By: Simon Collins

Private girls’ schools dominate a new league table of New Zealand high schools produced by the tutoring company Crimson Education.

Auckland’s St Cuthbert’s College tops the list and four of the other top 10 schools are private girls’ schools.

Altogether, girls’ schools score 18 of the top 50 places, or 36 per cent, although girls’ schools make up only 12 per cent of all NZ schools with senior secondary classes.

Boys’ schools also punch well above their weight, with 11 of the top 50 (22 per cent), compared with 9 per cent of all secondary schools.

Co-educational schools get only 21 of the top 50 places (42 per cent), even though 79 per cent of secondary schools are co-ed.

The rankings are a pioneering attempt to rank all NZ secondary schools regardless of whether their students attempt the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), Cambridge exams or the International Baccalaureate (IB).

However, it does not adjust for the advantages that students start with because of their family backgrounds. All of the top 40, and all except four of the top 50, draw students from the most advantaged three deciles.

The NZ Initiative reported last week that schools’ NCEA pass rates averaged almost exactly the same across all decile groups after adjusting for the students’ family backgrounds.

Crimson founder Jamie Beaton said he created his ranking because parents were often confused by the differing exam systems.

“Crimson is the first education-focused organisation to develop a methodology that covers all the criteria that top universities are looking for,” he said.

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