ACG Sunderland is a small school which continues to gather accolades and acclaim - and not only in the academic arena.
The school’s strong holistic focus and unique values-based programme equips students with the tools they need to achieve great things in their studies, in their careers - and in their communities.
Core values of confidence, determination, enthusiasm, loyalty, respect and service are brought to life both inside and outside the classroom, laying lasting foundations for a successful and meaningful future.
“Academic outcomes are extremely important to us here at ACG Sunderland; however, it is critical that students are grounded, ready for work and for further study,” says Principal Nathan Villars.
“Our core values are not exclusive but are those which represent the ideas we believe are essential to the development of future citizens.”
Explicit values lessons are integrated into the school’s General Studies programme and a ‘value of the week’ is unpacked at each assembly, filtering through into classroom teaching. Students thrive in an environment that’s safe, caring and inclusive, and are quick to embrace the plentiful opportunities to help others.
At the start of each year during their annual camp, student leaders decide on the community service and charities they will support. Momentum is sustained through weekly council meetings and a formalised leadership training programme. Houses work together to support their chosen charities - which last year included Keep New Zealand Beautiful , St John New Zealand, and the Norwest Care Trust – through student-led initiatives such as discos, mufti days, colouring competitions and movie nights.
Principal Villars says community service is a vital component of a student’s education.
“ACG Sunderland is a private school and parents are paying a significant amount for their children’s education. I personally believe it is important that our students remain grounded and understand their surroundings here in New Zealand. Therefore, we believe that through service, students will think of other people less fortunate in the community and putting people before themselves.”
The school encourages students to look for ways to help rather than be asked, do something for others because they care, and give tasks their best effort because they want to make a positive difference in their communities.
And it’s not just ACG Sunderland staff who see the immense value in this holistic focus. It’s the families too.
“Some parents are choosing to enrol their children on the back of our values programme here at ACG Sunderland. Our students and parents fully endorse it.”