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Structa saxo (founded upon a rock): the genesis and development of A.F.B. Broadhurst's English-style preparatory boarding school for boys Saint Peter's School, Cambridge, New Zealand, 1936-1978

This thesis explores the genesis and development of St Peter's School, Cambridge, originally founded as a small preparatory boarding school in 1936. Though there are relatively few such schools in New Zealand they have through encouragement of certain attitudes an impact disproportionate to their number of pupils. Little has been written about such institutions and this is an historical study of one of the most interesting. A brief introductory survey of the main developments in the New Zealand education system including the dominance of the State in elementary schooling and the continuing demands for independent and alternative schools provides a general background to the study. The second chapter looks at the social and educational influences upon the Englishman who founded St Peter's school. A.F.B. Broadhurst, born in to a wealthy merchant family, was educated at a progressive preparatory school, West Downs, followed by Winchester and Oxford. He served in a variety of postings in the First World War, but eventually returned to teach at West Downs School. Confirmed in his choice of vocation and convinced of the excellence of educational methods and philosophy of West Downs, Broadhurst determined to found his own school, and bought a property for this purpose near Cambridge, New Zealand. Chapter three details the establishment of the school to Broadhurst’s specifications. It was built with his private wealth and basically to his own design, incorporating many modern amenities. The founder recruited The Rev. J.M. Beaufort as joint headmaster and as chaplain; together they recruited staff and Beaufort's local reputation helped to draw in pupils and staff. Broadhurst's insistence on his proprietorial rights was a strong factor in the departure of Beaufort. To perpetuate the school, Broadhurst ‘gave’ it to a Trust, but retained effective control. Chapter four surveys the Broadhurst philosophy: small classes, progressive teaching methods, a start soon after a boy's eighth birthday and boarding. These were all important and Broadhurst gave direction to the life of the school. Hobbies were emphasised, self - discipline was encouraged. His "whole man" philosophy included aesthetic and spiritual development and was expressed through music and the school chapel especially. Chapter five, which begins with the retirement of Broadhurst in 1960, discusses the problems of succession to the headmastership, the numerical and physical decline of the school and its revival under D.J. Thornton, headmaster 1960 (Term III) to 1978. Thornton and the Trustees made changes with the introduction of day boys, more contact with the Cambridge community, greater competition in academic and sporting aspects, and most importantly the creation of a secondary department in the 1970's. The Conclusion gathers evidence from the study: concepts and patterns previously discussed are considered. Some specific points about St Peter's School are made and general observations on the place of preparatory schools in New Zealand and the exiguousness of detailed studies of these, complete the final chapter of this thesis.
Type of thesis
Bull, F. A. L. (1986). Structa saxo (founded upon a rock): the genesis and development of A.F.B. Broadhurst’s English-style preparatory boarding school for boys Saint Peter’s School, Cambridge, New Zealand, 1936-1978 (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10649
University of Waikato
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