Rotorua students are achieving higher NCEA pass rates than national trends across the board, latest figures show.
The 2017 results for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) were released this week.
The results show the percentage of students at Years 11, 12, and 13 who attempted NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 and University Entrance in 2017, and the percentage of those who achieved a passing grade.
Across Levels 1 to 3 at Rotorua schools, pass rates ranged from 81 to 100 per cent.
At John Paul College 100 per cent of the students who attempted Level 1 achieved it. At level 2, 99 per cent passed, and at level 3, 97 per cent passed.
Principal Patrick Walsh said the school was delighted with the results.
"We have nearly 100 per cent pass rates across Levels 1, 2 and 3 and a large number of scholarships," Walsh said.
Walsh said the school achieved 14 NCEA scholarships, putting students in the top 3 per cent nationwide, comparing favourably with top schools in bigger centres like Auckland and Wellington.
"It's important to mention because people often think the education in Rotorua is substandard, but we can hold our heads high."
Walsh said community support from parents, hard-working students and dedicated staff had contributed to the results.
This year the school focused on boosting the number of scholarships students received, he said.
Aditi Singh, 17, is in her final year at John Paul College, and was happy with her results.
She attempted and achieved Level 2 and 3 papers last year. She said the school's achievement came down to dedicated teachers and students' hard work.
"The teachers will go out of their way to do anything for you," she said.
Orla Walsh, 15, sat Level 1 papers as a Year 10 student last year and agreed that the teachers were a huge support.
"We've really got teachers that support you if you want to come to them for extra tuition. It's a lot of hard work and dedication, it's a big commitment."
But Orla said there was also support for those who were not academically inclined.
"We have a support centre dedicated to helping people who are struggling and need that extra support," she said.
Rotorua Girls' High School students achieved pass rates in the 90s across all levels and 57 per cent of students achieved University Entrance.
Principal Ally Gibbons said she was thrilled with the results which were mostly up on last year's.
"I'm really proud of my girls and really proud and grateful to my hard working staff," Gibbons said.
"I think we're on the right path. We're always looking at different courses we can introduce, we listen to the learner voices, and whanau voice as well."
Gibbons said only a third of Girls' High students went on to university so the school also looked at different pathways for students.
"As teachers, how do we engage them to be the best they can be and have a curriculum that wraps around them to achieve what they want."
Western Heights High School principal Jim Gemmell said he too was pleased with how his school fared.
"A big focus for us was the gap between Maori and non-Maori [achievement]. All levels show we're closing the gap but at Level 2 we've brought that to 0.6 per cent," he said.
One category the school fell below was University Entrance for decile 4 to 7 schools.
While 92 per cent of Year 13 students attempted University Entrance, only 44 per cent achieved it, compared to a national average of 59 per cent at schools in that decile bracket.
Gemmell said that was one of the school's key targets.
"We're looking at making sure all students achieve a minimum of 14 credits, that's going to be a focus across the board for us."
Rotorua Lakes High principal Bruce Walker said his school "bucked the trend" when it came to male and Maori achievement.
"The results show another successful year of achievement for students at Lakes High," he said.
"We congratulate both our staff and students for their commitment to learning."
Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter was out of town so did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did TKKM o Ruamata.
Both achieved better results than other decile 1 to 3 schools nationwide.
The areas Rotorua schools fell below national averages for similar deciles were in Level 1 at Ruamata where 100 per cent of Year 11 students attempted the grade and 61 per cent achieved it. This compared to 79 per cent nationwide.
Then, at Western Heights High School achievement at Level 1 was 85 per cent and at Level 3 it was 82 per cent. Both just 1 per cent below the average.