Students reading in class.

Senior College

Kura Tuākana

St Andrew's College Senior College (Years 12 and 13) stands as a unique entity within the school, fostering learning, lifelong connections, and the essential skills preceding young adults' integration into society. Acknowledging the transition from dependence to independence to interdependence, in the Senior College we emphasise collaboration and respect for diverse perspectives as vital facets of adulthood. Our holistic curriculum addresses academic, athletic, cultural, spiritual, social, and recreational facets, moulding versatile individuals. Students are urged to excel across all endeavours, guided by teachers promoting personal accountability and leadership.

Our philosophy

We view students as unique individuals, fostering social responsibility in a co-ed environment, preparing them for life beyond school. Our comprehensive curriculum nurtures academic, sports, cultural, spiritual, social, and recreational growth, shaping well-rounded individuals. Encouraged to excel, students receive quality feedback and recognition, guided by teachers who instil personal responsibility and leadership. Supported by tutors and Deans, students cultivate self-discipline, motivation, and accountability, driving their academic and social advancement.

Senior College students outside chapel.

"It works extremely well with students having done a year of NCEA and then graduating to a separate facility. Having a separate building is a very distinctive and important element. A lot of schools do not have a common room for seniors at all, let alone having one as big as ours, and combining the final two year groups together."

John Ruge Head of Senior College

Our Leadership Team

Head of Senior College John Ruge

John Ruge

Head of Senior College

Dayna Stirling, dean.

Dayna Stirling

Year 12 Dean, Teacher in Charge of Health

Riley Gain, dean.

Riley Gain

Year 13 Dean, Teacher in Charge of Athlete Sport Development and Athlete Sport Performance Programmes

Senior College students watching eggs hatch.

Joining the Senior College

Although the majority of our Year 12 and 13 students are already enrolled at the College, we welcome a growing number of students moving to Senior College from other schools. Many are drawn to our Electives programme, which offers a wide range of exciting subjects not always available at other schools. Once a student has chosen St Andrew’s College, they will be challenged. We will stand behind them and provide them with every resource to reach excellence across the academic, sporting, and cultural arenas.

Senior College students in a science class.

Preparing for life after school

We recognise that the years from ages 16–18 are vitally important, as students balance the challenges of adolescence with the skills and values necessary to develop. We provide opportunities for students of all abilities, interests, and backgrounds to develop fully as life-long learners. We help young people create healthy relationships with their peers and acquire the skills and values necessary to be the best they can be. Our vision is to build better people, for life.

Senior College students with teacher in class.

Tutor group system

Tutors play a pivotal role in the College, acting as primary caregivers for students in their group, overseeing academic progress, co-curricular activities, and well-being programmes while sharing the school's vision. They establish connections with parents, serve as the first point of contact for student concerns, and relay information from other staff. The tutor system emphasises small group dynamics, regular interaction, and fostering a sense of belonging, aiming to connect students with caring adults, promote school values, and maximize their potential.

Senior College students in class with a tutor.

Well-being and pastoral care

Pastoral care at St Andrew’s College integrates academic, social, and religious aspects to cultivate a caring environment. It addresses student needs encompassing well-being, self-esteem, career guidance, spiritual development, moral growth, social skills, and academic progress. The system aims to connect each student with a supportive adult, promote well-being, and empower students to excel in the school community.

The Rentoul
Senior College Centre

The purpose-built Rentoul Senior College Centre was developed to provide a unique space for Years 12 and 13 students, enabling them to interact independently of younger students as they participate in their final two years of schooling and transition towards life after the College. This facility includes a large common room, café, lecture theatre, study areas, computer pod and personal storage lockers.

Senior College interior.

The Senior College curriculum

The core Senior College academic curriculum is comprehensive and is complemented by a huge variety of interesting subject options. Our programmes of study support the NCEA qualification framework. Talented and dedicated teachers, tutors, peer support leaders and study advisers from outside St Andrew’s are available to help your child achieve at the highest level possible in their course work and external NCEA examinations. High educational achievement is encouraged at all year levels in the Senior College. We purposefully keep class numbers smaller to enable our dedicated, highly skilled teachers to closely monitor students’ progress, provide optimum teaching and learning support, and extend their abilities.

Senior College student in class.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment plays a significant part in our education system. The Fortnightly Feedback system allows teachers to regularly inform parents about their child's engagement and effort in learning. Using a simple 1–5 scale, students are rated based on their performance, with explanations provided for each score. This feedback supplements the formal academic reports and teacher meetings, ensuring open communication and addressing any concerns promptly in line with the school's 'no surprises policy'.

A Record of Achievement is an evolving document reflecting students' skill development across various learning experiences, serving as evidence of their competencies applicable to academic pursuits and beyond. It is distributed after the final report of the year, and for Year 11 students, after confirmation of all NCEA results. The document aims to heighten awareness of the learning process, foster reflection on personal growth, provide a platform for independent skill identification, aid in future planning, and serve as a comprehensive record of students' accomplishments, useful for interviews and career endeavours.

Senior College students in class.

ACEE Gifted and Talented programme

Although there is no timetabled ACEE class in Years 11–13, students are monitored and provided opportunities to deepen their learning and experiences. From Year 11, there are opportunities to continue with philosophy, the Australasian Brain Bee Competition (neuroscience-based), Model United Nations, Model European Union and Senior Future Problem Solving. Gifted and talented senior students also have the opportunity for extension, enrichment, and acceleration within specific learning areas, such as English, Mathematics and Science. Higher level extension can be gained from enrolment in University of Canterbury STAR Programmes in Years 12–13.

Senior College students in a science class.

Learning support

Our Learning Support team aims to aid students facing academic challenges, fostering growth in a nurturing environment. Led by qualified teachers, the program encompasses special education, extension programs, and counselling, nurturing self-esteem, and resilience. Tailored support includes reading, language, and study assistance, prioritised by individual needs. Services range from extension programs to decision-making support, emphasising independence and academic success.

Senior College student in class.

Learning with technology

The vision for e-Learning at St Andrew’s College has the student at the centre of all learning and envisions learners who can connect confidently and actively in their community. We aim to produce responsible students who make informed decisions when using ICT in their learning. To support this vision, all students are required to bring their own laptop to school, selected from a range of recommended models. This environment where there is one computer of comparable functionality to each student is known as 1:1 Computing, which is different to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme.

Senior College students in the classroom.

Digital literacy

Digital Citizenship at St Andrew’s College comprises four strands which are embedded throughout the curriculum.

  • Connected

    Connected – being a connected student at StAC is to have access to various technologies, fluent in basic computer competencies, and has experience with core software to further their learning.

  • Confident

    Confident – being a confident student at StAC is to understand what it means to be a digital citizen – someone who interacts with the digital world responsibly and safely.

  • Active

    Active – students actively use digital tools for learning both in and outside the classroom, making use of the resources on offer and exploring opportunities for new styles of learning through technology.

  • Community

    Community – students will use technology responsibly to connect with diverse learners and experts beyond classrooms, sharing their learning online, while teachers facilitate cross-cultural exchanges and subject expertise through video-conferencing.

Senior College students in the library.

Electives programme

The Senior College Electives is a unique feature of St Andrew’s College. The programme provides students with the opportunity to study subject areas that will broaden their horizons but also offer invaluable insights into career paths and essential life skills. By participating, students gain the tools necessary for academic progression while also seizing the chance to explore novel interests and pursuits. The programme provides an opportunity for personal and intellectual growth, encouraging students to embrace the unfamiliar and expand their capabilities.

Senior College students in the cooking classroom.

Careers education and transition

We prepare our students for life after school through our careers education and transition programme. The objective of this department is to assist students to make decisions at key transition points and supports their successful transition from school to further education or work. It also aims to develop the career management competencies which will equip students to manage their career pathways and opportunities throughout their lives.

Careers advisor at the careers expo.

StAC Unplugged

The StAC Unplugged initiative is intended to encourage more purposeful social interactions and the embracing of interpersonal relationships through person-to-person conversations. Introduced in 2020, students are not allowed to use their phones between 8.30am and 3.20pm. We have found that limiting the use of mobile phones in class and during break times minimises opportunities for inappropriate use and reduces the risk of unwarranted distractions. The College is also keenly aware of research that has shown clear links between obsessive social media usage and anxiety and depression. We also provide guidance to students regarding appropriate usage of modern technology and social media, both of which have a place under this initiative as well as in the world beyond the school gates.

Prefects before the prefect investiture assembly.

Student leadership

We focus on nurturing skills and values essential for tomorrow's business and community leaders. There are many leadership opportunities in our Secondary School, with special roles in the Senior College like Heads of College, prefects, captains, Student Council leaders, and heads of various activities. Some roles involve peer and staff selection, while others require application and selection processes. True leadership transcends titles; it's about uniting people around a shared vision with humility, clarity, and courage. All Senior students are seen as leaders, understanding their responsibility as role models and ambassadors for the college beyond its gates.

Heads of College with the Rector and Head of Secondary School outside the chapel.

Sports and Athlete Sports Performance Programme

The Secondary School provides an extensive array of sporting opportunities for students. Our sports programme is directed by our Director of Sport and Co-curricular activities, who ensures it reflects current trends, meets the needs of students, and provides a pathway for those students who want to achieve at the highest possible level.

Sport is compulsory in Years 9–12, and is highly encouraged in Year 13, as is participation in our annual athletic sports, swimming, and cross-country events. Students have the opportunity to attend inter-school sports competitions at local, regional and national level, plus take part in our annual sports exchange programme.

The Athlete Sports Performance programme for Years 11–13 is an innovative programme designed to cater for young sports people interested in developing their knowledge in what it takes to become a high-performing student athlete. This programme is an extension of the Years 9–10 Athlete Sports Development programme, where students involved have the opportunity to continue to apply knowledge with greater independence under the guidance of expert mentors.

Mixed touch rugby game.

Co-curricular cultural activities and clubs

At St Andrew’s, students can participate in everything from speech and drama, to dance, Highland dance, ballet, and music. Professional tuition in singing and a wide range of instruments is offered, with the opportunity for students to join our jazz and concert bands, choirs, barbershop groups, chamber groups, rock bands, and our internationally acclaimed Pipe Band.

Productions in the Senior College include large numbers of students in performance and behind the scenes roles and are among the many highlights on the cultural calendar, plus StAC Attack, Dance Revue, and FilmFest.

Students in the senior production, Legally Blonde.

Castle Hill and beyond the classroom

For over 25 years, our Outdoor Education Programme has provided high-quality outdoor experiences. In the Senior College, outdoor adventure is incorporated into a life skills programme. In this course, students design their own expeditions (two per year). The Outdoor Programme also delivers leadership training to senior students via a three-day Peer Support camp, held in January. It gives Year 12 students the skills they need to support the new intake of Year 9 students. Our prefects and other student leaders undertake much of their specialist leadership training in the inspiring surroundings of Castle Hill.

Students hiking at Castle Hill.

You may be interested in ...

St Andrew's College students in Senior College uniform.


St Andrew’s College uniform is available exclusively from the College Shop, Thistles, and from our Second-hand Uniform Shop run by the PTA, both located on campus.

St Andrew's College driveway

ERO Report

The latest ERO Report for the St Andrew's College was published in 2021.

Students gathering in boarding house.


Fees are reviewed each year, with careful consideration given to the factors and costs required to deliver the high-quality education the College delivers.

Contact Information


For further information please contact the College Registrar, Lynn Smith.