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Frequently Asked Questions

Does my child have to be tested if he or she is enrolling for Year 9?
Yes. Year 8 students are tested in Term 4 in collaboration with their Intermediate Schools. Howick College is currently using the asTTle Reading and asTTle Maths tests to provide class placement information and to assist teachers in their course planning. The tests take approximately 1hr 30min. Year 9 students enrolling after the start of the year will be tested before their first day of attendance and may have to also sit the asTTle Writing test. May take up to 2hrs for all three tests.

Students whose first language is not English are also tested by the Language Support Department. This is a different test which aims to find out how much help students will need to improve their English. These students may do both tests depending on their English language ability. The Language test takes up to 3hrs. 

Does my child have to be tested when enrolled into Year 10?
Yes. Year 10 students undertake the asTTle Reading and Maths tests for Year 10 students.

Are students 'streamed' at Howick College?
Yes. Year 9 students are streamed into one of three ability groupings for English and Social Studies based on their asTTle Reading results . Similarly, they are streamed in Maths and Science based on their Maths results. Students are then placed into a class comprised of similar abilities in English, Maths etc. These placings are checked at the start of the year by having the students sit a second set of asTTle tests and changes are made to any obviously misplaced students.

Year 10 - Students are streamed within each subject into upper, mixed and lower ability groupings. This allows students to be taught at a level appropriate to their abilities in each subject. Students in Year 10 and above attend each class with a different group of students.


Year 11 - Some of the 'core' subjects have an 'advanced' class that offers students the opportunity to sit extra Achievement Standards. Most students are placed in a regular core class that offers between 21 and 24 Achievement Standard credits. 'Alternative' English, Maths and Science classes sit fewer Achievement Standards or a mix of Achievement and Unit Standards. Other levels (e.g. 'Applied' classes and the 'SPEC' Programme) provide other opportunities for students to gain qualifications.


Year 12 - Besides the regular classes, Alternative programmes are offered in English (Communication Skills), Maths and Science, and the 'SPEC' programme also runs at this level.


Students who are gifted in a particular subject may be taught with older students at a level appropriate to their needs.

My child is gifted. How will his or her needs be met?

Some students are advanced one or more years in the subject that they need to be learning. However, most gifted or talented students have their needs met in our 'upper band' classes and their progress are monitored.

My child has been attending school overseas. What year level will he or she be placed in?

Students from overseas are usually place in classes according to their age. This is an especially useful guideline for students in Year 9, 10 and 11. A student who has turned 13 by the start of May will normally be in Year 9.

What year level will my child graduate in?

Like most NZ high schools, Howick College has teaching programmes that terminate at Year 13, that is, entrance to University is gained through the successful completion of a Year 13 course of study and examinations. However, students who take an extra year to complete their studies are listed as Year 14.

At what age is my child no longer allowed to attend school?

Students entitled to a free education in New Zealand may continue to attend school up to and including the year they turn 19.

Can my child attend school while we are waiting for our Work Permit or Permanent Residency to be approved?

Only fee-paying students may attend school if a parent is neither a permanent resident, a holder of a work visa, nor a New Zealand citizen. All fee-paying students and those students who are the children of work visa holders must have a current student visa.


What will it cost for my child to attend Howick College?
Costs may vary from child to child depending on what courses and activities the child participates in. Usual costs include:

  • Uniform - Expected up to $500 for a new uniform, excluding shoes. Uniforms are sold only through NZ Uniform. It is advised that students should have a school jacket and a school jumper for the winter season.

  • Course Costs - Expected around $30 - $100 for workbooks. Materials costs are charged in some subjects, such as arts, photography and food technology. These costs sometimes can exceed $ 400 for such subjects in the senior school.

  • School Donation - The annual school donation for one student is $300 or $550 per family of two students or more. It is expected to be paid on enrolment and thereafter at the start of each year. Multiple instalments and Automatic Payments can be arranged with the school's Cashier. Parents/Caregivers will be sent reminder invoices regularly throughout the year for outstanding amounts.

  • Exercise Books - Allow between $50 - $100 for exercise books and calculator.

  • Field trips, curriculum related camps, and other school cultural/sporting events and activities will also incur costs and will be invoiced closer to the time of the event.


How long does the Enrolment Meeting take?
Parents should endeavour to have all documentation completed before the Enrolment Meeting. For Year 8 students enrolling into Year 9, the meeting usually takes about 15 minutes per child provided that all documentation are complete. For Year 9 enrolment during the year, the meeting often takes at least half an hour. As for students in Year 10 or older, please allow 30 - 45 minutes depending on the families' familiarity with the New Zealand education system as the NCEA assessment system can take some time to explain and understand. Similarly, students who are unsure of which subjects to choose can take more time at the Enrolment Meeting. Therefore, it would be very helpful if the student fully understands the courses we have on offer and plans his/her subject pathway carefully. The school will check the planned course and offer advice on courses that would best prepare the student for future aspiration. Students should also be prepared for alternative options should the chosen course be unsuitable.

When can my child start attending Howick College?
For in zone students, the Enrolment Meeting during the term will be done by appointment with one of our Deputy Principals, and students can usually attend school about two days after the Enrolment Meeting.

What happens on the student's first day?
Students who are attending Howick College for the first time at the start of the year (that is, all Year 9 students and all other new students) will be advised of the programme for their first day at school via a letter or email to their parents/caregivers.


Where can I find more information about available subjects? 

To find out more about our Learning Areas, the subjects they offer and where they can lead, please visit the Learning Areas page of our website and select the relevant department. Fore more information on specific subjects, please visit our Subject Pathways Map.

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