You are logged in as


This website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users. This helps us to provide you with a good user experience and also allows us to improve our website. More information

Facebook Old Cols College

The art of creative thinking


More news for Secondary School

Although creative expression is a key aspect of studying Art at St Andrew’s College, students also gain a wide range of other skills, which can help in almost any aspect of their lives, says Head of Art, Mallory Swadel.

“Art teaches students to be independent, critical thinkers, and provides a great foundation for any course students want to study which requires them to think differently or creatively. It also sharpens their problem-solving and time management skills, and gives them a creative outlet, which is important for their growth as well-rounded individuals.”

Mallory says Art can lead to many career options, with Art students going on to become artists, fashion designers, graphic designers, animators, filmmakers, architects, film producers, photographers, industrial designers, Art historians, lecturers, website designers, jewellery makers, landscape designers and Art teachers.

Art is first introduced to St Andrew’s students in Year 1, and right through their Preparatory School years the children experience a variety of creative experiences under the innovative and expert influence of Specialist Art teacher, Pip Dinsenbacher. 

In the Secondary School, students can choose Art as an option in Years 9–10, when they experience a range of media, from drawing and painting, to sculpture and clay. “We also try to build students’ Art vocabulary, to prepare them for their studies at senior level,” says Mallory. 

In Year 11, Art is a full year NCEA course, with students creating a portfolio of work from a wide range of options, such as sculpture, printmaking, drawing, painting and design.

Year 12 and 13 students focus their attention on one of three separate strands, Design, Photography or Painting, creating portfolios for NCEA Levels 2 and 3. “We encourage the students to focus their portfolio and style of artwork on something they are really interested in, as long as this is within the NCEA boundaries. In Year 13, we build on this knowledge, teaching students how to research and understand the artists’ and designers’ process, and to form their own response to artists’ work.” 

A new initiative next year will see any student accepted into Art courses without the need to have studied Art previously. “We can teach new students all the skills they need. There is also the opportunity to do NCEA Scholarship at Year 13 level, which is a great way for students to delve deeper into their work and the work of other artists to help them to produce a richer, more successful portfolio.”

With purpose built classrooms, specialist teachers, great resources, and industry links, students wanting to pursue a career using the skills they learn in Art are well supported at St Andrew’s. “These days, Art subjects have a strong digital element, with these close links between creativity and technology helping our students to be prepared for a rapidly changing digital world.”

Mallory says a number of students also find Art a creative outlet and release, as they use a different side of their brain from their academic work. “Many of our students come to the Art rooms at lunchtime or after school, as they find it a place to relax or find solace. Having a creative outlet is always something which will benefit and enrich our students lives.”


Mallory Swadel with Isla Lewis and George Lindores
Although creative expression is a key aspect of studying Art at St Andrew’s College, students also gain a wide range of other skills, which can help in almost any aspect of their lives, says Head of Art, Mallory Swadel.