Academic Extension programmes

HGHS recognises, and aims to celebrate, the diversity of its student body. Through its academic extension pathway and other co-curricular opportunities, students with significant academic ability will find an enriching, challenging and supportive environment in which to thrive at HGHS.

Ignite: Extension in Years 9 and 10

At the junior level, Ignite classes provide academic extension through a core class. English, Social Studies, Maths, Science and PE/Health are separate classes but there is significant effort to coordinate learning. 

The purpose of Ignite

The aim of the Ignite programmes in Years 9 and 10 is to offer students the opportunity to experience learning at a level that extends, challenges and supports them. The Ignite programme should lay the foundations for our most promising academic students to thrive now and in their senior years, by developing strong learning attributes and skills.

How the Ignite classes are formed
At present, the Year 9 Ignite class is created by invitation to students whose entrance testing and contributing school information has indicated that they are working at an above average academic level.
At present, the Year 10 Ignite class is created by invitation to students whose end of Year 9 core class examinations, and overall Year 9 performance, indicate that they would benefit from extension. Generally speaking, this class is a continuation of the same girls from the Year 9 class. 

How do we enrich and extend? 

  • Course content is a primary driver of our extension programmes. Students in Ignite work on a tailored course that goes beyond what is offered in the regular Year 9 and 10 programmes.  Enrichment means going sidewards and going deeper, rather than only pushing forward in content. Sparking students’ curiosity, provoking thought, encouraging exploration, and inviting discussion are of primary importance. Ignite is about igniting passion, interest, intellectual challenge. Ignite is not simply pushing through content at an accelerated rate.
  • In addition, co-curricular opportunities are a wonderful way to grow Ignite students’ appreciation of, and talent in, their particular areas of interest. Follow the links to HGHS clubs and sports for more information. 
    Clubs and special interests         Visual and Performing Arts        Sport
  • Part of the Ignite experience is some outside of the classroom cross curricular project day opportunities. We aim to offer something for each class twice a year.

Extension in Years 11-13
In the senior years, there are extension pathways through the various subject areas. These provide opportunity for students to be challenged in their areas of excellence. Maths, Science and English offer extension specific classes, while other subjects offer individualised pathways enabling extension to occur, such as in Visual Arts, PE, Technology, Social Sciences and Languages. 

It is also possible for students to work at NCEA levels that are beyond their schooling year eg. Year 12 students could be doing Level 3 subjects or taking Scholarship examinations.


New Zealand Scholarship, the pinnacle of academic challenge at a high school level, is offered in a number of subject areas. 

Some subjects offer in-class preparation, such as Visual Arts and Technology subjects as well as the Level 3 English extension class. In other subjects, outside of class Scholarship groups operate such as in Science and Maths.