Kristin VS St Cuthbert's


#1

Hi

I really need some help in deciding whether I should stay at St Cuth’s or move back to Kristin. I am struggling to decide which will be a better school for me

I am worried that I won’t be as prepared to excel at IB at St Cuths than if I was at Kristin (I am planning to do IB in the future) When I was in year 8, the standards to achieve 7’s and 8’s were rather high. I remember having to go into great detail, writing 5000 words for my science assessment and around 3000 words for my humanities assessments. This was for criteria B & C. At St Cuth’s (year 9) I find the assessments a lot less difficult compared to the ones at Kristin. The standards are not as high as Kristin. In fact I recall a few of my classmates achieving an excellence grade having gone into very little detail for their research assessment (300-500 words) I truly do believe that Kristin prepares you very well for IB and therefore many people are able to do the rigorous course however I thought the learning side of thing was very independent (perhaps that was because of the research assessments?) and I often felt like I was just being thrown into the deep end by teachers. In comparison, at St Cuth’s basically all of the assessments were criteria A which was learning a topic, studying what you learnt and then doing a test on the topic. However, the teachers are very good and are extremely supportive and helpful in pushing you to do your best.

At Kristin, it was always the same people getting the same awards at the prizegiving. People who are not particularly gifted do not really get many opportunities to excel academically, physically or culturally. They don’t foster an average person well however they do foster those who are gifted very well. I am someone who is somewhat intelligent and at Kristin got mostly 7’s and 8’s but the odd 6’s. However, at St Cuth’s, I find that the school strongly encourages everyone to participate in sports and cultural activities and to just do the best you can. Everyone just wants to do as best they can. Kristin still does encourage everyone to participate in as many school activities as possible. Also, some people just simply do not care about their studies however there is a very competitive circle for those that are intelligent.

Reflecting back, I really did enjoy the culture far better at Kristin than St Cuth’s. You are able to socialise with more of your year and it is not so cliquey. At St Cuths, I think it is very restricted with who you hang out with and there is little flexibility to socialise with people outside your clique. I also find that classes are not as interactive and fun at St Cuth’s. I found class much more enjoyable and fun at Kristin. There is also a sense of belonging and family within in your respective core class at Kristin which is what I like about the school. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that I have been at Kristin longer than I have at St Cuth’s or because of it being co-ed rather than single sex.

I would greatly appreciate some help in deciding whether I should continue to stay at St Cuth’s or move back to Kristin. I am absolutely torn between the two and really need other people’s opinions on this. These are the 3 main things that I am concerned about with moving/staying.


#2

Hi!

Firstly, well done - it sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought and consideration into your own learning, and you recognise that some degree of preparation is required to succeed at IB later on in school.

In terms of your school dilemma, don’t stress too much! These schools are both highly regarded, and are likely to prepare you well for IB. Disclaimer that I went to St Cuths, so might be a bit biased! Having said that, I also have good friends who went to Kristin, and really enjoyed it.

Academics:
I would say that Kristin has a very strong IB programme. The majority of students at Y12 take IB, at 58% doing IB and 42% doing NCEA in the final years. This means that the school is more geared towards preparing students for IB. The school runs the IB Middle Years Programme (from yr 7-10), which you would have done if you were at Kristin in intermediate. This programme is specifically geared towards preparing younger students for the IB, and Kristin is the only NZ school that offers this programme.

St Cuths also has a strong focus on academics, but doesn’t have as large a focus on IB. IB was introduced quite recently, and a smaller proportion of the cohort does it. In my year there was about 25/170 students doing IB (I did NCEA!). This doesn’t mean the programme is necessarily weaker, in fact you are likely to get smaller classes - however the school does primarily focus on preparing students for NCEA in Year 9 and 10 so you are likely to not get as much focus on IB-specific skills as at Kristin.

Extracurricular:
I would definitely agree with you that St Cuths has a super strong culture of encouraging everyone to participate fully in school activities. I don’t know that much about Kristin in terms of this aspect but when I was at St Cuths, most people were pretty involved in sport, cultural and service activities and this was really encouraged by the school. In addition St Cuths offers Kahunui - the month-long outdoor ed camp that all students do in Year 10. I found this a really amazing experience, and Kahunui is definitely something that makes St Cuths special and unique.

Social:
I think how you experience a school socially really depends on who you are and the friends you make at school. If you say you enjoyed Kristin better socially, then I’m definitely not going to argue with you! The single-sex aspect of St Cuths can definitely make it a bit more cliquey - but also bear in mind that it sounds like you were at Kristin a bit longer so probably had more time to make friends.

I would try to ask yourself, why you left Kristin, and what you thought it was about St Cuths that was worth the move. Then ask yourself whether these things wound up being worth it or not.

Also, bear in mind that it can take a little while to get involved in a school culture and form that sense of belonging and family that you had at Kristin. It might be that if you’ve only been at St Cuths a little while so need more time to develop this.

Also - don’t feel as if you need to decide now! You could always stay at St Cuths another year, to go to Kahunui, and then switch back to Kristin in Yr 12 if you thought their IB program was stronger.

Hope this helps!