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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

“Free to fly with ideas”

It felt right. I haven't been disappointed. My son is happy, wants to go to school, is excited about learning...

Nicola, parent

“Learning through doing”

The single biggest stand-out feature of the school is the massive hearts, love and nurturing, hugs and support that the...

Ange, parent

“We love Seven Oaks”

In only 3 months she has just blossomed from an anxious, unsettled child who hated school, to a bubbly, enthusiastic...

Kezia, parent

“Believe in yourself”

Our daughter has started to believe in herself again, feeling she is listened to and respected

Eleanor, parent

“Amazing parent community”

By simply placing her in the right environment, it has highlighted just how much she was suffering at her old...

Mark, parent