I attended King’s for the entirety of my high schooling and graduated only a few years ago, so unless major changes have occurred, I can answer this in each of the areas you mentioned as accurately as possible:
King’s staff continuously expressed their interest in offering students the most well-rounded education available. It is safe to say there really was no shortage of things to get involved in. It was usually split into three areas; academics, sports and culture. When you start at King’s, it is compulsory to engage in all three. Obviously, going to class was compulsory, but you also have to play 2 sports (winter & summer) and all students had to engage in say music/drama module class during school time and also House Music every year. This may sound restrictive, but King’s tries to offer as many options within each of the three categories so students can explore something new each term or continue to do what they like most. For example, some students played cricket and rugby for 5 years, whilst others could do rugby, archery, rowing and more. Likewise, outside of House Music, students can choose to take music classes or do Glee Club etc. In addition to subject selections, there is also extra academic clubs such as Writing Club, the ability to conduct science experiments after school and more.
Leadership and volunteer opportunities
Volunteering is also one of the compulsory elements for younger students at King’s, and gives students an insight into the wider community and can be an eye-opening experience for some. King’s is its own bubble in the middle of Otahuhu, so having students head out to primary schools to help kids read or into disabled homes to provide general assistance can be a rewarding experience and offer the chance to make a difference to the less fortunate. As students get older, volunteering/community service becomes optional, with many students still choosing to take it on - especially boarders.
Leadership at King’s is everywhere. In year 13, there are a lot of opportunities to be a leader in the Senior Leadership team, within your house or in different clubs and sports. Like many schools, year 13 offers the main chances for leadership positions, however the House System is split into Juniors, Intermediates & Seniors, in which all sport is played in these age groups and thus a captain is needed for all teams. Intermediates can also coach Juniors, Seniors can coach Intermediates/Juniors and so on. Overall, being a leader at King’s can carry a lot of prestige, especially if you are a part of the Senior Leadership Team (commonly referred to as Blue Jerseys) or Heads of House, since the selection process is lengthy and many impressive students have held these positions in the past. There really is a leadership opportunity for everyone, and a lot of my friends were happy to be a part of the House Leadership team only, since they wanted to focus on giving their House Members the best experience. It is really up to what position you want and then taking active steps to reach it.
Academic structure (curriculum/how are classes categorised/streamed)
Both NCEA & CIE is offered. During year 9 and 10, students are streamed from top to bottom - R1, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6 (learning support), and then some classes are streamed from year 11. There is a bit of a stigma that smarter students undertake CIE and the less capable students take NCEA, and to be honest it seems the better teachers taught CIE. But if you are into creative subjects, then the NCEA offering is top notch in this aspect. I am sure there is another feed about CIE v IB v NCEA, so if want a detailed comparison then search for that feed.
School tradition and culture
This was one of the best things about King’s, and something I remember fondly. Tradition really is at the heart of the school, and I think it rests upon the House system. All students in their Houses form a strong relationship, and competition between Houses is fierce, mainly because of the long history across academic, sporting and cultural rivalry. There really is no better feeling than winning one of the major competitions such as House Music, Athletics or Steeplechase (to name a few). Further, there are so many smaller traditions that have carried on since the school’s inception that a lot of people probably don’t take too much notice of but all played a part in everyone’s experience such as weekly assembly/chapel, having Seniors teach year 9’s the Haka, singing the school song to close out each term, having restricted common rooms for certain interest/year groups, uniform requirements for different ages and so much more. One of the best moments of solidarity that all students will face is during the King’s v Grammar 1st XV games, easily the best rivalry in NZ schoolboy sport. Win or lose, the feeling of performing the Haka as a school and supporting your friends while they are on the field is amazing. It comes as no surprise that a huge number of alumni from both schools go to the game every year without fail.
Social aspect / inclusivity
This can be one area that people struggle with. New environment, new friends, boarding, going to school with girls and simply having different interests than the majority can impact some people’s experience at the school. I understand the school has made strides in this area to combat bullying & exclusivity.
No complaints, I attended when the running track was fairly new, the technology building had just opened and the Chapel Close was nearing completion. There really is no major area of the school that lacks. Although I did not board, some of my close friends were in Averill House, and when you compare Averill or Parnell’s facilities to say Selwyn House, you wonder whether they should really be paying the same fees.
What are the best parts about attending King’s? In addition, what are some of the weaknesses (if any).
House culture, range of opportunities/choice across academics, sport & cultural activities, campus, proximity to public transport
Some people struggle to find their place at the school, can have a jock culture, location (I once got mugged at the Otahuhu train station)
What are some of the reasons that I’d choose King’s over other top Auckland schools?
I know there is another feed comparing KC v AGS v SKC, and this is a tough question to answer seeing as I did not attend the other schools. From my experience, with a number of my best friends going to Auckland Grammar, the King’s culture is unrivalled in that you really are in a community. Some may call it a bubble, but you do have everything at your finger tips for whatever you want to pursue. Some of my friends at Grammar would essentially spend their 8am-3.30pm at the school and then leave with the rest of the 2.5k students. Whereas at King’s, there is always something happening, even if you are a Day Boy/Girl there are Boarders and staff always around to support you in every endeavour.