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International Students


National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

NCEA is recognised by universities and employers both nationally and internationally as an academic pathway designed to challenge and extend students of all abilities and in all learning areas.

There are three levels of NCEA which are usually attained by students in specific year levels, starting with Level 1 in Year 11, Level 2 in Year 12 and finishing with Level 3 in Year 13. University Entrance is also attained in Year 13 via an NCEA pathway.

Students are assessed by a combination of assignments which are internally marked to strict guidelines by the school’s teachers, and by portfolios and examinations which are externally marked. Each level can simply be Achieved, or endorsed with either Merit or Excellence which denotes a higher quality of work throughout the year.

In addition to the overall level endorsement, individual courses can also be endorsed with Merit or Excellence, acknowledging students who have performed exceptionally well in that subject. High-achieving students can elect to sit Scholarship exams, which provide recognition and monetary rewards for topperforming students in the country.

Students wishing to continue their studies at university in New Zealand must meet the minimum requirements for University Entrance (UE):

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Approved subjects: 14 credits in each of three approved subjects at Level 3
  • Literacy requirement: 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy requirement: 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of achievement standards in a range of subjects; or all three numeracy unit standards 26623, 26626 and 26627

For more information on University Entrance, please see NZQA’s website

While we do not provide our students with an overall class ranking, our more able students who perform at Merit or Excellence level have the opportunity to be placed in extension classes in order to develop them to their full potential.

The 2023 NCEA External Examination Timetable can be found here:

2023 NCEA External Examination Timetable

STEAM Programme

Westlake Girls High School also offers STEAM – an integrated approach to the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, aimed at developing students’ skills in critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration and entrepreneurship. STEAM programmes are critical in producing well-rounded and well-grounded global citizens for the coming century by providing motivating, engaging and real-world contexts in which students can acquire and apply meaningful mathematical and scientific skills and understanding while becoming true agents of their own learning.

If you would like to find out more about STEAM programme, visit our STEAM page on this website or contact the Teacher in Charge of STEAM, Susan Tomaz, on