COVID-19: Auckland high school students relieved they'll get extra NCEA credits

Auckland high school students are breathing a sigh of relief tonight because they'll get extra NCEA credits after spending weeks longer out of the classroom than the rest of the country.

For a school with a roll of 2500, Auckland's Macleans College sure is quiet. Just four students were allowed back in the classroom on Wednesday.

But for those still doing NCEA at home, the extended alert level 4 lockdown has left many feeling anxious about their results. 

Deputy head boy Levi De Jong says "some days you get real motivated and you think you're going to nail it and then other days you lack that motivation so it's definitely had it's up and downs".

Luckily, the Government wants to help ease the lockdown burden.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged on Wednesday high school students have "been through a lot".

For every four credits achieved, Auckland teens will get one bonus credit up to a maximum of 16 at level one, and 12 at levels two and three. 

The threshold for gaining a merit or excellence endorsement will also be lowered from 46 to 44 credits.

"I hope this will provide reassurance to those students that their qualifications and the awards that go with those remain within their reach," Hipkins says.

Principals across Auckland are just as relieved as their senior students. 

Macleans College principal Steve Hargreaves says "it will be a massive weight off their shoulders".

"They know that the support is in place to achieve their goals with NCEA this year."

Despite being back at school, some students outside of Auckland say they're disappointed about missing out. 

For most, this is the second round of credit changes that they haven't qualified for. 

"If we're able to be lowering credits for not only Auckland for the rest of the country that will really ease some of that uncertainty and stress levels," Waitaki Boys High School student Ethan Reilles told Newshub.

But PPTA president Melanie Weber believes Wednesday's announcement is fair. 

"This just recognises that additional pressure that Auckland is under," she says.

Students are now keen to push on under alert level 2 with the hope of stepping back into the classroom in time for term four.