An all-girls school has topped a national ranking of New Zealand schools based on academic and cultural achievement.
The ranking by private tutoring company Crimson Education is based on academic achievements from 2019 in Cambridge, International Baccalaureate, University Entrance, and Scholarship exams.
The aim of the rankings was to measure the ability of New Zealand schools to prepare students for places at top universities in the US and UK, Crimson Education founder Jamie Beaton said.
Importance was also placed on cultural diversity, arts and sporting options, and the number of students accepted into top world universities was also measured.
This year private Auckland school St Cuthbert's College topped the list. Girls enrolled in Year 13 rated the top achievers - up from the third spot last year.
Principal Justine Mahon said teachers continued to encourage every one of the 1444 girls enrolled from year 0 to 13 to achieve their personal best and acknowledged this was different for each student.
"St Cuthbert's College is very proud of our girls' outstanding successes, particularly against the backdrop of the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic last year, St Cuthbert's principal Justine Mahon said.
"Students need to be happy and have self-belief to be successful, and we are very focussed on developing every dimension of our girls to support them to really thrive."
The other all-girl schools in the Top 10 included Diocesan School for Girls, Baradene College in Auckland and Rangi Ruru Girls in Christchurch.
Beaton, the Auckland-born Oxford University-educated founder of Crimson Education, said the Top 50 was in its third year, and schools were increasingly seeing it as a good benchmark.
"We have had an increase in the interest from schools and last year saw more schools send in information about their diversity and cultural achievements."
Beaton said top universities such as Harvard and Stanford were increasingly looking to recruit from New Zealand.
"These top universities are always looking to improve their diversity and increase the international cohort," he said.
"They love taking Kiwis."
The recent rankings are not adjusted for students' socio-economic backgrounds, so nine out of the top 10 are either private or state-integrated schools.
The only state school in New Zealand to make the top 10 was Macleans College in Howick. It has more international students on its roll than any other state school in the country.
Last year Macleans College, led by principal Steven Hargreaves, was ranked sixth.
This year it ranked fifth, with its annual donation set at $590 for a Year 7-13 student.
Macleans College was placed ahead of Diocesan School for Girls with annual fees for a Year 7-13 student around $25,000.
In comparison, St Cuthbert's senior fees are set at $24,960 per year with an extra $17,000 for students who board.
Beaton said Macleans College had a "phenomenal reputation for turning out top students."
"Harvard came visiting in New Zealand a couple of years ago and they called into Macleans," Beaton said.
"For a few years now the Dux at Macleans College has been accepted into Harvard."
Last year, the top-ranking school was the little-known private school Auckland International College.
This year the school which is made up mainly of international students dropped to seventh place.
Beaton put this down to a drop in the roll at the school.
Co-educational schools on Auckland's North Shore, Pinehurst and Kristin, took out the second and third spots.
Pinehurst rose to second from its fifth-place spot last year and Kristin rose one place to third.
In September this year, Linda Tang, from Pinehurst, would make her way to Cambridge University in the UK to study medicine.
"It is a remarkable achievement because there are very few places offered in medicine," Beaton said.
Pinehurst had gained some top-achieving students from Westlake Boys High School which dropped Cambridge Exams in 2015, he said.
Another Ivy-League-bound student from the top 10 schools was Sophie Pye, from Rangi Ruru Girls School.
With support from her school and Crimson Education Sophie secured offers to Harvard, Princeton, UNC-Chapel Hill, and USC with a dean's scholarship.
The head student was also a top rower and is currently studying agricultural innovation, environmental management and business management at Otago University.
School Rankings 2021
The Top 10 - last year's ranking in brackets
St Cuthbert's College (3)
Pinehurst School (5)
Kristin School (4)
ACG Parnell College (2)
Macleans College (6)
Diocesan School For Girls (15)
Auckland International College (1)
Baradene College of the Sacred Heart (9)
St Peter's College (Auckland) (14)
Rangi Ruru Girls' School (13)
Additions to the list
There were five additions to this year's list:
Sacred Heart College (Auckland) at #35
ACG Sunderland #44
Dilworth School #47
King's High School #49
Selwyn College #50.
Queen Margaret College jumped 14 ranks from 26th to 12th place. It secured a 99 per cent University Entrance rate.
Wentworth College jumped 13 ranks with a University Entrance rate of 100 per cent.
Decile 4 school Selwyn College went up 20 places to secure a place within the top 50.
Dilworth School, also a Decile 4 school, features in the top 50 for the first time.
• See the full list of Top 50 schools here.