Learning at MAGS

New Zealand education

New Zealand’s education system is world-class, modern and responsive.

It combines proven, traditional principles with innovation, creativity and fresh thinking to produce leaders and citizens equipped for the 21st century.

Education in New Zealand aims to be student-centred. It is focused on supporting  students to problem-solve, process information, work with others, create and  innovate. Each student is able to develop their potential along a number of  possible pathways.

New Zealand has strong international  education connections and recognition. There is considerable international interest in New Zealand’s achievements in education – our educators’ expertise and experience, and our education services  and products are sought after around the world.

Secondary education covers Years 9 to 13 (ages 13 to 18/19). State secondary schools are usually known as secondary schools, high schools or colleges.

In secondary schools the timetable is arranged around subjects, and although students continue to experience a broad and balanced curriculum, some specialisation is possible, especially in Years 11 to 13. Students are provided with professional career information and guidance. Entry to work or further study (eg. university) is not limited by the type of secondary school a student attends.

Click here for more information about education in New Zealand


The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the official New Zealand qualification system for secondary students.

NCEA challenges students of all abilities in all learning areas, and shows credits and grades for separate skills and knowledge. NCEA is recognised by employers and used as the benchmark for selection by universities and polytechnics. NCEA is also readily accepted overseas, including by universities.

Students typically sit NCEA Level 1 in Year 11, NCEA Level 2 in Year 12 and NCEA Level 3 in Year 13.

For more information about NCEA, click here to visit the website of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority

Education Review Office report

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department which reports publicly on the quality of education in all New Zealand schools. ERO gave Mount Albert Grammar a glowing report following their last visit in early 2018:

“Mount Albert Grammar School provides International students with high quality pastoral care. They integrate well into the school’s education programme and are involved in all aspects of school life. The school provides good quality English language support for its International students.”

Click here to read the full 2018 report

English Language Programme

Click here to see translations of the text below in:

Mount Albert Grammar offers an English Language Programme to all International students who may require it to help them integrate into mainstream classes and the life of the school. There are no pre-requisite requirements to enter the English Language courses.

The programme offers Intensive English classes at three levels. The aim of these intensive classes is to support English language learners to achieve the same learning outcomes as native speakers of English through individualised, supported teaching. The language programme follows the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP) which focuses strongly on language for learning.

The subjects taught within the Intensive programme include:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • English Language

Option subjects and Physical Education are included as part of the programme.

English language classes are also available from Year 10 through to Year 13. The aim of these programmes is to increase student achievement in the mainstream, with a focus on developing the student’s

  • academic vocabulary
  • reading and writing of academic texts
  • ability to communicate correctly
  • ability to assess the reliability of what they hear and read and use this information to produce researched texts.

The programme in Years 11- 13 allows students to achieve credits, which contribute to NCEA Level 1-3 certificates.

  • Year 11: 31 credits
  • Year 12: 20 credits
  • Year 13: 10 credits – University entrance reading and writing literacy requirements

The Year 13 English Language course provides assessment opportunities for students to gain the university literacy requirement in both reading and writing. The same course also qualifies for the Academic English Language Requirement (AELR) at the University of Auckland. However, this subject is not a university approved subject.


At Mount Albert Grammar School, Year 9 and 10 classes are single sex and streamed according to academic ability. This is because, at this age, boys and girls have different learning needs that are best addressed in single sex classes. Option classes in the Junior school, however, are co-educational as this allows for a more comprehensive choice of Option subjects.

In Year 11, classes are generally co-educational, and in Years 12 and 13 all classes are co-educational. This is a unique arrangement and designed to get the best out of both settings at the time when it is most appropriate in students’ development.

Subjects available

Click here to see the subjects offered at MAGS, and the years in which students can take them

Year 9

  • Compulsory subjects
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education
  • Social Studies
  • Science

Subjects taken for one semester each

  • Art
  • Health
  • Music
  • Technology

Choice of 2 languages from Chinese, Japanese, German and French

Year 10

  • Compulsory subjects
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Choice of 2 Options (or 1 language)

Year 11

  • Compulsory subjects
  • English
  • Mathematics

Choice of 4 other subjects

Year 12

Choice of 6 subjects

Year 13

Choice of 5 subjects

Click here for more information on individual subjects

Parent portal

Parents may follow their child’s academic progress by logging in to the Parent Portal.

Click here to log in to the Parent Portal

You will be emailed your unique username and password by the International office: [email protected]