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On Strowan // Volume 18 // Issue 7

Thursday 21 September 2023

From the Rector, Christine Leighton

"Effectively addressing concerns is not easy and requires significant investment in resources. With the support of our Board of Governors, the College has directed appropriate resources to various areas of learning to ensure all students at St Andrew’s can flourish in their learning. Essential to our focus on academic achievement is our whole school well-being goal. This initiative ensures collaboration of staff who are led by best evidence research in the field of psychology."


Dear Parents and Caregivers

Kia ora koutou katoa

The recent ISNZ (Independent Schools New Zealand) Conference, ‘Here for the Good’ was a good opportunity to reflect upon the value proposition of our independent schools. A survey and report conducted this year by consulting firm McCrindle, leaves no doubt that New Zealand independent schools are delivering impressive educational outcomes for students, both academically and in personal growth with a corresponding high level of satisfaction from parents. However, nothing stays the same, and as school leaders we must remain vigilant to emerging societal and educational trends. 

As our political election looms, we are aware of the media attention given to some concerns regarding New Zealand education:

  • the alarming drop in national literacy and numeracy standards;
  • the rise in truancy and disengagement of some students;
  • the negative effect on young people’s well-being through the overuse and reliance on social media;
  • the effect of misinformation and disinformation on students’ ability to recognise what is worthy of attention and positive for society.

These are some of the urgent and immediate challenges for schools to address. Independent schools are not immune to these challenges. However, at St Andrew’s College we give careful consideration to change and do not follow trends or ‘fads’, some of which are now shown to have negative effects on student learning, achievement, and engagement.

In the Preparatory School, the focus on structured literacy ensures that students have a strong foundation in reading and writing from their early years. Measurement and reporting of achievement at all stages of students’ schooling ensures that intervention is in place as needed. Our Accelerated Learning Programme in Years 9–10 also addresses numeracy and literacy deficits for students who benefit from a highly structured programme, which gives them confidence in their senior years of Secondary School. Neurodiverse students are similarly supported, and those who seek extra academic challenge are encouraged to engage with a more advanced academic programme.

Effectively addressing such concerns is not easy and requires significant investment in resources. With the support of our Board of Governors, the College has directed appropriate resources to various areas of learning to ensure all students at St Andrew’s can flourish in their learning. Essential to our focus on academic achievement is our whole school well-being goal. This initiative ensures collaboration of staff who are led by best evidence research in the field of psychology. Areas of research central to our goal include well-being and human flourishing, character education, and resilience. Supported by our Pastoral Care programme, this initiative explores evidence-based strategies to help mitigate and manage the pitfalls of social media influences and the corresponding threat to young people’s positive self-image and self-belief. A key emphasis is about empowering our young people to think critically and to make decisions based on their values.

At this stage in the lead up to elections, as all sorts of claims and promises emerge from politicians, we must remember there is no silver bullet or easy fix to the challenges we face as a nation. At St Andrew’s College we will continue to remain alert not only to international and national trends, but more importantly to what is happening in our own school. Using data, professional staff judgement, and student voice, we will make the necessary adjustments in our unrelenting quest for continuous improvement. In this way we will continue to positively serve our students and our school community.

Ngā mihi nui


Christine Leighton

CLT 2023
GrandparentsDay ABC 5399


This year, Grandparents' Day will be held on Friday 20 October. This special occasion will commence with entertainment in the Centennial Chapel at 10.45am. Following this, everyone will leave the Centennial Chapel and meet up with the Preparatory and Secondary School students waiting outside. There will be a photographer available to capture this special day for those who would like this option. Please note, there is no morning tea this year. The number of people attending Grandparents’ Day has risen beyond what can be safely accommodated.

Visitors on Grandparents’ Day need to register to attend. This will ensure that the children are released from class to meet with them. Please use the link below to register for this special day. 


From the Head of Secondary School, Evert van Florenstein

I cannot believe that we are once again at the end of another term. The students have been incredibly busy both in the classroom and in their co-curricular activities, many enjoying significant personal success.

I was extremely fortunate to be able to support our sports teams competing in their national tournaments in the South Island during Winter Tournament Week. Not only did our students win on the field but also off it; the team culture I observed for every team made me proud to be part of St Andrew’s College. My trip was a series of highlights, primarily due to every team exceeding pre-tournament expectations. I started my journey in Dunedin where I was able to support the Senior Combined ice hockey team winning their tournament. I was also able to witness in Dunedin our Junior Boys’ and Junior and Senior Girls’ basketball teams take out the South Island titles, an extraordinary achievement. Next, I travelled to Invercargill to support our Girls’ Senior netball team play in the semi-finals of the South Island tournament. Once again, we played St Margaret’s College. This was a tough match which unfortunately we were not able to win. On the last day of Tournament Week, I was able to attend the final of the Federation Cup in Christchurch, where our Girls’ 1st XI hockey team were playing in their first ever premier final. It was a fast and flowing match which either team could have won. At full-time the scores were locked at 1–1 and so we went to a shootout. Unfortunately, we lost the shootout and had to settle for a silver medal, an outstanding achievement from a team who were winners both on and off the field.


Congratulations to all the NCEA students on how they have conducted themselves in the preliminary examinations. I hope that this has been a useful exercise and an opportunity for them to identify gaps in knowledge and understanding that needs attending to before the November NCEA examinations. Hopefully you have had a chance to take part in the Years 11–13 Academic Conferences with your child and their tutor. A huge thank you to the teachers for going the extra distance in the last couple of weeks in providing students with their results and next steps before the holiday break, the more your child attends to in the holidays the better the outcome will be in November.

The StACTalks series being run by our Head of Guidance, Tom Matthews, is proving to be enormously informative and popular. This month’s talk focused on how to help your child navigate the issues of alcohol and vaping. To hear from students, parents, and experts was extremely enlightening. The messages and advice from all who spoke was consistent, education and open communication are the keys to supporting your child navigate difficult situations. In November the filmmaker and author, Rob Cope, will presenting on ‘Understanding our kids’ online world and how to keep them safe’. Rob comes highly recommended and further details will follow early next term.

Next term will be an incredibly busy one for the students. Summer sports will begin in Week 1 and of course the NCEA students will only have a couple of weeks before they depart on examination leave. Year 9– 10 students will be sitting their end-of-year examinations at the beginning of November, please encourage them to prepare for these.

As we approach Term 4, preparing students for the end-of-year assessments and examinations that involve the use of personal computers is essential for their academic success. To ensure your child’s computer is in optimal working condition, we kindly request your assistance during the upcoming holidays. 

Please take some time to thoroughly check your child's computer for the following:

1. Ensure that the keyboard/track pad and screen are functioning correctly.
2. The battery can be fully charged to 100%.
3. Verify that your child's computer has reliable antivirus software installed and that it's up to date. Keeping security software current is essential to protect against online threats.
4. All software, including the operating system and essential applications, are up to date.
5. The Chrome Browser is installed on the device (a requirement for NCEA digital examinations).
If your child's computer requires physical repairs or maintenance, please reach out to a trusted IT professional or service provider.

Most importantly, please do keep us informed if your child's computer experiences any significant problems that cannot be resolved for the start of term – please email Assistant Head of Secondary School, Chami Hutterd, on

Please remember that you are required to give a term’s notice if you are intending to withdraw your child from St Andrew’s College. A penalty equivalent to half a term’s fee may be charged if the notice period of one term is not given.

I would like to thank all parents and students for attending to how the school uniform is being worn. Can I ask you please to check how your child is attending to their grooming, e.g., shaving, hair length, and especially earrings. I am always very proud of how our students present themselves both at school and when out in public.


Evert van Florenstein
Head of Secondary School



16    Start of Term 4
19    Kerrin P. Sharpe's Book Launch
20    Grandparents' Day
23    Labour Day, College closed
25–28 Middle School Production, The Little Mermaid
29   Leavers’ Chapel, 7.00pm
30   Leavers’ Assembly, 8.15am

3    Secondary School NCEA Teacher Only Day
6     NCEA Examinations start
17   Canterbury Anniversary, College closed  
26   Prizegiving, 5.00pm  
30   NCEA Examinations finish
30  Leavers’ Dinner, 7.00pm

6     Last Day for Years 9–10

Please view the fixtures on the College intranet for more upcoming events. The intranet is updated daily.

Visit the Term Fixtures on StACNet >

From the College Chaplain, Rev. Paul Morrow

How does one become resilient in a world that shames, constantly compares, and only celebrates a narrow brand of success? How do those who feel bullied and those that bully rise to see the light? This week we have been focusing on mental health, of which resilience is a big contributor. I believe resilience comes from a healthy community, one in which our young people can make mistakes without fear or shame and learn from them while having supportive people around them.

Maya Angelou, a great contemporary American poet, writes about how she dealt with slavery and prejudice in her moving poem entitled, Still I Rise. (I quote some selected verses)

“You may write me down in history.
With your bitter, twisted lies.
You may tread me in the very dirt.
But still, like dust, I’ll rise…

“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness.
But still, like air, I’ll rise...

“Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise

“Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise …

“Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
“I rise

“I rise

“I rise.”

Can we face our own difficulties with this kind of confidence that she expresses?

I read a story in Boarders’ Chapel a few years ago about a child and adult psychologist who remembered his first-grade teacher putting her arm around him as he attempted to read aloud. He would stammer and stutter, but no one would laugh at him because, in his words, ‘he had the mafia around him’. A caring community allowed this young boy to make mistakes without fearing shame. As this young boy grew up and faced difficulties, he would remember his first-grade teacher’s arm around him.

Most research now shows that resilience is the result of individuals being able to interact with their environments and the processes that either promote well-being or protect them against the overwhelming influence of risk factors. These processes are more than likely to be helped along by good families, schools, and communities that make resilience more likely to occur.

“In this sense, ‘resilience’ occurs when there are cumulative ‘protective factors’. These factors are likely to play a more and more important role the greater the individual’s exposure to cumulative ‘risk factors’.”

In life we see the best and worst of humanity and our children are going to be exposed to behaviour that is untoward. Their ability to respond favourably to this risky human behaviour and their ability to respond to mistakes will depend on their community and the belief they gain from this environment.

Our words (and our tweets) have power to encourage and destroy, but only if we choose to believe the words that are being spoken.

As followers of Christ, I am sure the founders of St Andrew’s College had their challenges, critics, and clashes of personalities to overcome, but they also had a Godly community based around God’s Word in which it told them (and tells us) of his enduring love, his plans that give us a future, and a hope despite what humanity may throw our way.

It was in these words that many African Americans, who endured the worst of humanity, believed, and it was their belief in God’s enduring love that allowed them to rise again and again.

St Andrew’s College seeks to partner with you as parents in providing a community that develops resilience, a community that provides a supporting arm so that mistakes can be made without fear or shame.

I wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday.



Rev. Paul Morrow
College Chaplain


From the Head of Middle School, Matt Parr

As I reflect on Term 3, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride at the way that the Middle School students have applied themselves to their learning and co-curricular activities. With St Andrew’s College operating at full steam, it is wonderful to see so many students excelling in so many different areas. I have enjoyed hearing about our many teams and groups performing and participating in various events around New Zealand, with many achieving outstanding results. But to me, there is more to this. The hard work, teamwork, and time management required to perform at a high level, is what really counts towards growing our students. I wish everyone a restful term break and I look forward to seeing you all in Term 4.


Matt Parr
Head of Middle School



Last Friday saw the running of a House day for all Year 9–10 students. Following an excellent assembly celebrating winter sport, ballet, and Otago Maths Competition achievements, students competed in a range of activities including basketball, football, bench ball, charades, a quiz, and teamwork/word puzzles throughout the day. The day wrapped up with a House singing competition, where students almost raised the roof off the Chapel with their volume and enthusiasm while singing Mama Mia, Tutira mai nga iwi, and other classics. Unbelievable scenes, with Rutherford House taking out the overall honours for the day.

It was a great day, and I really enjoyed seeing the students getting amongst the spirit of their House. A huge well done to all the students who were involved and really got into the spirit of the day.


Ka pai to our Year 10 students who embraced the outdoor experiences that camp has to offer. Whether it was a beautiful spring day or knee-deep in snow, it was so cool hearing the many stories of adventure and challenge, and our Year 10 students making the most of these. A huge thank you to the Castle Hill staff and the teaching staff who accompanied these camps. These are a significant commitment, and we hugely appreciate it. A huge thank you also to Head of Values and Culture, Hamish Bell and the Year 10 Dean, Lucy Curtis, for their efforts in working through all the logistics. We are now looking forward to the Duke of Edinburgh/Solo camps next term.


The highly anticipated Years 9–10 production The Little Mermaid is currently deep into the rehearsal phase. I always know when it is production season with students rushing around frantically getting organised, and regular trips to Normans Road for refreshments. The production is running from 25–28 October. All nights are now sold out!


Next term, there are a range of activities taking place alongside school-based activities. Further information and specific details will be communicated to you at the beginning of the term. Below is a summary of some of the activities taking place.

Week 1:

  • Monday 16 October                        Start of Term 4
  • Friday 20 October                           Grandparents' Day

Week 2:

  • Monday 23 October                        Labour Day
  • Wednesday 25 October                  Junior Production

Week 3:

  • Monday 30 October                        Year 11 begin study leave
  • Tuesday 31 October                       Year 9 Examinations (Tuesday: English, Wednesday: Mathematics, Thursday: Social Studies) – Year 10 lessons as normal
  • Thursday 2 November (pm)          Year 9 Community Service Afternoon (beach clean up)
  • Friday 3 November                         NCEA Teacher Only Day (no lessons)

Week 4:

  • Monday 6 November                     NCEA Examinations begin for Year 11
                                                             Year 10 Examinations (Monday: English, Tuesday: Mathematics, Wednesday: Social Studies) NB: Year 9 lessons as normal Weeks 4–7
  • Thursday 9 November                  Year 10 Te Waka Challenge Day

Week 5:

  • Monday 13 November                  Study leave day for students in 10 N, O & H
                                                             Year 10 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh and Te Waka Overnight Solo reflections begin (further information to follow)
  • Tuesday 14 November                  NCEA Level 1 Science for students in 10 N, O & H
  • Friday 17 November                     Canterbury Anniversary – College Closed

Week 6:

  • Sunday 26 November                   Prizegiving (Wolfbrook Arena, 5.00pm)

Week 7:

  • Monday 27 November                   Late start (Period 2) following Prizegiving
  • Thursday 30 November                 Course change day (9.00am–12.30pm)

Week 8:

  • Wednesday 6 December               Te Waka Homecoming Ceremony
                                                              End of Term 4. School ends at 12.00pm



Students have shared some excellent resources about study skills and strategies using Six Strategies for Effective Learning and Pomodoro techniques. These are available on their Teams pages and will be a key focus for tutor time for Year 9–10 students at the beginning of next term.


I hope the Year 11 students made the most of the preliminary examinations held this term. It is an essential part of our learning programme. The Tutor Conferences that are taking place this week are key in ensuring that each student takes ownership of their learning outcomes, and the whānau and tutor act as their support people.


The last day for Year 11 students will be on Monday 30 October and their day will finish at around 3.00pm.

They will be finishing the year with a farewell and celebration from me and a welcome of sorts into the Senior College.


I would like to please remind our whānau community around some of our expectations regarding jewellery and grooming. Some things that we would appreciate your support with are:

  • for boys, we do not accept mullets. This is where hair is long on top and down the back and cut short on the sides. The back and sides should be tidy and consistent. Their hair must be above their eyebrows and off the collar;
  • if boys are wearing shorts, they must be wearing school socks. Some students are choosing to wear sports socks;
  • girls’ socks must be plain white. No sports socks are allowed;
  • girls are only allowed to wear one sleeper or stud in each ear. It must be in the earlobe. Make up should be minimal if at all.

Your help in maintaining these standards is appreciated. Please do not be offended if your child is asked to comply.


All Year 11 students are required to complete a Clearance Form before they leave for the year. This will be done over Weeks 1–2 of Term 4 during tutor time. Their tutor group will visit the Library to return overdue books and/or any computer equipment which may have been borrowed. Students are also expected to totally clean out their lockers if they had one this year. They will be getting new lockers next year, in Senior College, so it is imperative they leave nothing behind, including their locks.

All Year 9–10 students are required to complete a Clearance Form before they leave for the year. This will be done over Weeks 6–7 of Term 4 during tutor time. Their tutor group will visit the Library to return overdue books and/or any computer equipment which may have been borrowed. Students are also expected to totally clean out their lockers. No one gets the same locker next year, so it is imperative they leave nothing behind, including their locks. It is optional for next year’s Years 10–11 to have a locker, and notification has already gone out to students to apply for one. If there are any issues students can contact Robyn McIntosh in the Middle School Office,

Christmas Cake 2 1 Tile

PTA Christmas Goodies | Order Now

Delicious Christmas goodies, locally made with the highest quality ingredients. The perfect gift for Christmas or keep to treat your own family! All proceeds will go towards the PTA 2023 fundraising drive.

This year the PTA are introducing two brand-new offerings outside of the cake category:

  • Christmas Truffles (box of 6) | $17.00
  • Christmas Shortbread Trees (box of 8) | $14.00

The PTA is also again offering a range of Christmas cake options, all beautifully presented in a gift box:

  • 2kg Traditional Christmas Cake | $77.00
  • 2kg Traditional Christmas Cake – gluten free option | $79.00
  • 450g Cathedral Cake – gluten and dairy free | $31.00

More information about each of the PTA’s Christmas Goodies, including the ingredients list, can be found at the link below.

  • Closing date for orders: Friday 20 October 2023
  • Cake collection: November 2023 (date TBC), Second-hand Uniform Shop

From the Head of Senior College, John Ruge

This has been another incredibly challenging and busy term for everyone in the Senior College, and I hope the coming break will be a chance for some time out to refresh and recharge. Congratulations to all those who turned up to the recent preliminary exams and did their best. These were an important opportunity to gain recognition for work during the year, and also to set students up for any last minute derived grade applications if they encounter problems during NCEA externals.

With only fourteen and a half school days left before examination leave begins, we have a very limited window for completing what needs to be done, so the Deans and I are encouraging students to read emails, turn up to every class, and finish well!

On an uplifting note, it’s Theme Week for Year 13 students, and they are enjoying the chance to hang up their school uniforms and try out some different looks. This is an initiative that the Senior College Council introduced three years ago, and it has been well received by students and staff. The themes this year are:

  • Monday – First letter of your name
  • Tuesday – Decade throwback
  • Wednesday – Favourite characters
  • Thursday – Time machine (10 years forward or 10 years backwards)
  • Friday is a return to normal school uniform for our end-of-term assembly (and Prefect photo).

Look out for some photos in Rector’s Comment tomorrow and on social media next week!

I hope you all have a safe and relaxing break and I look forward to welcoming students back next term ready for a fast and furious end to the academic year.


John Ruge
Head of Senior College



Term 4 begins on Monday 16 October. All students are expected at school by 8.30am for tutor time.


Please make note of the following important events in our calendar next term. There is more information on each of these events below:

  • Leavers’ Chapel Service – Sunday 29 October at 7.00pm in the Centennial Chapel. This service will be followed by a function for ‘13 Years On’ students;
  • Leavers’ Assembly – Monday 30 October at 8.15am;
  • Year 12 Leavers’ Function – Tuesday 14 November at 5.00pm in the staffroom;
  • Leavers’ Dinner – Thursday 30 November at 7.00pm – Te Pae Convention Centre, Christchurch.


Sunday 29 October at 7.00pm in the Centennial Chapel. This is a significant service for our leavers and is always well attended. Invitations have been sent out to all families.

You are warmly invited to attend with your child, please be seated by 6.50pm. Students must wear full school uniform. Boys are expected to wear long trousers.

There is no Sunday service for Year 12 students in Term 4.


Monday 30 October at 8.15am, beginning with the flag raising ceremony at the flagpole outside Strowan House.

The assembly celebrates our leavers as special guests and honours them as they prepare to embark on life after St Andrew’s College. We have now sent invitations to parents/guardians of all Year 12 and Year 13 leavers to attend this special assembly. Leavers will be required to report to the Senior College Common Room by 7.30am for breath testing and then breakfast in the dining room, and parents/guardians are asked to assemble at the flagpole in front of Strowan House by 8.15am.

Morning tea for student leavers and their parents/guardians together with staff will be held at the conclusion of the assembly in the Senior College Common Room.

All Senior College students will need to be off campus by midday at the latest.


All Year 13 students and their parents or guardians are invited to attend this function on Thursday 30 November, starting at 7.00pm. We are very excited to be holding the dinner once again at the new Te Pae Convention Centre. We are currently in the planning stages for this event and will send you details as soon as we can in Term 4.


We will hold a function on Tuesday 14 November in the staffroom to acknowledge all students who are leaving at the end of their Year 12 year. Invitations will be sent out as soon as we have confirmed the details.

Year 12 leavers are also included in the Leavers’ Chapel Service and the Leavers’ Assembly.


The organising group have done a lot of work choosing and designing the range of leavers’ gear for 2023. Orders for this have now closed and we will notify students as soon as the gear is ready for collection.


  • the final day of classes for both Year 12 and Year 13 is Monday 30 October;
  • Year 13 students are expected to have left the College grounds by midday;
  • Year 12 students commence their study leave at 12.35pm;
  • NCEA examinations begin on Monday 6 November.

From the Director of Sport and Co-curricular Activities, Mark Lane

Term 3 has been very busy with all the competitions getting to the business end of their seasons and the Winter Tournament Week. This year we had 18 teams competing across the country during the week. Our teams performed exceptionally well, with eight out of the 18 getting a top five placing. Two teams to note were the Girls’ 1st XI hockey team, who came second in the Federation Cup, and the Girls’ Senior A basketball team, who won the South Island Secondary School Tournament again this year. We also had our Girls’ basketball team and our Senior A netball team qualify for their respective national tournaments during the coming holidays.

In our weekly competitions, St Andrew’s teams have enjoyed playing a full winter season of sport. Students continue to thrive with the opportunities presented and have had many enriching experiences through participating and engaging with the co-curricular programme. It has been a pleasure to attend sideline and witness the competition and see the sportsmanship that our teams have shown.

We wish both the Girls’ Senior A basketball and the Girls’ Senior A netball teams all the very best as they attend their nationals during the holidays.


Mark Lane
Director of Sport and Cultural Activities



A couple of weeks ago saw the end of a busy Winter Tournament Week. For those of you involved with a school sports team over the week, congratulations to you and your team for getting out there and rising to the challenge. It is also a great time to acknowledge the crucial role you played in the season that has just wrapped up.

With the end of one season for most of you, it is a great opportunity to take a well-deserved break and look ahead to the next.

For most codes there will be an end-of-year prizegiving where the team and individuals are acknowledged for their efforts throughout the year.

While it is common practice to acknowledge achievements of individuals at these events, it is also an opportunity and equally important to thank and support all those not receiving prizes, such as other athletes, coaches, managers, parents, and supporters for their efforts throughout the season.

Success at St Andrew’s is not just defined by how many ‘wins’ we have on the scoreboard but by how we talk about sport, how we behave and act, and the positive outcomes of enjoying the benefits sport brings us.

Winter Tournament Week allowed us to witness many teams in action around the country. The regular reporting of results from Director of Sport and Cultural Activities, Mark Lane allowed us to all connect as one – He waka eke noa, giving us a true sense of sporting identity with the College.

My experience in Auckland, like many other coaches around New Zealand, gave me the opportunity to observe how our rangatahi were learning to be better people through sport. They were getting the opportunity to practice their social skills in a controlled setting and learning how to work better together. Not all of us were successful but some of the best learning in terms of resilience can come through that failure when managed correctly. Sport can also be a safe place for students to learn how to handle pressure and grow their understanding of what it takes to succeed, not just in sport. These skills and lessons will also transfer into their academics and in life skills beyond College.

In closing, I would like to share with you an extremely inspirational message read by Mike Johnstone to our Year 13 rugby leavers that directly supports our Sports Framework and playing for the thistle at the recent end-of-season 1st XV dinner.

‘May the Deep Roots help you grow and develop as a person.
May the Strong Stem give you the strength to overcome any obstacles.
And the Mighty Thorns give you the courage to believe in yourself, to embrace every challenge that comes your way,
And may the Vibrant Flower keep you connected and give you a vibrant and fortifying life.’
Mike Johnston 2023


John Haggart
Sports Leadership and Development




By Sport New Zealand

A common issue faced by parents and coaches is when children become disillusioned with playing sports. Maybe they participate in a team sport but want to play individual sports – or vice versa. Or perhaps they want to stop participating altogether. This could be due to a child feeling like they’re under-performing compared to their teammates; or maybe something in their sporting environment is having a negative impact on their motivation and development.

Whatever the reason, many adults in this situation worry about young people switching sports – or changing the type of sport – and what the implications might be for the child. In this article, we will address some of those concerns and provide some takeaway ideas that should help us to understand the benefits of both individual and team sports.

The benefits of team sports and individual sports – and the different challenges that team and individual sports present for children

Team sports can provide an excellent opportunity for young people to develop numerous skills, such as social acuity and character (teamwork, leadership, communicating, resilience, mental toughness, etc.), as well as improve their overall physical health. I say ‘can’ because the reality is that, often, we don’t achieve these things by accident; rather, the adults involved in the experience must take an approach that supports this development. Much like a good teacher might.

But opportunities for social development are not confined to team sports; even in individual sports, we can create environments that allow for connections and the development of social skills. And, with the right guidance from coaches and other stakeholders, we can still succeed in building individual sports environments that aid the social and character development of young athletes.

Ultimately, the benefits young people receive when they participate in sports has less to do with whether they’re team sports or individual sports, and more to do with the quality of the experience. This is largely underpinned by the support – i.e., how the adult support network around young athletes shapes their experiences.

Takeaway 1

It is important to let young people sample many different sports and activities. Whether someone plays individual sports or team sports – or if they try drama or debating – doesn’t matter as much as whether they have a quality experience.

What is the relationship between competence and motivation?

Self Determination Theory is one of the key psychological theories that guides us in facilitating quality sporting experiences. An understanding of Self Determination Theory helps us to keep athletes motivated, so that they want to stay involved in sport. 

One of the key psychological needs identified by Self Determination Theory is competence. There is a direct relation between our feeling of competence (our feeling of mastery or effectiveness in a task) and our motivation to do and keep doing that task. This is why a child’s enjoyment of sports is often linked to their perception of their own performance relative to others. Things like an athlete’s belief in their own skills and physical fitness, and their ability to achieve personal goals, can all impact their long-term desire to stay involved in their sport.

However, we need to consider this alongside the other key psychological needs of Self Determination Theory: autonomy and relatedness.

  • Autonomy – how much choice does an athlete have with these experiences? In other words, do they get to decide which sports they play? Are they given freedom to express themselves, be creative, and try new things within the sport? Or do they feel like they must abide by what the coach says?
  • Relatedness – does a child value their connection with teammates, other peers, and coaches when participating in sports? And how much do they feel valued by others? This isn’t just about performance, but about overall social connection. After all, human beings are inherently social creatures.

Takeaway 2

It is important to consider how we and other adults support each of these psychological needs for young people in our sports environments. The Good Sports Spine is a good tool to help us focus and reflect on this. And parental support plays a critical role in developing a child’s belief in their own physical activity, sporting competence, and overall physical fitness.

Is environment important?

Regardless of how we and other adults support a child, sometimes the environment propels behaviours that make it seem like performance is all that matters. Here, two key considerations to think about are:

  1. How focused is the environment on competition outcomes (such as winning)? Some sports and activities (for example, surfing, tramping, and rock climbing) have less of a cultural and systemic focus on competition than other sports (for instance, your traditional team sports and individual sports, like football and tennis), but parent and coach behaviour go a long way to shaping this mentality too.
  2. Does the sport allow appropriate grouping of individual athletes by skill level? This is easier to accomplish in the larger sports – particularly in the larger regions – as bigger pools of athletes make it easier to select teams with similar abilities. Where this happens, individual athletes are likelier to receive a suitable mix of challenges (allowing them to experience an appropriate blend of adversity and success) when playing team sports. But, of course, we must also be mindful that selection processes can sometimes be fraught with issues as well.

Takeaway 3

We must encourage the right environment for development by noticing – and amending, if necessary – our own behaviours around outcomes. The most important factor for a child may be the chance to keep playing with their friends, or to develop new skills, rather than winning.

How can I best support a child’s development?

When faced with these challenges in a child’s sporting development, it can be helpful to encourage a growth mindset. This means helping them shift their perceptions about their ability from one of ‘I can’t do this’ to one of ‘I can’t do this yet”.

Takeaway 4

Read the following link. It provides a quick overview about how a coach or parent can tailor praise and feedback to best support young people in developing a growth mindset.


The St Andrew’s 2023–2024 rowing season is fast approaching. As winter sport has come to an end, we are seeing a lot of last season’s rowers taking part in the S&C and erg sessions available during the week in preparation for the season to start in Term 4.

Our new Year 9 rowers have been taking part in our learn to row opportunities on Sunday afternoons with the help of the senior rowers and are learning fast.

Over the holidays we have more learn to row opportunities for our novice team in Christchurch, and our senior team are heading to Twizel for four days to set up our camp for the season and get back into things.

Our club’s numbers will grow again this season. The growth of our girls’ programme continues as we look to try and create a long-term goal of having an almost even split of male and female rowers. This is exciting and will offer an amazing experience for our team a lot of other clubs are not fortunate to experience.


At the beginning of Term 4, summer sport will start up again. In most cases students will continue with the same sport and team as they participated in during Term 1. It is important that there are limited changes to ensure that the same teams can be entered in competition. Students must see Ms Ward in the Sports Office should they need to change their option in justifiable circumstances.

Our expectation is that all students up to Year 12 are fully involved in the co-curricular programme, and it is encouraged for all Year 13 students to be involved. The key aim is to assist all students find a sport or activity that enriches their lives and puts them on the path to lifelong participation. Should you have any queries regarding your child’s involvement in co-curricular activities, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s tutor.


If you have any queries regarding competitions organised by School Sport Canterbury, please email our Sports Co-ordinator, Leanne Ward (

Parents are not to contact the School Sport Canterbury office directly.

Most of the key information is on their website by clicking here.


Our Pipe Band season gets underway in November and is a very exciting time for our Pipe Band members and their families. We welcome new bagpipers and drummers to the group who have moved from the learner phase into becoming a member of the Pipe Band.

As always, the Pipe Band love to see parents, supporters, and Old Collegians at any of our events.

Upcoming Events


  • Saturday 7 – New Zealand Young Piper of the Year (Nelson)
  • Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 – Labour Weekend Silver Chanter, Christchurch (St Andrew’s College campus)


  • Saturday 11 – Hororata Highland Games (Hororata Domain) – A, B and C Bands. Highland Games - Hororata Trust – All parents and supporters need to purchase tickets before the event.
  • Thursday 16 – Christchurch A&P Show (A&P Showgrounds) – A, B and C Bands


  • Sunday 3 – Strowan Gathering (StAC Grounds) – A, B and C Bands

Performing Arts

This has been an enormously busy term for the Performing Arts departments including Cultural Week, Jazz Club, Orchestra Festival, our first Miscast evening, Dance Revue, Film Fest performance evening, Rock Night, and Vocal Concert, as well as having rehearsals for the Middle School production. Phew! A huge thank you to all the staff who have supported student learning in these events.


Our Symphony and Concert Orchestras had an amazing experience at the Aurora Orchestra and Concert Band Festival last Monday. The orchestras delivered outstanding performances featuring compositions by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and more. Notably, Sea-am Thompson (Year 12) made his conducting debut!

Following their performance, the students engaged in a enriching workshop led by the talented Pablo Ruiz.

Thank you to conductor, Mark Hodgkinson, for his dedication and leadership in guiding our orchestras to excellence.


Our junior choir, Stacchorus, took part in an independent schools singing festival. This included three group pieces as well as each choir singing a set of two pieces. This was a delightful evening and celebration of song. Thank you to Music Teacher Bryan Botting for his dedication to the choir.


Congratulations to Teacher in Charge of Media Studies, Rachel D’Arcy and her team who held a wonderful Film Fest. A huge range of films to make us laugh and think. The event was a delight and highlight for many.


Congratulations to Heads of Dance, Sophie March and Sienna Spark, who organised a fantastic Dance Revue for 2023. Featuring many dances from StAC Dance, it was great to see such a variety of work on stage and a very slick performance.


Tickets to this event have sold out for the first time ever before the school holidays. Thank you to everyone for your support purchasing tickets. It is going to be an excellent show.

The Little Mermaid 2 1 SOLD OUT


11–13 October

Year 9–10 Production holiday rehearsals (daytime)

17 October

Production Full day rehearsal from 8.30am

18–19 October

Year 9–10 Production dress rehearsals (evenings)

20–21 October

Labour Weekend Big Band Festival
Friday 20 – performance at Riverside 11.00am–12.00pm
Saturday 21 – performance at Victoria Square 11.30am–1.00pm

24 October

Production final dress rehearsal

25 –28 October

Production – The Little Mermaid

Term Fixtures on StACNet >