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Health &

Physical Education

The focus of health and physical education is on the wellbeing of the students themselves, of others and of society through learning in health-related and movement contexts. Students reflect on the nature of wellbeing and as they develop resilience and a sense of personal and social responsibility, they are increasingly capable of taking responsibility for themselves and contributing to the wellbeing of those around them, of their communities, and of the wider society.

This learning area makes a significant contribution to the wellbeing of students beyond the classroom and in building positive and responsible attitudes in our students.

The Health and Physical Education Department aims to meet the needs of all students via a range of innovative and challenging programmes. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and develop physical and interpersonal skills to improve and maintain their own well-being. A wide variety of courses are offered to students from Year 9 through to Year 13.


At Years 9 and 10 students undertake compulsory programmes of study in both Health and Physical Education. These are the foundation years which are designed to prepare students for NCEA with the basic understanding and knowledge if they choose these courses in Year 11.

Students have a wide variety of option choices available to them in this area as they enter the senior school. These include:

Year 11: 11PES, 11HES, 11SES and 11OED

Year 12: 12PES,12HES, 12SES and 12OED

Year 13: 13PES, 13HES, 13SES and 13OED

All these senior courses on offer are designed to cater for a wide range of students' interests and abilities - from the more academic focus provided PES and HES courses which are AS only, to the leadership and coaching focus offered through SES and OED US courses.

Where can Health lead?

Health focuses on well-being/Hauora, personal, interpersonal and societal issues, drug awareness, sexuality, nutrition, mental health and resilience, and strategies to reduce issues. Possible career pathways from this learning area include: teaching, sport psychology, sports massage, physiotherapy, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, health science research and a nutritionist.  

Where can PES lead?

The course focuses on social responsibility, risk management, biomechanics, physiology, and event management. Possible career pathways from this learning area include: teaching, sports coaching, sports massage, physiotherapy, personal training, fitness consultancy, recreation centres, occupational therapy, sports trainer, outdoor instructor, sports coordinator, sports science research, professional sportsperson. 


Where can SES lead?

Sport Exercise Studies is a course that focuses on the practical application of the theories of sport, participation and exercise science. The course material is a mixture of Unit Standards supplied by the Manukau Institute of technology and Achievement Standards developed by the school. Topics covered include anatomy, factors that influence participation, risk management, the role of the coach and event management. This course is designed to give students the best start to careers in the following pathways: sports coaching, fitness instructor, armed forces, outdoor recreation instructor, massage therapist, sports science research, centre management, police officer, recreation coordinator.

Health & PE


Howick College offers a unique outdoor education programme to allow students to fully experience the various aspects of outdoor survival skills.

Year 9 


All year 9 students experience the traditional and popular three-day camp at our Outdoor Education facility at Waharau Regional Park. Activities include kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, archery, flying kiwi, orienteering, frisbee golf, camp crafts such as cooking on a trangia stove, campfire and a range of other outdoor pursuits.

Year 10


Students have the opportunity to select a full year course that exposes them to: snorkelling and surf survival skills, overnight tramping, studying New Zealand native flora and fauna, learning and teaching outdoor skills, first aid and camp craft. The course is based around the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and students can select to participate in the programme through an external provider with in-school support. Students who select this course are expected to be passionate and engaged with outdoor education. 

Year 11  

Outdoor skills are further strengthened and developed in NCEA level 1. Students have the opportunity to gain 19 credits based upon five Achievement Standards. These standards are based on the following contexts: multi-day tramping at Whatipu and Tongariro National Park, rock climbing, raft building, minimalist survival, and an optional sea kayaking excursion. Students can also select to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award through an external provider with in-school support.

Year 12 and 13


Outdoor Education is an option choice that allows senior students to gain NCEA qualifications at Level 2 where there are 16 Achievement Standard credits available for NCEA endorsement and 25 Unit Standard credits available. These involve skills and experience in: kayaking, indoor rock-climbing, multi-day tramping, sailing, mountaineering, orienteering, First Aid Certificates in Workplace and Outdoors, high ropes courses and instructors courses, and outdoor survival.


With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles dominated by screens, a mounting body of research is endorsing the importance of wilderness experiences for young adults in regards to their increased mental and physical health, improved concentration and study habits, enhanced self-esteem and creativity, consideration towards others, a clearer sense of self, purpose and responsibility and a lasting appreciation for the outdoors. It improves their self-organisation and self-management to be able to look after themselves once they leave school as well as providing leadership opportunities.


Where can Outdoor Education lead?

Most employers appreciate the life-long skills and attributes developed from challenging outdoor experiences including being organised, planning ahead, managing risk, teamwork, problem solving, using initiative, coping with adversity, self-reliance and leadership.

Outdoor Education also supports a range of career options including jobs within an expanding adventure and ecotourism industry, educational institutions, recreation centres, natural resources governance, the Defence and Police forces. 13OED graduates continue to experience 100% success at gaining places onto sometimes limited entry outdoor education tertiary courses.

Outdoor Education
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