The school year traditionally begins with a parent-teacher evening in the first week of Term I.
Close communication between home and school is strongly encouraged. As well as formal teacher-parent interview opportunities during the year, teachers and parents meet as required.
The first social event of the year is the popular annual Back-to-School barbeque hosted by the Friends' Association. Activities are planned to entertain the children, leaving parents free to talk. Food is available for purchase, or families can bring picnic hampers.
This event is a great way for parents to catch up with each other again after the summer holiday break.
Also early in the year, the Boys' and Girls' Schools hold their annual swimming championships at the nearby Christ’s College indoor pool.
After much healthy competition, and hearty cheering, the winners are determined over a variety of distances and strokes. Section winners are rewarded with trophies. The House competition culminates in closely fought relays. The toop swimmers represent the school at the Independent Zones' event from which there is the chance to qualify for the Canterbury Schools' Championships.
During the summer, school policy allows children to opt to play for a community club, or play a code that the school does not offer.
Our main summer sport codes are cricket and tennis, and the school has links with St Alban's Cricket Club and Hagley Park Tennis Club. Regular interschool fixtures are held on a ‘home and away’ basis against local, North Island and Australian schools.
The summer programme also includes a variety of events including duathlon, triathlon, softball, outdoor education days and the House Top Teams' competition.
Our school camping programme for Year 4 boys and girls involves a day of outdoor activities followed by an overnight sleep out in tents in a country environment.
The three-day camp for Year 5 boys and girls includes orienteering, rock pool studies, archery and high-ropes challenges.
The Year 6 and Year 7 camp builds on the Year 5 experience with longer walks and mountain biking on forest trails. Children work together on team challenges and cook one of their meals on camp stoves.
Year 7 Leadership Week takes place in November includes sail training, search and rescue, first aid, team games and ropes. This week of team tasks and challenges is designed to help identify the school leaders for the forthcoming year.
The Year 8 camp is very special and, for many children, one of the highlights of their final year. The format is a six-day camping expedition into the McKenzie Country and Mount Cook regions. Sleeping under cancas for half the week, the campers stay at Peel Forest, before moving on via Tekapo and a high-country sheep station near Benmore to the magnificient Mount Cook village, more solid accommodation and a delicious finale meal at The Hermitage.
In addition to camps, all Prep School year groups have individual outdoor education days which include dinghy sailing, beach education, surf-safe, cycle-safe, orienteering and climbing.
Founders’ Day Service
The school family worships together, in May, at the ChristChurch Cathedral to celebrate our Founders’ Day. Early in the service, the work of the Cathedral Choristers is recognised by the awarding of a choral scholarship for each boy. The school choirs take major roles, children read the lessons and assist with the prayers.
Our Cross-country Championships are usually held early in Term II. Regular fitness sessions lead up this, ensuring the children are well prepared. The Junior School and Boys' and Girls' Schools combine for this age-group event which is held in Hagley Park.
As with our other sports' events, individual and House competition are both closely contested. The top children from each age represent the school at the Independent School Zone Championships, with some children achieving Canterbury Championship honours.
Playing team sports is a core part of the ethos of the school. Our sports' policy states that it is compulsory for Boys' and Girls' School pupils to play for a school team in the Saturday morning club competitions.
For the Boys’ School, the winter codes offered are hockey and rugby while the girls may choose hockey or netball. Regular interschool exchanges are held, and teams are billeted when playing beyond Canterbury.
Most teams are coached by a teacher or a professional coach although the assistance of parents in management and coaching is encouraged.
Each week, Prep School girls and boys have an extended sports' period one afternoon, in addition to a team after-school coaching session and their Saturday competition game. Junior School pupils may opt to join after-school winter sport clubs for skills training, and to play in the available Saturday competitions.
Our policy ensures that all pupils participate each year as a team member in a competitive major sports code.
Our religious education programme, and the regular opportunities to worship together are central to living and learning together in a Christian school, following the Anglican tradition. Our chaplain is available to pupils and their extended family. From time to time, the chapel is used for family baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Our school week opens together on Mondays with morning chapel. The Girls’ Chapel Choir takes the choir stalls, and the headmaster introduces the virtue of the week. The senior pupils lead Thursday morning's Prep service, while Friday afternoon chapel brings our week to a close. The Boys’ Chapel Choir sings the anthem.
The chaplain also takes a mid-week service for the Pre-School and the Junior School.
Special chapel services are held to commemorate events during the year. Harvest Festival celebrations at the end of Term I give thanks for the harvest bounty and the school's food collection for the City Mission. Holy Week explores the Easter story in a series of services involving pupils in story-telling and drama. Term II opens with the moving ANZAC Service at which the Fallen Grammarians of World Wars I & II are honoured with the reading of the Roll of Remembrance.
Each term, a Sunday service is held is held at the Cathedral for all pupils in Years 1-8. Parents and extended family members are encouraged to worship with us at these services:
- Begining of Year and Leadership Service (Term I)
- Founders' Day Service (Term II)
- Service of Baptism and Admission to Holy Communion (Term III)
- Carol Service (Term IV)
Poetry Reading & English Speaking Competitions
Each year the Boys' and Girls' Schools hold Poetry Reading and English Speaking competitions. For the former, each pupil prepares two poems to read, one a set poem for their year level and the second, a poem of their choice. For the latter, a speech is written on a topic chosen from a selection at each year level. After practice, competition heats are held in each class to determine which children go forward into the finals.
The competition finals, to which parents are warmly welcome, are held in four divisions:
|Boys’ Prep School||Girls’ Prep School|
|Junior Y4,5, 6||Junior Y4,5, 6|
|Senior Y 7, 8||Senior Y 7, 8|
An independent adjudicator gives each finalist feedback on their performance, and selects the section winners
Music competitions are also held annually in the Girls' School and the Boys’ School. Competitions include voice and instrumental sections, solos, duets and other ensembles. Preliminary auditions determine section finalists. An independent adjudicator judges the keenly contested competitions.
In Term IV, the Boys' and Girls' Schools hold their annual athletic championships on the field at the nearby Christ’s College. All pupils participate to earn points for their Houses, competing in track and field events. Section winners are rewarded with trophies. The House competition includes a hotly contested tug of war as well as relays, and Year 8s look forward to the annual School v Staff relay.
The Pre-School participate in novelty events of their own, while the Junior School pupils have their own series of races and activities at the same venue during a day with celebrates the whole school community.
The year concludes with our formal Prize Gving ceremony held in the Assembly Hall at Christ's College. The Headmaster and Chairman of the Board speak to the assembled pupils and parents, the Head Boy and Head Girl give valedictory addresses, the combined choirs sing, and prizes and trophies are awarded for achievement and endeavour in a academic, cultural and sporting pursuits..