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When the Bedfords enrolled at ACG Tauranga they took a leap of faith. Not only had the school not even opened yet, but the family lived in Rotorua, an hour’s bus ride away.
It was a weighty decision – but fast forward five-and-a-half years and the Bedfords feel like they’ve hit the jackpot.
“Prior to attending ACG Tauranga, Katelyn (now Year 10) was getting lost in the system. She was neither naturally academic nor a troublemaker so she flew under the radar with empty books and little confidence,” says mum Sue.
“Moving to ACG as one of the original pupils, Katelyn benefitted from small classes and the amazing and passionate guidance of [Year 6 teacher] Mr Pratt. She gained so much knowledge and confidence in her first two years at the school and has continued to blossom into a confident, well rounded and independent young lady.
“Elliot (now Year 8) would have been ok wherever he went, but since moving to ACG Tauranga he has also thrived as an individual and is encouraged to be the best he can possibly be.”
ACG Tauranga has given Katelyn and Elliot the very best start in life, and Sue and husband Andy couldn’t be more delighted.
“The school provides one-on-one teaching and a safe environment for learning. They personalise the way they teach to cater for each student’s unique learning style and they provide extra work where necessary to maximise time in and out of the class.
“Having specialist and passionate teachers, along with individualised learning, is pretty hard to beat. We believe that with this, and the way the Cambridge curriculum is taught, the transition from high school to university and the workforce will be much smoother. Rather than a leap into the deep end, Katelyn and Elliot will have swum from the shallows.”
Although the Cambridge curriculum required a step-up in learning, the siblings quickly found their stride.
“It is definitely more intensive and challenging but it has really pushed the children out of their comfort zones and stretched them to achieve. It’s taught them the value of hard work and has made them far more resilient.”
It has also set them up for future success.
“At ACG, students are respected as individuals and encouraged to strive and better themselves. The school recognises their potential and supports excellence, whether it be academically or through performance. The students are taught how to be great learners, therefore setting a strong foundation for tertiary and lifelong education.”
This year Katelyn is part of the Middle School leadership team, manager of a Year 8 basketball team, and president of the school’s Interact Club. She loves science and art and is involved in swimming and speech and drama. Meanwhile Elliot has found his forte in science, PE, music and basketball. He’s a singer in the school’s Year 7 and 8 boys’ band, and part of the Tauranga City Basketball Under 13 boys’ representative programme.
“Seeing them achieve and flourish in both the Cambridge curriculum and in school life has been a real highlight.”
But what do the children think?
“Katelyn and Elliot both agree that they love the learning environment ACG provides, and the way in which the teachers have such passion for their specialised subjects, and their genuine care for each and every student.”