It can be confusing trying to understand how your child will be learning at intermediate school.  Read an overview about the Intermediate school structure, NZ curriculum, and educational goals.

How will my child be learning at school intermediate?

Generally intermediate schools operate classrooms in the same way as a primary school. The students will be placed in a homeroom, a class group and will be assigned a teacher who is by and large responsible for all that class’ core subject teaching. This means that for the most part they will be based in one classroom with one teacher.

Now that your child is advancing through the year levels, there will be more subject variety and it is often the case that your child will have two or three other teachers at any given time who are responsible for teaching specialized subjects to them.

During these years of their schooling your child will be taught and allowed to partake in a great deal more independent learning. This means there will be more and more opportunity for your child to develop strategies that work for him or her when they are learning.

Teachers of this age group recognize that their students have special needs in that they need to nurture the students in the same way they are used to being nurtured in their primary education but also that there is a need to challenge the students academically.

Your child will also be ‘groomed’ for the next phase of schooling. A heavy focus of the intermediate years is –

Teaching students about strategies for learning on their own,

  • Integrating the subjects students are taught on a much grander scale,
  • Gradually raising higher expectations
  • Building analytical and problem-solving skills,
  • Teaching students to recognise they can build on learning they have done in the past and putting this into practice,
  • Preparing students for the shift to secondary school and the different academic and social structures they’ll find there.

What will they learn?

What our children are taught at school is based on the New Zealand Curriculum. The NZ Curriculum is a document that sets down for education providers what our children need to know and be able to do by the time they leave school.

During the intermediate years your child will continue to be taught the seven core subjects they have been learning at primary school. English (literacy) and Maths (numeracy) are still of great importance at this level.

Literacy –

To be literate is to have the ability to understand, respond to and use language that’s needed and valued in the world we live in. This means being able to listen and speak with others and then beyond that being able to write and read.

Numeracy –

It is important that our children learn and develop mathematical skills as they are relevant to every aspect of life.

Children need to learn three main mathematical process skills

  • Problem solving,
  • Developing logic and reasoning and
  • Communicating maths ideas

More time is given to the remaining five subjects during the intermediate levels. The five remaining core subjects are science, technology, social studies, the arts and health and physical education. These become subjects in their own right rather than a small part of a primary school unit of work.

It is at this level of schooling that students begin to have class sessions devoted to specialized subjects such as food technology (home economics/cooking), workshop technology (wood and metal work) and others.

Attitudes and values are also an integral part of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Through their learning in and out of the classroom your child will be encouraged to develop good attitudes towards things, ideas, or people and especially learning. They will be taught that their attitude to something is reflected in the way they behave or act towards it. Obviously positive attitudes should be encouraged at all time.

Values are also an important part of what a child will learn at school. No schooling is value free and so the New Zealand curriculum reflects values that are supported by most people in most communities. These values include honesty, reliability, respect for others, respect for the law, tolerance, fairness, caring or compassion, non-sexism, and non-racism.

Will my child be given homework?

Homework will begin to play a larger part in your child’s schooling when he or she reaches the intermediate years. This works in line with the emphasis placed on independent learning.

Homework is important and is given

  • to reinforce the teaching and learning that has been taking place in the classroom and
  • to help students develop special skills such as independent research.

Your child may be required to do homework in the form of

  • Research for class or individual projects
  • Reading towards an independent reading log
  • Spelling words
  • Writing practice
  • Continuation of class work that was not completed in time.

Homework can be an important part of education. It can teach children to work independently, encourages self-discipline and responsibility, and encourages a love of learning. There is nothing better than witnessing the pride a child feels when they manage to find some valuable information for a research project or get all their spelling words correct!


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Kylie Valentine is a qualified secondary school teacher, trained journalist, and the mum of two fabulous children.

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Home work has been shown by research to be more associated with placating  parents  needs to have upwardly mobile kids than meeting there educational needs.

How many hours a day do kids need to have stuff drilled into to them.Give them a break!

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