English for Speakers of Other Languages is a subject that provides students with pathways to English literacy for NCEA and university entrance.

The courses are designed to meet English language learners’ needs. Courses are not year level based (even though the timetable codes suggest they are).

Students study English language, as well as English literature (at higher levels). ESOL courses draw on two New Zealand curriculum learning areas: English and Learning Languages.


Range of Subjects Offered

ESOLPR – Pre-Intermediate ESOL

This course teaches the basics of English needed in high school and around home. This course is for students with a low level of English language competency.

ESOLIN – Intermediate ESOL

This course teaches English language required in the wider community and introduces English Curriculum level 4 concepts around literature study, film study, writing, and wide-reading.


This course provides an alternative pathway for English language learning students to level 1 literacy through the assessment of level 1 English achievement standards. Students study academic writing, literature, film, static images, formal speaking, research, and responding to wide-reading.

University Entrance Literacy – Reading, ESOL

This course has pre-requisites for entry. Students study towards assessments that give them half of the university entrance literacy credits required (in reading).

University Entrance Literacy, ESOL

This course has pre-requisites for entry. Students study towards assessments that give them half of the university entrance literacy credits required (in writing).

IELTS Preparation Course

This course is for international students wishing to study a course of academic English. It is structured around preparation for the IELTS examination, but even if students do not choose to sit this examination (offered by IELTS testing centres at University of Auckland and Massey University, Albany), the course will teach valuable skills around academic listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Note: literacy credits for university entrance present difficulties for students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Therefore, the achievement of these credits should be seen as a two-year course at Years 12 and Year 13.


Emily Wong

ESOL, UEL and UER have helped me to improve my vocabulary and grammar.  They have also helped me to think outside the square when reading a book or watching a movie.

Emily Wong
Year 12 - ESOL
Career Goal 
My current goal is to study Bachelor of Music at Auckland University, and do piano teaching.

ESOL Department

Nopparuj Jiratchayasakul

Level 1 ESOL has improved my thinking when I am doing and essay or writing paragraphs. It has also improved my personal thinking when I am cummunicating.  I find that this subject has prepared me for further studies.

Nopparuj Jiratchayasakul
Year 11 - ESOL
Career Goal 
My current goal is to do Mechatronics Engineering major at Massey University then do aviation to be an air transport pilot.

Why choose ESOL?

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses are designed to ensure that all students are given the best possible opportunities to reach their full potential in learning English. The senior programmes are designed with achievement in NCEA and university entrance as an important focus.


Where can learning the English Language take you in the Future?

Learning English language and the skills to analyse literature opens doors for students on the international market. Within New Zealand, studying ESOL facilitates entry to tertiary study at university level or higher.


What the Department Offers

Trained, qualified and specialised ESOL teaching staff
Host of visits from other educational institutions
Small class sizes (see ERO report)
Safe, supportive classroom environments where students are encouraged to succeed to the best of their ability
Courses that contribute to NCEA and university entrance literacy
Pathways to University literacy

Head of Department 
Glenn Murphy

Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) 
Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages 

I have been teaching since the end of 1994, when I took up my first position in Malaysia, teaching English. I took up my first NZ appointment in 1995 at Rangitoto College, with a long term relieving role in English and Social Sciences. After thirteen and a half years at Orewa College and a short spell in England, I returned to Rangitoto College in 2009 as head of the ESOL department. My experiences teaching English, Geography, Social Studies, Religious Studies (in England), and even a little bit of Spanish, as well as leading a languages department and now an ESOL department, have provided me with a wide perspective on teaching and learning. Heading into my third decade of teaching, I still enjoy the thinking and creativity that are an essential part of being a teacher.
Personal Statement 
Witnessing the dawning moment of a person’s understanding of an idea, success in demonstrating a skill or perception of what surrounds them is a reward that comes from working with learners of all ages. Learning is a lifelong process for all people. Being able to work in an environment where learning is the ‘core business’ and thinking is the focus of everything we do, keeps me engaged with and passionate about the place where I work and the people I work with. When I am not working, I enjoy travel, photography, and reading. I love trying new food.