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Teaching and Learning Programmes

Literacy and Mathematics

Literacy and mathematics are core areas of learning at Ferndale School.  Our ākonga access literacy and maths through programmes developed to meet their individual learning needs.  Based on assessment, learners can be learning through play and sensory activities, reading and writing programmes, or functional programmes that aim to develop day to day life skills.

NZ Curriculum

Our primary and secondary ākonga explore the world through the strands of the NZ Curriculum - The Arts, Health and Physical Education, Social Sciences, Science, Technology and Digital Technology.  Students learn through a range of experiences and programmes developing their knowledge and understanding of their world.


Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC)

Ferndale School develops programmes focused on education outside the classroom, to meet a range of student needs.  EOTC can include; class day outings, class camps, ski trips, and special events.

Sensory Based Learning

Dependent on sensory needs, sensory programmes are developed for individual ākonga.  Each programme is developed by our Occupational Therapist and teaching staff.

Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP)

Class and individual PMP programmes are developed to meet ākonga movement and learning needs.  These programmes are developed by the Ferndale School Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, and class teaching team.

Learning Through Play (LTP)

We are currently investigating how we can enrich students learning experiences and individual therapeutic needs in the LTP programme that is being developed.  Many junior classes are trialing different approaches to learning through play interweaving communication, social and emotional skills, and curriculum experiences. 

Hydro Therapy

Hydro therapy is offered as an optional programme for some ākongas to support development of physical and/or learning needs.  

Riding for the Disabled (RDA)

RDA is offered as an optional programme for some ākonga to support the development of physical and/or learning needs.  Ākonga experience contact with horses and where relevant develop riding skills.

Big Fun Gym

Big Fun Gym is offered as an optional programme for some ākonga to support the development of physical and/or learning needs.  The focus of Big Fun Gym is for ākonga to develop movement skills using a wide variety of gym equipment.

Kapa Haka

Ferndale School has its own Kapa Haka group.  Ākonga across our school participate weekly, working towards performances at our termly assembly and the wider community when the opportunity arises. All ākonga have the option to join this group.

Inclusive Dance

Ākonga at Ferndale School have the option of joining a Jolt dance group either at Base School or through Haeata's liaison with the community Jolt group.


Our music Specialist Teacher works across settings taking music sessions to develop skills; in music and through music.

Special Olympics Inter-school Sport

Secondary and tertiary ākonga have the option of joining Ferndale's sports teams.  Each term teams participate in the inter-school competitions organised by Special Olympics Canterbury.

Junior Sport

Primary and intermediate ākonga across settings have the opportunity of participating in junior sports to develop specific sport and team skills.

Young Adventurers

There is an optional programme for students aged 10-14 years to be part of outdoor pursuits activities.  In this programme ākonga experience biking and walking in recreation areas in the greater Christchurch area, and the development of skills in preparation for (DofE)

Duke of Edinburgh (DofE)

Ferndale School has a dedicated sports teacher who runs the DofE programme for ākonga aged 14 plus.  This is an optional programme that includes day trips, helping within the community, and a series of camps.  Ākonga work towards the Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards through this internationally recognised programme.

Ara Courses

Where relevant tertiary aged ākonga have the option to participate in tertiary courses run by Ara.  Current courses that can be applied for include; Work Skills - Preparing for Independence, and Hospitality Supported Learning.

Daily Living Skills

There is a focus for each ākonga at Ferndale to develop daily living skills that are relevant for their age and stage of development.  As ākonga progress at Ferndale there is an increased focus on developing daily living skills and independence/interdependence.  These skills are identified by ākonga, parents, caregivers, whāanau and teachers as being the most relevant and important skills for the ākonga to learn.

Accessing the Community

Class and individualised programmes are created to support ākonga learning to access the community.  Programmes can include accessing the following services and facilities; Metro Bus services, swimming pools, libraries, community gardens, volunteer organisations, local gyms, and shopping facilities.

Work Experience

Groups and individual ākonga have the option of developing work readiness skills through volunteer work placements either in community settings, volunteer organisations, or businesses.  

Project Search

Where relevant, Ferndale School will liaise with Project Search to support a student's application to participate in an internship work programme with the Canterbury District Health Board.  This is an option for students in their last year of school.

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