FAQs about boarding school

St Paul’s Collegiate School, Hamilton, is one of New Zealand’s leading private day and boarding schools for boys (Years 9 to 13) and girls (Years 11 to 13).

St Paul’s small community and modern boarding facilities offer the perfect home-away-from-home for students who choose to complete their secondary education.

Parents often have many questions about the boarding environment at St Paul’s such as 'can I visit my child during the week?' and 'what will my child do during their free time?'. Below we have tried to answer as many of these questions as possible. Please get in touch with our enrolments office if you have any other queries on +64 7 957 8889.

Parent access

How much access do parents have?

We encourage regular communication between students and their family. Parents are no longer separated from their son and/or daughter for months at a time. Students see their parents regularly through home and school visits. Parents are welcome to visit and take their son and/or daughter out for a meal during the week or out for the day at weekends. Parents are always welcome at sports fixtures and other school activities as advertised.

What are the leave arrangements?

Housemasters are required to know the whereabouts of all boarders at all times. For this reason boarders are not permitted to leave school grounds without permission from their housemaster or duty staff. Boarders on leave must report out when leaving and report in on their return. Boarders may apply to take leave on most weekends, subject to meeting any school commitments such as sport. In most terms boarding houses close for three of four days, this provides an opportunity for boarders to spend time at home.

How much communication is there between house staff and parents?

Housemasters communicate regularly with parents via newsletters, reports, email and telephone. Parents who wish to visit are always welcome.

Day-to-day life

Who supervises the boarders?

Each boarding house is staffed by a housemaster, deputy housemaster, assistant housemaster, matron and two tutors. Housemasters and deputy housemasters are members of the teaching staff, while the university-age tutors assist with general supervision and other duties. Housemasters live in accommodation within their allocated boarding house and tutors are accommodated within the environs of each house. A non-resident matron assists with domestic arrangements, keeps an eye on the younger boarders and carries out minor repairs of clothing.

How many boarders are there and where do they come from?

St Paul’s currently has approximately 320 boarding students, which represents 45% of the school roll. The majority of our boarders are drawn from the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Auckland regions. However, a number are from wider New Zealand and overseas (the Pacific, Australia, Asia, South America and Europe).

What time do boarders get up and go to bed?

  • Year 9 – 6.30am rising; 9.00pm bedtime
  • Year 10 – 6.40am rising; 9.15pm bedtime
  • Year 11 – 6.50am rising; 9.30pm bedtime
  • Year 12 – 7.00am rising; 9.45pm bedtime
  • Year 13 – 7.10am rising; 10.00pm bedtime

What do boarders do after school and at weekends?

A wide range of recreational activities are available to boarders outside of school hours. St Paul’s caters for most major sporting codes and also provides students with the opportunity to participate in cultural activities such as productions and musical showcases. Rehersals and sports practice/events are held after school and on the weekend. Students are also able to leave campus to visit Chartwell Square, a Westfield shopping centre which is a 10 minute walk away, and are at liberty to make use of the School’s library and recreational facilities.

Do boarders have internet access? How is this monitored?

Most boarders have personal devices, which can be connect to the school’s wireless internet network, although students are also able to access school computers. St Paul’s uses software to monitor the network.

Where do boarders eat and what is the food like?

All boarders eat at the dining hall. Meals are prepared on-site and are based on Government dietary guidelines specific to adolescents. Boarders with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free) are catered for. Most meals are cafeteria style, although one night each week there is a formal dinner.

What are the laundry arrangements?

Washing is sent to a central onsite laundry. Many of St Paul’s female students prefer to do their own washing and washing machines are provided in the girls’ boarding house for this purpose.

Healthcare and counselling

What are the healthcare arrangements?

The school doctor visits St Paul’s several mornings each week. A qualified nurse lives onsite and is available to offer medical treatment for minor injury or illness. In more serious cases, external professional support is obtained from local medical clinics or the Emergency Department at Waikato Hospital.

Does St Paul’s offer counselling and support services?

St Paul’s has a full-time counsellor and a full-time chaplain. House staff, among others, are also available to provide support and guidance to boarders as and when necessary. We encourage our boarders to talk with whomever they feel comfortable if they are experiencing difficulties.

What is the school’s policy on bullying?

St Paul’s does not tolerate bullying. We believe that bullying is unacceptable and cannot be ignored. When bullying happens, as it does from time to time in every school, we deal with it promptly and effectively.