It is the result of a number of initiatives put in place at the College, which all contribute to the outstanding results, says Head of Secondary School, Evert van Florenstein. “We are delighted with the results, which are due to a lot of hard work and preparation by our students and staff, alongside the systems and programmes we have in place.”
Evert says a holistic approach to student well-being alongside their learning is a major driver of academic achievement at St Andrew’s. “Pastoral care working hand in hand with academic learning is a key to students reaching their potential. If a student is happy, they will usually do well, and if they are struggling there is probably a reason for it. During the COVID-19 lockdown we worked especially hard on pastoral care to ensure that our students knew we were supporting them, and we had this together.”
Evert says a dedicated Scholarship programme, which was introduced around three years ago at St Andrew’s is helping to drive the impressive Scholarship results. “The programme is managed by Head of Social Sciences, Kane Boulton. It provides Scholarship students with greater academic rigour and challenges, supporting them to work at a higher level in subjects they really love. Kane does a great job, working closely with teachers and students, and tweaking the programme each year, with results continuing to improve incrementally.”
Specialised tools including a powerful analytics service called Power BI, helps teachers and senior management to keep a close eye on all students’ progress and intervene if needed. The platform provides up-to-the minute academic and pastoral information about each student, presented on sophisticated dashboards. Students who need extra help with their studies are supported by accelerated learning and learning support teams at all year levels in the Secondary School, and extra pastoral care is wrapped around students as needed.
“We have lots of layers of people watching the data in the Middle School and Senior College, including teachers, the Deans, and myself. Power BI can even be used to predict a student’s current trajectory and whether any interventions might be required to help them to reach their goals. This enables us to act quickly and support the student at the earliest stage to help create significant change.”
There is also a strong focus on Visible Learning at St Andrew’s College, with teachers undertaking professional development to help them to measure their impact in the classroom and identify areas they might need to develop. This is backed by academic data from Power BI, which provides information on how the students are performing in their individual classrooms.
Evert and a strong senior management team of Head of Teaching and Learning David Bevin: Assistant Head of Secondary School (Academic) Helaina Coote: Assistant Head of Secondary School (Data) Sarah Exon and Teacher in Charge of the Scholarship programme Kane Boulton, work hard to ensure St Andrew’s College continues to build on its culture of excellence, where everyone gets lifted up. “We have a ‘no one left behind’ policy, which is very important. It doesn’t matter where on the academic spectrum a student sits – everyone counts and deserves the opportunity to be the best version of themselves. This has led to these outstanding 2020 academic results.”
The unprecedented success achieved by St Andrew’s College students with 53 Scholarships achieved in the 2020 New Zealand Scholarship examinations, and a record 279 Excellence endorsements achieved in the NCEA examinations, is no accident.