Students hiking at Castle Hill.

Beyond the Classroom

Tua o te Akomanga

Our Education Outside the Classroom programme (EOTC) has an outstanding reputation for delivering high-quality experiences. By providing our students with real-life, hands-on experiences and activities, it helps to grow their confidence and self-esteem. Stepping outside of the classroom is a great way to learn more about themselves, discover new interests, create strong friendships, develop leadership skills, develop outdoor skills, and enrich and integrate academic disciplines.

Castle Hill Outdoor Education Centre

The St Andrew’s College Outdoor Education Programme has been delivering high-quality experiences in the outdoor environment for the past 25 years, working with every student in Years 7–10. Each year, the entire year group visits Castle Hill in classes of 25, for between three and five days where student learn the importance and art of decision making, taking responsibility for their actions, developing leadership skills and realising the value of teamwork. Most importantly, students acquire skills that will help in the classroom and life beyond school. Activities include group problem-solving games, abseiling, rock climbing, skiing, snow-caving, tramping, camping and kayaking.

Student on a flying fox at Castle Hill.

Our Castle Hill Programmes

All students in Years 7–10 enjoy our Outdoor Education Programme at Castle Hill with annual camps. This allows clear progression in the programme, from the first independent adventures away from home, through to three-day expeditions and snow caving. Each year approximately 1,000 students pass through our Castle Hill programmes.

  • Year 7: Planting the seed

    This camp introduces students to a range of skills and ideas that will be developed on future camps, with the emphasis on safety and enjoyment. Undertaking a wide range of outdoor activities challenges our students individually and as a team.

  • Year 8: Growing the person

    For the last camp in the Preparatory School, students develop their decision making and risk management skills from the individual and team activities, challenges and successes.

  • Year 9: Belonging Whanaungatanga – Making connections

    At the very start of Year 9 we bring students together offsite so they may build positive relationships with their peers and teachers, develop whanaungatanga, establish culture and experience challenge.

  • Year 10: Hōtoke – Winter Challenge

    This camp brings together and extends the skills and concepts learnt in previous camps, providing opportunities for students to further develop responsibility, participate and contribute, deal with adversity, and extend personal and interdependent skills. Weather permitting, students participate in activities such as safety above the bush line, skiing and snow caving.

  • Years 11–13: Senior Outdoor Education

    Outdoor programmes for Years 11– 13 are tailored to meet the specific training and leadership requirements of different groups within the College. In the Senior College, our prefects and other student leaders undertake much of their specialist leadership training in the inspiring surroundings of Castle Hill.

Student in the snow at Castle Hill.

Castle Hill Accreditation

The Castle Hill Outdoor Centre has external safety accreditation with AdventureMark. This is a nationally audited certification which is recognised by the Ministry of Education and WorkSafe.

Adventure Mark Accreditation Logo

Alistair Sidey Mountain Lodge

Castle Hill is home to the Alistair Sidey Mountain Lodge in the spectacular Canterbury High Country and is definitely one of our students’ favourite classrooms. In 2008, the Lodge was completely rebuilt into a state-of-the-art centre for our outdoor education and leadership programmes, where personal empowerment and team spirit are top priorities. Camps and activities at the Lodge are designed and overseen by highly qualified, full-time instructors who are committed to exceptional processes for health and safety, sustainability, community engagement and bicultural awareness.

Alistair Sidey Mountain Lodge at Castle Hill

Field trips and excursions

Stepping outside of the classroom is a great way to learn more about themselves, discover new interests, create strong friendships, develop leadership skills, develop outdoor skills, and enrich and integrate academic disciplines.

Our students experience a number of field trips and excursions each year. In the Preparatory School the trips are based on inquiry learning and in the Secondary School they are related to the NCEA internal assessments.

Preparatory School students to Bee Experience wearing bee suits and holding  honeycomb.

Hire Our Facilities

In addition to programmes for St Andrew’s College students, the Castle Hill Centre contracts out to other groups, including other schools and overseas groups.

Students cooking at Castle Hill.