Media coverage of the results of the 2012 PISA survey and on the relative performance of state schools has been widespread; what has passed under the radar is the performance of New Zealand’s independent sector. This international OECD study looks at 65 countries and over 500,000 students to make comparisons as to how effectively individual countries are preparing their 15-year-olds. Students are assessed in three key areas – reading, mathematical and scientific literacy; Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore were the top performers. In the PISA survey the independent sector outperforms the state sector across the OECD and this is not unexpected. What the survey also shows is the relative performance of every country’s independent sector across the OECD. And the news for NZ independent schools is very, very good.
In the 2012 results NZ’s independent schools ranked second to Shanghai’s independent schools in both reading and scientific literacy, while in mathematics we ranked third behind Korea and Shanghai. In the last PISA survey New Zealand independent schools had top 3 placings in all three categories. It is fantastic to see the consistency of performance New Zealand’s independent schools maintain and supports our view that the education received here is world class – at the top of that world class! As a point of reference Australian independent schools ranked 8th in mathematics, 7th in reading and 6th in scientific literacy.
It is this view of the value of what is happening in New Zealand’s independent schools and here at St Cuthbert’s that leads high performing countries such as Singapore to send teachers on study tours to New Zealand and we were delighted to host 11 senior leaders from Singaporean schools here this week. They were impressed by the focused, independent learning, by the innovative use of ILTs and by the emphasis on pastoral care and support.
Construction of the Centennial Centre for Wellbeing is progressing very well and we are on track for completion in July of this year. Currently, work is focused on completion of the roof, and the installation of the Natare guttering systems and water treatments systems. The scale and impact of the building is becoming more and more apparent every day, much to the girls’ interest and anticipation.
Following the article on earthquake strengthening programmes at Auckland Grammar, King’s College and other Auckland schools, I thought you would be interested to know that the College engineers Beca have undertaken an extensive survey of all older College buildings on both campuses and over the next twenty years some relatively minor work will be required to improve the earthquake performance of 2 buildings at Epsom and the Trust board is currently factoring these improvements into the campus development plan. It was the engineering inspection in 2011 that led to the immediate closure and subsequent demolition of the swimming pools and the advancing of the timetable for construction of the Centennial Centre.