ELEVATE Year 11 Programme (New)

Elevating NCEA for adventurous learners

Wellington’s leading Girls school Queen Margaret College (QMC) is responding to changes in the New Zealand Curriculum, and the NCEA Change Programme, by elevating its own Year 11 offering to best suit the needs of its students.

Once again QMC is offering more with a learning model for Year 11 called “ELEVATE”. QMC already offers a dual learning pathway at Year 12 with NCEA or the IB Diploma Programme. Now the addition of ELEVATE at Year 11 provides QMC students with choices, including semesterised courses and a more diversified curriculum to assist them further in their final school years.

ELEVATE empowers ākonga to gain a full NCEA Level 1 qualification while also preparing them better for NCEA Level 2 Certificate or the alternative pathway of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

ELEVATE offers two different course options from 2024 for Year 11 students to select from. Both options are guided by QMC’s progressive learning approach and encourage students to think critically, problem-solve, collaborate, speak up and challenge the status quo, while also catering for the diverse needs and interests of students and equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

“QMC results are consistently amongst the highest in the country as evidenced by our 100% pass rate across NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and 93% of our Year 11 students receiving either a Merit Endorsed, or Excellence Endorsed score for NCEA Level 1 in 2022. ELEVATE guarantees that QMC continues to be progressive with outstanding academic outcomes irrespective of what changes come from the Ministry of Education. What we learn, how we teach and how we support each other is unique to us, ELEVATE is another example of QMC’s uniqueness and progressive approach in action”. says Principal Jayne-Ann Young.


Option one comprises six assessed courses, totalling 95 credits across the subjects. Students will take English, Mathematics and Science (one of two options) and select three other subjects from current QMC subjects.

Option two comprises five assessed courses and two semester courses, totalling 80 credits. The semester courses will not be assessed but will have key learning outcomes that will challenge the students’ thinking and extend their skills, while providing an opportunity to experience new subjects such as Engineering Solutions, News Journalism, Politics, Trade and International Relations to name just a few.

OPTION 1            
OPTION 2            

From Holly Payne - Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching. “Since 2002 we’ve been tracking and evaluating the changes in NCEA, consulting other schools, past and current students, staff and our parent community to ensure we continue to offer choice and the most comprehensive and advanced learning options for each of our students. ELEVATE is a rigorous programme that broadens and deepens learning, so that QMC students are better placed for their future”.

The Elevate Year 11 Subject Selection Handbook, which outlines all courses on offer is available here:

Elevate Year 11 NCEA Subject Handbook

Semester Courses:

  • Film Showreel - Students will analyse films, learn film theory and produce a showreel of short clips from different perspectives (editor, cinematographer, director, lighting and sound editor).
  • News Journalism - Students will engage with news media and produce either a podcast product or a film journalism piece for their final assignment. Students will learn about interviewing, fact checking, referring to sources, camera filming and editing or sound/ audio technology.
  • Engineering Solutions - This course will introduce students to a number of different real-life problems (ocean plastics, natural disaster recovery and transport solutions to name a few) and provide the tools to guide students through solving these problems.
  • Outdoors for the Soul - An immersive and engaging course that focuses on the great outdoors, the local environment, and personal wellbeing. This course provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about the natural world around them, embracing the principles of kaitiakitanga, while also promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Students will participate in a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping and kayaking which will allow them to explore the diverse landscapes of our local area.
  • Food for ‘Flatters’ - An exciting course on food and nutrition, designed to give students knowledge and skills to make healthy, budget-friendly meals. This course covers a wide range of topics, including food safety, nutrition, meal planning and healthy eating habits.
  • Politics, Trade and International Relations – This course will provide a foundational understanding of the workings of government, the global economy and the relationships between nations. Students will learn about the various systems of government, the principles of trade and commerce and the history of international relations. The course will explore contemporary issues such as globalisation, climate change and human rights, and examine how these issues affect the world around us.


Why is Queen Margaret making this change?

With the proposed changes to NCEA, this is a great opportunity to evaluate what we have done in the past and offer new options that will cater to the diversity in our student community and ensure best preparation for Year 12 where we offer NCEA Level 2 and the IB Diploma.

How will the new Year 11 programme lead to academic success?

Our new Year 11 programme puts learning at the centre so that students and teachers have the time to focus on the joys of new knowledge without the undue pressure of over assessment. Furthermore, both options have been designed to more effectively lead into the Level 2 NCEA or the IB Diploma so that students are better prepared for this next step in their learning. Our current Year 11 cohort is not affected by these changes as they are being well prepared for Levels 2 and 3 and the IB Diploma under our current NCEA Level 1 programme.

Will students get enough credits to pass with both options?

Students are required to gain 60 credits at Level 1, including 20 Literacy and Numeracy credits known as the co-requisites. This means that both options for 2024 will offer students more credits than they require to gain the Level 1 qualification.

What if a student hasn’t gained their Literacy and Numeracy credits in 2023?

Students have two ways of gaining their literacy and numeracy credits, either through the examinations that they sit in 2023 or through the achievement standards offered in English and Mathematics in 2024. We will ensure that all students gain their literacy and numeracy credits before the end of 2024.

Will students still have enough credits for certificate and course endorsement?

No matter which option students choose, they will be able to attain certificate and course endorsements. For certificate endorsement students are required to gain 50 credits at either Achieved, Merit or Excellence level across all their subjects to endorse the year. For individual course endorsement, which recognises student achievement in an individual course (subject area) students are required to achieve 14 credits at Achieved, Merit or Excellence level in that subject. At least one of the standards needs to be achieved through an external assessment.

Will students still have end of year examinations?

External assessments have been changed to incorporate more than just examinations. Therefore, across several subjects students will still have examinations at the end of the year as well as external assessments throughout the year which may take the form of a portfolio, performance and much more.

For more information, please contact Holly Payne, Deputy Principal Learning & Teaching