McAuley High's journey to being a top achiever

McAuly debating students
McAuly debating students

A decile one school in the heart of south Auckland has had a remarkable turnaround.

After a history of struggling, Catholic Girls' school McAuley High has officially been named New Zealand's best school, with the Prime Minister's Education Supreme Award.

Acting principal Rachel Williams says the award has been a fantastic achievement for the school, and an acknowledgement of the hard work of staff, parents and students.

Just over a decade ago, the school was struggling, with a low roll, low pass marks and low community involvement.

A new principal turned all that around.

Anne Miles brought a strong focus on community, working hard to include parents in school life.

Ms Miles arranged focus groups with parents to work out their needs. Adult literacy classes were held and translators were brought in. It was a way of giving the community more confidence in terms of language.

The approach has certainly worked out for the school. They have a 90 percent pass rate for NCEA and the roll is filled to capacity -- an increase from 500 to just under 800.

There's even something they never had in the past -- a waitlist.

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