• 28 July 2023

Combining innovation and structure with NCEA+

While some schools have opted to forego NCEA Level 1 from next year in favour of their own diplomas, Marsden has designed a rigorous future-focused learning programme NCEA+, which combines NCEA Level 1 and innovative courses, ensuring that students are fully equipped for NCEA Level 2, NCEA Level 3 and life beyond school.

From 2024, Year 11 students will study five traditional subject courses and choose from our unique NCEA+ offering –– an interdisciplinary course in which students choose up to three different subject areas and explore a real-world context where they can work collaboratively, think critically and earn credits on the NZQA framework. The themes for these courses are chosen from:



Marsden’s innovative NCEA+ courses hold structure, come with specialist teacher expertise and support, and successfully equip learners with the 21st-century skills they need to successfully navigate a rapidly changing world, including critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, digital fluency and problem-solving.

We are tailoring learning experiences in a variety of curriculum spaces using real world issues for students to be curious and problem solve. This will create learner agency, as they will be able to collaborate with each other and their teachers, choose the direction they would like to take, and have a national qualification at the end of it.

Jenny Caldwell, Deputy Principal


Across the Level 1 NCEA+ programme, students will gain essential time management strategies and study skills. They will learn to unpack and follow task instructions and experience examinations for the first time.

Principal Paula Wells says “NCEA Level 1 is a key foundational qualification year, and our students embrace that. It successfully prepares them for the rigours of NCEA Level 2, which carries high-stakes outcomes for those preparing for a university pathway.”

Our personalised and differentiated NCEA+ programme aims to challenge and meet the needs of students of all ability levels. The courses offer a balance of internal (assessed within school and ongoing throughout the year) and external (assessed by national examinations or a portfolio) assessment.

Our academic results are consistently amongst the highest in the country, and we continue to out-perform other high-decile schools. On Marsden’s commitment to NCEA, Deputy Principal Jenny Caldwell says “NCEA is a widely recognised qualification for international tertiary entry and the world of future education and work. Marsden has years of experience in ensuring students succeed at all levels of NCEA, and a proven track record of outstanding NCEA achievement.”

Marsden’s NCEA+ programme is underpinned by the our exceptional culture of care, smaller personalised learning environments and individual academic and wellbeing support and coaching.


If you are interested in learning more about NCEA+ at Marsden, please join us at one of our upcoming open events. For more information and to register, click here.