Merit’ or ‘with Distinction’

Courses Outside of School (External Studies):

Students in Senior School may wish to choose from a wide variety of Industry and Tertiary Related courses available to them to complement their school subjects. These courses are completed through as an ‘option line’ at school and need to be applied for through the Vocational Department

Vocational Studies:

Students must apply to take a full Vocational Studies course. Prerequisites include good attendance and a clean pastoral record. An interview with the student and parent/caregiver must occur prior to acceptance into the programme.

Year 12: Vocational Studies at Year 12 occupy five (5) of the six (6) lines therefore students choosing to do Vocational Studies need to take only one other subject.

Most students will have two school days in the workplace or may choose to attend an externally provided course.

Year 13: Vocational Studies at Year 12 occupy four (4) of the six (6) lines therefore students choosing to do Vocational Studies need to take only two other subjects

Within the Vocational Studies programme, each student will have an individual learning plan created using Industry based Unit Standards from the NZQA framework that count towards the student’s record of Learning.

(*) Last Reviewed: July 29, 2020

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