St Oran’s College is a year 7 to 13 college for girls founded by the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1958 to provide an education with the Christian faith as its base. It became integrated into the State School system under the Integration Act 1975 in January 1991. The small size of the school contributes to a family environment, creating a strong sense of belonging and community amongst students.

​​​​​​​Our Special Character is central to the life of our college. As an inclusive, state-integrated Presbyterian school our education and practices are guided by our principles of community, equality and holistic education. We welcome all and promote an education that celebrates each person for who they are, their uniqueness and diversity, affirming that God loves us all. These values are lived and taught throughout the college’s general school programme, as well as in the college Exploring Faith and Connect classes, various service opportunities and ceremonies. While St Oran’s College is a Presbyterian school we welcome students from all cultures and faiths who support the Special Character of our college and seek an inclusive, Christian based education.

Students who attend the College, along with their whānau, are expected to support our Special Character. This support includes full participation by students in the school’s curriculum, observances and ceremonies and extra-curricular activities within and outside school hours.

There are many aspects of life at St Oran’s that contribute to our Special Character culture. Led by our Chaplain students participate in a variety of worship, such as; Chapel services, Easter and Advent services, Commissioning and Founders Day services, fundraising for and support of charitable organisations, and service projects within our community,  and events and activities celebrating belonging including Whanaungatanga Day, Pride Week and Matariki.

Our Head of Exploring Faith, in collaboration with the Chaplain and teachers, oversees the Year 9 - 13 Exploring Faith and Year 7 & 8 Connect programmes. The teaching of Exploring Faith & Connect is guided by the following philosophy of pedagogy;

‘We provide our students with a Christian worldview so they can explore this understanding of life and be free to identify with it if they choose. We aim to provide opportunities for students to explore the Christian faith through mutual discussion and study of the Biblical text, Christian thought and history and the message and life of Jesus Christ.  Without dogmatism and judgement we want to encourage the students' spiritual journey and provide space for them to question, grow and learn. Christian Studies forms​ part of our curriculum at all year levels and promotes an understanding of faith, and how it relates to our lives, which is honest, open and hope-filled. We support students​ to form their own opinions and make choices in their spiritual life which are as informed and as life-giving as the choices they will make in their intellectual, recreational, vocational and relational lives. It is our objective for all members of the St Oran's community to experience God's love, grace, compassion and forgiveness.’

Students have the opportunity to be involved in enhancing and strengthening the Special Character of the college through the Special Character Council. This council is chaired by our Head of Special Character, who is also part of the Student Executive.

We have a strong Pastoral Care network that extends beyond our students to their whānau and our wider community. Our Peer Support programme and Year 7 - 13 Whānau Groups are also a component of our Special Character. The participation of family members in all aspects of their young person’s life and experience at St Oran’s College is welcomed and encouraged.