Social Sciences

What are the Social Sciences about?

The Social Sciences learning area is about how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens.

In Social Sciences contexts are drawn from the past, present, and future and from places within and beyond New Zealand.

CLICK HERE to see a student’s video of the Level 2 Geography Field Trip 2020 to Mt Cook


Why students study the Social Sciences?

• To better understand, participate in, and contribute to the local, national, and global communities in which they live and work.

• To engage critically with societal issues.

• To evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political, and environmental practices.

• To study for and gain qualifications which enable students to select a wide range of career options.

Within Social Sciences the following subjects are offered:


Business Studies introduces students to the complexities of the world of business, how business is organised, financed and operated, and engenders an interest in the ability to work effectively within that environment.

Business Studies also enables students:

  • To understand the place of business as an integral part of the local and global society and economy.
  • To promote knowledge and an understanding of business as a productive activity.
  • To foster an experiential, as well as a theoretical approach to learning, using a range of business contexts.

Kaiapoi High School currently offers the following courses:

  • Year 10 Business Studies (half-year option course)
  • Level 1 Business Studies (full-year option course)
  • Level 2 Business Studies (full-year option course)
  • Level 3 Business Studies (full-year option course)


Classical Studies is a senior subject taught at Year 12 and Year 13. A scholarship class is also run during the year to prepare Year13 students who wish to attempt classic scholarship. In previous years students have consistently achieved at this level and gained a placing in the top 3% of New Zealand for this subject.

Classics is a university entrance subject that allows students to achieve highly and broaden their knowledge of the world in which they live.


History is the branch of knowledge that deals with past events especially human affairs. A comprehension of the past helps us to understand the world we live in today and to avoid mistakes in the future. Our history gives us identity as people. Studying history helps us to become critical thinkers.

Level 1 History

History is the branch of knowledge that deals with past events, especially human affairs. An understanding of the past helps us to comprehend the world we live in today and to avoid mistakes in the future. Our history gives us identity as people. Studying History helps us to become discerning thinkers.
A wide range of resource materials are used at Level 1 History and skills are developed in many areas. There is a full-day field trip to Lyttelton that includes a cemetery visit. Topics for study include the origins of World War II, Stalin’s Russia and the 1960s.

Level 2 History

Level 2 History helps us to understand how the past affects today’s world. The skills developed are very transferable and flow into many career options. Topics for study include Ghandi and Indian Independence, the Search for Security in the Nuclear Age and the Vietnam War.

Level 3 History

At this advanced level of History the skills of independent historical research, communication, analysis, evaluation and essay writing are developed. Level 3 History helps students to cope with the demands of tertiary study and the skills practised are necessary in a wide variety of careers. The course focuses on English history, including the Anglo-Saxon period, the reign of Elizabeth I and the events that led up to the execution of Charles I. There is a full-day field trip to Akaroa included in this course.


Legal Studies aims to equip students with an understanding of the principles and processes of the legal system, but Legal Studies is not a course to teach future lawyers. How laws operate, and people’s expectations of how these laws will affect our lives, are also a component of this course.

Level 2 Legal Studies

Level 2 Legal Studies enables students to:
• Understand the need for laws and recognise the constant pressure of law in their lives and an understanding of its role in society
• Relate and apply knowledge of the law to their own lives
• Examine the relationships between law and the values and goals of society
• Develop a knowledge of some of their rights and obligations under the criminal and civil law
• Describe the need for law to accommodate differing viewpoints
These students will hopefully be able to visit a prison facility, a courthouse and a police station as part of their course.

Level 3 Legal Studies

Level 3 Legal Studies enables students to:
• Gain an informed respect for the law that enables them to operate as confident and responsible citizens in a diverse society.
• Sharpen their capacity to evaluate the concepts, principles, systems and processes of the New Zealand Legal System; the history of law; and the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

This course will develop opinion, debate and political consciousness.




The aim of Social Studies is to help students understand human interactions that occurred in the past, are occurring now, and that are likely to occur in the future. The reason for these understandings is they may help students develop and nurture values that will make it more likely that they will be able to determine for any situation what the right thing is and do it, especially when doing the right thing is hard to do. It is about decency, respect, courage and honour. This is not a difficult idea to understand, but it can take a lifetime to appreciate.

Our Year 9 students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience in order to:

  • Understand the ways in which leadership of groups is acquired and exercised have consequences for communities and societies.
  • Understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and how this has consequences for people.
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments.
  • Understand that events have causes and effects.
  • Understand how producers and consumers exercise their rights and meet their responsibilities.
  • Understand how formal and informal groups make decisions that impact on communities.
  • Understand how people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges.

Our Year 10 students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience in order to:

  • Understand how the ideas and actions of people in the past have had a significant impact on people’s lives.
  • Understand how people define and seek human rights.
  • Understand how systems of government in New Zealand operate and affect people’s lives, and how they compare with another system.
  • Understand how the Treaty of Waitangi is responded to differently by people in different times and places.
  • Understand how cultural interaction impacts on cultures and societies.
  • Understand that people move between places and how this has consequences for the people and the places.
  • Understand how people’s management of resources impacts on environmental and social sustainability.
  • Understand how economic decisions impact on people, communities, and nations.
  • Understand how people seek and have sought economic growth through business, enterprise, and innovation.


Level 1 Geography

Geography focuses on the relationship between people and the environment.
The course covers:
– Geographic Issues
– Geographic Research
– Recreation and its Environmental Impacts
– Global Geographic Issues
– Extreme Natural Events (Earthquakes)
– Geographic Skills

Field Trips:
– Day trip to Arthurs Pass
– Overnight trip to Hanmer Springs
– Canterbury Earthquakes day trip to the CBD, Red Zone and Gondola.

This is a practical, real-life course. This course can lead on to Levels 2 and 3 Geography and Tourism. It is also a subject that opens further careers beyond school, as well as university study.

Level 2 Geography

This course expands on Level 1 Geography but remains open those wishing to pick it up in Level 2. The course covers:
– Natural Landscapes – River systems
– Cultural Landscapes – Urban studies including the Christchurch Rebuild
– Current New Zealand and Overseas Issues

Field Trips: These include day trips and an overnight field trip.  CLICK HERE to see a student’s video of the Level 2 Geography Field Trip 2020 to Mt Cook.

This course leads on to Level 3 Geography and Tourism. This also leads to careers beyond school and future tertiary study.

Level 3 Geography

Geography is about people and the environment. In this course the themes are:
– Natural Processes, focusing on how landforms were created by volcanoes and how they continue to be altered by on-going tectonic processes.
– Cultural Processes, focusing on how people utilise the landforms created by volcanoes, and those created by glaciers (as studied in Level 2 Geography). In this course we look at how Tourism utilises natural resources.
– Current NZ, overseas and global issues.

Level 3 Geography leads on to tertiary education, and/or a multitude of careers (in both the public and the private sectors), which require the skills gained from our Geography courses.


Tourism can lead to a range of employment and study options in New Zealand’s biggest industry.  We offer the following courses at Levels 2 and 3.

Level 2 Tourism

This course is designed for those students who are interested in having a career in the Tourism Industry.  It is a practical course that is linked in to real-life employment situations, ranging from the shop floor to management. The course is Unit Standards based and offers a chance to sit industry-based qualifications that also count for NCEA Level 2.  Level 2 Tourism leads on to Level 3 Tourism.

The course covers the following:
• New Zealand Destinations
• Global Destinations
• The Tourism Industry
• The Service Industry
• Travel Options
• Tourism Support

Level 3 Tourism

This course is Unit Standards based and offers a variety of options. It offers a chance to sit industry-based qualifications that also count for NCEA Levels 2 and 3. As well as counting for NCEA, this course also gives students the chance to gain the National Certificate in Tourism, which is a qualification on its own.

The course covers the following:
• New Zealand Destinations
• Global Destinations
• The Tourism Industry
• The Service Industry
• Travel Options
• Tourism Support

There will also be field trips to local attractions / tourist destinations at both levels.



Level 2 Accounting

At this level we look at the Accounting System from the point of view of small business and we develop a method of collecting information from everyday business activities and recording it in such a way that is useful. When the recording process is complete we present the information in a form that is easily understood by those that need it, whether it be the owners of the business or any other interested party. This course is aimed at providing skills in accounting that can be applied to a large number of personal and business activities.


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