“Before starting at ACG she was incredibly shy, but the school has given her so many opportunities to build confidence and grow.”
If parent-teacher interviews are an indication of a school’s mettle, ACG Tauranga is at the top of the leader board. That’s according to Melanie Rudkin and Scott Bartlett, who between them have three children at the school – Piper (Year 13), Chase (Year 9) and Lucy (also Year 9).
“I visited ACG back when it first opened because I was considering it for my son,” said Melanie. “I’d just been to Piper’s parent-teacher interview at another school and had sat through ten minutes of the teacher talking about my son, before I told her I didn’t have a son in her class.
“Piper was flying under the radar and was getting away with not being noticed. With only 28 students in the ACG foundation year, I thought she’d have no chance of doing that, so I enrolled her in Year 9.”
Now a confident and capable Year 13 prefect, Piper has flourished.
“Before starting at ACG she was incredibly shy, but the school has given her so many opportunities to build confidence and grow. She has talked in front of the school at assembly, she’s on the ball committee, and the school is putting her on a Dale Carnegie course. She would never have done these things if it wasn’t for ACG.”
What’s more, her positive experiences encouraged brother Chase and step-sister Lucy to follow in her footsteps.
“Ultimately, we’ve let the kids make the decision to go to ACG because it’s a step up, so we need that input and commitment from them. We’ve got five kids between us, and we’ll wait and see what the younger two decide, but it’s been an incredible opportunity for the older ones.”
Academically minded Chase has been challenged and extended, while talented athlete Lucy has also been inspired to shine.
Lucy’s dad Scott said: “I could see what Piper and Chase were achieving at ACG and I wanted Lucy to learn and achieve like that, too. By enrolling her at ACG we raised the bar academically for her, now she’s just got to rise to it.”
Lucy started at ACG Tauranga this year, and – with one ACG parent-teacher interview under his belt – Scott couldn’t be happier.
“That parent-teacher interview was the best one I have ever been to at any school. The teachers focussed on where my child is currently sitting and what she needs to achieve. I was given really clear instructions about what is needed.”
And the couple believe it’s this high calibre teaching that really sets ACG apart.
Melanie said, “The teachers are incredibly focussed on these kids and work so hard with them. They even put on classes in the school holidays and after school if kids are struggling.”
But it’s not just dedicated teachers that have impressed the couple – it’s also the content of what’s being taught.
“At ACG they teach kids how to learn, which is so important in today’s environment. We don’t even know half the jobs our kids will be doing in the future, and they need to be able to adapt to this changing landscape. Preparing the kids for this is one of the things I really like about the Cambridge curriculum offered at ACG.”
Class sizes are another plus for the family.
“Any school that can offer small classes has got to be delivering a better education and improved opportunities.”
While it’s a financial commitment to have three children studying there at the same time, Melanie wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We think it’s better to spend the money on setting our children up now rather than leaving it to them when we are gone.”