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At BPS, we have an Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) programme that supports our learning programmes from Year 0-6. In our Junior Syndicate, this mainly relates to utilising our school environment, surrounding beaches and bush, as well as specialist sites such as MOTAT, Kelly Tarltons and the Auckland Museum. EOTC is a compulsory part of our BPS curriculum and we support all families to ensure their child has the opportunity to participate.

Our Senior Syndicate can visit these sites and have the privilege of overnight experiences that scaffold the tamariki successfully to enjoy these experiences. As Whanake are composite classes, the year 4 & 5 children have a 3-day EOTC experience appropriate to their age and supports our school vision and strategic plan. 

Philosophy of camp:

  • Links to Key competencies and our school Kaupapa

  • Camp places children in an unfamiliar environment to develop resilience

  • Children learn to take risks in a safe environment 

  • All activities are challenge by choice

  • Gain an appreciation for outdoors

  • Learn responsibilities associated with communal living and independently looking after self

  • Increases the camaraderie amongst a class and enables them to see classmates in a different light

Teachers at Birkenhead Primary School are highly competent and skilled at responding to the needs of each child.  Although a child might be chronologically older or younger—their maturity, social needs, academic and behavioural needs are all individual. Regardless of the type of classroom a child is in, teachers will group and teach children according to their specific learning needs.  There is no difference in the range of abilities present in a traditional ‘straight’ year group classroom compared to that of a composite.  The practice seen in a traditional classroom will be the same in a composite classroom - the child will remain at the centre of the learning and teaching will extend and support them as required.  
However, research has shown that children in composite classrooms are often socially more developed than those in traditional classrooms.  They tend to become more confident and are able to work alongside and cooperate with a wider range of children.  They also develop relationships outside of their ‘standard age-groups’ and can relate and communicate with a wider range of peers. This approach also allows for peer modelling, where those more socially able students ‘set the tone’ within the classroom.  Irrespective of age, all children can be role models.
We know relationships are incredibly important for effective teaching and learning to happen and teachers will continue to work hard to establish relationships with each child and their whanau to ensure learners reach their full potential.  ​

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Year 4


Day 1- Year 4's go to Awataha Marae, where they build a connection with our local Marae. Tamariki and their accompanying whānau are welcomed onto the Marae through a pōwhiri where tamariki actively engage in the process and follow the Tikanga of Awataha. This is followed by kai, where takarau (Māori bread) is part of the morning tea. Tamariki get to learn about the marae structure before engaging in traditional activities run by the elders of the Marae. Tamariki return home at the end of the regular school day.

Day 2- Tamariki meet their classmates at Birkenhead Wharf with their overnight bags. The ferry takes them to Rangitoto, where they walk to the top of the summit and back down. Once back at the wharf, the ferry loads and take the tamariki across to Half Moon Bay wharf, where they are met by a bus that transfers them to meet up with their Year 5 classmates at Willow Park Camp. Tamariki then sleep marae style in the hall.

Day 3- Tamariki are put back into their class groups and participate in team-building activities before returning to school in coaches at the end of the regular school day.

Year 5



Year 5 camp takes place at Willow Park, Eastern Beach. Tamariki experience 3 days/ 2 nights away from home, staying in dorm rooms with their friends. During the first 2 days, children participate in various activities ranging from kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to Archery and outdoor cooking. All our higher-risk activities are run by Bigfoot Adventures, who hold the highest safety standard qualifications for EOTC. While on camp, tamariki manage their belongings and participate in duties that support camp operation. 

During free time, tamariki explore the coastline and swim at the beach within 50 metres of the camp entrance. On the final day of camp, the Year 5 tamariki join the Year 4’s for team building activities in their class groups. 

Year 6


Year 6 camp is a highlight of the calendar year. Tamariki enjoy 4 days/ 3 nights away at an adventure camp. Children attend Kauaeranga Valley Camp in the foothills of the Pinnacles walking track. This camp will expose tamariki to the joys of New Zealand’s bush and rivers while participating in many great activities that we hope are new experiences for our tamariki. These include go-carts, paintball, air rifles, axe throwing and many more. Kauaeranga Valley Camp has excellent staff who manage most of the activities, especially any high-risk activities. 

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