Latest News

What's been happening at Cathedral Grammar this week?

View all the latest news >


Principal's welcome

Welcome to The Cathedral Grammar School, and to ‘the ideal preparation’ for your child for the future!

 With a 130-year plus history, Cathedral Grammar is the longest established private primary school in New Zealand. We take huge pride in the varied, successful and happy lives of the boys and girls who have experienced ‘Grammar’ over that time.

 Yet for all this history and individual and collective achievement, it is to the future we look.  Cathedral Grammar is known as ‘the ideal preparation’  because everything we do is with an eye on the future.

 While we cannot claim to know exactly what sort of world the children of today will inhabit in 25, 50 or 75 years, one thing is for certain.  It will be a world that requires the best possible early physical, intellectual, creative, spiritual and social development of our young people, today.

 Accordingly, Cathedral Grammar is a fulfilling and richly rewarding in the present and prepares and equips children for the opportunities and challenges of the future, in equal part.

 For more than 130 years Cathedral Grammar has adapted to a changing world, while anchored firmly in the traditions of the Cathedral, of creativity, of sporting endeavour, of passion for learning and of fun.

 We look forward to the opportunity to sow the seeds of a life-long love of learning in your child, a basis for happiness, success and contentment in a rapidly changing world.

 I am honored to be associated with such an outstanding educational institution, and I trust you find this website useful as you consider your children’s education and future. And while it summarises the many parts of Cathedral Grammar there is, of course, nothing quite like ‘being there’. You are welcome to visit at any time – we like nothing more than for prospective parents to meet pupils and those who teach and inspire them.

Scott Thelning 


Where have all the role models gone?

In society today we struggle to find role models among the ‘icons’ that are foremost in our children’s lives. Outside of family and school there are some areas that every parent in New Zealand should be very worried about. The advent of reality television and the instant publication via the internet of any and all happenings concerning what passes as a ‘celebrity’ is one of several aspects of our  technologically switched on society that should be of great concern to all parents.

Many young teenage girls watching programme such as ‘The Kardashians’ or ‘Jersey Shore’ are in serious danger of thinking not only that these programmes are unscripted and represent real life, but also that acting vacuous, trashy, drunk and sometimes even promiscuous to get rich and famous is something to be proud of! You only have to walk through any shopping mall in the country to see ‘wannabe’ clones of these examples.

Young boys spend hours watching professional wrestling masquerading as a ‘sport’ on television or via the web. If your children are watching this rubbish you need to be aware of what they are being taught. Carefully choreographed acts of vandalism, violence, revenge and general nastiness where there is no place for sportsmanship, virtues of any kind or even something as simple as friendship. Boys who watch it will tell you they ‘know it’s not real’ and yet schools constantly see examples of these reprehensible ‘qualities’ creep into the way children who watch these programmes behave.

As teachers we spend a lot of time teaching children about virtues such as honesty, respect and self-responsibility, yet there are few examples of these qualities outside of home and school. We cannot even rely on our elected officials to set examples of some of the most basic virtues. Watch Parliament for a short time, or listen to our politicians being interviewed and invariably you will see examples of half-truths, disrespect and rudeness. It is a long time since I saw a politician take responsibility for their own behaviour yet we are constantly asking our children to do just that. Why then do we as a public still elect to high office politicians who have been proven to have deceived us, committed acts that would see many of us end up with a criminal record, blame others, or just plain lied to cover up what they have said or done?

 The media doesn’t help either. It seems the only news they are looking for is sensationalism, and sometimes they have to create that themselves! The media constantly reports on the negative and is slow to recognise the positive that occur every day in our society. As a result we often see the people with the highest profiles get coverage rather than the hundreds of people who work very hard every day to help others with little or no reward or recognition.

So take a few minutes at the dinner table to ask your children who their role models are. Ask which celebrities they would most like to be. The answer may come as a shock!

We work very hard at Cathedral Grammar to instil in our students the virtues that will stand them in good stead for the future, and we have to work hard given that we are often up against some powerful adversaries in the form of reality TV ‘stars’, internet ‘sensations’, thugs who masquerade as sportsmen and even our own politicians! All of this reinforces the need for our school to have a strong values ethos throughout everything we do, and ultimately the best role models children can have is their parents and teachers.

What does the Headmaster think?

Having been in the position of seeing a new leader start at my own children’s school, I believe it is important for parents to understand a little about the person that will guide the organisation that will assist me as a parent to develop the person my child will become in later years. I have therefore put together some of my ‘philosophical’ beliefs regarding education and schooling, which form the basis of the way I work.

  1.  A school is a ‘Learning Community’, where the philosophies of learning are instilled in everything we do and what is best for our students is at the heart of our decision making. It is not however, only the students that are learners in a school. A Learning Community is one where students, parents, teachers and the school community collaborate, reflect, develop and strive to constantly improve as we work towards excellence in all aspects of school life.
  2. Education is a triangle.  The child forming the top corner, parents and teacher forming the remaining corners.  The sides are built of effective communication and mutual respect.  In order to provide the very best education for the child, home and school must be working together.  As teachers, we must recognise the insights and assistance parents can provide and what a privilege it is to have the care of someone’s child for five hours a day.  Conversely, it is just as vital that parents recognise and respect our role as professionals.  When the three corners of the triangle are working together and heading toward the same goal the very best learning outcomes can be achieved.
  3. Every child has traits to celebrate and should be valued.   All children have something in them that we can like, love and celebrate  They have a contribution to make and their opinions, thoughts and feelings are as valuable and as valid as my own.  . Similarly, every person in our school community has opinions, thoughts and feelings that should be valued and respected.
  4. Every student is an individual, with his/her own set of capabilities, needs, deficits and potential. As a school we need to ensure that each student has an educational journey that enhances their capabilities, meets their needs, turns deficits into achievement and maximises their potential.
  5. Classroom and behaviour management begins and ends with a focus on the desired behaviour.  I believe the only behaviour I can control is my own but I can certainly influence the behaviour of children.  It is important to instil discipline, with reminders of the desired behaviour and enable children to become self-disciplined by fostering an understanding that all behaviour, good or bad, carries with it natural consequences.
  6. The way we behave as staff, parents and community members sets the standard that we should expect from our children. Dealing constructively with issues and looking for solutions is how we must operate, rather than focussing on recriminations and seeking our ‘pound of flesh’. Seeking positive solutions teaches our students to become constructive members of society rather than destructive. We should always behave the way we want our children to behave – do not underestimate the value of role modelling!
  7. I will not compromise when it comes to getting the best for our students, and I never settle for mediocrity! We must expect the best from our students and provide them with opportunities, experiences and skills to reach their fullest potential and turn them into life-long learners.  Rather than just demand excellence, I believe an important part of our role is to INSPIRE excellence.  It is my goal that the drive and determination to do ones very best becomes part of what the student wants to do, rather than just an expectation from others.
  8. ‘Do unto others…’   Remembering always to treat those I encounter in my personal and working life, as I myself would like to be treated, means I attempt to approach all children, parents, staff and community with respect, kindness and a keen interest in them and what is happening in their lives.
  9. Last but not least – a sense of humour is a vital ingredient to survive the day-to-day trials of education!  There is no doubt that there is a time for seriousness and flippancy has no place, but I believe the classroom, staffroom or home should be full of fun and laughter in order to build a sense of community, collegiality and caring – all essential .

I hope this provides you with a small insight into me as a teacher, headmaster and person, and I look forward to my future interactions with you all, be you students, parents or community members.

Our Location

To arrange a visit please contact the School:

Street Address

The Cathedral Grammar School
26 Park Terrace
Christchurch 8013

Phone: (03) 365 0385
Fax: (03) 365 0384

Postal Address

The Cathedral Grammar School
PO Box 2244
Christchurch 8140