Albany Senior High School, led by Principal Barbara Cavanagh, is a senior college in New Zealand focused on developing the strengths and talents of every student and ensuring that they have experiences that set them up to succeed in the world once they leave the school environment. ASHS knows that students are no longer passive recipients of knowledge, but should be engaged as individuals in a dynamic, two-way process between teachers and learners because research has shown that students learn best when they feel valued and are actively engaged in their learning. They use three strands within their curriculum to achieve this:


  • tutorials - students meet twice a week for 100 minutes to work with tutors to develop their learning power

  • specialist subjects - students choose five subjects on which to become experts

  • impact projects - students take their learning to the world by developing individual projects from their passions and interests; they have one day aweek dedicated to this work.

The school boasts modern, shared learning spaces where teachers work side-by-side with students. ASHS knows that relationships between teachers and students are the key to success for every student and the school works hard to develop positive learning relationships with each student so they can confidently leave knowing "how they are bright". The teachers operate on the belief that "if you have taught something and the students have not learned it, then you have not taught it". They are involved in personal professional inquiries which supports their own learning about why some students fail to understand what they have taught.

ASHS: Nurture, Inspire, Empower


Barbara Cavanagh


536 Albany Highway, Albany

Auckland, New Zealand, 0632






Barbara is the foundation principal of Albany Senior High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She started her teaching career as an English and Drama teacher and has taught in a wide range of schools including Northcote College in Auckland and Fairfield College in Hamilton. Barbara has had two previous principalships - at Ngaruawahia High School and Te Awamutu College, both in the Waikato.


She is passionate about education, has worked on many of the professional bodies that mentor and support teachers and principals, and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of establishing the first state-funded senior high school in New Zealand. Barbara has a strong commitment to developing the talent that every student brings to the school to fully prepare them for the next stage of their lives. This commitment extends to developing the talents of the staff to ensure that Albany Senior High School continues to grow the educational leaders of the future.

Impact Projects

23 August 2011


Students describe the passion

projects on which they are working.


Impact Projects

March 2015


Students spent one day a week working on projects of their own devising, following their passions. Listen to students Shaun Hiscoe and Matthew Lawrence combined their interests to benefit ASHS.

Modern Learning Environments: Albany Senior High School

Education Seeds

16 June 2015


Teacher and students discuss how the

common learning areas at ASHS help create an environment for personalized learning, small group lessons, and individual studying quiet areas and enablemore freedom in teaching and group learning.

Albany Senior High School

"It's not IF you are bright, it's HOW you are bright"

Barbara Cavanagh, Principal

See the School

T du Plooy Mar 2015
T du Plooy Mar 2015

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T du Plooy Mar 2015
T du Plooy Mar 2015

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