Academics at EOHS

Te matauranga o waho

At East Otago High School students in the Junior school, Years 7 – 10, experience all of the Essential Learning Areas including the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. This prepares them for life in the Senior School where they will have the opportunity to specialise, preparing them for tertiary education or a place in the workforce. In years 9 – 10 students get to choose their classes from a choice of 

In the Senior school, Years 11 – 13, a variety of choices are available and guidance will be provided by the school’s Careers team and at the Senior Option Nights. Students are asked to plan their courses of study with care so that students at East Otago High School leave as many doors as possible open for their futures.

Find out more information about each department below.

The English Department at East Otago High School provides a wide range of learning experiences, with a focus on high expectations for all students. There is an emphasis on reading, and developing a love of literature through enthusiastic teaching of novels, plays, poetry and short stories at all levels. Visual language in the form of film appreciation is also enjoyed by students. Furthermore, students are encouraged to be creative in their own pieces of writing and are skilled in the draft writing process from Year 7.

In Year 10 the emphasis is on preparation for NCEA, and students undertake a Level 1 Unit Standard – Wide Reading.

At senior level, most students take a full Achievement Standards course, with a personalised Alternative English Programme possible because of small class sizes. NCEA results at all levels are to a high standard.

In Term 4 of each year, Senior and Junior Speech Competitions are held, with the trophies presented at Prize-giving. There will also be a separate category for Intermediate students in Years 7/8. So students at all levels are encouraged to be confident public speakers.

Book Week is held annually for Years 7 – 10 students to compete in a range of activities, including listening to visiting writers and illustrators. Visiting groups of actors are welcome to give performances from time to time, and class groups often put on plays for parents/caregivers.

Our Literacy Programme has broadened to a school-wide Peer Reading exercise once a week for 25 minutes which is enjoyed by all students and is proving most beneficial.

The Mathematics Department offers inspiring, comprehensive, dynamic, practical courses catering for the individual needs of all students. The Year 7 – 10 courses cover Number, Algebra, Measurement, Geometry, Statistics and Probability, giving the students a wide grounding in all topics.

In Year 11 all students, in consultation with parents and teachers, opt into a course of mathematics according to their ability level – we offer two different courses: a foundation course that is designed to give students practical and relevant mathematical skills for everyday use at home or in the workplace, and a higher level course involving algebra and problem solving for those intending to continue Math’s into Year 12.

For Year 12 and Year 13 the courses are set up to further extend mathematical minds leading towards tertiary study and career pathways.

Right throughout the school the student’s progress is tracked and specific needs are identified. Support is offered in a number of ways: student support personnel, differentiated learning tasks, computer programs, and tutorials if required. The department encourages students to engage and progress to the best of their abilities.

We aim to promote excellence in knowledge, understandings, skills, and attitudes needed to maintain and enhance personal health and physical development.

Students are encouraged to develop motor skills through movement, acquire knowledge and understanding about movement and develop positive attitudes towards physical activity.

Students will be supported to develop understandings, skills and attitudes that enhance their interactions and relationships with other people.

Finally, students will be encouraged to create healthy communities and environments by taking responsible and critical action.

Social Studies is taught throughout all levels of the school and enjoyed by students who get to learn about the world around them.

Year 7-8: Social Studies is taught as part of homeroom classes. The teaching programme is an odd year/even year structure. Students learn different topics ranging from Vikings to Pacific Explorers to Natural Disasters.

Year 9-10: At this level Social Studies is compulsory and is taught by specialist classroom teachers. The teaching programme is an odd year/even year structure. Students learn different topics ranging from the Treaty of Waitangi to Earth Under Pressure to Social Organisation. At Year 10 there is a focus on preparing students for NCEA, teaching them the skills they will need to progress.

History: History is offered at all levels at NCEA. Students are taught a variety of skills from essay writing to source interpretation to in-depth historical research. They are taught a variety of different subjects like, Year 11: Protest in NZ, Black Civil Rights in the USA, and NZ and WW1. Year 12: Rise of the Nazi Party, The Vietnam War and NZ and the Cold War era. Year 13: Global Colonisation with a special focus on NZ.

Business Studies: Business Studies is a follow-on from business units covered in Social Studies. It is based on a small business concept and looks at the key features of being a successful business owner including supply and demand, accounting decisions, marketing concepts. The course aims to offer a wide spread of business studies, economics and Agri Business, while maintaining relevance to the local community. The course will better prepare you for understanding financial literacy skills and business concepts in the future.

Geography: Geography is offered at all levels of NCEA and is very popular with students at EOHS. Students are taught a variety of skills from mapping and graphing to Geographic research. Students are taught subjects ranging from Extreme Natural Hazards to Population Studies to Resource Sustainability in our local area. There are 25 credits on offer in this course and we have had successful NCEA grades in this course including 2 scholarships awarded!

Economics: Is currently offered through the Correspondence School and Video Conferencing classes

Social Science Extra Curricular

  • Junior Social Studies ODT Extra Quiz for Year 7-10
  • Year 11 Maatangi Whenua Geography Competition – won the Otago/Southland title in 2010 and 2011 and third place in 2012!
  • Year 11 Geography field trip to Oceania Gold Macrae’s Gold Mine Year 13 Geography field trip to Tautuku, Milford Sound and Queenstown!
  • Year 11 and 13 History Quiz
  • Young Historians Award
  • In the 2013 April Holidays a group of Year 12 students went on a History trip to Vietnam.
  • In the Otago wide History quiz we won the Year 12/13 competition in 2012 and also placed 2nd and 3rd in the Year 11 competition that same year. In 2013 we placed 2nd in the Year 12/13 competition.

The Technology Department at East Otago High school consists of a multi-material based workshop with facilities for fabricating Wood, Metals and Plastics. Other facilities include an attached Design and visual communications room and a Food & Fabrics room. All facilities are well equipped for Technology at all levels.

Students in the junior school will be involved in all aspects of technology with modules being run in Year 7 to 10 in Hard Materials, Food and Fabric and Information Technology. Graphics is introduced for all Year 10 students, for half year modules.

Woodwork Senior students can enrol in courses such as B Construction and BC ITO to gain credits at Levels 1 and 2, as well Achievement Standards in Graphics and Home Economics.

Senior students choosing to enrol in Digital Technologies courses have the chance to gain Achievement Standard credits at Level 1 and 2. This course utilises various computer based software, and prepares students for the changing technological world. Aspects of the course include website design, software operation, animation, plus more.

The Arts are a powerful form of expression that recognise the value of and contribute to the unique bi-cultural multicultural character of New Zealand, enriching the lives of all New Zealanders

Our Arts curriculum encompasses all 4 disciplines. Visual Arts are available to all students Year 7 – 13. Core Music is also available to all Year 7 – 13 students with all students having the opportunity to learn a musical instrument via the Instrumental Music programme. All courses and resources are available for students and families to access remotely at the official Music department website at eohsmusic.weebly.com. Throughout the year, there are opportunities for students to attend professional visiting performances.

Other activities throughout the school week contribute to the life of the school and include:

Cultural Extravaganza
This encompasses all disciplines of the Arts curriculum.

This is held during an afternoon form-time and is available to all students who enjoy singing. Students gain the opportunity to perform at various events throughout the year, including the Secondary Schools Music Festival.

Instrumental Music Lessons
Students have the opportunity to learn a wide range of instruments. Instruments include flute, saxophone, violin, double bass, trumpet, guitar, keyboards, and drums. Lessons are held during school time

The orchestra is currently made up of East Otago High School students learn and play orchestral instruments. It is conducted by Mr. Brusse. It is held every Monday in the Music Room

Rock Bands
The music department is set up with 2 practise room that students can utilise during their intervals, lunches, and free periods. Students have the opportunity to perform at events including the Smokefree Rockquest. Rock Band mentoring is available.

Dance Group
This is held during lunchtime and is available to all students who enjoy dancing.

Art Competitions and Exhibitions
Students are encouraged to enter competitions and exhibitions around the region


The Science department at East Otago High School provides programmes of study that encourage the development of scientific skills and understanding from Year 7 to Year 13.

Science has an overarching strand which enables students to develop their skills in carrying out investigations, reading and understanding science information, communicating in science and understanding how society makes decisions based on science evidence.

These skills are developed through study in the four contextual strands of the New Zealand curriculum

  • Living World
  • Planet Earth and Beyond
  • Physical World
  • Material World

In Year 7 and 8 students begin to work with equipment to carry out investigations and explore ideas about Science focussing especially on our local area.

In Year 9 and 10 students build on their experience and progress toward being confident in the application of skills in a range of topic areas. This allows for a stimulating practical approach, whilst supporting the basics required for NCEA Level 1 Science.

At Level 1 NCEA two Science courses are offered, dependent upon the student’s possible career requirements. The Life Science course (mixture of Science and Ag) aims to develop students understanding of science in every-day situations. There is also a course which forms the basis for study in the Level 2 Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) called General Science.

At Level 2 and 3 NCEA, specialisation occurs into Physics, Biology and Chemistry to allow students to gain access to tertiary education or further training in their chosen career.

The Science department also offers a wide variety of extra-curricular activities including:

  • Entries to the Science Fair and hosting the Science Roadshow
  • Supporting students attending events such as Hands on Science and Otago University Senior Sciences Academy
  • Entry into competitions such as Teen Ag, Science Quiz
  • Science wananga for Māori students

The Science department has well qualified and experienced staff at all levels and they share a goal in actively supporting students to achieve their full potential in this subject.

Why learn Te Reo/Māori?
EOHS offers a Te Reo programme from year 7—10.

During Year 7 and 8, students have a Te Reo lesson once a week for two terms. The programme is based on an odd/even year cycle. Even year focus is on Kai (food) and odd year focus is Te Marae (the marae). Alongside the Vocabulary and Tikanga of these topics students build a basic Kupu Hou (word bank) of greetings, simple questions about their families friends and classroom.

The Year 9 programme builds on the basics covered in the junior school. They study sentence structure and simple conversations. Year 9 students have two periods of Te Reo for two terms. One group focus on Matariki and the second group study Parihaka.

Te Reo at Year 10 is an option. Students have two periods a week for the full year. Students at this level work more formally making use of the text books Te Reo Take Take and Te Matapuna. The programme is focused on preparing students to have the confidence and skill to study for NCEA Level 1 by correspondence.

There is always close liaison with the local marae.

East Otago High School offers a broad curriculum with specialist teachers and modern facilities. Year 7 and 8 students have the benefits of a homeroom structure providing security and this is enhanced through the larger school structure.


We have  a “Google Classroom” for each of our classes. This is the medium by which homework is carried out.

Students will be expected to go to the “Classroom” and answer the questions posed there. They need to contribute at least one comment per subject.  (There is an English section as well as a Social Studies one.)

Our expectation is that students will think in-depth about their response. Reading other students’ ideas and typing in their own contributions will help improve literacy skills which are so essential to all learning.

If internet or computer access is an issue computers are available in A Block and the library at interval and lunchtimes. The computer room is also open every lunchtime.

In addition, Maths homework is done via an online programme called “Maths Buddy”.Each week students will be assigned tasks to complete and a time frame in which to do this. Students are expected to complete this work in their own time. If internet access at home is an issue for your family students can do this work at school at interval or lunchtime. Computers are available in the Year 7 & 8 block, library or computer room.

Often tasks will be accompanied with instructional videos to help the students if they have forgotten the work covered in class.

At the bottom of the home page for this website are links for “Speed Tests” and “Time Tables” which we encourage students to challenge themselves with as this will aid their retention of basic Maths facts and their progress in this subject.

Your support in encouraging your child to use this website regularly is appreciated.


Students have extensive access to technology at school including sets of chromebooks dedicated to the Year 7 and 8 classes. The library and the computer suites are available at lunchtime for students’ recreational or homework needs. Online access is available via personal log-ins. Students’ devices can be linked to the school network on request.

Specialist Subjects

Students rotate through the following subjects during the year. This ensures that all students cover all the subjects in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Te Reo (Maori), Materials Technology, Home Economics, Music, ICT, and Visual Arts


Each student will have 10 words to learn each fortnight. These words are taken from students’ writing and topic lists as appropriate. Parental help ensuring this happens would be appreciated. These words are kept in the students’ homework diaries. Tests are held every fortnight.

Basic Maths Facts

Ready recall of basic addition and subtraction as well as knowledge of the multiplication tables is essential for success in our Mathematics programme.


East Otago High School has a designated librarian, who supports class programmes, and is available to help students during interval and lunchtime. Students are also able to become “Student Librarians” and help with issuing books at break times.

Current Events

Events occurring locally, nationally and internationally are discussed in form classes and students are encouraged to become aware of major happenings. There is a current events test each week.

Lunchtime Activities

A wide variety of lunchtime activities are provided. This includes access to the school swimming pool in Terms 1 and 4. Students are encouraged to be actively involved as much as possible. Students have access to the computer room, library, and sports equipment during this time as well.

Cultural and Sporting Opportunities

East Otago High School offers a range of cultural and sporting activities including: Kapa Haka, Choir, Orchestra, and a variety of sports teams. If students are interested in becoming involved in these activities their first point of contact is their Form Teacher.

Guidance Counsellor

East Otago High School has a school counsellor and is available for consultation. Students wishing to see the counsellor can request an appointment by filling in the appropriate form available from the school office. Wherever possible these appointments will be scheduled to have minimum impact on classroom learning.

Student Council

Two representatives from each form class are elected as their class representatives on the school student council. This is run by Year 13 students and provides a forum whereby students may become actively involved in the running of the school and suggest new initiatives.

Peer Support

This programme runs for one period a week during Term One. Year 13 students work with small groups of Year 7s in a mentoring role.


Lunches can be purchased via the school office every day except Fridays. Orders need to be placed before the school day starts.


Any information regarding absences from school must be given to the form teacher or the school office.

Leaving School Grounds

Students may not leave the school grounds without permission or signing out at the office.

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