Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate Senior School - 24/06/2015


Students at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate continue to progress and achieve. Increasing numbers of Senior School students are achieving well in NCEA qualifications. However, concerns continue about the quality of governance and leadership to sustain and extend good practices, and to meet the board's vision for a Collegiate-wide curriculum.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara, South Auckland is structured as three schools; each with its own principal and staff. All three schools are located on the same site and are governed by one board of trustees. The vision for the collegiate was to promote seamless learning opportunities for students from preschool to tertiary, and to provide an educational pathway for students from Years 1 to 15. There is an early childhood centre on the collegiate grounds and a play group operates from a space in the junior school in order to support the transition into school. The collegiate continues to have a strong connection with Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), providing a pathway for senior students into further study.

The students are predominately from Pacific nations, particularly Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands. Twenty percent of students in the senior school are Māori.

A number of long-serving staff at the collegiate know many local families well. These connections between teachers and families help provide students with a strong sense of belonging to the collegiate. Parents are supportive of school events that celebrate their children’s learning and culture. Many staff throughout the collegiate reflect the cultural backgrounds of students and are able to communicate with families in their home languages.

ERO’s 2012 report followed a long period of difficulty at the collegiate. It noted progress in a number of areas of the schools, especially in the quality of teaching and learning. A new board of trustees had been established with the commissioner’s support. The report also identified ongoing concerns with the governance model, and recommended that the three principals work collaboratively to develop collegiate-wide approaches. It further identified that the board and principals needed to establish a collegiate-wide approach to raising the profile of Māori and to strengthening Māori language, culture and identity.

Since ERO’s 2012 report, staff have worked to promote consistent expectations for behaviour across the collegiate, including the introduction of PB4L, a national programme for improving consistency of behaviour management in line with existing school values. Classes in the senior school have been better resourced with information communication technologies (ICT). New senior leaders have been appointed in the senior school. The collegiate environment continues to be attractive and well maintained.

However, this 2015 ERO report also identifies that while some progress has been made to address previous recommendations, further targeted support for the governance and leadership of the collegiate is necessary.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Achievement information in the senior school is being used increasingly well to promote positive outcomes for students’ learning. School leaders and teachers value the input of Ministry of Education (MoE) advisers in supporting the school’s analysis and use of data. This support is resulting in increasing numbers of students achieving NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and in gaining literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA Levels 1 and 2. The number of students achieving NCEA merit and excellence endorsements has also increased.

School data also shows that many students in Years 9 and 10 make good progress in literacy and numeracy over time. There are now more opportunities for students in Year 10 to achieve and bank credits towards NCEA Level 1 qualifications.

The school’s data also shows that more Māori students leave school before Year 13 without formal qualifications than Pacific or Pākehā. Stand-down, suspension and exclusion rates for Māori students in the senior school in 2014 were very high when compared to national data. School leaders are working with families and whānau to explore more effective ways of addressing behavioural issues for young adults.

Key next steps

Despite the progress identified above, much work is still required to improve the quality of student achievement and qualifications. Leaders and teachers in the senior school should continue to work with MoE advisers to:

  • improve the retention of Māori students
  • reduce the number of stand-downs, suspensions and exclusions.

School leaders should also continue to analyse data separately for the various Pacific groups in the collegiate. This approach would increase the school’s capacity to identify any group-specific trends, design appropriate teaching and learning interventions, and to make decisions on appropriate resourcing for these interventions.

ERO further recommends that the three principals work together to improve the way assessment is managed across the collegiate. The growing use of E-asTTle as an assessment tool in all three schools should help to build shared understanding of student achievement and help to minimise unnecessary testing of students.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The senior school curriculum is promoting and supporting student learning increasingly well. Vocational courses on offer for students now include horticulture and a trades programme. These new courses provide options that appear especially engaging for boys in Years 10 to 15. A specific focus on literacy and numeracy over the past two years has also resulted in improved achievement in these areas.

There are many skilled and enthusiastic teachers in the Senior School who are committed to promoting positive outcomes for students. Teachers’ participation in externally facilitated professional learning is improving teaching and learning in some areas of the Senior School. Some teachers have also made connections with Middle School teachers to promote good alignment between learning programmes and teaching approaches. This initiative is further improving the transition for students as they move from Year 8 into the Senior School.

Students with special educational needs and those needing a learning boost are well supported. Good programmes are available for students who are learning English as a second or additional language. Senior School students now have good access to ICT as a result of increased resourcing of laptops and digital notebooks.

Students in the Senior School have opportunities to learn te reo Māori and Cook Island Māori, Tongan and Samoan, and can undertake courses leading to Level 3 NCEA qualifications in these subjects. This builds on provision in the junior school, where parents can choose that their children receive Te Reo Maōri in an enrichment approach or that they receive bilingual education in Samoan. Parents of students in the Middle School can opt for their children to join a class that supports learning through the use of Samoan language, culture and identity.

School leaders and teachers have clear expectations for students’ behaviour and learning. Their participation in a collegiate-wide professional learning initiative is helping teachers to better engage students in learning. Students experience increasingly positive relationships with their teachers and each other. They are respectful and settled, and focus well on tasks that teachers provide for them.

Student leadership is a particular feature of the senior school, with prefect positions prized and celebrated. Many students are confident and self assured, and many are very capable leaders.

A significant feature of all three schools in the collegiate is the culture of care that leaders and staff have for children and their families. Staff ensure that students’ basic needs are met so that they can focus on learning each day. Staff also liaise well with external agencies and groups to help ensure students and families receive appropriate care and support. All three schools have systems in place that aim to create a positive and secure school environment for students that promotes wellbeing.

Key next steps

ERO recommends that the three principals continue to work together to develop a Year 1 to 15 curriculum that better supports and enriches students’ learning as they move up through the collegiate and transition into the community. The curriculum pathway should enable all teachers to

  • affirm New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and be responsive to students’ various cultures, languages and backgrounds
  • promote high levels of interest and challenge, and encourage critical thinking and problem solving
  • support students to make decisions about what and how they learn, and make seamless transitions between schools and into the world of work and further learning.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The Collegiate endeavours to promote educational success for Māori as Māori. Staff have been engaged in a number of significant initiatives to enable them to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Tikanga Māori is integral to school-wide events and Māori students have access to a variety of ways of building their language, culture and identity.

A new head of department for Māori in the Senior School brings renewed vitality and enthusiasm to promoting te reo me ngā tikanga Māori across the Collegiate. She provides professional support for the Māori enrichment class teacher in the Junior School, and leads kapa haka for students in the Senior and Middle schools. Participation in kapa haka provides students with a strong sense of whanaungatanga, and fosters pride in their Māori language, culture and identity.

A consultation hui for whānau Māori across the Collegiate took place at the start of 2015.

Key next steps

The board and Collegiate principals acknowledge the need to work together, and in partnership with Māori staff and whānau, to:

  • prioritise actions identified in the Collegiate’s Māori development plan, regularly discuss progress towards meeting these actions, and strategically resource them where required
  • maintain ongoing consultation with whānau Māori to ascertain their aspirations, desires and needs for their tamariki.

A next step for the Collegiate trustees and staff is to revisit te Tiriti o Waitangi to renew their shared understanding of it and of the place of Māori as tangata whenua.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The Collegiate is not yet well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Despite considerable support from the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association over a long period of time, ERO is not assured of the board’s capacity to meet its responsibilities or obligations.

The board of trustees is representative of various Pacific cultures in the school, and includes members from the Samoan, Tongan and Cook Island Māori communities. Many are long-serving board members and have been involved with the governance of the Collegiate since its inception in 2001. The constitution of the board also allows for representation from MIT and the MoE. It would be useful to consider how these roles could be used more effectively to support governance. At the time of the review there was no representation from either of these organisations.

The three principals are committed to promoting ongoing improvements for students in their own schools. They believe that success for one school is success for all.

In the Senior School there are good systems in place to monitor performance and to ensure that programmes successfully meet the required quality standards for NCEA, as acknowledged by NZQA. The focus of their self review has been on improving senior students' engagement and achievement.

Current work on implementing PB4L is helping school leaders to coordinate school-wide pastoral care systems. This work could also include approaches for utilising learning support staff and for managing systems such as those relating to student attendance and truancy. It could also be timely to consider the development of portfolios for human resource systems across the three schools, including police vetting, teacher registration and appraisal of support staff.

Key next steps

While some improvements in the performance of the Collegiate are evident, similar issues and concerns have continued to be apparent over many years. Key next steps for improving governance and leadership should prioritise work to further promote professional collaboration between the three principals, and between the board and school principals, in order to promote effective and sustainable governance.

The three principals agree that externally facilitated support has been beneficial in progressing sensitive and complex issues. ERO also notes that, while the board works well with close support and guidance, trustees continue to demonstrate a limited understanding of their governance role and responsibilities, including their role in managing and supporting the performance of the three principals.

Trustees acknowledge that they would benefit from ongoing support to understand their governance role and to improve their relationship with the principal group.

Self review is generally not well understood or used as a tool for improvement by the board. There is little evidence of strategic thinking or review by the board to ensure that their vision of learning pathways throughout the Collegiate is being realised. Records of board meetings and decision making make it difficult for these documents to be used as a self-review tool. It is unclear how well the board monitors that its accountabilities have been met.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

To improve current practice the board should ensure that teaching and learning practices prioritise success for Māori students as Māori.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education review the model of leadership and governance for Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the required improvements to leadership and governance.


Students at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate continue to progress and achieve. Increasing numbers of Senior School students are achieving well in NCEA qualifications. However, concerns continue about the quality of governance and leadership to sustain and extend good practices,and to meet the board's vision for a Collegiate-wide curriculum.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 June 2015

School Statistics


Otara, South Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition


Cook Island Māori











Special Features

Hosts satellite classes for Mount Richmond School

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

May 2010

November 2008