Its growth – from just 66 pupils in 2007 to 500 in 2020 – is not surprising, given the outstanding reputation and results the school has garnered since opening its doors 13 years ago. But while ACG Sunderland’s roll may have changed, Campus Principal Nathan Villars says the foundations on which the school was built remain very much alive.
“I’m extremely proud of our success in achieving the 500 milestone, however we are also very conscious of this growth and are mindful to protect those aspects of the school that are very special,” says Nathan, who joined ACG Sunderland as College Principal in August of the foundation year, and took over as Campus Principal in 2011.
“We have retained our small classes, our successful teaching styles and the family-feel learning environment, and we remain a school where children love coming to learn.”
Considered to be West Auckland’s preeminent school, ACG Sunderland is a top pick for families from Point Chevalier to Piha, Helensville to Greenhithe. It’s not hard to see why. Progressive yet traditional, with an intimate teaching and learning style, the school has strong values, high expectations, and committed, top-quality teachers.
“Our culture is built on our motto Aspire, Succeed, Respect – these are the pillars of ACG Sunderland. Our general studies programme is where we unpack our values, delivered three times a week, and service is a key component of the school’s community feel, with the concept of giving back being fostered right across the campus.”
Each year the school supports a number of services and charities through student-driven initiatives and events such as house competitions.
“Our house system is key for all service and charity work. One of our highly anticipated fundraisers is for Norwest Care Trust Foodbank. Each year our houses compete to try and raise the most money for the Christmas food hampers and donations we direct to this worthy charity.”
Of course, the Cambridge curriculum has been another drawcard.
“We have always been a Cambridge school in the College, but after 2011, I also instigated Cambridge across the Primary, with the assistance of the Head of Primary Leanne Chartrand. As the school has grown, more subjects have come online in the College.”
ACG Sunderland’s roll saw significant growth in 2012, directly after the global financial crisis. And as West Auckland parents discovered the exceptional educational opportunities provided by the school right on their doorstep, it has steadily continued to rise ever since.
“The increase in student numbers has been the result of a number of different factors, including the unprecedented growth of families moving to the West Auckland region. People want to educate their children locally!”
Nathan predicts the school role will reach 600 pupils by the end of 2021 but is adamant ACG Sunderland will always hold strong to the ideals and traditions its staff, students, and families value so highly.