Specialist Teaching


Heaton students spend three hours every week in one of our specialist rotations with other students from their house. A rotation is about 8 weeks long. This programme includes the following areas:


Today's technology curriculum encourages students to become familiar with technological language and teaches them the skills needed to be innovative, creative and independent.


Technology is increasingly recognised as a vital learning area in the New Zealand Curriculum. It teaches students about teamwork, communication skills and the importance of contributing to the community, both socially and economically.

Students enjoy technology and high levels of engagement are evident in all technology rooms. Technology allows students to experiment and problem solve while operating within a structured framework. The technology areas that are currently offered are:

  • Food technology
  • Fibre technology
  • Wood technology
  • Metal and plastics technology
  • Digital technology


In science students explore how both the natural physical world and science itself work so that they can participate as critical, informed and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role.

ScienceThe Year 7 programme contains an introduction to marine ecosystems and then focuses on increasing the students’ knowledge of the Physical World, exploring concepts including friction, momentum, flight and pressure.

The Year 8 programme introduces students to cell structures and genetics before venturing into the Chemical World. Here the students use fair testing to investigate different reactions.

Both programmes are designed to be hands-on, with the goal of developing strong laboratory skills and positive attitudes to take forward to High School.

Visual Arts

In visual arts students explore how we communicate through visual language, expand their own visual vocabulary through mark-making and design, acquire technical skills and look at art works in terms of their social, cultural, and historical contexts. The inquiry topic acts as a framework for learning in both year groups.

Visual-ArtThe Year 7 programme begins with an introduction to art that includes an exploration of the students’ own cultural and personal identities and a series of drawing and design exercises that build confidence and expand their knowledge of art. Students use these studies to develop a composition for printmaking.

In Year 8 students continue to build on their skills and expand their knowledge of the visual arts. They are encouraged to develop their conceptual thinking, to investigate, experiment and to consider the wide range of applications art may have at school and in the future.

Both year groups have the opportunity to work on their own projects during lunchtime art clubs and to exhibit their work around the school and in the local community.

Click to visit the Heaton Art blog!

Physical Education

Physical education is taught as a specialist subject at Year 7. It focuses on the development of fundamental skills through simple and complex movements. Extending students' understanding of movement (space and body awareness) and developing relationships (interpersonal skills) are all achieved through cooperative learning activities.

SportsExamples of fundamental skills covered in the programme include: locomotor (movement), stability (balance) and manipulation (hands and feet). Students perform these skills by following ‘best practice’ methods (through modelling and demonstrations) in isolation and in modified games.

Students are encouraged to accept new challenges, learn new skills and perform in a team environment. Most importantly, the students learn to have fun through physical activity.

Student testimonials:

“I have enjoyed the P.E. tech rotation. My favourite learning experience was volleyball. I have made the biggest improvement in this area. I am now confident enough to trial for the volleyball team.”

“I have made huge improvements in basketball. I can now sequence movements to perform a basketball lay up.”

“The cricket sessions really extended my cricket skills. I am a better player because of the fielding drills we completed.”

“The warm-up games before each session were really fun! They got me enjoying P.E.”

In addition to the above rotation, Heaton students also receive specialist teaching in the following areas:

Performing Arts

The performing arts education at Heaton offers a well-balanced and exciting arts education where abilities in this area are extended and integrated with the inquiry programme, where possible.

Within this variety of themes, students explore, develop and refine ideas in dance, drama and music. The school has a purpose built performing arts centre where these programmes operate.

Engaging dance programmes allow students to discover how to integrate moving, thinking and feelings. Students use their bodies to convey emotion, explore space and time space in their choreographies.

In drama, students explore feelings through the elements of expression, voice and movement and step into various roles. When engaging in drama education, students discover how to link imagination, thoughts and feelings with drama practices, in ways that give expressions to our cultural diversity.

Students are learning to make sense of sound, appreciate and value the aesthetic qualities of music and express feelings, ideas and identities. Many students are involved in a variety of school based musical activities. These include choir, chorale, orchestra, chamber ensemble, wood windwind ensemble, brass ensemble, string orchestra, rock bands or itinerant music lessons. Specialist teachers work alongside these groups. Performances to an audience are regularly presented.

Biannually, the school engages in a production where a large number of students are involved. In 2011, the school performed “The Pirates of the Curry Bean”. The performing arts area also provides students with opportunities to participate and perform in the kapa haka group, wearable arts and aerobics.

Te Reo Maori

Te reo Māori is indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a taonga recognized under the Treaty of Waitangi, a primary source of our nation’s self-knowledge and identity, and an official language. By understanding and using te reo Māori, New Zealanders become more aware of the role played by the indigenous language and culture in defining and asserting our point of difference in the wider world.

By learning te reo and becoming increasingly familiar with tikanga, Māori students strengthen their identities, while non-Māori journey towards shared cultural understandings.  All who learn te reo Māori help to secure its future as a living, dynamic, and rich language.  As they learn, they come to appreciate that diversity is a key to unity.

By learning te reo Māori, students are able to:

  • Participate with understanding and confidence in situations where te reo and tikanga Māori predominate and to integrate language and cultural understandings into their lives.
  • Strengthen Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity in the world.
  • Broaden their entrepreneurial and employment options to include work in a ever-increasing range of social, legal, educational, business, and professional settings.
(The New Zealand Curriculum, page 14)

In Year 7 all classes and teachers attend weekly te reo Māori classes for a term.  By the end of this time, students can understand to reo Māori that contains repetitive sentence patterns and familiar vocabulary and can interact in predictable exchanges.  They are aware of and understand some of the typical cultural conventions that operate when speaking with others.

In Year 8 an extension opportunity is available for the students who would like to continue to learn te reo Māori and extend themselves beyond the familiar language they have already learnt.  The group meets weekly for the year.

We also provide a Heaton Kapa Haka group, which is open to any student with an interest in learning and performing.  This committed and enthusiastic group meets weekly for the year and the students perform as often as possible, often opening special assemblies, acknowledging pupils’ successes and welcoming special visitors to the school. A major focus is the Christchurch Cultural Festival where the group performs yearly.