Social Sciences

HOF   Mr J Foden
HOD  Junior Social Studies – Year 9 Miss A McLean. Year 10 Mr Steven Gardiner
HOD  Geography – Mr A Jones
HOD  History – Miss N Leighton
HOD  Travel and Tourism and TIC Senior Social Studies – Mr A James
HOD Classics – Mr G Mcleod
HOD Art History – Miss A Palmer

What are the Social Sciences?

The Social Sciences Faculty is a dynamic collection of departments including Geography, History, Travel and Tourism, Classics, Art History and Social Studies.

As a faculty we aim to develop the students’ understanding of their local surroundings, the nation in which they live and the world around them. It is important for each student to develop as a global citizen, especially with the increase in travel and communications we see today. Studying a social science helps you to develop an awareness of the many cultures, environments and communities who make up our diverse planet. Students will learn to relate to others, understand a wide range of perspectives and learn from the mistakes of the past. There is always interesting and passionate debate and discussion going on in class!

What do we study in Social Sciences?

There are many courses available in Social Sciences. These depend on your year level and academic pathway (CIE or NCEA).

Year 9 – Social Studies

Year 9 Social Studies explores how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens. We do this through inquiry into migration, past and current conflicts, the environmental and social impact of consumerism and sustainability. Students will be taught to develop the skills and competencies needed to make them global citizens who are aware of the impact of their own and collective actions, and of the value of understanding different perspectives.

Year 10 – Social Studies

At Year 10 Social Studies, students further develop their knowledge and skills to enable them to better understand, participate in, and contribute to the local, national, and global communities in which they live. They develop understanding about how societies are organised and how the ways in which people respond and interact are shaped by different perspectives and environments. The roles and place of Human Rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, Government, and Tourism are examined as specific topics covered to achieve these objectives.  The course leads into Year 11 Geography and History.

Year 11

In Social Sciences we offer Level 1 Geography and/or Level 1 History.

Year 12

Students continue to Level 2 Geography and/or Level 2 History in NCEA, or AS Geography and/or History in CIE. We also offer NCEA Level 2 Tourism and Level 2 Classical Studies.

Year 13

Students continue to Level 3 Geography and/or Level 3 History or Level 3 Classical Studies or Level 3 Tourism in NCEA, or A Level Geography and/or History in CIE. We also offer NCEA Level 3 Social Studies.

Where can the Social Sciences take you?

Everywhere….. Social Sciences subjects develop transferable skills that you could take into any profession or future pathway. By choosing a Social Science your options are endless, the World becomes available to you and nothing is left out.



‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

‘If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.’ ― Michael Crichton

‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’ ― George Orwell

Why study History:

History should be studied because it is essential to individuals and to society, and because it harbours beauty. History helps us understand people and societies.  It helps us understand change and how the society we live in came to be. And most of all, it’s interesting!

 Year 11 History

Qualification: NCEA Level 1

This course is being assessed using:  Achievement Standards

Entry criteria: Open entry.
Total Credits offered: 20

Course description:

To provide an insight into a range of topics that focus on 20th Century history. Pupils will study famous people, events and organisations that have had a major impact on modern history, both globally and nationally.

We will study:

  1. World War One and the Gallipoli Campaign
  2. The Russian Revolution

This course leads to: Year 12 History

Carry out an historical investigation of an historical event, or place, of significance to New Zealanders
Demonstrate understanding of an historical event, or place, of significance to New Zealanders
Demonstrate understanding of different perspectives of people in an historic event of significance to New Zealand
Describe the causes and consequences of an historical event
Describe how a significant historical event affected New Zealand society


Year 12 History

Qualification: NCEA Level 2

This course is being assessed using: Achievement Standards

Entry criteria:  Confirmed entry 14 Credits in Level 1 History; or English.
Total Credits offered: 19

Course description:

To research and understand the causes and events of famous historical milestones. The pupils will study famous people, events and organisations that have had a major impact on 19th and 20th Century history.

The topics studied will include the following:

  1. The Cuban Missile Crisis
  2. The Vietnam War

This course leads to: Year 13 History


Carry out a planned inquiry of an historical event, or place, of significance to New Zealanders
Interpret different perspectives of people in an historical event of significance to New Zealanders
Examine causes and consequences of a significant historical event
Examine how a significant historical event affected New Zealand society

9389 AS History Year 12 Cambridge

There are two components for the course.

Component One:

International Option: The Search for International Peace and Security 1919-1945. This course covers both the League of Nations and the origins of the United Nations. Course key questions to be addressed cover the Origins and Aims of the L.O.N, the Organisation of the L.ON, the successes and failures of the LON and the origins and aims of the UN.

Component Two:

International Option. International Relations 1871-1945

This course covers 4 time frames:

Part One. 1871-1918 covers Imperial expansion, economic growth, the emergence of the USA and Japan as  world powers and the development of the Alliance system in Europe.

Part Two 1919-193 covers the reasons for the failure of the Peace settlements of 1919-1920 to secure lasting peace, the attempts to improve international relations between 1919-1933, the development of relations between the French, Americans, British and Germans between 1919-1933 and the main aims of the USA Foreign policy 1919-1933.

Part Three 1933-1939 covers the aims  and implications of Mussolini’s foreign policy, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the aims and implications of Hitler’s Foreign policy and reasons for the outbreak of WW11.

Part Four 1919-1945 looks at China and Japan during this period and addresses such events as the War Lord era, the development of the  Kuomintang, the support for Communism in China and the effects of Japan as a military dictatorship.

Year 13 History

Qualification: NCEA Level 3

This course is being assessed using: Achievement Standards

Entry criteria:  14 Credits in either Level 2 History or English or
Classical Studies
Total Credits offered: 23

Course description:

The study of New Zealand in the 19th Century and our emerging national identity and the Black Civil Rights movement in 1950s and 1960s USA.

Plan and carry out independent historical inquiry
Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay
Examine a significant issue in the context of change, in an essay
Analyse a significant historical trend and the force(s) that influenced it


9697 A2 History Year 13 Cambridge

This paper consists of Component 3 and 4, which follows on Components 1-2 from the AS course.

In component 3, candidates are given an extract from an historian’s writing. There will be a single question, asking candidates what they can learn from the extract about the interpretation and approach of the historian who wrote it.  They will be expected to show knowledge and understanding of the events and developments included in the topic but the purpose of the study will be for them to develop the ability to analyse and evaluate how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways. In particular, through studying the topic, candidates will need to consider why historians produce different interpretations of the same events. They will also need to develop an awareness of the different approaches historians adopt to their work. Answers will be marked out of a total of 40 marks.

Candidates are required to answer the question on the topic:

The Origins and Development of the Cold War, 1941-1950

In component 4, candidates are required to study the development of the Cold War from 1950-1991.

Theme 1 (1950-1975) will examine how the relations between the USA and USSR changed in the 1950-60s, how the cold war spread outside Europe, the impact of the Nuclear Arms Race and the move towards Détente in the 1970s.

Theme 2 (1975-1991) examines the effectiveness of Détente, the causes of the second cold war, the crisis of communism in the 80s and the reasons for the end of the cold war.

Theme 4 (Conflict in the Middle East, 1948-1991) is a case study of the Arab-Israeli conflict, from the creation of the state of Israel to the various conflicts that developed, the impact of the cold war upon these conflicts as well as the ensuing factors that destabilised the middle east region.

Candidates will be required to answer two out of three questions from component 4 (60 marks) in addition to the compulsory question in component 3, in their 3-hour examination.

Scholarship History

Candidates must demonstrate their ability to:

  • analyse and think critically about key ideas relevant to the historical context and setting
  • use highly developed knowledge, historical ideas, and skills to develop an argument that demonstrates an understanding of a complex historical context(s) and setting(s)
  • evaluate historical relationships such as cause and effect, continuity and change, past and present, specific and general, and patterns and trends
  • judge the reliability and usefulness of historical evidence, and evaluate the strengths and limitations of historians’ narratives
  • communicate a substantiated and balanced argument within an effective written format including an introduction, conclusion, and structured paragraphs that are organised around a focused argument, a detailed knowledge of chronology, and accurate supporting evidence to the context(s) and setting(s).

Content/Context details

The context of the sources and question provided will vary each year.


Geography at Westlake

What is Geography?

Geography is the scientific study of the earth’s landscapes, people, places and environments. It is quite simply about the world in which we live and the impact we have and have had upon it. In the broadest sense an education for life and living.

Learning is covered through class work, external speakers, fieldtrips, seminars and personal experiences. The subject develops students with the skills they will need to apply in the workplace, taught through a wide range of local, national and global topics. These skills include describing, analysing, explaining and interpreting features, processes, data and individual perspectives.

NCEA Geography

Qualification: NCEA Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 & Scholarship

These course are assessed using: Achievement Standards

Entry Criteria:    Level 1 – Open entry

Level 2 – Passing Level 1 Geography

Level 3 – Passing Level 2 Geography

Scholarship – At discretion of teacher

Level 1 (18 credits):

Unit Type Title Credits
1.1 External Demonstrate geographic understanding of environments that have been shaped by extreme natural event(s) (Christchurch and Japan Earthquakes of 2011) 4
1.2 External Demonstrate geographic understanding of population concepts (NZ and China Population) 4
1.5 Internal Conduct Geographic research with direction 4
1.6 Internal Describe aspects of a contemporary New Zealand geographic issue (4×4 destruction of Muriwai Sand Dunes) 3
1.7 Internal Describe aspects of a geographic topic at a global scale (Issues around global coffee production and consumption) 3
Level 2 (23 credits):
Unit Type Title Credits
2.1 External Demonstrate geographic understanding of a large natural environment (Tropical Rainforests) 4
2.2 Internal Demonstrate geographic understanding of an urban pattern (crime patterns) 3
2.3 External Demonstrate geographic understanding of differences in development (comparison of two different Pacific regions) 4
2.4 External Apply concepts and geographic skills to demonstrate understanding of a given environment 4
2.5 Internal Conduct geographic research with guidance (River study at Long Bay) 5
2.7 Internal Explain aspects of a geographic topic at a global scale (Malaria, a global killer) 3
Level 3 (23 credits):
Unit Type Title Credits
3.1 External Analyse natural processes in the context of a geographic environment (Coastal Environments) 4
3.2 External Analyse a cultural process (Global Tourism) 4
3.4 External Select and apply skills and ideas in a geographic context 4
3.5 Internal Carry out and present geographic research with consultation (based on research at Omaha) 5
3.6 Internal Analyse a contemporary geographic issue and evaluate courses of action (Access to clean water) 3
3.7 Internal Analyse a global geographic issue (Blood Diamonds) 3


Scholarship Geography

The examination is resource-based.

The paper requires the student to answer questions based upon resource materials (such as maps, text, photographs, models, graphs, tables, and cartoons) related to the predetermined geographic theme provided to assist candidates.

Students will be required to complete questions that involve critically analysing, processing, selecting, extracting, justifying, predicting, integrating, and presenting information.

Cambridge Geography:

Qualifications: AS and A2 level

Entry criteria: C grade or above for AS and A2 (or at discretion of HOD)

Course description:

AS Geography – This course is examined by 1 paper covering 3 sections (shorter questions, human geography and physical geography.

Topics covered in the course

Physical topics Hydrology and fluvial geomorphology

Atmosphere and weather

Rocks and Weathering

Human topics Population


Settlement dynamics

AS Geography – This course is examined by 1 paper covering 3 sections (shorter questions, human geography and physical geography.
Topics covered in the course:
Physical topics
Hydrology and fluvial geomorphology
Atmosphere and weather
Rocks and Weathering
Human topics
Settlement dynamics
A2 Geography – This course is examined by 2 papers (Physical and Human Geography)
Physical topics
Coastal Environments
Hazardous Environments
Human topics
Environmental Management
Global Interdependence

Field trips outside the classroom

Every course through NCEA and Cambridge receives the opportunity for field trips. In addition, we will also try where appropriate to attend lecture/presentations from specialists in their field to supplement our own teaching and areas of expertise. The senior Cambridge students also get the opportunity to attend seminars held at Auckland University prior to exams for extra content and exam advice. The table below summaries the field trip opportunities currently being run for each course:

Course Field trip/excursions
Level 1 Takapuna to assess microclimates. A trip to Kaipara Harbour to appreciate environmental impact. Both are directly linked to Internal Achievement Standard
Level 2 River study at Long Bay. Needed for research Internal Achievement Standard
Level 3 One trip to Omaha bay to look at the coastal environment and collect data. An overnight trip to Rotorua to observe, investigate and gain an insight from people in the business that is tourism (linked to both Internal and External assessment).
‘AS’ Visit Waitomo region to gain an appreciation of a limestone environment. Attend ‘AS’ seminars in Auckland. Conduct settlement assessment within Auckland region. Conduct field work on a local river
‘A2’ Coastal studies at Omaha. An overnight trip to Taupo to look at the impacts an extreme natural event can have. Attend a seminar day at Auckland University

Travel and Tourism

This course looks at a variety of aspects of the travel and tourism industry. Students will improve their destination knowledge as well as their understanding of the industry itself. The course comprises of workbook based, on-line and practical assessments which will be conducted either in class or on field trips hosted by our learning resource provider the International Travel College of New Zealand. In addition to this, students may participate in additional field trips to gain further credits through our Gateway programme. We are also fortunate to have visits from a number of tertiary providers and industry representatives to provide students with a taste of where travel and tourism may lead them. All standards are internally assessed (some will be assessed at the international Travel College of New Zealand while participating in a field trip).

Tourism Pathway

There are a number of tertiary education providers in Auckland for students who are interested in pursuing a career in tourism and travel. Many of these providers offer scholarships to school leavers and Westlake students have received scholarships from the International Travel College of New Zealand. Students who complete Level 3 and Level 4 are fully qualified to work in the New Zealand Travel and Tourism Industry.


Year 12 Tourism (Level 2)
Year 13 Tourism (Level 3)
Tertiary Provider (Level 3 and 4)
Level 2 Standards
US24731 v2 Pure New Zealand Level 2 4 Credits
US24726 v1 Social and Cultural Impacts of Tourism Level 2 3 Credits
US24729 v2 World tourist destinations Level 2 4 Credits
US24732 v1 Tourist characteristics and needs Level 2 4 Credits
US24728 v1 Work roles Level 2 4 Credits
US24730 v1 The business of tourism Level 2 4 Credits
US7123 v6 Apply a problem solving method to a problem Level 2 2 Credits
Total: 26 Credits
Level 3 Stadards      
US24725 v1 Economic Tourism Impacts Level 3 4 Credits
US18211 v4 Destination Australia Level 3 5 credits
US3727 v8 Destination South Pacific Level 3 5 credits
US8212 v3 Destination New Zealand Level 3 8 credits
US1312 v6 Give Oral Instruction in the Workplace Level 3 3 credits
US23769 v1 Salesfunction within a Tourism Workplace Level 3 3 credits
Total: 28 Credits

Classical Studies

Classical Studies is the study of the classical cultures of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

Classics is the study of these fascinating civilizations which are the foundations of the cultural heritage of the modern Western World – in law, politics, philosophy, literature, art, architecture, science, mythology and religious belief in particular. Classics gives you a broad cultural perspective and prepares you for higher level creative thinking skills, including university fields like philosophy, architecture, law, business and leadership, as well as develop your skills in factually supported speaking, public debating and report writing. This subject can be studied in Year 12 and also in Year 13 without prior knowledge. You can continue on from Year 12 to Year 13 and also do further study at University. Many students take Classics as an interest class to augment a science course.

Classics is assessed by NCEA external exams covering two standards, as well as two internal assessments, at each level.

Did you know?

  • The Olympic Games, held at Olympia in honour of the god Zeus, consisted of individual contest (agon) events in music, poetry and sport.
  • A gymnasium was a Greek sports training ground – where members of the polis city-state practiced sport for fitness in preparation for war as hoplites (heavy infantry).
  • The Greeks called a person who kept out of participating in government and political public life an idiotes (the origin of our idiot). Can you say you participate?
  • Alexander the Great fought his first battle at the age of 16 – by age 30 he had conquered most of the known (to the Greeks) world.
  • July is named after Julius Caesar, the Dictator, conqueror of Gaul and first sole ruler of the Roman Empire. His successors were Princeps, later giving us the word Prince.
  • Romans used sponges on sticks for toilet paper at continuously flushing toilets.
  • Only males could vote in Greek or Roman elections, as only they were citizens.
  • The modern American’s considered calling their new capital city “New Rome”, but when George Washington died they decided to name it after him instead – but still modelled much of their ideas and architecture of government on Ancient Rome (as have most governments down through history with ambitions for world power).

Year 12 Classics

Topics studied at Level 2 include:

  • An introduction to the classical Greeks, beginning with geography, mythology, the roles of the gods and attitudes to religion, an overview of Greek history from Mycenae (the Trojan War) to the time of the competitive dominance of Athens and Sparta, finishing off with a look into daily social life.
  • A survey of Greek politics and military history (these being inseparable among the 200 odd independent Greek city states) from the time of the Kings of Homer to democracy under Pericles, including hoplite soldier and trireme warship warfare, the Spartans versus the Athenians, with emphasis upon Greeks and the West versus the Persian Empire and the East in the famous Persian Wars – with particular focus upon the Battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis. This is the origins of the ‘East versus West’ conflict in history.
  • The social role of theatrical tragedy, with an investigation into the play Antigone by Sophocles – to gain insight into Greek ideas and values, such as roles of gods, humans, men and women, the power of the state (polis) versus individual conscience and what happens when these conflict – a universal dilemma still relevant today.
  • The ground-breaking and breathtaking Art and Architecture of fifth century BC Greece – including a field trip to investigate neo-classical buildings in downtown Auckland. These commemorate myths and heroes, wars and victories, display wealth and power, as well as honour the gods.

Year 13 Classics

Topics studied at Level 3 include:

  • An introduction to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, comparing their myths and legends (Theseus to Romulus and Remus), religion (Zeus to Jupiter), social (citizens and patrons) and political organisation (city-state polis to Republic), and aspects of daily life (only men went out in public to shop, to public baths for men and women).
  • The lifetime and astonishing political and military career of Alexander the Great. Did he murder his own father? Did Alexander believe he was a second Achilles and a son of Zeus? Was he really invincible? Why did his army follow Alexander to the edge of the known world? How did they manage so far from home to always be victorious?
  • The ideas and values of the classical world, as evidenced in the comedy of the Wasps by Aristophanes, in which we see slavery in the Athenian household while Aristophanes lampoons the self-serving democratic politicians of Athens, such as Cleon (who appealed to voter’s wish for state handouts, their fears and patriotic pride in war) and Hyperbolus (famous for making exaggerated claims, hence giving his name to our word hyperbole) – inviting comparisons with NZ and America today. [Some classes may replace this topic with the Aeneid by Virgil, about the heroic founding of Rome, the theme of Rome’s world mission to govern all peoples with justice and the role of the gods in all this.]
  • An overview of Roman Art and Architecture leading to independent research on aspects of Imperial propaganda in the art of the Roman Empire under the rule of the Emperors (Imperators), and into how a post-classical culture has used features of Imperial Roman architecture to make its own claims to world power.

Scholarship Classics

Following an introductory overview of the Greek and Roman world, Classics Scholarship discusses in depth the Level 3 topics of Alexander the Great and the literature of either Aristophanes or Virgil’s Aeneid (see above). We also investigate Greek Leadership – the beliefs and ideals underlying the actions of famous Greek politicians and generals, such as Leonidas at Thermopylae, Pericles in his renowned speech The Funeral Oration: such as arête, the display of competitive excellence, which is was thought would please the gods; as well as the leadership ideas and propaganda displayed in sculpture portraits and other art connected to Greek leadership.

  • Assessment consists of shared practice answers during the course, the end of year practice exam, and, the final end of year three-hour Scholarship Examination in which candidates write three essay answers, one on each of the three topics.
  • The aim is to fluently show insight and original thought in an interesting augmentative answer, like those required for University (Honours) courses, thus demonstrate quality of knowledge and thought that show perceptive insight into the Classical world of the Greeks and Romans.

Senior Social Studies

Qualification: NCEA Level 3

This course is being assessed using: Achievement Standards

Entry Criteria: Open entry. This course is suitable for students who have not met the entry criteria for other courses in the Social Sciences.

Total Credits offered: 20

This NCEA Level 3 course builds on the work covered in the junior programme and acts as an alternative course to History or Geography.

On this course, students will develop research and analytical skills, understand the different values and beliefs that shape a person’s perspective and seek solutions for current social issues in our society. Students will also be required to actively participate in a social action which will involve the event promotion, fundraising and evaluation. Students will be expected to use the internet, interview and survey people. The course includes both internal and external assessments.

Credits available – 20


Code AS Title Credits Int/Ext
91596 3.1 Demonstrate understanding of ideological responses to an issue(s) 4 Ext
91597 3.2 Conduct a critical Social Inquiry 6 Int
91599 3.4 Examine personal involvement in a social action(s) that aims to influence policy change(s) 6 Int
91600 3.5 Examine a campaign of social action(s) to influence policy change(s) 4 Int