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Origins of Seven Oaks School

Find out how our heart-centred approach helps students thrive
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In 2004, following many years of research and educational experience, former educators Janet Nicol and Ross Petersen joined forces with Macpac founder Bruce McIntyre to establish The Holistic Education Charitable Trust and develop the Brilliant Curriculum.

Their shared vision was to develop a school that empowers children with socially, emotionally and environmentally rich educational experiences to enable them to thrive in the unpredictable and fast-changing world that is emerging.

Seven Oaks School opened in 2009 with 11 students, a principal and one educator. We took our name from the original site we leased – a former CPIT (now Ara Institute) horticultural site in Opawa.

It became an inspiring campus for the children, who taught us a lot about their need for natural surroundings.

Around the same time, Bruce purchased paddocks with natural springs in Halswell that had been earmarked for future rezoning, with a view to future expansion of the school.

The school grew quickly to over 30 students, but when the earthquakes struck in 2011 and 2012, the roll halved as Christchurch ground to a halt and many families left the area. As momentum returned to the city and wider area, the roll has steadily climbed again, and the Halswell site was rezoned so the campus at Halswell could be built, with the school relocating in term three of 2017.

As you explore this website, you’ll discover how our heart-centred educational approach is helping students understand and stay true to themselves and open to developing their potential in a way that mainstream education is simply not capable of doing.

We look forward to having the opportunity to talk with you in more detail about how we can help your children thrive.

"Our children desire to live in a world that is healthy, caring and exciting. We wish to enable them to create that world."

Bruce McIntyre, Seven Oaks School founder

“Moving her to Seven Oaks was the best decision we have ever made”

Amazing school. My daughter was not coping well with the modern learning environment at her previous primary school. She was... Read more

Meeghan, parent

“Both of our children instantly felt a strong sense of belonging at their new school”

The decision to move our children to Seven Oaks School was based upon the fact that we wanted our children... Read more

Leeane, parent

“We love the wide curriculum”

Seven Oaks School offers the individual approach we were looking for our children and we would highly recommend it. We... Read more

Jo, parent

“Our son thrives when he can learn in a hands-on environment”

Seven Oaks has been a fantastic fit for our family. In particular, the play-based learning philosophy for the new entrants... Read more

Matthew, parent

“All about developing more than just educational outcomes!!!” 

The right school... Small class sizes. Play-based learning is developing our child amazingly well. Key element for me is it's... Read more

Liam, parent