New initiative enriches learning at Waimea College

Issue: Volume 97, Number 16

Posted: 10 September 2018
Reference #: 1H9kYD

Students at Waimea College are finding learning opportunities rewarding and worthwhile thanks to the school’s new elective inquiry programme

Ben has learnt how to look after the trees, fish and the native species of trees/forest creatures in New Zealand.

Josh learnt some magic tricks and how to juggle before teaching these new skills to others.

Abbey focused on Kiwi food, where it came from and what makes it iconic. She also chose to research environmental issues.

Ellie learnt about sustaining the local environment and studied human trafficking.

All four of these Year 10 students have participated in Waimea College’s new enrichment programme. For three hours each week, all Year 9 and 10 students are able to choose one area of interest per term, out of nine possible strands, and explore that topic through project work.

Projects include creating artwork driven by social, political or environmental themes, actively investigating local environmental issues with community partners, and understanding coding, electronics and audio to programme an electronic instrument.

The nine strands focus on the learning areas of community, leadership, environment, social issues, industry (local industries for Year 9 students and primary industries for Year 10), creativity, culture, independent study and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).

Associate Deputy Principal Yvonne Fenemor says the programme has been a success because students are invested in the topics they have chosen and are learning through inquiry-based project work.

“They’re also really enjoying the authentic part of it. For example, some Year 9 and 10 students made some blankets that were gifted to The Koha Shed [a charity organisation]. When the lady came back to speak to the next group, she said (and I didn’t even know this) the kids had tucked a whole lot of little gifts inside the wrapping. So there’s this interaction that’s happening with community groups, there is a lot of this kind of learning, which is the curriculum in action really.”

Each enrichment course includes more than one curriculum area and focuses on key competencies.

“This was the result of the junior school analysis, undertaken as part of the curriculum review, where it was agreed we would try and do something cross-curricular on purpose and teach with a better emphasis on teaching using the key competencies,” Yvonne says.

“It’s also a way to extend the students in an area that interests them. A lot of the courses have a community thread running through them, so they’re actually giving back to the community or doing some kind of service.”

What students are saying


“This course has helped me learn how to explain different skills and how to teach others. It has empowered me to do my own learning and recognise how I learn best.”


“I enjoyed learning more about social issues and global issues, and particularly enjoyed presenting my findings to the local primary school.”


“Enrichment is really worthwhile and I have learnt a lot about myself and how I learn. I particularly enjoyed the community aspect to the Enrichment topics I studied and this has made the learning more worthwhile. I learnt how to better sustain the local environment, how to become an independent learner and I liked the fact that there was student choice. My ICT skills really improved during this subject, as I prepared my presentation for the local primary school.”


I’ve learnt things in Enrichment that I wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to. I like the way subjects are combined, like in Paihere (Cultural Food) I chose to learn about another culture and then I cooked food from that culture. I am much more aware of world issues, and how to see a bigger picture.   

Caitlyn (with teacher Steve Copley)

Through the Enrichment subjects I have taken this year I have more self-confidence when talking to other people. In Boost (Printmaking) the word I featured was Equality, and in creating this word I increased my awareness of others. 


I like the choice within each topic, and I am much more interested in my work, so I learn more. I have learnt about the history of other cultures in Paihere (Cultural Food), and in Change (World View) I have become much more aware about what happens in other countries. 


Enrichment has taught me better life skills and I am more aware of the world around us. The way the subjects are grouped together (like electronics and music in Create) means I have been exposed to new possible career paths.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 10 September 2018

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