Hillcrest is an inclusive school with a wide range of nationality groups reflected in a diverse array of languages and cultures. The educational needs and abilities of our students is also reflected in our curriculum as we seek to provide opportunities for our students to engage in meaningful learning pathways to attain the qualifications, skills and competencies they require that will prepare them for life beyond school. As well as the classroom, our students are provided with an extensive range of activities involving Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC), sport, the Arts, performance and culture as well as numerous leadership and community based activities. These opportunities make a significant contribution to our school and in doing so add pride and school spirit, which are all essential in a successful school.
The school operates an enrolment scheme with boundaries incorporating parts of Hamilton East, Hillcrest and Silverdale and a rural zone including Tamahere, Tauwhare, Newstead and Matangi.
Although academic achievement is the cornerstone of the school, student achievement can take various forms. Some students strive at the highest level to attain excellence endorsements in NCEA and Level 4 Scholarship. These same students are often striving to gain entry to University and gaining University Scholarships. Other students are looking at different pathways into work, apprenticeships, other Tertiary providers, or a combination of the above. Whatever their aspirations are our role is to provide a successful pathway for each of our students so they can leave school with the academic attainment, skills, abilities and attitudes to be successful beyond school.
Hillcrest High has always had a reputation for academic success at the highest level. Approximately 50% or our students consistently gain endorsements in NCEA. In 2018 the school gained 51 Scholarships (including 12 Outstanding), which is a significant achievement. We want our students to gain an NCEA qualification that is fit for purpose and can successfully lead them to their next level of learning, preferably into a Level 4 tertiary qualification. The school offers a broad range of NCEA subjects which cater for our diverse student body. These include specific programmes to assist those students to gain their NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements. Cambridge AS level is offered at Year 12 in English and Mathematics and senior computer programming students are able to enter for the University of Waikato Computer Science Scholarships. At Year 13 selected students are also able to study University based papers.
A number of our senior students participate in our vast array of Vocational Pathways programmes. These programmes include Gateway and STAR courses that provide students with work based opportunities while still continuing to study at school. Our Secondary Tertiary Partnership Programme, better known as our Trades Academy Programme with Wintec, now provides trades based programmes for over 100 senior students who see a trade as their likely destination.
Our junior programmes of learning are designed to meet the learning needs of a diverse student population. Our curriculum is broad based and opportunities are provided for our junior students to experience different subjects prior to more specialisation in the senior school.
All junior students belong to a year level form class who remain together for the duration of their time at Hillcrest, together with their form teacher. The Dean of the level also follows the year level from Year 9 to 13. Junior classes are essentially mixed ability, but Mathematics have banded streaming and specialist classes have been crreated to cater for students who struggle with numeracy and literacy. Enrichment and Extension Programmes (JEEP) and Sports Development Programmes at Year 9 and 10 specifically cater for students with specific academic and sporting abilities.
Hillcrest High School has embraced the international flavour of our diverse student population. We have approximately 55 international fee-paying students, and a number of exchange students enrol at Hillcrest each year. A specifically built International Centre provides classrooms, reception and offices for our International and ESOL Departments. A number of activities including camps, trips and the annual international concert are held regularly to celebrate, recognise and provide experiences for our international students.