Future Focussed Learning at Scots College

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Changes to the Year 11 Curriculum

What’s changing in the Year 11 curriculum?
Scots has reduced the number of credits offered in NCEA Level 1 to provide space for a combination of traditional and future focussed skills. The Year 11 curriculum will have three key components:

  • Five full-year subjects
  • Two half-year options
  • A collaborative project.

Teaching skills such as collaboration and critical thinking are a focus of this new curriculum that will provide the 21st century skills students need to succeed both in school and later in life.

Why is Scots College making these changes?
Students currently gain far more credits than they need. That means teachers are preparing students for a constant cycle of assessment instead of teaching students how to learn, problem solve and think critically. Students are stressed and there isn’t enough time to teach the other skills they’ll need to succeed in the Senior School and life after Scots. We’re making these changes so students can focus on learning, rather than assessment. 

What are these future-focussed skills and why are they important?
Our new curriculum uses a mixture of project-based learning and more traditional methods to teach critical thinking, problem solving and working in teams. Parents with children who’ve been through the middle school will be familiar with the MYP programme with its approaches to learning and as a course that encourages students to make connections between their subjects and the real world. What we’re talking about for Year 11 is a higher level of that with a measurement framework that lets parents measure their son’s progress and without the stress of constant assessment.

Why are they important?
Our world is changing rapidly and technology is constantly disrupting work places. This means students need skills to help them deal with uncertainty and change. By teaching these skills, we provide our students with the best possible education to help them excel in life beyond Scots.

How has the curriculum been developed?
Teachers have identified key skills taught in the New Zealand curriculum and IBDP and used these skills as a starting point for each course. We are developing courses based on how the course will be taught and the outcome sought – the emphasis is on learning rather than assessment. You can read the Year 11 course content online here.

Are staff prepared for these changes?
The College continues to invest in professional development for all staff to ensure they are supported through this change. This includes a course with the 21C Skills Lab, which gives teachers the opportunity to upskill in design thinking. Each department has worked together in dedicated sessions to develop and write course plans.

How many credits will you offer in NCEA Level 1?
Approximately 40 credits focussed on numeracy and literacy requirements and making sure students have those core skills for Years 12 and 13.  At the moment, students need 80 credits to achieve NCEA Level 1. However, students who pass NCEA Level 2 are automatically awarded NCEA Level 1. This means almost all of our students will achieve both qualifications at the end of Year 12.

Can students progress to NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP without Level 1?
Yes. Students do not need NCEA Level 1 to study towards Level 2 or the IBDP. Our updated curriculum provides students with the skills they need for further secondary study and for life after Scots.

Will this impact my child’s University Entrance?
No. Level 1 is not required for University Entrance. Students are required to sit a certain number of numeracy and literacy credits, which they get as a priority in our updated curriculum. 

Will students be prepared to sit exams in Level 2 or the IDPB?
Yes. Year 11 students sits one internal and one external assessment in each full year subject. This will help to ensure they are prepared for exams while balancing the need to focus on learning 21st century skills. This balance ensures students are better prepared for Level 2 or the IBDP.

What does the project involve and how will students choose a topic?
Projects look at a solution to a real world problem. They could cover a range of issues from technology and energy to health and culture. Students are challenged to develop important skills such as critical thinking and collaboration.

How will students be assessed and how will I know they are achieving? 
Students will sit one internal and one external NCEA assessment in each full year subject, so they experience traditional assessment.

We are also exploring ways to measure 21st century skills such as collaboration, which are a focus of the new curriculum. Our aim is to make sure parents and students understand assessment and performance. As always, parents will be informed of the assessment and progress of their child.

Will Scots still offer NCEA and IBDP?
Yes, students entering Year 12 will still be able to choose between studying NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP. These is no proposed change to the curriculum for students in Years 12 and 13. The changes in Year 11 will better prepare them for NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP.

Are these changes being made because of the government review of NCEA Level 1? Is the College doing anything differently?
Like the government, we aim to improve student outcomes and staff wellbeing by reducing the amount of assessment and focusing on learning. We’ve been researching potential changes to NCEA Level 1 for a number of years which means we can deliver programmes far earlier than other schools which are yet to consider the issues.

We’re closely following the government review, and will ensure changes to the Scots curriculum are compatible.

How will students be motivated to do their school work with the reduction in credits?
Scots delivers a personalised education and recognises that each student is motivated in different ways. Some students are motivated by learning itself and others by the rewards, feedback, and the desire to improve. The Year 11 course will include a combination of goal setting, assessments, student and parent feedback, and meaningful and engaging learning opportunities. Students will be sitting one internal and one external in each of their five full year subjects.

Do these changes have any impact on fees?
We don’t expect them to. Fees always reflect rising costs, but these changes shouldn’t impact those.

Introducing girls to the Senior School in 2020

Why make this change when Scots has been such a strong advocate of a boys’ only education?
There is clear evidence about the benefits for Senior Students. Our vision is to create well-rounded, global citizens equipped for a 21st century life and we’ve never been afraid of change to give students the skills they need to succeed in life. The Prep and Middle Schools will remain boys only as we believe that a single sex environment for those ages is best for learning.

Will the classes be mixed, or separate?
Mixed. We already have some mixed classes with other independent girls’ schools and this offers us the chance to expand this collaboration. The girls will be integrated into all aspects of the school and the house system we run will also be mixed.

How will this make it better for students?
This is about future focussed learning, it will provide more subject choices and better prepare our young people for university and the workplace. We believe it will help develop social skills, confidence and collaboration.

Why are the numbers so small? Why not completely integrate the Senior School?
We’ve chosen to grow in a managed way so we can maintain educational standards and the focus on individual students – doubling the size of the Senior School in one or two years just wouldn’t work.

How will this impact facilities at Scots?
The larger roll will help develop new facilities and courses and have begun construction in campus development and resources. We can manage the initial increase in students with existing facilities and the expansion plans include developing spaces for girls such as a common room, changing rooms, etc.

Will this impact fees? 
No, quite the opposite. We expect that this move will allow us to minimise future fee increases as well as invest in facilities such as more science and technology facilities, more classrooms and later a new information centre. It will help increase affordability and accessibility.

Why should parents consider taking their daughter out of other schools?
Parents and students will have a choice as to the best type of education that suits their needs. In our view this move will increase the independent sector and attract more students to Wellington. We know some girls look for a co-ed option as they get older and there are limited choices in Wellington. We hope this will attract boys for the same reason. Scots is also proud of its holistic educational offering, academic excellence, state of the art facilities, strong STEM offerings, and opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom such as elite sports programmes, music rooms, drama studios and technology suites.

How many places will be offered to 2021 and beyond?
An additional 60 places will be offered in both 2021 and 2022 bringing the total number of girls to 120 in 2021 and 150 in 2022. The College will review the enrolment process at that time.

What provisions will be made for girls starting at Scots College?
The Headmaster currently oversees all recruitment and a new Deputy Principal will be appointed in 2019 to oversee the girls’ pastoral care. There will be designated resources such as a girls’ common room and separate boarding facilities. The first intake of girls will have the opportunity to develop their roles in the College including leadership positions.

How will the needs of girls be met when they’ll be such a small minority?
Girls will be fully integrated into every aspect of the school. As well as the designated Deputy Principal with oversight of the pastoral care of the girls, and new specialist facilities to accommodate the girls, we will also undertake a programme of cultural change at the College to facilitate a full co-ed experience in the Senior School. The girls will also be part of the student leadership at the College. In 2021 there will be a Head Girl and girls will be part of our prefect team.

Will the school provide support / activities for my daughter to participate in?
The girls will be part of all House activities and College sports. Girls will have access to the same professional level sporting facilities and coaching as the boys. Larger team sporting choice may be limited initially, but it will grow with the roll.

The College has world-class arts and technology resources including a recording studio, equipped technology suites and noise controlled film editing and music rooms. Cultural offerings are a key part of a Scots education and we expect the girls will participate fully in all options such as choir, bands, Poly Club and drama. We also expect that our strength in STEM subjects will be a major attraction to girls wishing to pursue future study in this area.

Is there a demand for a co-educational Senior School from international parents?
Yes – we know international parents generally prefer co-ed environments. They come for the International Baccalaureate and educational excellence – the boarding option in particular is something parents of international students look for. There’s also the advantage of living in Wellington which is a safe city with great outdoor and co-curricular activities.

Will this be popular with local parents?
Yes – many of our current students have sisters and we know many of our Old Boys would like their daughters to have the same Scots experience they and their sons have had. It will also provide a co-educational Senior School offering for parents in the Eastern Suburbs. Our enrolments will be prioritised to accept students in the Eastern Suburbs and to families who have existing relationships with the College.

Are there plans to introduce co-education in the Middle and Prep Schools?
There is no intention of co-education in the Middle and Prep Schools. In choosing to introduce girls into the Senior School, the College has considered the age and stage development of its students. We have determined that our boys in the Middle and Prep Schools are best served by a single sex environment.

Has the College considered other models rather than going co-ed in the Senior School, for example shared classes / resources with other independent girls schools?
We already work closely with the girls’ schools and senior students are offered shared classes with Samuel Marsden here and in Karori. The QUOTS events have also been an ongoing exchange with Queen Margaret College girls and are much enjoyed by students.

In 2017 we launched the Wellington Private Education Network with Chilton St James and Samuel Marsden which has been successful and continues to grow. We will continue the collaboration with the girls’ schools and look for opportunities to share resources. It is our view that making the Scots Senior School co-educational is the best option to equip all students for their future where they can learn from one another. It also provides a senior co-educational option for girls in the Eastern Suburbs.

What is the process for applying?
Applications for girls in Years 11, 12 and 13 from 2020 are open. Information on the applications process is available on the College website here. Or through Maria Calcott, Headmaster’s PA at hmpa@scotscollege.school.nz

Just the same as the current enrolment process, after an application is received, girls and their families will be contacted to arrange an interview with the Headmaster. Those offered a place will be asked to secure it by paying a non-refundable payment to secure the place.

As well as the date of the application and the allocation among boarding and international places, we will prioritise students with siblings at the school, past family connections and those who live in the Eastern Suburbs, while ensuring the best fit for students and the College.

International Students can apply through the Director of International Services, Guy Pascoe or on the College website through the International application form. Contact Guy Pascoe at pascoeg@scotscollege.school.nz

How do I apply? Where do I get more information?
You can find more information about the Co-education Senior School on the College website here. Should you have any further questions before applying please get in touch with the Headmaster via Maria Calcott, Headmaster’s PA hmpa@scotscollege.school.nz

Campus Development

What developments and improvements are planned for campus?
We are investing in campus developments and improvements to expand our STEM offering and provide students with more opportunity. This includes more classrooms, flexible learning environments for collaborative and project-based learning and facilities for the girls who will be joining the College such as a separate common room.

Construction has begun on a new block at the south entrance of the College. This block named the McKinnon Building will offer additional classrooms, science facilities, a fbrication lab and spaces that encourage both collaboration and independent study. It will also provide Pastoral Care facilities for girls. The McKinnon Building will be oficially opened in 2020.

Modern learning environments have caused problems at other schools. Are you sure they’re a good idea?
We’re looking to build very different spaces to those that have caused concerns in other schools. We want flexible environments which can be easily adapted to suit different learning situations. Not all students or subjects will be in open plan buildings. Instead, we’ll be building spaces that encourage group work and collaboration as well as offering quiet areas and more traditional learning spaces. We have worked with and visited other schools including St Margaret’s College, Medbury School, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and St Andrew’s College in Christchurch and Hobsonville Point School and Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland to understand what works and what doesn’t. Headmaster Graeme Yule has also visited Hi Tech High School in SanDiego.

Will this change have any impact on fees?
No, quite the opposite. We expect that these changes will allow us to minimise future fee increases as we continue to grow in a steady, controlled manner.


Our Location

Scots College
1 Monorgan Road
Strathmore Park
Wellington 6022
New Zealand
Scots College
PO Box 15064
Wellington 6243
New Zealand