The Importance of Doing Your Research - Colette Campbell

Date: 21 Jun 2024

As applications close for Dilworth School 2025, we talked to Dilworth Mum Cole Campbell about her experience with the school.  Cole has two sons at Dilworth: Ison, who is in Year 8, and Mahe, who is now in Year 10. She has experience with boarding and day school options; Ison was one of the first students on the day school trial at Junior Campus, which started last year.

Cole's main point for parents/caregivers considering a new school is to do your own research! There is so much you can discover before applying to get the best fit for your child. 

How did Dilworth as an option come about for your family, Colette?

My oldest son, Mahe, was a bit lost in the system at his old school. He’s academically bright, so I started looking around at other schools that would better meet his needs. I’d worked with an ex-Dilworth student and knew Gerry Smutz (Gerry is President of the Dilworth Old Boys’ Association DOBA). I talked to them both about Dilworth. Gerry suggested we attend an Open Day, and after that, I asked around some of my friends to find current Dilworth parents to talk to about their experiences. This really helped me to understand the school better.

What was your perception of the Open Day and talking to others?

I spent time looking at the curriculum. It seemed to have shifted over the last five years and is really progressive. It could accommodate an extension for advanced learning. Honestly, once I started to look into it, the opportunities at Dilworth blew my mind, as did the safety and well-being side of things – I looked into that hard. 

Tell us about Mahe’s Dilworth experience,  starting in Year 9.

The outdoor experience at Mangatāwhiri (Dilworth’s Outdoor Campus) was a dream come true for him. He learned about leadership, survival, and endurance.  In many ways, this tuned his focus, and he became a top student by the end of  Year 9; I was very proud of his ability to seize all the opportunities he was offered.

Ison also trialled the Day School option at the Junior Campus?

Ison was keener to start as a day student, and the new trial last year gave him that chance. It was great for him to have that opportunity to try Dilworth, but the day-school option didn’t last long! By the end of Term 1, he was staying two nights a week, and then he wanted to go to the weekly Board, so I reluctantly had to let him go!

He’s been full-time as a boarder since Term 2 and has never looked back.

Now, I love the weekends when both boys come home together, and it has taken the pressure off our family since I was diagnosed with a significant health issue. During the time of my illness, I knew my boys were being so well cared for, which meant so much.

What has stood out for you about Dilworth?

Dilworth’s leadership through Dan Reddiex (Headmaster) has literally stopped me in my tracks. He is an incredible leader, and there have been major changes at the school over the last five years.  

As I mentioned before, the breadth of Dilworth’s curriculum compared to other schools has been a stand out for me, and the outdoor experience at Mangatāwhiri Campus, I really believe, has given both boys a gift for life.

How would you describe Dilworth’s culture to other parents considering it?

Dilworth is firm but fair, open and proactive. Anything that is going down gets dealt with immediately. The school feels progressive and has a different culture from other schools I have experienced, with huge inclusion from the parents/guardians.
The boys see their friends every day, have people to play sports and hang out with, and the food is great!  

Dilworth is about grabbing every opportunity; it has superseded my expectations.

In 2025, Dilworth will offer day school alongside boarding for junior campus students in years 7 and 8—applications close for both the Junior and Senior campuses on June 30th.

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