About Us

Learn a little about what makes Craighead special.

Girls who attend Craighead are known for their grace, spirit, character and high levels of intrinsic motivation. They are confident, connected and caring global citizens. They desire to be the best they can be, yet retain the values of respect, integrity, courtesy, cooperation and kindness. Positive relationships exist between our excellent, committed staff and our students. Craighead is very proud of its students, of the way they conduct themselves, of their sporting, cultural and artistic achievements, of the way they wear their uniform and of the way they have the courage to try new things. We don't always have to be the best but Craighead has consistently produced remarkable women who have gone on to achieve remarkable things in their lives.

Special Character

Craighead Diocesan School proudly upholds its Special Character expressed within the broad ethos of Anglicanism, whilst also recognising and welcoming students and families from all different denominational and religious traditions.

Our School focuses on the needs of the whole person – their spiritual, moral, emotional intellectual, social, and physical well-being; the challenge of and commitment to service and stewardship; the love of neighbour; the experience of compassion and community, forgiveness, trust and reconciliation, integrity and courage, tolerance and respect for difference; and the pursuit of truth and justice. These values are derived from our Christian heritage.

Separate Junior and Senior School Chapel services are held each week in our beautiful school chapel. This is a core part of the weekly rhythm for students and one way our special Anglican ethos is expressed contextually. Faith is expressed in readings, a short reflection by the chaplain as well as in prayer and song. There are six all-school special character services throughout the school year. These include an Easter observance, and the annual Carol Services held at Christmastime. Occasional services and events throughout the rest of the school year help to further highlight and focus on our Special Character.

From 2024, Year 11 students are able to attend a three day experience involving elements of personal reflection and service facilitated by the school chaplain. Students at every year level are encouraged to engage in acts of service and to address injustice both locally and globally in keeping with the missional goals of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Alongside these initiatives, Religious Education plays an important part in the school curriculum, and is tailored to each year level. Junior student’s learning focuses on the foundations of Christian faith, Bible stories, and the Church calendar. Senior students engage in the bigger issues and questions of life and faith in a series of units focussing on Ethics, Christianity and the Arts, Philosophy and Religion. This Religious and Social Education seeks to provide a world view which challenges young people to think critically, encouraging students to explore belief, respect difference, and better understand themselves and their neighbours in the local community and in the wider world.

Old Girls' Association

As a Craighead Old Girl - regardless of the years you spent at Craighead, your age, or where you live in the world - Craighead will always be your place, and you will always be our people.

Connections with Craighead do not have to end when you graduate. The Association's network enables Old Girl Life Members to stay in touch with classmates and friends from the past whilst also retaining a connection with the current school. There is an impressive Alumni of over 4,500 multi-generational women on our database that dates back to 1911. We are located all over the globe!

What does the COGs Association do? The Association helps your connections continue in many different ways on many levels, by: organising lunches, Decade Reunions, funding six Scholarships for current students, the annual production of our Old Girls' Magazine - 'Greengages', running a second hand uniform shop, organising fundraising events for specific projects at Craighead, inviting Old Girls to speak to current students for careers, and more.

We take enormous pride in the achievements of all our Old Girls when they leave the school. There is no place better to celebrate those achievements and successes than in our annual COG’s magazine, 'Greengages', forwarded to life members each year. The magazine includes news of Old Girls' achievements, reports of class reunions and a “5 years on” Year group summary compiled from tertiary studies, careers and travel after Craighead. Life events i.e engagements, marriages, births and deaths are also mentioned and an invitation to attend our COGs AGM.

The Association’s Committee members are voted in at the Annual General Meeting in May. All Old Girls’ are invited to the AGM, being held this year in the Turley Auditorium, on the Craighead campus. Drinks and nibbles are provided, starting around 6.00pm.

Our Committee:

  • President: Ruth Cooper
  • Vice President & Secretary: Juliet Marsden
  • Vice President: Amelia Dale
  • Treasurer: Nicky Coleman
  • Committee Member: Sarah Fenn, Sophie Preen, Sally Studholme

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The story of Craighead begins with a House. In 1875 local surveyor built a substantial home for his family on what was then the outskirts of Timaru. Fifteen years later Henry Le Cren purchased the property and named it “Craighead” after a castle owned by his brother-in-law in Scotland. In 1910 four sisters in Dunedin heard the property was on the market and they saw it as ideal for their dream of establishing a Girls School.

The Shand sisters Eleanor, Fanny, Elizabeth and Anna, opened Craighead School in May 1911 with the expressed aim “to give such a liberal education on modern lines as will be best fitted to train the intellectual, artistic and moral faculties, to develop the character and ultimately to produce refined, cultured and capable young women”. The school began with a roll of six boarders and 11 day girls. From small beginnings the school has flourished, becoming an Anglican Church school at the end of 1926 when the Shand sisters retired from teaching.

Craighead has an extensive collection of memorabilia relating to its history from 1911. Amongst its records are photographs, movies, student work, uniforms and school magazines. The items are stored in a purpose built room and are used in some class work and of course class reunions.

Donations of photographs, memorabilia and written reminiscences are always gratefully received. The school appointed an archivist in 2005 to manage the collection. The archivist can be contacted on archives@craighead.school.nz or through the school office. Gradually the photograph collection is being digitized which will make access even easier in the future. The school archives exist as a repository of the stories of those who are part of the Craighead family. As each year passes more records are created and so more needs to be retained.

Visitors are always welcome, by appointment.

Facilities Hire

Boarding Accommodation, Gymnasium Sports Complex & Venue Hire

Our beautiful campus, set within mature green spaces encompasses modern and traditional teaching facilities along with a superbly equipped Auditorium, the finest Boarding accommodation and a state of the art Gymnasium Sports Complex. Facilities that can provide an ideal venue for conferences, seminars, sporting/musical event accommodation or community group events.

The Boarding House and Sports complex are capable of hosting all kinds of group events, and the academic rooms teamed with our boarding facilities of the School are suitable for a wide variety of residential purposes out of term time.

Most of these facilities are available for community and business hire during the school holidays and occasionally it is possible to make them available during term-time, dependent on your requirements.

For more information, please contact our Chief Operations Manager at the following email address: development@craighead.school.nz