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Craighead Diocesan School (age 13 - 18), Timaru


Craighead Diocesan School is a State-Integrated Christian Year 7-13 Boarding and Day school for girls, situated in Timaru, South Canterbury. We have a maximum roll of 380 students with families who come from a wide geographic area, such as Canterbury, North Otago, the West Coast and occasionally the North Island. Set in just over three and a half hectares of majestic trees, wide lawns and beautiful gardens, Craighead provides a unique learning environment. 

Craighead is committed to the pursuit of excellence in all fields of endeavour (spiritual, academic, physical and cultural), with emphasis on the development of each girl within a caring, Christian family atmosphere so that each is well-educated, well-adjusted, responsible, confident and capable of contributing to society. Our students are confident, connected and actively involved life-long learners.

Ours is a school where every girl is valued and extended, and the notion of community is cherished.

The school is dynamic and appreciates diversity. Each student is encouraged to take responsibility for learning and to take appropriate risks in the learning process. Staff assist students to become thoughtful and considerate people who are independent, resourceful and critically aware, yet assertive in a tactful and charming manner.

Small classes ensure that each girl is treated in an individual and supportive manner. Our learning environment offers each girl the opportunity to fulfil her potential in a range of academic, cultural, personal and sporting programmes. We are justifiably proud of our students and their achievements.

International students are given a warm and personal welcome to Craighead. Girls are met on arrival at the airport, an individual orientation programme is provided, uniforms and equipment purchased, and banking facilities set up.

International Students at Craighead are accommodated in the School Boarding House or in Homestay. Boarding House accommodation is compulsory for the first year, or until students are in Year 11. The Boarding House is located onsite, in the heart of the School. Students are accommodated in a friendly, caring atmosphere. 115 boarders are accommodated in modern and comfortable surroundings.

Boarding students in Year 7 – 10 are accommodated in the Len Home Wing, who are spread over three floors. Room layouts range from four beds per room, each partitioned off for their own privacy up to single bed rooms. Accommodation for our senior students, Years 11 -13, are located in our new Senior Boarding Wing, once again spread over three floors. Rooms on the Year 11 and 12 floors are shared between two, with the Year 13 students having single rooms sharing an ensuite.

Each Year level has a House Supervisor responsible for the care and welfare of the students and GAP students also provide additional support. Supervised homework time is provided as support for academic achievement. Senior girls sometimes choose to live in homestay and experience life outside of the Boarding environment. Our excellent homestay providers are all checked and vetted by the School.



Study at Craighead Diocesan School

Craighead has a reputation for lifting the performance of its students. This is the result of fine teaching and pride in seeing the girls achieve good results. Our school philosophy is that many students may have unrealized potential. Therefore, we encourage a process of self-discovery. Performance is closely measured from the time a student enters the school and progress is carefully monitored.

There is a strong work ethic where positive expectations fuel students’ willingness to strive to be the best they can be. Entry to the school is not based on academic ability. We enjoy diversity and helping every girl to discover her capabilities. There are no assumptions, no limitations. In the Craighead environment, girls have the capacity to excel. Indeed, Craighead girls perform well above the national average in all subjects. Education goes further than the classroom. We are concerned with preparing our students with skills and strategies that will help them throughout life.

International students studying at Craighead follow the New Zealand Curriculum. Senior students sit their National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in Years 11-13 and can attain Levels 1,2,3 as well as meeting New Zealand University entry requirements. Subject choices for International students at all levels are made in consultation with the Director of International Students, Deans and subject teachers.

IELTS is offered to senior students who may need this qualification for entry to international tertiary institutions. TOEFL and TOEIC can also be arranged on request. There are a number of compulsory and optional subjects to choose from at each year level and these are outlined in the Subject Structure Information located on this page.


Sport is not compulsory at Craighead, but students are expected and encouraged to take part in at least one Summer and one Winter sport. Sports practice days can be any day of the week, depending on the sport and the availability of the coach. Practice times also vary with the sport, but in general they are one hour long with the afternoon practices usually finishing by 5.30pm. The School Athletics and Swimming Championships are compulsory for all girls and are held early in Term One. In both cases there is an inter-House aspect as well as the individual championships. All girls must enter at least two events for each of these competitions, either as an individual or as a team member in the various relay events.

Sailing and Rowing

Sailing is a popular sport at Craighead. The team regularly sail in various local, regional and national regatta's. Rowing at Craighead has existed since 1997. Coached for the past 16 years by Dean Milne, the Rowing Group are very fortunate to have a coach of his calibre and commitment especially given his input is purely voluntary. Craighead Rowing in association with the school own 10 rowing boats, 2 chase boats, a boat trailer, 7 ergs and various other equipment.

Performing Arts

All students in Y 7-10 have one class period per week of Drama which introduces them to stagecraft and drama skills. In the senior school Drama becomes an option subject with 4 periods per week.

School Costs

NZ$ 15,449 Tuition fee 

NZ$ 13,000 Accommodation Fee (includes school holidays)

NZ$      650 Registration (First year only) (non-refundable)

NZ$   1,950 Uniform

NZ$   2,600 Activities (incl camps, trips, exam fees, activities)

NZ$ 33, 649 Total