Social Studies

Social Studies


Social Studies is about how people in different cultures, times and places, think, feel and act, how they organize their way of life, interact with others and initiate or respond to change. This course is compulsory in Forms 3 and 4 for all students. After these junior years students can choose to branch off into separate courses in both NCEA and CIE for history, geography, economics and so on.

Seven broad aims can be identified for the social studies course:

  • To study people's organisation in groups and the rights, roles and responsibilities as they interact.
  • To identify the contribution of culture and heritage to identity.
  • To learn about the way people interact with places and the environment, manage resources and participate in economic activities.
  • To study the relationships between people and events, through time, and interpretations of these relationships.
  • To develop not only academic skills but also social skills.
  • To create an ongoing interest in the subject and the concepts behind it as well as nurture critical thought.
  • To prepare boys for Pre-Q and NCEA social science programmes in Form 5.

Form 4

Descriptions/aims: Social Studies is about how people in different cultures, times, and places, think, feel, and act, how they organise their way of life, interact with others, and initiate or respond to change. Four broad aims may be identified:

  • To develop knowledge in the world and nation within which we live.
  • To promote thinking and understanding of how and why different cultures and individuals make, or have made, decisions to meet their needs.
  • To develop academic and social skills.
  • To create an ongoing interest in Geography and History

The Form 4 Social Studies Course introduces the senior subjects of Geography and History. Students get a taste of both subjects, study topics that have value in their own right and fulfil the requirements of the NZ National Curriculum. Where possible this will involve classes being taught Geography and History by specialist teachers. Covering some Pre-Q content in Form 4 also allows those students who continue in these subjects more in-depth learning in Form 5.

Course outline:


  • Plate tectonics, volcanoes and earthquakes, their effects and how man can prepare and cope with the consequences.
  • Population change, the population explosion, youthful and ageing populations and their consequences.
  • Population control. migration, push and pull factors, consequences for origin and destination areas.
  • Coastal processes, attempts to manage these by man.
  • Geographic, particularly mapping, skills.
  • Geography is taught with reference to case studies, some global, many New Zealand based.

History: New Zealand, c.1900-1939: Survey Study

  • Still "the Britain of the South Seas"?: How far did NZ's place in the world change between 1900 and 1945?
  • How far did NZ society become fairer?: 1900-1945?
  • How did the NZ economy develop?: c.1900-1945

The First World War, 1914-1918: Depth Study

  • Did one bullet cause World War I?
  • Why wasn't the war "over by Christmas" 1914?
  • "Lions led by donkeys?" Why did the war on the Western Front become a war of attrition?
  • Why wasn't the war won at Gallipoli - or on other fronts?
  • Did America win the First World War?

International Relations, 1919-1939: Survey Study

  • "The diktat": How fair were the peace treaties of 1919-1923?
  • To what extent did the League of Nations succeed?
  • Was it Hitler's foreign policy that caused World War II?

Methods of assessment: Every Form 4 student will complete a common test and or an examination at the end of every unit of work. In addition, individual teachers carry out book checks and tests for their classes. Examinations have Geography and History papers, with a combination of Pre-Q-style and more straightforward short answer questions.

Continuation of subject: Social Studies does not continue beyond Form 4, but it leads into Form 5 Pre-Q Geography and History and NCEA Level 1 Humanities.

If you have any further questions please contact our staff today.