We aim to provide a connected and coherent learning journey across the Middle School years for each learner by meeting them where they are at.
We have an established transition process to ensure moving into Year 7 from primary school is supported and families are guided. We operate a homeroom system to foster relationships and a sense of belonging. Students have specialist teachers for the Arts, Technology and Languages.
Aquinas students have six, 50-minute classes each day. School starts at 8.40 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and at 9.00 a.m. on Thursdays. The school day ends at 3.15 p.m. A full school assembly is held every two weeks.
Students meet with their Mentor teacher three times a week. We aspire to provide our students with the same Mentor teacher throughout their Aquinas journey which helps forge a strong student-teacher connection seven years in the making. Parents meet with teachers three times a year to discuss their child’s progress and achievements. This is in addition to receiving six progress reports. Please note, all students can check their academic progress by logging into the their Aquinas SchoolBridge account at any time during the year.
Beyond the classroom, Year 7 and 8 students attend a year-level camp each December and are encouraged to participate in the many sporting, cultural or artistic activities and clubs Aquinas has to offer. Annual retreats are held for each year level which are led by senior students. Each Spring, students have the opportunity to participate in the AIMS Games, NZ’s premier sporting event for intermediate-aged competitors. Sports Camps for those with a keen interest in sports are also available.
The St Thomas Aquinas Middle School Award is for students in Years 7 to 10. The award is a four-year journey and reflects the aspirational outcomes of our Graduate Profile and reflects holistic education.
Essentially, as a Catholic community we have reframed and emphasised what we value across all areas of learning. The word holistic means to focus on the development of the whole person. The STAMSA Award seeks to acknowledge not only academic progress and achievement but also contributions to areas of school life and the wider community.
It celebrates personal success in all forms, from academic achievement to sports, the Arts, culture and service. This model of holistic education reflects the whole person — all of their gifts and talents. Based on their efforts, students are awarded a STAMSA at one of four levels: Beginning, Developing, Understanding, Applying or Extending.
The Graduate Profile Progressions are mapped out across the curriculum and reflect the skills and attributes that our community would like a Year 13 student to leave Aquinas College with. For example, a servant leader who can positively influence others is a key attribute for making a difference in our society.
From Year 11 onward, Aquinas students experience greater independence and subject specialisation as they start to focus on their future career paths and interests. The Middle School uniform gives way to Senior School blazers and students are given greater leadership opportunities.
All Year 11 to 13 students at Aquinas study the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), which progresses from Levels 1 to 3 via a mixture of internal assessments and external exams.
● In Year 11, students study English, Mathematics and Statistics, Science or Sports Science, and Religious Education. They also choose two additional subjects.
● In Year 12, English and Religious Education are compulsory and students study four additional subjects.
● In Year 13, students study Religious Education and five subjects.
Subject selection opens in Term 3, and an Options Evening is held for students and parents to discuss options with staff. Our Future Pathways team is always available to discuss possible career and subject choices as well as Gateway work experience placements and off-site vocational courses.
Each Spring, Senior School students sit Derived Grade exams which serve as a practice for NCEA external exams, and determine top students.
Outside the classroom, many senior students take on leading roles in Aquinas sports teams, clubs, charity efforts, or cultural and art activities. They travel to key NZ locations for various field trips, including Biology, Geography and History. Studying Tiritiri Matangi’s unique ecosystem, seeing Parliament at work, kayaking Tauranga Harbour and surfing at Ohope are just a few of the experiences on offer.