Specialist teachers

Children learn in the same way as in high school, with specialist teachers in mathematics, art, PE, languages and music.

Primary and intermediate

excellence on

your doorstep.

Carncot students

develop confidence and


Teaching and Learning

We guarantee results. It’s a bold statement, underpinned by our confidence in the way we teach children to learn. But it’s well-placed confidence based upon the high end results from the range of norm-referenced assessments undertaken, and from the high proportion of distinctions and merits gained in external assessments, like ICAS. However, successful learning is much more than just data. The focus is on both a student’s strengths and their areas for development.  Students learn that it is okay to say, “I don’t understand,” and then to go about the learning in an open and receptive way. Successful learning is about discovering how we learn as individuals and about applying ourselves in a purposeful way to the task.  As a result, the marks just come.

The Whole Child

You would expect academic success at school and we certainly don’t disappoint on that front. Carncot though is much more than academia. We are preparing students for a life of learning, in which they recognise their own strengths, abilities and sense of belonging. To do that, we nurture the whole child; academic, sporting, cultural and social. Along the way, we celebrate their interests and achievements, both within and outside school. Throughout their time at Carncot, children enjoy a myriad of leadership opportunities all aimed at building their skills and confidence, which are so valuable later in life.

Successful Learning

The word “structured” when referring to education is falling out of favour with some. Structure though is part of our learning culture and we see it as the key to success. Students know that to succeed, they have to get to work and stay focussed. We drive this through individual attention, tailoring programmes to individual needs, maximising learning time, a strong work ethic and reiterating our school values. The results are amazing, especially when considering inter school competitions:

  • In the Otago Problem Challenge (Years 7 and 8), 60% of our students achieved merit or excellence.
  • At Mathex, Carncot students are consistently placed in the top 5 of more than 46 schools each year, often achieving 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings.
  • Students excel in the International Competition and Assessments for Schools (ICAS). They consistently achieve distinctions (awarded to the top 4-6% of students in New Zealand) and merits (the top 33% in New Zealand)
  • Despite making up only 1% of the primary/intermediate rolls in Palmerston North, Carncot took 10% of the major awards and 18% of the premier awards at the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair in 2013.

Academic Life

Teachers use the New Zealand Curriculum as a framework for building team, class and individual education programmes in the eight curriculum areas (English, the arts, health and physical education, languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, and technology). Specialist teachers in physical education and health, mathematics, visual art, languages, and music elevate education beyond the usual primary and intermediate level. Academic programmes are complemented by a wide range of provisions (e.g. competitions, badged challenges, international assessments and clubs), which are very popular.


One thing that is a constant source of surprise to first-time visitors to Carncot, is the extent and quality of our facilities at such an easily accessible, central city location. Our gym is unrivalled, the art room and gallery provide a professional space for the exhibition of student work, and our classrooms are very spacious, light and airy.  Itinerant music teachers also have large, dedicated rooms in the music suite, which opens onto the tennis courts and field.  We are excited on the completion of our science lab, which opened in 2014.

“Modern, attractive and well-maintained, purpose-built facilities promote academic learning and individual participation in a range of cultural, sporting and recreational activities. There is a genuine commitment to ongoing development of the school property. Maximum use is made of the available ground space.

The school is well resourced in all curriculum areas and in specialist teaching classes. Since 2013 boys have been able to enrol and library resources have been extended to cater for their interests and needs. The Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure has been strengthened and extended.” (ERO report June 2014)

Class Sizes

One of the biggest advantages of a Carncot education is the individual learning attention possible through smaller class sizes. The first three years are the most crucial for establishing the Carncot work ethic and setting up the learning strategies, which will stand our children in good stead for their whole lives. To help with this, we set a maximum class size of 18 in Years 1 and 2. In Year 3, the maximum is 20 and for the rest of the school, we keep class sizes at 24 or fewer.


ERO Report

We can tell you what a fantastic school Carncot is. Our results speak for themselves, as do our wonderful students. The latest ERO report though speaks volumes:

“Teachers use a wide range of teaching practices to promote high levels of student learning and engagement. Classroom planning is effective. Well-planned lessons maintain student interest. Thinking skills are well developed in ongoing class discussions. Positive, respectful and friendly relationships between students and staff prevail. Opportunities for students to work cooperatively and to share their learning with each other are provided. These contribute to supportive classroom environments, conducive to learning.

Students are deeply engaged in their learning and value being challenged to take risks. They contribute confidently to high level learning conversations. Students speak knowledgeably about the school values.” (ERO report June 2014)

Preparing to Graduate

Throughout their time with us, students develop the skills necessary for successful learning at high school and beyond. Year 8 is a special year in which we consolidate their learning and prepare the smooth transition between intermediate and high school. We know it works, because we follow up our students with their new schools. They tell us:

  • Carncot students have a greater work ethic
  • 50% earn a place in accelerated classes
  • students are independent self-starters, who are personally responsible for their learning.

Specialist Teachers

One of the reasons why our students settle so well into high school is due to the similar style of learning employed at Carncot. The students leave their classrooms to take lessons with our specialist teachers, just as they will in secondary school. The specialists reinforce children’s skills and confidence in areas such as mathematics, art, PE and languages. A pleasant side effect is classroom teachers’ time is freed for more one to one, or small group lessons.






Pastoral Care

Our pastoral care system is underpinned by the notion that happy children are free to learn, along with our school values: respect, integrity, caring, honesty, excellence and responsibility (RICHER). It’s a team effort, which includes various members from the school community, including the principal, teacher mentor, a dedicated Year 8 Gold Badge leader, peer mediator coordinators and peer mediators from Years 6 to 8. The team meets weekly for training throughout the year under the Peace Foundation’s Cool Schools programme, and our peer mediators are present in the playground every interval and lunchtime. The Carncot buddy system has been in place for many years. It pairs older students as buddies and mentors with younger ones, and experience shows it has become a special part of student life at Carncot.