Learning at Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton encourages an appreciation of culture, the arts and the place of science and technology in our world. Our nine different learning areas offer a broad range of subjects to help each student pursue their education.

The Arts


Music is a fundamental form of expression, both personal and cultural. Areas that are covered include Music history, composition, technology and performance. On your chosen instrument, you will be expected to perform in front of an audience both as a soloist and as part of a group.


In this subject, students will develop their confidence, reflective thinking, performance and presentation skills, and their use of Drama elements, techniques and conventions to create and perform dramas.

During the year, they will create several performances, some self-devised, others worked from a script. Students will also see theatre and learn to think critically about what they see. This is in preparation for the external exam which asks them to reflect on theatre.  They will have the option of sitting the theatre form exam as well.


The Dance programme includes a range of creative and responsive aspects in addition to the practical and technical components. They will learn the elements and devices of dance to broaden their movement vocabulary and will have the opportunity to explore and develop choreography and performance skills through a variety of genres. A range of skills associated with viewing and responding to dance performance will also be introduced.

Research has shown Dance empowers students and brings improvement to personal and psychological well-being. Dance will develop confidence in the individual and their ability to work as part of a group.  Dance can be taken right through the senior levels of study, including Scholarship. Dance is a university approved subject and many universities offer continued study.

Visual Arts

The emphasis is on a course of practical study.  This offers exploration of a variety of fields, media and techniques.  These include drawing, Painting, Design, Photography, Printmaking and mixed media.  The visual environment is used as a basis for students to develop perceptual awareness, creative imagination and personal style, develop skills with facility and to think creatively.


The emphasis is on a course of practical study exploring digital photography.  This course is suitable for students who have not previously taken art. This is an exciting journey exploring various conventions within this field.  The creative, expressive and technical skills developed will be directly beneficial for future life and art options.


Experience in painting will give students the opportunity to make informed choices about the visual art disciplines they may wish to continue with at a later stage.  The creative expressive and technical skills developed will be beneficial for future life and art options.


This exciting journey explores a variety of design conventions giving students the personal skills to develop their own ideas.  The design outcome uses a digital process but can be inspired using conventional drawing processes. The creative expressive and technical skills developed will be beneficial for future life and art options.


English encompasses learning about both language and literature, including novels, short stories, poetry and film.  Students will develop their reading, writing, viewing, presenting, speaking and listening skills.  Discovering how language works will enable students to communicate effectively for a range of purposes and using a variety of forms.

Media Studies

Media Studies provides students with the opportunity to develop media literacy skills, enabling them to critically examine the role that the media plays in their lives.  Students will be given the opportunity to create their own media texts.


English Language (EL)

This subject aims to increase a student’s confidence and competency in all four areas of language learning – Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading,  through a variety of learning strategies and activities. Students will work towards gaining English Language Unit Standard credits at the level they are best suited. Particular emphasis is given to literacy skills, essay writing and general academic vocabulary used in NCEA .


This subject aims to take students from absolute beginner to Level 7/8 of the NZ Curriculum over the years.  In the process, students will learn how to communicate in different situations on a variety of topics, enlarge their vocabulary and knowledge of grammar and develop cultural awareness.  They will develop the skills to learn any language and also gain skills in thinking and critical analysis. Exchange opportunities and a biennial trip to New Caledonia are available for students in Years 12 and 13, as well as a camp in Year 13.


This subject aims to take students from absolute beginner to Level 7/8 of the NZ Curriculum over the years.  In the process, students will learn how to communicate in different situations on a variety of topics, enlarge their vocabulary and knowledge of grammar and develop cultural awareness.  They will develop the skills to learn any language and also gain skills in thinking and critical analysis. Exchange opportunities are available for students in Years 12 and 13.

Te Reo Māori

In this subject students will learn to use basic Māori language patterns so that they can converse with Te Reo Māori speakers in familiar social situations and cope with some less familiar ones.  They will develop a willingness to experiment with new language and to read independently.  They will write short passages, person letters and simple formal letters in Te Reo Māori. Over the years, students will increasingly gain confidence in using a range of strategies for learning Te Reo Māori and for communicating with others in predominantly Māori social contexts.


This subject is on offer only for students in Years 12 and 13.  It is for native speakers of Spanish to gain NCEA credits in their own language but also available for language students to learn an additional language. Students need to have already gained NCEA Level 1 in a language.  The course aims to take these students from absolute beginner to approximately Level 5 of the NZ Curriculum a year. In the process, they will learn how to communicate in different situations on a variety of topics, develop a Spanish vocabulary and knowledge of grammar and develop cultural awareness.  


This subject covers algebra, graphs, geometry, measurement, number, probability, statistics and trigonometry. Mathematics helps students to think numerically, and to develop logical, sequential thinking along with problem solving. Skills needed in a changing work place and in most areas of study. Statistics develops students’ statistical literacy, a skill that is needed to correctly interpret media releases and information relating to students areas of interest.


Students taking this subject will be solving problems and equations involving trigonometric functions, differentiation and integration in calculus, and to solving problems involving manipulating real and complex numbers. The skills taught are challenging but encourage students to think abstractly and to acquire skills needed in some lines of further study.


Students studying Statistics will be analysing time series, bi-variate data and using a mathematical model involving curve fitting to solve a problem. Level 2 and 3 statistics prepare students for future studies that require statistical analyses, enable them to correctly interpret statistical figures and graphs in the media, and to develop probability and distribution skills. Many tertiary courses now require statistical skills.

Physical Education and Health


This subject involves a study of personal well-being, understanding issues in health, nutrition, relationships and decision making. It encourages students to take responsibility and critical action to promote personal well-being and healthy communities.

Physical Education

This subject involves a study of personal well-being, physical movement, exercise and interpersonal skills as well as participation in physical activities.

Religious Education

In the Religious Education programme, our faith, its values and its meaning are explored at different levels throughout the school.

In Year 9 and 10, we integrate our learning with Social Studies. This enables us to take the values of our faith and the Charism of RNDM and apply it practically, using contexts related to ourselves and our community. Our learning is focused around Communion, Contemplation and Mission.

At senior level, we focus on areas of Social Justice and Action, Scripture, World Religions and Church history. Each of our areas of learning make links to how we understand the world around us today. Religious Education at senior level is an academic course and is assessed using NCEA Achievement Standards. Course endorsements are offered at L2 and L3. Some standards also offer a literacy component.

Social Sciences


Accounting is the study of the processes of translating financial transaction data into information to assist decision-makers to make relevant, accurate and timely decisions.  Areas covered in this course include the concepts of accounting, processing of accounting transactions, and the preparation and analysis of financial statements for businesses, individuals and community groups.

Classical Studies

Classical Studies is a ‘multi-disciplinary’ subject that focuses on Ancient Greek and Roman Civilisation. We study aspects of History (Alexander the Great), Literature (The Aeneid and Roman version of the myth behind the Trojan war) and Art (Roman Art and Architecture). The reasons for studying Classics are:

  • The historical importance of classical civilisation in the cultural traditions of the ancient world is an important part of contemporary New Zealand culture. In classical Greece and Rome are to be found the origins of much of our art, science, literature, law, philosophy,   politics  and religion.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans produced works of the highest quality, intellect and creative imagination. Learning about their world enriches your understanding of your world.

With a background in Classics, you can go on to complete a Bachelor of Arts at University.


In this subject, students learn about producer and consumer choices, interactions between households and firms, how economic decisions are made, and the effects these choices have on individuals and the economy. Students will be introduced to the way producers work and the concept of a market which determines prices and allocates scarce resources. We are all involved in economics as producers or consumers and this course provides an understanding of our different roles in this process.


Geography stimulates a sense of wonder about the world, inspires students to help shape a better future and equips students with skills for the future.

Geography students are able to make sense of a complex and changing world and their place in it. Students have the opportunity to: build on and expand their personal experiences of natural and cultural environments; explore real and relevant contemporary situations; think about the ways features are arranged on the earth’s surface; examine processes that shape our world; undertake fieldwork investigations in different locations outside the classroom; develop an awareness of the connections between people and places; consider responsible action in relation to geographic issues.

In Level 1 students will specifically study extreme natural events, particularly earthquakes and a variety of other geographic issues which will be assessed internally. New Zealand population and associated issues (the sustainable use of resources, particularly dairying). These will all be assessed externally.


In this subject, you will be studying events in the twentieth century that have been significant for New Zealanders. The main topics studied will be The Origins of World War II, the Depression of the 1930s and Black Civil Rights in the USA. You will learn how to undertake a research investigation, communicate information in a variety of ways and the causes and consequences of events. You will also learn how to use a wide range of sources.


Tourism is offered as a 2 year programme of study in Year 12 and 13. This subject earns NCEA credits. It prepares students for opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector (approx. 10% of all jobs). It also prepares students for entry to a tertiary Tourism school if they are seeking a diploma or degree which will enable them to enter this industry at a higher level.


Junior Science

 In years 9 and 10 we aim to spark curiosity and make Science as hands-on as possible. We are integrating digital technologies into our curriculum to enhance their experience of Science and provide opportunities for a wide range of learning styles and preferences. The curriculum is designed to help students make sense of the world around them, studying a broad range of theme-based topics which integrate the four Science learning areas. Topics include Sports Science, Elements of Papatuanuku, The land of the Kiwi and many more. We also encourage learning outside the classroom with field trips allowing students to see Science in action.

Level 1 Science

Many careers require an understanding of Science. There are two options for Level 1 Science; Applied Science and General Science. The Applied Science course is an internal-only course that is suited for those who wish to carry on Science into year 11 but do not wish to specialise into the Sciences beyond Level 1. The General Science course is a mixture of internal and external assessments which provide the foundation for specialising into specific Science areas at Level 2.  Both courses build on the content the students have been exposed to during their Year 9 and 10 courses and provides students with a background in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science and Physics.


Biology is the science of life.  Biologists study the structure, function, growth, changes  and distribution of living organisms. Biology is a challenging subject that aims to develop a wide range of skills, ranging from practical and investigative skills to those associated with research and understanding of biological ideas.  It also places Biology into the context of the local and wider community.  Independent learning is encouraged and a primary aim is to stimulate a continuing interest in Biology.


Many careers rely on students having a sound knowledge of the sciences. Level 2 Chemistry develops on the principles introduced at Level 1. Students will explore concepts such as Organic Chemistry, Reactivity and Atomic Structure. There are also opportunities for students to learn important practical skills that every future chemist should have.

Earth and Space Science

Earth and Space Science is a relatively new branch of Science, exploring the interconnected nature of planet Earth and beyond. At Level 2, for external assessments, students study the causes of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami, integrating chemistry and physics concepts; and the life cycle of stars and planets in our universe. At Level 3, for external assessments, students study the oceans and atmosphere and how they are interacting and changing as a result of global warming.  Earth and Space Science is a good way to see some of the challenging Science concepts in an everyday setting.

Earth and Space Science is a full course at Level 2 and 3 and Level 3 is UE approved. The subject is challenging and aims to develop a wide range of skills, ranging from practical and investigative skills to those associated with research and understanding of ideas. Regular revision of concepts and tutorials are vital. Students with a keen interest are encouraged to take Earth and Space Science.


The Level 2 course expands on the principles and ideas that are introduced in Junior Science with the emphasis on mechanics, wave behaviour and electricity and electromagnetism. The practical component is developed throughout the year and is a vital part of developing sound scientific technique. This course develops an understanding of the basic ideas and concepts in Physics which is vital for those carrying on to the Level 3 course. For those not continuing, the level of achievement is a good foundation for related careers.


Food Technology

Food Technology explores the entire process of why, what and how we do things.

Students work on projects, where they are asked to identify real opportunities and needs, come up with viable solutions, choose the most appropriate, and then create that solution. Students learn to work with others, to show initiative, to be creative and to find compromise when required.

Catering and Hospitality

Catering and Hospitality offers a unique opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and extend their skills within hospitality and catering vocational context. It is a suitable qualification for those who want a broad background in this area and for those who wish to progress further education or the world of work. It is expected that students be involved in competition work and catering for events.

Digital Technology

Students will develop transferable skills and knowledge such as problem solving and design alongside the more specific Digital Technology skills and knowledge. Throughout the five year programme a range of areas will be covered such as information management, graphics, animation, web development, programming and multimedia.

Design and Visual Communication

Students will focus on visual literacy and creative thinking. They will analyse design ideas and make informed decisions in order to produce ideas relating to a design brief. This design brief will be centred around a specific design context; product, spatial, architectural or landscape design. Effective visual communication techniques such as, freehand, instrumental and digital application of 2D and 3D design ideas will apply.

Fashion and Design

The Fashion Design course allows students to further develop skills in Technology design thinking, aesthetics and textile techniques. Understanding and adapting of commercial patterns. Development of products influenced by fashion designers, with exposure to fashion illustration and prototyping.