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Ellesmere College is a co-educational school that provides a positive learning environment for students in Years 7 to 13. It is located in the rural town of Leeston, which has a population of 1700 and is surrounded by agricultural land. Leeston is 33km southwest from the edge of the city of Christchurch and 22km from Lincoln University. Ellesmere College was founded in 1981 and replaced Southbridge District High School. The College draws students from a wide geographical area ranging from the Selwyn River in the north, the Rakaia River in the south and almost as far west as the township of Hororata, with the main contributing schools being Dunsandel School, Southbridge School and Leeston Consolidated School.

Roll Size

Ellesmere College has a roll of over 550 students and a staff that includes over 40 teachers. In Years 7 to 10 the College aims to keep class sizes to the mid-twenties.

Grounds and Facilities

Ellesmere College occupies a spacious 7 hectare site that includes an artificial cricket wicket, four cricket practise nets, a 400m running track and other athletic facilities, five tennis and netball courts, two rugby fields and two football fields. The buildings consist of numerous classrooms, four science laboratories, an agricultural studies centre, four technology rooms, an art room, music facilities, a dance and drama room, a full sized gymnasium and a modern library.

Click to see:

Map of the Ellesmere College Buildings

Aerial photograph of the College taken in 2006

Pastoral Support

The College has a strong pastoral support system that is based around four Whanau groups: Rata, Rimu, Kowhai and Totara. All students belong to a vertical Whanau group that meets at the beginning of each day and it is here that they gain a strong sense of belonging that includes pride in the Whanau and ultimately pride in the College.


Ellesmere College has a values based programme known as The Ellesmere Ethos. This programme involves the promotion of positive values that encourage students to demonstrate Respect, Integrity, Success and Empathy. These four values, known as the RISE values, are an important aspect of our pastoral and behavioural expectations for students at Ellesmere College.


The College has a proud sporting history and frequently produces results that are usually associated with much larger schools including national titles. Sporting opportunities include athletics, swimming, road race, triathlon, cross country, tennis, softball, touch, cricket, netball, basketball, football, indoor football, lawn bowls, volleyball, clay target shooting, volleyball, rugby, show jumping and equestrian.


Apart from regular Music classes students have many opportunities to learn and improve their musical skills. Currently itinerant music teachers visit the College and teach piano, violin, brass, guitar, woodwind, singing and drumming. The College participates in the New Zealand Chamber Music Competition and the Christchurch Schools Music Festival.

Academic Results

Academic results are consistently high with many students gaining Excellence and Merit Endorsements and Scholarships.

Education Outside the Classroom

The students are given numerous opportunities to learn outside the classroom with biology, agriculture and geography field trips, trips to visit specialist facilities at Lincoln University or in the city of Christchurch. Our Outdoor Education programme includes camps in Years 7 and 8, a ski trip for Year 8 to 10 and camps for Years 10 and 13. Recently College students have had the opportunity to travel overseas to Japan, Rarotonga and South East Asia.

Modern Learning

Ellesmere College is an inclusive school and always aims to meet the learning needs of all our students and teachers are involved in an active professional learning programme. We have a very good wireless connection and students can bring their own iPad to assist with learning.

The Rebuild

In the near future the College rebuild will commence. Because of the generous amount of land available the present buildings will remain in normal operation and the construction will have no effect on the running of the school. Once the first stage has been completed and occupied existing buildings will be demolished allowing for further construction with minimal effect on the day to day running of the school.
The rebuild is necessary, not just because of the aging nature on the existing buildings, but to give Ellesmere College facilities necessary for 21st century education.

Individual Learning

We do not stream or band our classes and teachers adapt and differentiate lessons to suit the learning needs of all students. Gifted and talented students are identified using a number of criteria and then offered a variety of opportunities inside and outside the classroom in which they can engage, enhance and excel in their learning.

Education Review Office Report

To view our latest ERO report click on the link below.

Latest ERO Report

Ellesmere College

Leeston Dunsandel Road

Leeston 7656


New Zealand


+64 3 324 3369


+64 3 324 3072




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