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“I love the family feeling of ACG”

Francesca Miller-Hard and older sister Odette (now at Elam Art School) were founding students at ACG Tauranga. And although the family moved to Auckland a few years ago, parents Nicole and Greg were delighted that Francesca was able to return to ACG Tauranga to complete her secondary schooling.


Now in Year 13, Francesca, a talented photographer, is working on growing her portfolio and laying the foundations for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree next year.

“Francesca and Odette really enjoyed and flourished during their two years at ACG Tauranga,” says Greg. “But our work commitments in Auckland required that we move there. Our girls excelled at the Auckland schools they attended but always missed their teachers and fellow students at ACG Tauranga.

“Having surveyed New Zealand’s secondary education options with Francesca and Odette attending top private schools in both the Bay of Plenty and Auckland, we are absolutely convinced that the Cambridge curriculum offered by ACG Tauranga has been by far the best.

“In 2020, we returned to our home in the Bay of Plenty and Francesca, being our last child at secondary school, returned to ACG Tauranga early in term two,” he continues. “As she had missed more than a term of Year 12, we were worried that she would struggle with the AS-Level curriculum, and it would be difficult for her. We approached the school faculty to discuss our concerns.”

“Principal Thea Kilian and all the teaching staff assured us, having known Francesca’s strong work ethic from her prior enrolment, that she would indeed catch up and succeed,” adds Nicole. “The teachers assisted Francesca in every way they could – providing extra tutorials, support and regular focus meetings.”

Grateful for the guidance and help from her teachers, the dedicated teen saw her hard work pay off, receiving outstanding AS-Level grades in the 2020 Cambridge exams.

“We are so proud of her and all that she has accomplished,” says Nicole. “Considering the year that 2020 was for everyone, these were phenomenal results. We are so happy that our daughter is completing her secondary schooling at such a high-quality centre of education. We have no doubt that ACG Tauranga provides the best learning environment students can have in New Zealand. We are excited to see the heights that Francesca can scale in 2021, and we would like to deeply thank all her teachers and everyone at ACG Tauranga for supporting her.”

While crafting a portfolio of work for A-Level Art & Design is a big focus for the year ahead, Francesca believes it is the perfect complement to her studies in Business and English literature.

“These three subjects create a good balance of creative and analytical thinking for me,” confirms Francesca. “I particularly enjoy English literature because I get to analyse a different form of art – poetry and prose. I think starting photography from a young age grew my critical eye, allowing me to question what I see on the surface and explore beyond this, whether it’s a photograph or a piece of prose.”

And whether she’s creating a photograph, critiquing a poem, or honing her business skills, Francesca knows she’s in the right place.

“I love the family feeling of ACG,” Francesca confirms. “Watching the school grow from being a founding student to coming back after experiencing different schools and curriculums, I feel that ACG gives me room to grow with guidance across all of my subjects.”

Greg agrees, “It is not only the education that we cannot fault at ACG. It is the feeling of coming ‘back home’ to a group of friends, teachers and students alike that made Francesca feel so welcome, so supported and very much part of this close school community.”


For additional profiles and articles on the success of our students at ACG Tauranga, please visit the following: Phenomenal A-Level success – our students are unstoppable and “Seeing them achieve and flourish has been a real highlight.”