Academics at St. John’s

Excellence is a habit: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle’s words endorse our academic philosophy at St. John’s College. Our aim is to produce self-reliant workers, able to take responsibility for their own learning and develop study habits ​that will see our young men attain at the highest level possible. We provide a robust academic programme, based on the New Zealand Curriculum Framework, gaining outstanding results in Merit and Excellence endorsements and our Scholarship programme. All of our senior students enter National Certificate of Education Achievement courses at Levels 1, 2 and 3; with a strong core of senior pupils sitting Level 4 Scholarship exams.

Academic Dean: Introduced in 2014 to support all students studying N.C.E.A., the Academic Dean tracks students through their academic programmes. Emphasis is placed on gaining literacy and numeracy credits. Support is offered through mentoring, arranging tutorials, issuing study programmes and close monitoring of N.C.E.A credits. This academic structure has produced outstanding NCEA results since its introduction.

Subject Options

St John’s College prides itself in providing an Academic programme that caters for the needs of every individual through a dual Pathway catering for Industry and Academia. This programme has Pathways that enable students to enhance their passions and create bright futures.


Senior and Junior Options books can be viewed here:

New Zealand’s National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are national qualifications for senior secondary school students. NCEA is the main qualification pathway at St Johns College and all students enter NCEA.

Subject codes

Senior Course Programme

Career Pathways

Leaving the safety and predictability of school-life and making decisions for the future can be both exciting and daunting. The transition from school to tertiary training, an apprenticeship or directly into employment can be challenging for all students, irrespective of their academic achievement.  The Careers and Guidance Advisor is available to meet with individual students to help them navigate this process.  There are many resources available in the Careers room which may help students to formulate their plan.  The school invites representatives from Universities, Institutes of Technology, the Defence Forces, Police and other private providers to make presentations to the boys about the multitude of opportunities available to them. Many useful resources are also available in the Careers room and students are welcome to take these publications home to begin conversations with their parents.


It is important that boys are fully informed about any pre-requisites they may need to enter specific tertiary courses.  For those Year 12 students who have a clear pathway in mind, they should ensure that when making subject choices for Year 13, they are meeting these requirements.  Please see Mrs Bronwyn Gardner if you require further information.


Gateway is a work-based learning programme which provides students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience in an authentic working environment in an area of interest to them.  It is available to Year 13 students who have a genuine interest in gaining an apprenticeship, enrolling in a pre-apprenticeship programme or going directly into the work force once they finish school.  Students spend one day a week in a workplace to gain an insight into what their chosen career involves.  They will develop specific skills to their chosen career, along with generic work-ready skills which will help them become successful employees in the future.  A broad range of work experiences are available for the boys and can include building, plumbing, electrician, hospitality, retail, horticulture, agriculture, automotive and tourism placements.

Further information is available from Mrs Belinda Raskin

Heads of Department

H.O.D Art – Don Dickson​
H.O.D Commerce – Glenn Hutcheson
H.O.D Culinary Arts – Craig Ireland
H.O.D English – Louisa Berry
H.O.D Graphics & Technology – Ian Smith
H.O.D Learning Support – Damian Whitten
H.O.D Mathematics – Grant McFarland
H.O.D Music – Christopher Wilson
H.O.D Physical Education / TIC of Sport – Jason Pearson
H.O.D Values, Ethics and Theology – Conor Bolton
H.O.D Science – Kim Pickering
H.O.D Social Sciences – Catherine Spence
H.O.D Te Reo Maori – Maia Solomon

Director of International Students: Christopher Wilson

Academic Deans

Year 11  – Catherine Spence (CPs)
Year 12 – Year 13 – Tracy Russell (TRu)

House Deans

Reignier House Dean – Mr Glenn Hutcheson
Redwood House Dean – Mr Daniel O’Sullivan
Colin House Dean – Mr Christopher Wilson
Forest House Dean – Mr Liam Foley

ACC Accounting
AHI Art History
BIO Biology
BCH Biochemistry
BUS Business Studies
CAR Careers
CHE Chemistry
CPS Computer Science
CUL Culinary Arts
DVC Digital & Visual Communication
DDS Digital Design
DTT Digital Technology
ECO Economics
ENG English
GAT Gateway
GEO  Geography
HIS History
HOR Horticulture
MAO Te Reao Maori
MAT Mathematics
MTT Material Technology

MUS Music
MXC Mathematics with Calculus
MXS Mathematics with Statistics
MAC Level 2 and 3 ‘B’ Mathematics (previously Senior Maths)
MXB Level 1 ‘B’ Mathematics (previously called Practical Maths
PAI Painting
PED Physical Education
PHY Physics
REL Religious Education
SIB Sports Institute (Basketball)
SIR Sports Institute (Rugby)
SCI Science
​SEN Senior English
SOC Social Studies
STY Study

​YEAR 9.

Students do the core subjects (ENG, SCI, SOC, REL, PED) in House groups – Colin (CO), Forest (FO), Redwood (RW) and Reignier (RG).
ENG is cross blocked with SCI.
MAT is on one line.

There are four Maths classes which are streamed.

Year 9 options are on two lines. The options are half year, except for Te Reo Maori which is full year.

YEAR 10.

Students do SOC, REL, &  PED in their house groups.
ENG, MAT and SCI are streamed.

All options are full year subjects.


Holistic education is critical to the full development of a young man.  This entails academic, as well as spiritual, social psychological and physical growth.  To assist this co-curricular programme, St. John’s College has set-up Institutes so that each gifted and talented student receives specific tuition in their chosen area of specialisation.

Initially St. John’s College set up five Sports’ Institutes which has been very successful.  The College has now expanded the Institute programme by an additional five new Institutes in a broad range of subjects.

The subjects we have added to our Institute programme are:

Fine Arts, Performance Arts, Culinary Arts, Debating and Music



The Sports’ Institute was establised in 2014 to identify and develop high-performing students who we believe have the potential to become elite sportsmen.  The aim is to improve the fundamental skills of our junior athletes in their aspirational years, setting up correct pathways to help these sportsmen excel in their given sports.  The Institute is available to Year 9 and 10 students and places are only available for those selected.  The main part of the selection process involves sports-specific skills, chosen by our sports coaches and a panel of expert coaches from outside the College.

Coaching is fundamental to the success of the athletes.  At St. John’s College we will endeavour to select Level 3 or above coaches in our Sports’ Institute.  This means talented athletes will have expert tuition in all their years at the College.

The following sports are included in the Sports Institutes

Rugby, Football, Cricket, Basketball and Canoe Polo

House Time Period 1 Period 2 Interval Period 3 Period 4 Lunch Period 5
Monday 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:55 9:55 – 10:55 10:55 – 11:20 11:20 – 12:20 12:20 – 1:15 1:20 – 2:05 2:05 – 3:05
Tuesday 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:55 9:55 – 10:55 10:55 – 11:20 11:20 – 12:20 12:20 – 1:20 1:20 – 2:15 2:15 – 3:05
Wednesday 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:55 9:55 – 10:55 10:55 – 11:20 11:20 – 12:20 12:20 – 1:15 1:20 – 2:05 2:05 – 3:05
Thursday 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:55 9:55 – 10:55 10:55 – 11:20 11:20 – 12:20 12:20 – 1:20 1:20 – 2:05 2:05 – 3:05
Winter Thu 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:50 9:50 – 10:45 10:45 – 11:10 11:10 – 12:05 12:05 – 1:00 1:00 – 1:45 Sport 1:45
Friday 8:40 – 8:55 8:55 – 9:45 9:45 – 10:30 11:15 – 11:45


10:30 – 11:15

11:45 – 12:35 12:35 – 1:25 1:25 – 2:15 2:15 – 3:05

All senior subjects are on set option lines (1 to 7).

Line 7 is where all Year 13 students who do not do gateway have either study,
REC or Careers.

From the Music Suite at St John’s College . . .




Tuition by our specialist instrumental teachers is available on a wide range of instruments at St. John’s. Brass, strings and Woodwind instruments are provided free. It is preferable for Year 9 and compulsory for Years 10-13 Option Music students to receive instrumental lessons. This is because directed learning is an integral part of the academic course. It is not compulsory if your son is studying the Years 12-13 Non-Performance Option Music Course. Any student in the College can learn an instrument at any time in any year.


We are very proud to have the following talented and respected teachers in our team:

  • Strings & String Ensemble – Mrs Hilary Baker
  • Piano – Mrs Sally Rutgers
  • Voice and Brass – Mrs Karoline Roberts
  • Guitar and Bass – Mr Neil Matcheson
  • Drums – Mr Joe Atkin
  • Woodwind & Junior Band – Mr Dean Roberts
  • Pipes – provided externally
  • Senior Band – Mr Christopher Wilson

Click the following link to download a tuition form: Instrumental Tuition Contract. This is an editable PDF which can be completed and returned electronically. Alternatively, pop into the School Office for one.


Senior Band

The Jazz Band is a great introduction to Jazz, Swing and Funk styles and participates in band competitions and festivals both locally and nationally. It allows players of intermediate and advanced levels to specialise their development.

Junior Band

The Junior Band is the perfect place for beginner and intermediate players to discover the exciting world of music and the awesomeness of playing in a group.

Vocal Group

The Choir sings for Masses, in the community and enters The Big Sing competition. Though they sing a broad range of music, Barbershop is a particular favourite style.

Combined St. John’s and Sacred Heart Concert Band

The band performs in concerts and festivals, such as the Hawke’s Bay Festival of Bands, and to our feeder primary/intermediate schools. It is an exciting group that benefits from the breadth of instruments, the repertoire such a group lends itself and the strengths, experience and skills of the players. It plays a range of music from TV and film, rock and pop as well as atmospheric and dramatic.

Assembly Band

This important group supports whole-school singing in Assembly. They give a harmonic and driving accompaniment to the student and staff body for the St. John’s Anthem, National Anthem and sacred and secular inspirational songs.


School Production

Every year or two, we have our collaboration with Sacred Heart College to produce our joint-school production. In 2017 we did the amazing Hairspray and 2019 the fun classic gangster musical Bugsy Malone.

Senior School Examination Evening

This annual event showcases the musical talents of our senior students, selecting solo and ensemble pieces recorded for NCEA credits.

Junior School Gig

This is a great opportunity for our burgeoning Year 9 and 10 musos to perform – sometimes for the first time – to family friends and whanau.

Smokefree Rockquest and Pacifica Beats

St. John’s enters Rock and Reggae bands for these competitions. In recent years, our bands have progressed to the national top 20 finalists in the Smokefree Rockquest.
Chamber Music

We have boys participating in the Chamber Music ensemble competitions each year. Some groups are just St. John’s boys and some are combined with other schools such as Sacred Heart College and Hastings Girls.

Eats, Beats and Treats

This is a great opportunity for solo, duo and larger ensembles like the Jazz Band and Mr Dickson’s Reggae Band to perform and entertain the audience. It’s also an open mic event for anyone to air their vocal talents!

Orchestra Day

Our brass, wind and string players attend this combined secondary schools’ workshop and gaining much from the experience of playing in such a large ensemble.

Christopher Wilson


Director of Music

This agreement has six conditions or facets of being a Digital Citizen. Aspects of this agreement link back to the St John’s College Values and Habits.

  • The S of SJC stands for Show Respect. Respect yourself, respect others and respect the hardware you have access to.
  • The J of SJC stands for Jesus as our role model. As a Saint John’s man we should look to treat others and their property with respect. We should look to protect others from harm and we should always act and behave in an ethical and moral manner. Say yes to doing the right thing.
  • The C of SJC stands for Commitment to growing in Word and in Deed. We need to show we are digital citizens through our actions. This will enable us to have trust in each other and will give us the confidence to learn new ways of doing things.