Choosing a boarding school for your child is a huge decision and one you can’t take lightly. So we’d like to invite you into our place to hear from the boys and girls themselves, as well as from some mums and members of our boarding team. Enjoy!

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Preparing for university living

Ellis Watson and Libby Deadman explain life in the HULA house – the Harington University Learning Accommodation.

HULA House is located on school grounds away from the boarding house, where four year 13 girls live together. It’s a privilege just for the girls, it’s not offered to the boys. It is basically a flatting situation. We share one bathroom between two people, cook our own meals and live independently. The HULA experience is preparing us for living with others once we leave school.

We share the house for five weeks at a time which means every year 13 boarding girl rotates between the boarding house and the HULA house all through the year, swapping groups, so we are ‘flatting’ with different people. This way we learn to live with different people and cook for people with different dietary requirements.

We have to look after the house as if we were flatting, such as vacuuming, doing our laundry and looking after our own things.

With prep, we have to manage ourselves – no-one comes and tells us we have to do prep tonight. Basically we have freedom in here – there are no duty staff around like there is in the boarding houses. Staff simply come and check on us and make sure the house is secure at nine o’clock each night.

We get given a budget of around $120 a week for our evening meals. We have to plan all our meals, check out prices through online supermarkets, then place an order for it to be delivered. We also have to work around everyone’s schedules to decide who is cooking dinner each night. It’s good practice for those of us who are going to university next year and living away from home.

The HULA experience is definitely a privilege. We’re getting to live in a house that feels a lot more like you're at home or having a flatting experience and less like you're boarding. We get a bigger room and more freedom to do what we want. It’s definitely setting us up for life after school.

Leading pastoral care

I have been a teacher at St Paul’s Collegiate School for 13 years. During this time, I have experienced the many different layers that help run a smooth boarding house, from being a Residential Assistant, through to a stint as the Housemaster of Williams House and more recently the Deputy Headmaster of Boarding.

For me a boarding house is successful when a student is as happy when they arrive at the doors of their second home and is equally happy when they take leave. It is through happiness that our boys and girls are able to thrive, be more successful and achieve their full potential.

At St Paul’s, we have over 40 staff involved directly with boarding throughout the four houses. These staff help care for your son and daughter and all play a crucial role in their lives.

Our housemasters, deputy housemasters and assistant housemasters will play an important part in the pastoral care of your son or daughter. We focus on helping each boarder have a great start at their new school where they can feel safe, happy and excited by the opportunities the school has to offer. There is alsoa number of day staff that will support them in their journey, whether this is through Academic Mentoring, Hauora Groups or our Year 13 Life Skills programme.

Our senior boarders are supported by their housemasters as they complete their own personal leadership programme. Whilst this helps them improve as a leader, more importantly, it helps them to run an effective house and leave their house in a better place for the students that will follow.

Finally, there is a very strong family feel amongst our boarding community. You will be kept well-informed through various forms of communication and you will be encouraged to participate in your son or daughter’s journey. One of the most positive aspects of boarding is the pride in which the students have for their house. We encourage the students to become part of the family and turn possibilities into realities.

Craig Hardman
Deputy Headmaster – Pastoral and Boarding

Structured homework

St Paul’s Collegiate School has a reputation for the academic successes of its students and the results of their NCEA achievements for 2019 (shown below) prove this. St Paul’s students have also performed well in the New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

  • Level 3 – 92% passed (25% above national average)
  • Level 2 – 95% passed (17% above national average)
  • Level 1 – 95% passed (24% above national average)
  • 80% of our students achieved University Entrance in 2019
  • In 2019, 26 students passed their Scholarship examinations, two of which were Outstanding Scholarships.

St Paul’s offers its boarders a structured approach to homework through supervised prep time. Homework (prep) is done in the dining room under the supervision of a housemaster.

Year 9 and 10 boys spend 90 minutes each weeknight at prep, where senior students and teaching staff are available to help the younger students. The opportunity also exists for our boarders to work collaboratively. This approach helps them develop the kind of study habits essential for academic achievements and provides a solid base for progressing to NCEA and Cambridge courses in the senior school. In each prep session, our year 9 and 10 students watch ten minutes of national news followed by a mindfulness session.

St Paul’s uses Google Classroom for lessons and homework so Chromebooks are used by students in our junior school in the classroom and during prep. These devices are carefully monitored by the duty housemasters and prep tutors during prep time. The type of homework varies but usually consists of formal written and Google Classroom work, preparation for next day’s class or specified reading and revision.

Year 11 students use the dining room annex for their prep. They are supervised by our duty housemasters and have access to our prep tutors. Our year 12 students use classrooms for their prep. If they maintain a 4.2 average effort grade on their fortnightly reports, they are allowed to find their own space to use for prep. Our girls and year 13 boys use their own rooms for prep and are monitored closely by staff.

‘Homework is a daily activity for our boarders’
Liam Allen

I started at St Paul’s as a year 9 day student. I live on a farm in Ohinewai, but I still lived close enough to school for Mum or Dad to drop me off and pick me up each day. When my parents went on a holiday overseas for three weeks, they enrolled me as a temporary boarding student – just until they returned home. But when my parents returned, I didn’t want to go home. I am now a full time boarding student.

I loved boarding so much, I just wanted to stay. As a boarder at St Paul’s, I am able to get my homework completed and get to my sports trainings on time.

I never did homework when I lived at home. Mum battled with me each night to get it done but I always found a reason not to do it. As a boarder we have a set time each night, known as prep, where we must study or complete our homework. I now get my homework completed.

Living at school makes it much easier for me to get up for early morning training. I am a keen rugby player so to have access to our school’s sporting facilities such as the weights training room, the gym, swimming pool and even the rugby fields to kick the ball around really helps with my training. And there are always mates around who want to come and join me.

‘I didn’t want to go home’ Liam Allen, Ohinewai
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stpauls.school.nz