Meet the Principal 2019: Christine Leighton of St Andrew’s College
St Andrew’s College has great respect for its long history and proud traditions, and is also focused on creating new opportunities to inspire future generations, says Christine Leighton, the only female Rector at St Andrew’s throughout its 101 year history. “We have a new strategic direction, Framing our Future, which combines the best of the past with the possibilities of the future. Our vision is to be at the leading edge of high performance educational practice, in a community which values caring for others, tradition, and creativity, in order to provide young people with the roots and wings to flourish in an ever-changing world.”
Christine is a great believer in girls and boys being educated alongside one another. “I went to a co-educational school myself and believe it is the best way to prepare young people for their future.” She is proud of the response shown by St Andrew’s College students in the wake of the recent terror attack. “Our students showed great compassion and leadership in support of a number of initiatives in Christchurch, with three of our Year 12 students organising the March for Love. We have seen a genuine desire from students to make their world of the future a better place.”
Students at St Andrew’s are encouraged to strive for excellence in their academic, sporting and cultural pursuits, with their successes widely celebrated. Christine was delighted with the College’s outstanding academic success in 2018, which she says is up there with the best schools in the country. “A group of 24 students achieved 43 New Zealand Scholarships between them, including 13 Outstanding Scholarships. Three of our Year 13 students gained a place in the top 50 students nationwide, including College Dux, Russell Boey, who was named as one of the top 11 scholars in New Zealand. ”
St Andrew’s is renowned for the wide range of sporting and cultural pursuits on offer. Its individual athletes and sports teams regularly win South Island and New Zealand titles, and have won recent South Island or National titles in girls’ volleyball, mixed and boys’ tennis, mixed adventure racing, athletics, and rowing. Cultural opportunities on offer include Pipe Band, musical theatre, and 25 different music groups.St Andrew’s College is the only independent school offering co-educational boarding in the South Island, with boarders well catered for in state-of-the art boarding houses. A Positive Education and Well-being programme is in place to support students’ well-being, and to help them flourish and develop a broad set of character strengths, virtues, competencies and a positive mindset, Christine says.