Scots College, Wellington

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Scots College
Monorgan Road,
New Zealand
Coordinates41°19′42″S 174°49′09″E / 41.3284°S 174.8191°E / -41.3284; 174.8191Coordinates: 41°19′42″S 174°49′09″E / 41.3284°S 174.8191°E / -41.3284; 174.8191
TypePrivate, composite, day and boarding
MottoVirtutem paret doctrina
Let education build all-round character
Ministry of Education Institution no.281
HeadmasterMr Graeme Yule
School roll862[1]
Socio-economic decile10

Scots College is an independent (private) Presbyterian boys' Years 1 to 13 school located in the suburb of Strathmore Wellington, New Zealand. Under the leadership of an Executive Headmaster, the College comprises three schools, the Preparatory School for Years 1 to 6, the Middle School for Years 7 to 10 and the Senior School for Years 11 to 13. Each school has its own Principal and Staff. Scots College is an IB World College.


It was founded as a Presbyterian boys' college in 1916 by Rev Dr James Gibb and the Hon John Aitken on the current campus of Queen Margaret College in Thorndon, and moved to the present site in Strathmore in 1920. Dr Gibb's vision was the creation of a Christian college that would be independent of the secular state system. It is the 'brother' school of The Scots College in Sydney, Australia and of Queen Margaret College in Thorndon, Wellington.

The college's Scots heritage is reflected in its ceremonies (often involving a piper leading a procession into its hall) and school song. College prefects wear kilts on official occasions and every Friday for chapel. The school tartan is that of the Clan Fergusson. Permission to wear the tartan was granted by the late Governor General Sir Charles Fergusson.

The College's Senior School will become coeducational in Years 11,12 and 13 from 2020.[2]


Students in the Middle and Senior Schools (Years 7-13) are organized into eight "houses". Each house reflects an important part of the people who have contributed to Scots College over its history. The houses have expanded three times since the founding of the school - two houses were added to the original two in 1961/1963, another two in 1993 with the boarders' house (Gibb) being removed at this time as well, and a further two added in 2009. There are major competitions in swimming, cross-country, music, athletics, and other weekly house sport games, such as hockey and touch rugby. The two original houses were Aitken (Blue, named in honour of founding father Hon John Aitken) and Fergusson (Green, named in honour of General Sir Charles Fergusson), with Glasgow (Red, named in honour of former Headmaster K W R Glasgow) and MacKenzie (Yellow, named in honour of Elsie MacKenzie, Former mistress of the Junios Department of Scots College) being established next, followed by Plimmer (Sky Blue, named in honour of the John Plimmer and his family, whose four grandchildren were enrolled as boarders in 1916) and Uttley (Black, named in honour of Scots College's first Headmaster Dr George Uttley) in 1993 and Smith (Navy Blue, in honour of Alexander Pringle Smith) and Mawson (Maroon, named in honour of Brigadier John Mawson, a past student and Scots College Old Boys' Association President) established in 2009.

The Preparatory School (Years 1-6) maintains four houses: Potatau (Blue), Bedding (Green), Macarthur (Red) and McKelvie (Yellow). In 2004 there was an announcement of a change to the current House names in the hopes of giving the Preparatory School a better sense of historical identity; Potatau named after the writer of the School haka, McKelvie named in honour of past parent and Board of Governors member Lynn McKelvie, Bedding names in honour of past student Geoff Bedding and Macarthur named after the first student at Scots College Ian Hannay Macarthur.

Campus facilities[edit]

Recent projects on campus have been the science block, opened in 2006 by Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse and the Aitken (Admin/Reception) block in 2009. Other facilities updated in the last few years include the Leslie Shelly Lecture Theatre and the Information Centre, and an extension to Gibb House, the school's Boarding House. The Hodge Sports Centre (HSC) was opened on 4 November 2011, and the Creative Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) was opened on 2 March 2012.

The College introduced Flexible Learning environments to its campus during 2017 including a tertiary style 'Hub' offering flexible spaces for teaching, student collaboration and a common room for senior students. Additional new Boarding Houses were opened in 2015 and 2018 to house the growing number of boarding students.

The school also has IB World School status and maintains an IB curriculum from PYP to Diploma. The current IB Diploma co-ordinator is Michelle Tewkesbury and the MYP co-ordinator is Kate Bondett.


The boarding house (titled Gibb House, after the founder of the school) has accommodation for approximately 130 boys. The majority of these students are in Years 9-13 however allowance has been made occasionally for Year 7 and 8 Boys to board full-time. The current boarding director is Gary Henley-Smith, with assistant house masters Malcolm Bradshaw and Marc Capstick, and matrons Tania Steadman and Blossom Cameron. In addition, gap year tutors are lodged in the boarding house and assist with day-to-day operations.

When the College's Senior School changes to co-educational girls too will be able to board at Scots College.[3]

Connections with other schools[edit]

Scots College 1st XV is currently playing in the Premier I rugby division. In 2014 the 1st XV won the NZ Secondary School Championship - a joint win with Hamilton Boys High School. In 2015 they represented New Zealand at the SANIX Rugby Youth Cup tournament in Japan where they placed third.

Students competing for the 1st XV in traditional fixtures perform a special haka written by an old boy; this is distinct from the school haka.

Scots College is the brother school to the slightly younger Queen Margaret College, which now sites itself in the original Scots College building. Often there are various socials and sporting matches against local schools, organised by College Sport Wellington. In addition, both sections of the school have inter-school fixtures with other secondary schools, notably Lindisfarne and primary schools such as Huntley School.

Notable alumni[edit]


In November 2007, several graduating students were banned from end-of-year prizes for growing moustaches as part of the fund-raising campaign 'Movember', established by The Movember Foundation, to raise awareness for prostate cancer. The college threatened to ban a senior student from their NCEA examinations (official secondary school qualification) for growing a moustache during November.[5]

In September 2010, Scots College expelled seven students and suspended five for involvement in a drug ring within the college. Some involved in using and dealing the illegal substances were as young as 13.[6]

In October 2013, ten Scots College students from Year 11 to 13, including prefects, were caught illegally consuming alcohol on a school trip to Fiji. School Headmaster Graeme Yule recognised the actions as 'relatively minor' and suspended students for less than a week.[7]

In January 2018, School Headmaster Graeme Yule announced that Scots College Senior School will become a co-educational school, meaning it will accept both girls and boys to enrol. The change will begin in 2020, when 60 Year 11 and 12 female students will join the Senior School and graduate as the first mixed-sex group from 2021.The integration would expand each year to a total of 150 girls by 2022.[8]


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  2. ^ [1] (Retrieved 14 March 2018)
  3. ^ {href}
  4. ^ J A Strong. "Obituary" (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh.
  5. ^ Nichols, Lane (16 November 2007). "No mo or no show at exams". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  6. ^ Johnston, Kirsty (8 September 2010). "Scots College students expelled for dealing drugs". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ Jo Moir (23 October 2013). "College prefects stripped of badges". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  8. ^ Long, Jessica (8 September 2010). "Wellington's private boys' school Scots College going co-ed in 2020". Retrieved 26 January 2018.

External links[edit]