Education is a gift that can never be taken away. That’s why parents will often move heaven and earth to ensure their children have access to a school that will help them reach their potential.
Four years ago, Te Puna locals Melissa and Stefan Walther moved their family from Whangamata to Tauranga for that purpose.
Originally from the USA, Melissa had been disillusioned with what she’d experienced of the New Zealand education system. NCEA wasn’t offering what she was looking for.
“We wanted logical, measurable outcomes, and results in black and white – not shades of grey,” she said. “‘At, above and below standard’ is just too vague.”
Melissa was attracted to the measurable objectives and proven history of the Cambridge curriculum. It seemed to be education more like she had received growing up. “Students receive a mark as a percentage so you know exactly where they stand and what to work on. As a curriculum, it’s tried, tested and true.”
When her daughter Charlize started at ACG Tauranga in Year 6, she was lacking confidence in some subjects, particularly maths. Her teacher worked with her to put a plan in place and now things are improving.
“My only regret, and I’m kicking myself, is that I didn’t put her into the school sooner. I believe she will be a different kid academically, and her confidence will follow suit.”
More than academic results, Melissa just wanted Charlize to be happy. “When I ask her who she played with at lunchtime, she says ‘everybody’. It’s wonderful to hear that she’s so happy now – that’s what you really want for your kid.”