There are many things that make Shirley Intermediate school a special place to learn. See below for some of our key features.

Education Outside the Classroom
In addition to making use of our local environment and city for learning opportunities, we have two major trips for all classes.  In odd-numbered years we travel to Dunedin where we stay in university hostels and visit several key interest points in Dunedin.  In even-numbered years children have rural camps.  In 2014 our four day camp was  at Glentui where the children experienced a wide variety of  outdoor activities.  We have an annual ski trip which children can opt into.  This is always a highlight.  

Our school choir takes part in a local  school choir event as well as performing at local venues.  In 2015 the combined choirs festival - the Shirley Area Music Festival- was presented as a dramatic production. This involved  SIS pupils being involved in sound  production, acting, prop making, singing, stage management, stage crew, and AV controller. We brought in a number of adults with relevant expertise in different fields to work with our children. The choir is assisted by pianist, Mrs Delwyn McKenzie, who also directs the Shirley District Music Scheme. Choir is on during term two and three.

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The Green Team
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Bilingual Education - Te Tahu Rua ReoChildren who wish to do part of their learning in Te Reo Maori can enrol in our bilingual classroom - Te Tahu Rua Reo.  This class opened (around the year about 2003) in response to a request from the St Albans School  (Te Kura O Hato Opani)  who were looking for somewhere for their children in Te Tikanga Rua Reo to progress to after their time at St Albans .   In response to our identified needs the level of Te Reo delivery in TTRR is between 50 and 80 percent.  This makes it possible for children who have not been grounded in bilingual education beforehand to fit into our classes.

Kapa Haka
All children have the opportunity to take part in kapahaka.  Our group takes part in the Canterbury Primary Schools Cultural Festival.  Our kapahaka teacher is our very own (Matua) Thomas Parata - who teaches our bilingual class, Te Tahu Rua Reo.  Matua Thomas is one of the most accomplished kapahaka tutors in education and we are certainly privileged to have his services.  Regardless of their own prior experience,  children learn in a very supportive environment, and benefit hugely from being part of a polished and passionate kapahaka group. 

Collaborative Classrooms
Our teachers are taking on an increasingly collaborative approach to teaching and learning at SIS.  We have three pairs of classrooms working together at present.  Changes to our classroom and school design are currently being planned to better enable variable use of space to accommodate our collaborative teaching and learning.  This will be part of a $6m building project planned for late 2016 or early 2017.

Connected Classrooms 
All of our classrooms are connected to the internet and we have excellent wireless for our devices.  We encourage children to have their own Google Chromebook browser as we have found these to provide excellent internet access via the "cloud" with few of the issues that can arise around document storage and viruses.   

Composite Classes
All rooms are composite Year Seven and Year Eight classes (i.e. there are children from each year level in every classroom).  We have found there are many learning and social benefits from this. Children generally stay in the same class for two years.

Developing a Broader Curriculum  through Interchange
Pupils have their own base classroom but leave their room when doing Technology (Hard materials, Electronics, Food, and Bio-technology) and Art. 

Education Review Office
We currently have a three year review period.  Consistently listed amongst our strengths are our pastoral care system and the school culture – looking after children’s physical and emotional well-being. High student engagement in learning has also received ERO acknowledgement. Our calm and caring environment is acknowledged in our latest ERO report. 


We have a flourishing gardening club run by our wonderful Caretaker, Mr Doug Walker. The “Green Team” children grow crops and manage school-wide composting.  They are learning important life-long skills. Much of their work is completed out of class.  Updates are included in the newsletter section of this website. In Term one 2016 we won a Silver Award in the Canterbury Horticultural Society - Oderings School Garden Show - the well deserved result of hard work by a large number of children.  

High Literacy Needs Specialist 
Our specialist literacy teacher with a teacher aide is based in one learning pod but works with all teachers for children who come from homes in which English is not the first language.  It primarily caters for children with high needs in literacy.  Some of these children are English Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL), others – for a variety of reasons – are considered to be likely to benefit from the intensive literacy input in this classroom.  A high degree of analysis, formal English   and goal-setting is used.  The expertise of the teacher, and the depth and accuracy of the teaching in this room has received frequent praise from the Education Review Office.

Interaction with Local High Schools
Understandably we enjoy a close relationship with our nearest neighbours, Shirley Boys High School.  Our pupils enjoy regular sessions in which  SBHS pupils coach our children in a variety of sports.  Children enjoy walking to occasional specialist classes at SBHS, and our teachers liaise with SBHS in academic and cultural areas.  SBHS  enjoy access to our North Parade fields and our two swimming pools.

Jump Jam
Our keen Jump Jammers practice regularly in the lead up to competitions and have a lot of fun keeping fit while creating amazing routines.  SIS is renown for producing the goods at a national level.

Music: Band, Orchestra and Music Tuition
Our band and ensemble group are great little performance groups.  Along with the choir, both groups impressed the crowds at the 2012 Open Night.  Our children can learn a range of instruments through the Shirley District Music School - which is based at our school. Through this Ministry of Education-funded scheme children can get tuition for a little over $100 per year.  Enrolments are always popular so make enquiries early.

Pasifika Cultural Group
This group is open to all children and operates for a portion of the year.  

Radio Technicians Club
This after-school group works with electronics to construct radio equipment.

Ski Trips (Annually)
Every year we have a ski trip arranged for our children.  We usually send two bus loads of keen children to Mt Hutt. 

Student Leaders
Four children from each class undertake a formal programme in leadership training.  They then carry out selected supervisory roles around the school, organise mufti days and fund raisers for local charities.  A student leader initiative from late in 2015 which has continued in 2016 is the making of healthy sandwiches which the student leaders make to order once a week.  Fantastic value for $2.  

Swimming Pools (Two)
The Board of Trustees has repaired both two of our school swimming pools. Teaching children to swim is a major feature of our school  each summer. In addition to our teachers receiving training in teaching children to swim, classes have pool access on most days from Labour Weekend until Easter.  We encourage use by classrooms from our contributing schools and we make keys available for hire during the summer months.

Te Tahu Rua Reo
Children in the TTRR class will have the curriculum presented in Maori for at least 80% of the time.  The TTRR are also part of our competitive kapahaka group which is regularly the top performing mainstream school at Canterbury kapahaka competitions.

Technology for Contributing Schools 
Throughout 2016 we are hosting year 5 & 6 pupils from Banks Avenue School and Shirley Primary School for Technology classes.  These children are getting a valuable head star in the design focus which is a key part of Technology.