ESL support for our International Students

(English as a second language)

Most second language learners need some support, from beginners to students who are working towards University Entrance. The ESL Department’s role is to provide programmes to meet these learners’ needs, providing language and curriculum support.

At St Mary’s College we recognise each student as unique and special. As such, our ESL classes are small and individualised. In this way, students can get all the targeted support they need in a caring environment. 

Prior to arrival, and then on arrival, students from second language backgrounds are tested to determine their language learning needs. Then they are placed in an appropriate ESL programme. Programmes are flexible and are based on students’ learning needs. However, generally there are three options available:

ESL 1 – Junior ESL

This class is for junior and short-term students who are at a pre-intermediate level or below. Students learn language through a series of units such as ‘Getting to know New Zealand’, ‘The Natural Environment’ and ‘Many Cultures’. These units introduce the students to the New Zealand curriculum. Junior students are withdrawn from their mainstream classes to attend lessons.

ESL 2 – Working towards NCEA

This class is for senior students who are ready to do academic work and are working towards NCEA Level 1. The students learn English and are offered some NCEA assessments. The aim is to support the students’ language learning and teach them the skills they need for University Entrance Literacy assessments the following year.

ESL 3 – Academic English

This class is for Year 12 and 13 students who are working towards University Entrance in their Level 2 English class. The aim is to support the students with their learning and allow them additional time to complete their English standards. If students have a sufficiently advanced level of English, they may be offered Academic English Language Standards.