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The Scots Tohu - Year 11 Programme Overview

In 2019, Scots College launched its Future-Focussed Learning Strategy. A key part of the strategy was the implementation of a new Year 11 programme.

At the core of this programme development was the need to address significant issues relating to student wellbeing due to over assessment (Wellbeing for Young People’s Success at Secondary School, by ERO in 2015 and Secondary Schools in 2015, by NZCER), and the narrowing of student learning and the loss of connected learning by the concentration on assessment rather than learning.

To address these issues, Scots College introduced a programme that broadened student learning, decreased NCEA assessment, and introduced both Future-Focussed Skills and a collaborative project. In doing so, we created a course that provided a better foundation of learning for students intending to study either an NCEA or IB Diploma pathway in Years 12 and 13, and one that better prepared them for life after secondary school

Since its inception, our Year 11 programme has proven to be a great success. Students have enjoyed the new and creative subjects and feel the combination of full and half subjects allows them the time to explore more learning options before committing to a more rigid learning pathway for their final two years. Students have loved the opportunity to work collaboratively on a project of their choice for half a year, and while the final results have been simply sensational, the true benefit has been in the development of their collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.

Having led the way with these changes in 2019, we subsequently found ourselves in an educational paradigm whereby the New Zealand Curriculum and NCEA have both been reviewed with significant and uncertain changes still to be confirmed or implemented right through to 2027. As other schools chose to do something similar to Scots, we took the opportunity to review our Year 11 offering and go through a refresh of our own.

In 2024, we introduced the Scots Tohu. The Scots Tohu is a school-based qualification which builds upon our Future-Focussed Learning Strategy and is designed to recognise and celebrate students’ participation and achievement in their academic, extra/co-curricular, and character development. In planning the Tohu, we went right back to the College’s Mission Statement:

“To provide our students with an excellent and holistic education that allows them to contribute as global citizens who think creatively, reason critically, communicate effectively and develop the necessary skills to Learn. For Life.”
— Scots College Mission Statement

We know an excellent education is more than just grades and credits. An excellent education is one that provides learning pathways for all students and acknowledges engagement and achievement in all aspects of school life.

Please see below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Scots College Year 11 programme. 

What is the Scots Tohu?
What subjects will it offer?
How will subjects be assessed?

What is the Scots Tohu?

The Scots Tohu is a school-based qualification recognising all aspects of the Year 11 programme. It is a celebration of students’ participation and achievement in their academic, extra/co-curricular, and character development. It is designed to best prepare students for both an NCEA or IB Diploma pathway in Years 12 and 13.

What subjects will it offer?

All subjects are pathway subjects. This means that they provide meaningful connections into Year 12 subjects, both NCEA and IB Diploma – no subjects terminate in Year 11.

Mathematics, Science, and English are compulsory full-year subjects, and students select two other full-year subjects and two half-year subjects.

Alongside these seven subjects, students also complete a collaborative project, as well as having lessons in Physical Health and Fitness, Religious Education, and Leadership.

How will subjects be assessed?

Students’ academic work will be assessed using consistent and rigorous common assessment tasks (CATs), in each course. A full-year course will contain four common assessment tasks (CATs). Some of the CATs will be held at the end of the year in an exam hall setting.

All CATs will be marked against subject specific criteria using a 1-8 scale as well as the Future-Focussed Learning Skills criteria shown below.

Scots College Future Focussed Learning Plan

The grades across all subjects and all CATs will combine together to form a student’s overall level of academic achievement.

Scots College moved away from delivering NCEA Level 1 some years ago. With the impending changes to NCEA, Scots College will not assess nor result any NCEA Level 1 standards from 2024.

At the end of Year 11, students will receive a Tohu Award. The award is based on the College’s coat of arms and, in particular, the symbols that represent academics, co-curricular, and special character. The final Tohu Award level is based on academic achievement, co-curricular engagement and achievements, personal development, a collaborative project, special character, and service.