The absence of girls at this level allows boys to focus on the pace and style of learning; a level of learning that would not be achieved in a co-educational environment. In senior years, females are introduced to St Paul’s allowing for socialisation between sexes, preparing students for work and/or tertiary education.
The boys only junior school experience comes to an end in Year 10 after students attend Tihoi Venture School, New Zealand’s only 18-week back-to-basics outdoor programme. Our Year 10 students are stripped of modern technology, such as television and mobile phones, and placed into communal living with seven other age-mates, outdoor pursuits three days a week and regular schooling. It is here, at Tihoi, where Year 10 boys develop into independent, responsible and contributing members of society.
Before starting at St Paul’s, students are tested to ascertain their academic level and are then allocated to classes accordingly. By allocating students to classes of their ability our teachers can focus on the individual needs of each student, pushing them to achieve their personal best.
In Year 9 and 10, students follow a compulsory core of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education and Religious Education. They also choose a language and sample Music, Drama, Art and Technology subjects. In Year 10, students are given the opportunity to gain credits towards NCEA Level 1 (primarily in English, Mathematics and Science).
Some junior students can work towards the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), generally completed during Year 11, through a junior extension programme called global perspectives. Students are asked to debate a range of issues including global warming, poverty, the technology divide, demographic change, conflict and peace, education for all and culture and heritage. Students then produce two research portfolios of 1,500 words and a group portfolio.
Junior scholarship programme
The junior scholarship programme is for Year 9 and 10 students who have shown exceptional academic promise. The programme looks to enhance certain key areas that are deemed essential for scholarship acceptance and top academic success in the senior school. While most state schools have a Gifted and Talented (GATE) programme that focuses on a student’s one skill of giftedness and extending that particular skill, this programme develops a holistic range of skills such as, group work, research, self-awareness, problem-solving and leadership.
Chess in the classroom
The use of chess in the classroom is a valuable education tool that helps students progress their mathematical ability. At St Paul’s, chess is used in the junior school to engage lower-band students in a non-traditional classroom environment. By using chess in the classroom students learn valuable skills that improve their academic performance, including problem-solving, critical thinking and understanding language, symbols and text.
Year 9 band programme
All Year 9 students take part in the Year 9 band programme in which they can choose to learn the trumpet, cornet, clarinet, saxophone or an auxiliary percussion instrument. The aim of this programme is to introduce students to the world of music or instruments that they would never have tried before. Most students choose to continue learning their instrument in future years.
Junior high performance sports programme
All Year 9 and 10 students take part in the junior high performance sports programme. Students receive expert training with junior development coaches and the strength and conditioning coach twice during the six-day academic rotation. These lessons aim to enhance students' fitness and strength levels, develop skills, teach students about nutrition to enhance performance and improve recovery, and prepare students for their senior years as members of St Paul’s first teams.