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Empowering students on their path to success

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AHeadStart provides expert tuition in most subjects for secondary school students in Year 9-13 at school. AHeadStart aims to guide students so they reach their full potential in a positive learning environment.

The core subjects are English, Mathematics, Calculus, Statistics, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Accounting and Economics.

The secondary school Years 9 & 10 are important for building on the fundamentals of all subjects and preparing students for Year 11 and above. The key subjects in these years are English, Mathematics and Science.

The Years 11, 12 & 13 are essential for gaining secondary school qualifications in either NCEA, Cambridge or International Baccalaureate. By building each student’s knowledge, understanding, study habits and self-esteem with each of their subjects, our aim that that they progress confidently and successfully on to work or tertiary studies – empowering them to do their best whatever pathway they choose.

Every single student has their own personal tutor, no matter which tutoring plan you choose, allowing them to feel comfortable to ask their tutor questions they are too afraid to ask in class. It’s important to us that students build a rapport with their tutor, seeing them as a supportive mentor they look forward to seeing each week.

Personalised one-on-one or small group tutorials are specifically designed to suit each student’s needs. During each session students will have the full attention of their tutor. This gives our tutors the ability to adjust the pace, focus and goals of every lesson, resulting in optimal learning efficiency. Whether a student wants to gain enough credits to pass the year, or is aiming for a Merit or Excellence endorsement, our tutors can assist to make that goal a reality. And of course we can also help with Cambridge and International Baccalaureate.


Tutoring for Year 9 & 10

AHeadStart recognises that Years 9 & 10 are vitally important. This is a time when students are learning to manage the challenges of adolescence with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their best while at school.

Catch Up?

Years 9 & 10 may be a time of adjustment as students from different schooling backgrounds come together at secondary school. A student may feel they are behind others and would like some catch up to help gain their confidence in the core subjects of English, Mathematics & Science. Years 9 & 10 are a sensible time for students to get the help they need before they enter the assessment years of 11-13.

If a student finds they have missed fundamental information or are finding some concepts challenging, it is most effective to give them a helping hand as soon as possible. This will increase their self-esteem going forward and make learning at secondary school a more enjoyable experience.

As each student has their own personal tutor, they will work to their own level and immediately start moving forward at a pace that suits them.

“I have been really impressed with the turnaround Jackson has achieved with Henry this year. He has done a fantastic job which I appreciate so very much. I hope that Jackson will be available again next year and Henry can continue tutorials with him.
I am very grateful for the service you provide as it has made a big difference for both Emma & Henry.”

Henry’s mother Tracey
Year 10, English & Mathematics

Keep Up?

Years 9 & 10 are an excellent time for students to make the most of the slower pace of learning to get ahead with their studies.

A student may be working to a level near the 'middle' at school and their teacher may be happy with their progress. However they may not feel confident in, or enjoy, English, Mathematics or Science. In a class of twenty to thirty pupils, students who are struggling may easily go unnoticed. It’s important to listen students who express any concerns about their learning, even if no red flags have been raised by the school.

With our one-on-one or small group tutorials, our tutors can help each student to build a stronger understanding and fill in any gaps in their learning. With increased confidence they will have the motivation to reach their potential.

“Jedd is dyslexic and needed assistance with implementing and understanding what he was learning at school.
Jedd's school report was excellent and he achieved "above the standard" results in many of the assessed areas which was impressive for Jedd!”

Jedd’s mother Stephanie
Year 10, English

Get AHead?

Tuition isn’t just for students who are struggling. It is also an opportunity for students who want to excel or explore new ideas.

Many Year 9 & 10 students learn Mathematics and Science a year ahead of their peers at school. Often this can be challenging to keep up, or a student may want to reach the top of their class! For students who may want extension in their favourite subject, tuition is something they really enjoy every week. Seeing their tutor and mentor can be highly motivational and uplifting.

With their own personal tutor students can tell their tutor about what they would like to learn, and our tutors will provide a customised tutorial building on key concepts.

“Ethan very happy with Hamish. All positive feedback from last night’s tuition, with explanations provided helpful as to what he needs to write for excellence level.”

Ethan’s father Brett
Year 10, Level 2 Mathematics & Physics



Tutoring for National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the main national qualification for secondary school students in New Zealand. NCEA is recognised by employers, and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both in New Zealand and overseas.

 Each year, students study a number of courses or subjects.

  • In each subject, skills and knowledge are assessed against a number of achievement standards. 
  • Schools use a range of internal and external assessments to measure how well students meet these standards.
  • When a student achieves a standard, they gain a number of credits. Students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate.
  • There are three levels of NCEA certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. In general, students work through Levels 1 to 3 in Years 11 to 13 at school.
  • Students are recognised for high achievement at each level by gaining NCEA with Merit or NCEA with Excellence. High achievement in a course is also recognised.  


Catch Up?

For students falling behind and struggling to gain their credits, particularly in literacy and numeracy, tuition can be the difference between gaining their NCEA certificate or not.  

Our tutors are very familiar with assisting NCEA students who are aiming to get Achieved, both in their internal and external assessments. Our one-on-one tutorials are the perfect environment for students to work with their tutors to prepare for assessments, gaining the confidence and skills necessary.

“My daughter's confidence, self-esteem and knowledge have all improved significantly. Clare had been considered 'at risk' of not passing NCEA by her school. However she ended up earning 102 credits which she was very excited about.
She doesn't find tutoring boring and is always happy to go. [She enjoys] Jackson's warm, kind and patient manner as well as his ability to explain things in different ways until she understood - he didn't make her feel stupid for asking for more detail.
Highly recommend AHeadStart.”

Clare’s mother
Year 11, English & Science

Keep Up?

Secondary school can be a stressful time for students, especially with regular NCEA assessments throughout the year. Fitting study in around sports and other extracurricular activities can also be challenging.

Many students come to us to help them keep on top of their studies. The advice and support our tutors can provide ranges from structuring revision, to ironing out weak areas in the student’s knowledge.  As a result, a tutor’s help can save time and effort prove invaluable.

“AHeadStart suited my son well. He was motivated but did not want to ask questions in class and had low confidence in Calculus. He was in Year 13 so did not want me to be too involved! His marks and confidence improved and he was happy with his NCEA results. That is all I wanted from the tuition.”

Alex’s mother
Year 13, Calculus

Get AHead?

For students aiming for Merit and Excellence endorsement for university requirements (particularly Engineering and Health Science) the stress can be even greater. Highly motivated and responsible students are often asked to undertake leadership roles that may remove them from class on a regular basis.

These students often find there is not enough time for them to commit to their studies as much as they would like. And often, highly motivated students may spend a huge amount of time studying, taking time away from other activities which could benefit them. 

Regular tutorials with their own personal tutor, especially one who assist with a range of subjects, can be the difference between just managing their heavy workload and gaining those Excellence credits they deserve while also being successful in their other responsibilities.

“Just a note to let you know how thrilled Daisy is with her results for NCEA Level 1 … she attributes her success in no small part to Helena and her expert tuition, which gave her the confidence to believe in herself and do so well. Thank you to you too for helping organise all this for us and for getting Helena to us. She not only achieved her 50 Excellence credits (which was her original goal for the year) but in fact exceeded 100 Excellence credits, which means she will be awarded with the top academic honour at St Margaret’s in the form of a red academic bar for surpassing 100 E’s. Only 12 girls achieved this last year in level 1 (there will be more this year as Daisy is in a very bright year group).  She achieved an Excellence endorsement for 4 subjects out of 6 … one of which was Physics which stunned and thrilled her. She was extremely close to getting Excellence endorsements in both Chemistry and Maths also … the algebra external which she failed in her mock exams at school she got an E for in the external.  When I reflect on how she was struggling with her confidence ..with confusion creeping in at around Easter last year when I first got in touch with you …to see her confidence and ability blossoming, the tutoring made all the difference and was worth every cent.”

Daisy’s mother Lorelei
Year 11, Chemistry, Mathematics & Physics




Tutoring for Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

Cambridge is a qualification pathway that many students take in secondary school. It was developed by Cambridge University in the UK, and is in use in over 160 countries globally. In Christchurch, only some schools offer Cambridge as an alternative to NCEA, or more often alongside the NCEA curriculum.

Cambridge is a three-year programme - IGCSE, AS, or A2. Although AS is a recognised standalone qualification, AS and A2 together form the full A-Level qualification. Cambridge is usually assessed by an external exam in October that covers all the year’s content, in many ways similar to the old School Certificate and Bursary system.

For students taking Cambridge in New Zealand, this is often in only one or two core subjects, usually Mathematics and less often English. Due to the different content and assessment method of Cambridge compared to NCEA, students often find this quite challenging.

In addition, for students taking Cambridge Mathematics in Years 11 and 12, they may also be sitting the equivalent NCEA external assessments. This can be quite demanding of students, as teachers often don’t have time to cover both curricula thoroughly in class, meaning able students may underperform, particular in NCEA.

Many of our tutors have first-hand experience within the Cambridge system, as well as NCEA, and are able to assist students who are preparing for these examinations.

"Hi Melanie. Daniel did a wonderful job last year, Sam passed Cambridge and got excellence in NCEA Level 1."

Sam’s mother Jasmine
Year 11, Mathematics & Science



Tutoring for International Baccalaureate ® (IB)

The International Baccalaureate Diploma ® (IB) is an academically challenging and holistic programme of education that aims to prepare students for success at university. The programme is only taught in Christchurch at St Margaret’s over two years.

Student who take IB are required to select one subject from each of the six subject groups, with some variation possible, within these choices:

  • Language Acquisition
  • Studies in Language and Literature
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts
  • Sciences

At least three subjects, but not more than four, must be studied at Higher Level (HL), with the others at Standard Level (SL). While both are two year courses, HL has more content and requires deeper thinking.

A fundamental part of IB assessment and examination is that standards are the same worldwide. External exams are held in November of the second IB year and these are marked by internationally appointed examiners. Exams are complemented by internal assessment, such as seminars, portfolios, practical work, oral work and research assignments.

Many of our tutors have first-hand experience within the IB system, as well as NCEA, and are able to assist students who are preparing for these examinations.

“We wanted to let you know that Alice received her IB results this week, which included a very pleasing 6 out of a possible 7 for Physics, a subject that she was struggling with earlier in the course and which in Year 12 her teacher thought she might only achieve a 4 or possibly 5 in. Please would you forward this to Hamish as we promised to let him know how she got on.

Alice would be the first to say how much she owed to Hamish's support and guidance in their weekly sessions so thank you very much for finding such an excellent tutor for her, we are convinced it made the crucial difference in her understanding. If Hamish ever needs a testimonial from the parents' point of view we would be very happy to provide one.”

Alice’s mother Jane
Year 13, IB Physics




A range of subjects to suit your needs


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AHeadStart provides expert tuition in a range of subjects, including the core competencies of English, Mathematics & Science

Students benefit by having one tutor to cover several subjects and make the most out of every tutorial.

      NCEA L1

  1. Accounting
  2. Art History
  3. Biology
  4. Business Studies
  5. Chemistry
  6. Classical Studies
  7. Dance
  8. Design & Visual Communication - Graphics
  9. Drama
  10. Earth and Space Science
  11. Economics
  12. English
  13. Geography
  14. German
  15. History
  16. Japanese
  17. Mathematics
  18. Media Studies
  19. Music Theory
  20. Physical Education
  21. Physics
  22. Science
  23. Spanish
  24. Technology
  25. Visual Arts

          NCEA L2

    1. Accounting
    2. Art History
    3. Biology
    4. Business Studies
    5. Chemistry
    6. Classical Studies
    7. Dance
    8. Design & Visual Communication - Graphics
    9. Drama
    10. Earth and Space Science
    11. Economics
    12. English
    13. Geography
    14. German
    15. History
    16. Japanese
    17. Mathematics
    18. Media Studies
    19. Music Theory
    20. Physical Education
    21. Physics
    22. Spanish
    23. Technology
    24. Visual Arts

          NCEA L3

    1. Accounting
    2. Art History
    3. Biology
    4. Business Studies
    5. Calculus
    6. Chemistry
    7. Classical Studies
    8. Dance
    9. Design & Visual Communication - Graphics
    10. Drama
    11. Earth and Space Science
    12. Economics
    13. English
    14. Geography
    15. German
    16. History
    17. Japanese
    18. Mathematics
    19. Media Studies
    20. Music Theory
    21. Physical Education
    22. Physics
    23. Spanish
    24. Statistics
    25. Technology
    26. Visual Arts


    1. English
    2. Mathematics
    3. Social Studies


    1. Biology
    2. Chemistry
    3. Economics
    4. English
    5. Geography
    6. History
    7. Mathematics
    8. Physics