Range of Subjects

Social Studies Years 9 - 10
Social Studies is about people and society. New Zealand is the main focus while other societies at different places and times, global concerns and current issues are also studied.

History Years 11-13
History at Rangitoto College incorporates New Zealand, English, Asian, European and World studies. It aims at a well-rounded education with an emphasis on issues and ideas, and includes field trips to sites such as the Bay of Islands.

Geography Years 11-13
Geography studies people in their environment and uses a wide variety of settings and techniques. Over the 3 years topics such as Resources, Population, Hazards, Rivers, Development, Land Use, Beaches, Migration and Tourism are covered. Several field trips are held each year.

Classical Studies Years 12 - 13
Classical Studies explores the fascinating societies of Ancient Greece and Rome. A wide range of disciplines are covered including history, literature, art history and philosophy. We focus on the personalities and issues of that era. There is much the Ancient Greeks and Romans did which we still benefit from today.

Art History Years 12 - 13
The study of Art History covers a variety of disciplines spanning areas as diverse as French art in the 19th century at Year 12 where students explore the dramatic change in styles and its historical context. In Year 13 the Renaissance is our focus, when significant values of that era are mirrored in the art works created. We study the key artists of the period: Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Tourism Years 12 - 13
Tourism is an Industry based course intending to provide a basis of knowledge about one of our country’s largest foreign exchange earners. Combining information about travel destinations both inside and outside New Zealand and the many skills required to succeed in this professional arena.

Sociology Years 12 - 13
Sociology is the scientific study of human behaviour. We investigate people and society including culture, family and research.

Why Choose Social Sciences?

Social Sciences prepare you for the world! – in all its aspects. You will get the most out of our wonderful world if you understand its diversity, its development, its issues and its humanity.

What Can You Do With These Subjects?

Social Sciences provides students with a wide range of opportunities to broaden their experiences and skills to enable them to be engaged and socially aware members of society. Some examples of the skills and abilities that can be gained in Social Sciences are:

  • Develop conclusions
  • Be able to relate to others different to ourselves
  • Respect diversity
  • Use social interaction skills
  • Identify processes
  • Developing and applying literacy.
  • Understanding perspectives
  • Use innovative technology skills
  • Take social actions
  • Build problem solving skills
  • Develop enquiry skills
  • Create solutions to issues
  • Understand values
  • Engaging with other countries
  • Develop self-analysis
  • Understand today’s world

Where Can it Take You in the Future? What Can You Do With It?

Social Sciences develops the resources and skills that can be applied in all plus many more of the following careers which you can join:

  • Journalist
  • Market Researcher
  • Librarian
  • Teacher
  • Conservator
  • Curator
  • Diplomat
  • Broadcaster
  • Translator
  • Linguist
  • Social Worker
  • Travel Consultant
  • Archivist
  • Anthropologist
  • Demographic Planner
  • Lawyer

What Interest Factor?

In Social Sciences we provide you with the opportunity to focus on a variety of subject and curriculum areas that will cater to your individual interests. We have passionate teachers, the ability to focus on youth issues plus the bonus of having the chance to get outside the classroom and use field trips to fully engage with the real world! At present Social Sciences is preparing for trips to Cambodia and Vietnam as part of our Social Studies and History programmes.

Grahame Cope HOD


I started my teaching career at Rangitoto College in 2003.  Between 2005 and 2009, I was a Dean and worked across all year levels.  2009 also saw me become the Assistant Head of Department for the Social Sciences, before being appointed to the role of HOD at the end of 2013.  In 2011 I received a Woolf Fisher Fellowship - for excellence in Teaching and Leading, which gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia for three weeks for a series of Professional Development opportunities. Other roles of significance that I have been involved in at Rangitoto College are; co-head of Geography, Head of Junior Social Science, running of the Emerging Leaders Breakfast sessions and the school timetabling team.


Bachelor of Science with a Geography Major from Auckland University
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
Currently completing Post Graduate studies at Auckland University - Educational Leadership.

Personal Statement

I have a really clear personal philosophy when it comes to education and this is what really drives me; It is to enjoy the daily challenge of being a visible leader, who uses my own thirst for professional learning and that of others I work with, to develop staff capacity that results in improvements that I see occurring in my department and at Rangitoto College every day.
On a more informal level, I enjoy playing golf, running marathons, a wide range of music (I grew up with a love of Pearl Jam and still maintain it!) and pretty much any sport, especially Football, Rugby and Cricket.  I have a young daughter called Harper and my partner is also a Teacher.

Quality Indicators/Achievements

In Social Sciences we continue to meet the school wide goals of academic excellence well above the national average. This can be seen in just some of the many outstanding results our students have achieved whilst studying the Social Sciences at Rangitoto College.

  • In the 2007 external exams results an average of 23% gained excellence across all the level 1 History externals and an average of 31% gained excellence in their level 3 New Zealand History external essays. In Sociology our Year 12 students gained excellences at a rate consistently over double the national average.
  • We have many outstanding individual successes as well for example George Ianovski was named “Top Scholar in New Zealand” for History Scholarship in 2006.
  • Our Scholarship success has continued to remain strong and a rewarding arena for our higher ability students since NCEA’s implementation. For example Classical Studies achieved a 100% success rate in the 2004 Scholarship with all 5 candidates being awarded Scholarships and in 2007 Geography gained 7 Scholarships.

We also have a strong commitment to excellence outside the academic arena to highlight our participation in the world around us. For example in 2006 our Junior students through Social Studies classes fundraised over $4000 to donate to charitable causes such as the Tabitha Foundation which focuses on building affordable housing for families in Cambodia. We continue to support causes in order for our students to be able to play their part in world issues.

Student Testimonials

Here are some first hand accounts of the value of studying Social Sciences from the students’ own perspective.

“In Social Studies we can learn about other cultures and religions. This means we are able to be accepting of other traditions and cultural beliefs. Social Studies is important so that we can learn from society’s past mistakes for example stopping wars, and global issues such as nuclear armaments, and make sure they are not repeated. What I enjoy most about Social Studies is learning about things I feel passionately about. I also like analysing information and working with others to brainstorm solutions and come up with reasons for questions."
Christie Davies (Year 9)

“Social Sciences comprises of some of the most interesting and beneficial subjects on offer at Rangitoto College. Not only are they relevant subjects to our everyday life but students have the opportunity to learn about the world, its history and how it affects our society today. With many diverse courses on offer such as Classical Studies and History, all offer different skills whist providing students with an English rich subject that is useful to further study. While at Rangitoto College I have found that my most enjoyable subjects have been Classical Studies and Art History. I have learnt more about different cultures and peoples’ ways of life that I know will be of great benefit to both University and travelling."
Charlotte Munro (Year 13)