Parent FAQs



Academic Questions

This is commonly asked and the answer is a definite no. We have a small number of very bright students and then a large group who achieve superb results because they learn the meaning of working hard and really apply themselves.

Most students succeed at the College through hard work, positive attitude and application. The courses are challenging, but not beyond students of average ability and above who are prepared to push the boundaries a little. If you don't like hard work then ACG Senior College is not the place to come.

No. We do everything on an individual needs basis. On receiving the report, parents are given the information needed to contact any teacher/s in order to follow up the report. Where students are at risk, parents will be contacted by the Dean.

Both the IB Diploma Programme and Cambridge courses offer academic rigour and a challenging curriculum; well established international courses and qualifications that are accepted by universities around the world. All Cambridge courses are one year in duration and begin in January. Final external examinations are in October and November, The IB Diploma programme is two years long, begins in July with final examinations in May.

No. At each level, IGCSE, AS and A2, the standard of examinations is equivalent to but different from that available within the UK. Cambridge International Examination courses are separate from those available within the UK, whilst being identical to those in other CIE schools around the world.

Neither – it depends on what best fits the personality and learning style of the student. Click here to find out more about CIE and IB.
Then the student is best to come into the school and experience both IB classes and CIE classes. After discussion with one of the admissions team, then a decision can be made with knowledge.
Is it true that IB is much harder than CIE?
Absolutely not. They are completely different courses and both have their challenges. Both qualifications are well within the reach of students.

Yes. All IB courses are based on identical IB course outlines to those available in other IB World schools.

There are two internal College examinations with each session lasting for 5 or 6 days. One is held early in Term Two and one late in Term Three. There are also two external Cambridge sessions, one in May and the main one in November. Most students take their IGCSE, AS and A2 examinations in November, while a few students sit papers in May.

Year 11: Cambridge students take six subjects: English Language and English Literature (two separate courses) and Mathematics are compulsory, plus three options. Year 12 and Year 13: Cambridge students normally take four or in the case of exceptionally high achieving students, five subjects each year. AS and A2 courses require 170 hours of teaching time compared with 120 hours for the old Sixth Form Certificate or Bursary. This time reflects the increased content, level of difficulty and higher skills required to succeed in the CIE system. Four AS or AS and A2 courses keep most students very busy.

Pre IB: Students take a variety of courses throughout the year that prepare them with the skills and knowledge for success in the six IBDP groups (listed below) and the IBDP Core. They also complete the Duke of Edinburgh ( D of E ) Hillary Bronze Award, which serves as an excellent introduction to the IBDP CAS component.
IB Diploma: students take six subjects over two years (Group 1: Language A – Native language, Group 2: Language B – learned language, Group 3: Humanities, Group 4 Experimental Science, Group 5: Mathematics and either Group 6: a creative subject (Art or Music) or another subject from Groups 2 to 4. Normally, three subjects are studied at Higher Level, and three at Standard Level. In addition, IB students also complete the plus the Core requirements, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) and complete an Extended Essay (EE), and have the option of completing the D of E Hillary Award to Silver or Gold standard.

Everything in the College is done on an individual basis from the time of the first enrolment interview. All new students spend time with the Principal ( as much time as they want) discussing their subject choices and how these link with career aspirations. Also in the College is our Career Counsellor who has enormous amounts of knowledge about career pathways. She is happy to see students on their own or with parents. In Year 11, the Career Counsellor holds a number of sessions with the students to begin the process of career planning and this carries on throughout their time in the College.
Whether it is IB or CIE, for those wanting to attend a New Zealand institution or an international one after leaving school, we have considerable expertise available. In fact, working with students on these decisions is a very exciting aspect of the College.

Absolutely. The principal in consultation with the student and their parents uses the Educational Psychologist’s report to draw up an action plan. This becomes the property of the student and the aim is to support the student in every way possible. Once the content of the action plan is complete this is supplied to all teachers of the student. The Dean then meets with the student at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure that the student has the support. There may even be a request to Cambridge International Examinations or IB to request special conditions like the use of a computer or extra time and this is done on behalf of the student. If this is approved, the student then receives these conditions for tests throughout the year. Our aim is to help in any way we can so that all students get the chance to succeed.

Each teacher has an office with their timetable displayed on the door. Students may approach subject teachers individually to arrange help as required. Part of the College philosophy is that students are treated as mature and responsible people and students are encouraged to initiate contact with subject teachers whenever required.

Our teachers are all subject specialists, usually with a specialist degree in their discipline and experience in and out of the classroom. Students have the benefit of small classes, individual tutoring, rigorous CIE and IB curricula, the opportunity to include university courses in Mathematics, Classical Studies and English as well as access to the Senior Scholars' rooms for top scholars. Senior College teachers utilise AFL (Assessment for Learning) techniques in class to help the focus of learning inside and outside the classroom.

Yes, students receive a full report on each subject after each set of College examinations, one in term two and another in term three. The reports are posted on MyACG and/or Managebac shortly after each internal examination session ends.

We have a very stable staff with very few leaving each year. Some retire and it is with great pleasure that some go on to promotion. The average length of service of a Senior College teacher is 7 years.



The College is fortunate that it is on the edge of the city, close to bus stops and food outlets. To date, no major event has harmed our students. We ask that students are sensible when in the city. Year 11 students have on average 22 out of 24 periods a week in the College and therefore are not out in the city a great deal. Students only have a short break in the morning and afternoon. Lunchtime is only 40 minutes.

Please tell us. Young people today experience all sorts of challenges and the main thing they need to know is that they are not alone and that there are others in the teaching profession who understand and can help in so many ways. The same goes for parents – your child is not the only one. We have a very experienced team from the principal down who can give a lot of support – you just need to trust us with this information.

We have a non-harassment policy at the College. Any form of bullying is dealt with immediately and taken seriously. However, it must be said that this happens rarely. If this was happening to a student, parents must say and have faith that it will be handled sensitively and in confidence.
Many many times over the years students have conveyed to the management team that this is the first school they have been in where they are treated fairly by both students and teachers. They finally feel safe.

Yes. Year 11 students are expected to spend about two and a half hours on each subject per week. At Year 12 and Year 13, students spend approximately 4 hours per subject per week. Most students manage to complete a lot of this work during non-contact periods at the College. Some of this time is spent on specific assignments set by the teacher, while some will also be spent on background reading, revision and organising their notes.

This is entirely up to the family. Students are expected to see their teachers to ensure they do not miss any work.


Important Aspects of the School Day

 Students come to this college to be responsible and use their time wisely. It is part of our ethos. If a student wishes to waste the time then that is their choice. However, within a number of weeks of starting this will impact on their performance in that they will not receive the grades they desire and their teacher will be talking to their parents or the Dean. It does not take long before students receive considerable work or have tests and these all count. Many students spend hours in the library working or go to specialist rooms such as art or music to do extra work. One other thing that students soon realise is that the more time spent working at school, the more time available at home for sport and other activities.

Newsletters are sent out regularly to parents by email. Of course, any parent can contact the college at any time to find out anything. We also send out a publication in paper form called The Tall Poppy twice a year. This highlights all the great things that are happening in the year. The website will also give information.

The College has a zero tolerance in relation to drugs

We have zero tolerance for smoking and are a smoke free campus. Any student even smelling on smoke is sent to the Deputy Principal who is in charge of discipline. 

There is very little discipline required on a day-to-day basis. It is not because we are in any way lax. In fact, we expect incredibly high standards in everything we do.
Because we run a strong pastoral care system, students are well-behaved. It would be a busy week if the Deputy Principal had to do more than 10 minutes of discipline and it would not be for any major issue. The Principal has about one or two major issues to deal with per year, if that.
The rules we have are very simple – be on time, be prepared for class, dress appropriately, behave appropriately, meet deadlines and be courteous at all times. These rules are clear and lived every day. Students choose to be at Senior College and it is seldom that they would do anything to jeopardise their place in the College. In short, it is a great environment to teach and learn in. If we want our students to mature and be responsible, then realistic expectations and sound practice must support it.

Yes! Sports teams are organised by students. We have recently had successful soccer, indoor basketball, rugby, cricket, netball, eventing and many more. Other activities include choir, garage band classes, rock bands, individual music classes, drama, two annual school productions, Model United Nations, student art exhibition; supporting worthwhile charities eg. Canteen, FADE, 40 hour famine and School newspaper. Annual overseas trips include a Business Studies trip to Tokyo, New York and London, a Design trip to Melbourne, Language trips to Japan and South America and a History trip to Europe. Lecture series after school and Focus groups at each level (Youth Affairs, supporting charities, Fostering school climate) are other examples of extra-curricular activities available.

Some students choose to go out of the building and have lunch in Aotea Square or in a cafe. Many have lunch in the College in classrooms. All classrooms except laboratories are open to students. 

We used to run a canteen but students preferred to go into the city to buy lunch.

If it is a personal issue, they could see their teacher, tutor teacher, Dean or even the Principal. If it is academic difficulty, then the student needs to arrange a time to meet their teacher individually for help. There are study classes such as Mathematics that are run every Wednesday. There is also one-on-one tuition available to all students free of charge. This is run by our Academic Leader who matches students to a peer tutor and at a suitable time. All teachers are available to help students individually and the message a student gives to a teacher when they ask for help is that they genuinely care about their work.

No matter how small contact us – by email or phone or simply seeing us face to face. If a son/daughter tells you not to bother, ignore this and convey what is happening. Your child gets one chance at their education and it is important to get it as right as possible.

Each lesson lasts for 80 minutes. This is considerably longer than many students have experienced at previous schools and initially takes a little getting used to. However, students soon adjust to this. There is much research to show that senior students benefit greatly from this approach. Teachers of course are experienced in breaking lessons up into different activities. To be able to concentrate on one subject for this length of time brings enormous benefits.

Classes start at 8.30am and finish at 4.35pm. However, students are in charge of their own free time. Students who have a non-contact period first thing may arrive in time for their first lesson at 9.55 or, if students have a free last lesson in the afternoon, they may leave at 3.05 to go home. Students are only expected to be in College during scheduled lesson time and a roll is taken every lesson.

Yes. Although the atmosphere at ACG Senior College provides students with much freedom, there are a few important rules which we uphold very strongly. One of these is that all scheduled lessons are compulsory. Students are expected to attend lessons punctually, prepared and equipped to work.

Our parents are incredibly busy and we place very few expectations on them. Hence when parents volunteer for things or help us, we are delighted. Because our students are older, the parental involvement is less. What we do ask is that parents support the ethos of the college in terms of the rules we have. Also, parental support in terms of homework and meeting deadlines is greatly valued.



In addition to tuition fees, students buy their own textbooks and stationery and pay entry fees for external examinations. These vary, but average between $500 and $1000 per year depending on subjects, levels and exchange rates. There are additional for Art subjects for equipment, and for IB subjects not offered by the college that students choose to study online through Pamoja.

Each student is assigned a tutor teacher who is normally one of the student's subject teachers. Students meet in a group every Monday and then individually with the tutor every 2 weeks. However, they may approach them for assistance at any time. The tutor is their mentor and the person who oversees their academic work and gives pastoral care. There is a Dean of Domestic Students and a Dean of International Students to give further support. Deans are primarily for pastoral care.

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ACG Senior College We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tracey Dykstra as Principal from 1 November:
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ACG Senior College

Address: 66 Lorne Street
(entrance from Rutland Street)

Auckland, New Zealand 

Phone:+64 9 307 4477