Te Kauwhata College - 06/12/2013

1 Context

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

Te Kauwhata College is located in the rural township of Te Kauwhata in the north Waikato, and provides education for students in Years 7 to 13.

The current roll is 463 of whom thirty three percent are Māori. There are 17 Pacific students. Over the past three years the roll has remained stable.

Since the last ERO review there have been significant changes in the membership of the senior leadership team. Two long serving deputy principals have resigned. The leadership team has been restructured to comprise the principal and two deputies, of whom one is the former assistant principal. The other deputy principal took up his position earlier this year. There have been relatively few changes in the teaching staff.

Following recent elections, there is now an almost entirely new board of trustees, including a new chairperson.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history in recent years. In response to a recommendation in the last report there has been a reorganisation of classes and curriculum in Years 7 and 8. Teachers have continued to have a focus on literacy and have been involved in the He Kakano professional development initiative to raise the achievement of Māori students.

The school continues to have a focus on promoting and celebrating achievement. An ongoing strength is the inclusive and supportive school culture, and settled learning environments that are evident throughout the school.

2 Learning

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

The use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement and progress is an area for ongoing development.

Since the 2011 ERO report there have been some improvements in teachers’ use of data in the junior school, particularly for students in Years 7 and 8.

Achievement information, including results from National Standards judgements, nationally referenced assessment and NCEA data, is used effectively to:

  • identify students who require additional learning support
  • place students in appropriate classes
  • report to parents and the board
  • determine individual pathways for senior students.

NCEA data for 2012 indicated that at Level 1 students achieved similarly to all students nationally, but were slightly below at Level 2. Information about school leavers shows that the proportion of students who left the school in 2012 with NCEA Level 2 and above was also just below national comparisons. The school has identified that a significant majority of recent school leavers went on to employment or further education.

Nationally referenced assessments of reading in Years 9 and 10 shows that in Year 9 the range of achievement is above national comparisons, and in Year 10 achievement is similar to national comparisons. There is no collated data on which the school can make judgements about overall achievement in writing and mathematics.

National Standards data for Years 7 and 8 shows that a significant majority are achieving at or above the standard in reading and about half are achieving at or above the standard in writing and mathematics.

The overall achievement of Māori students in all areas of the school is below that of other students.

ERO and school leaders agree that there is a need to continue to improve aspects of the use of achievement information. Important priorities are to:

  • continue to strengthen processes that support teachers in making robust judgements in relation to National Standards
  • strengthen the collation, analysis and use of achievement information for students in Years 9 and 10, especially in reading, writing and mathematics
  • report to the board on the achievement and progress of students in Years 9 and 10 and those receiving additional learning support
  • set annual targets that focus on accelerating the progress of identified groups of students
  • use achievement information to inform department reviews.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Students have access to a wide range of courses, that include academic, practical and vocational options as well as opportunities for work experience. A flexible approach to curriculum organisation allows students to choose learning pathways appropriate to their needs and interests.

In the junior school, there has been a commitment to reducing class sizes and an increasing focus on improving achievement in reading and mathematics.

There are many opportunities for students to enjoy success in a variety of sporting, cultural, leadership and education outside the classroom experiences that are well supported by teachers and parents. Successes and achievements are celebrated within the school and wider community.

Literacy leaders are providing regular professional development that encourages and supports teachers to help students improve their literacy learning in all curriculum areas. A key next step is to further embed the implementation of this initiative in order to raise achievement.

ERO observed teachers using a range of effective strategies including the provision of meaningful contexts to promote learning. Teachers have high expectations for behaviour and maintain positive and respectful relationships with students. A well-organised, pastoral care network effectively supports student wellbeing.

As identified in the 2011 ERO report, there remains a need to ensure that teachers make better use of assessment information to provide focused teaching and learning for groups and individuals. There is also a need for all students to have an understanding of their strengths and next learning steps. The implementation of these practices should be supported by providing regular, robust and specific feedback to teachers about their practices including through the appraisal process.

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

The school has introduced a number of initiatives to promote success for Māori, as Māori. These include:

  • two Te Puawai vertical form classes that support the identity and belonging of Māori students
  • recent development of school waiata and haka
  • opportunities for students to be involved in kapa haka.

Elements of tikanga Māori are reflected in school protocols, and a number of Māori teachers and students provide positive role models for students. Recent surveys undertaken as part of He Kakano professional development, show that Māori students have positive perceptions of the school. The school celebrates the significant achievements of individual Māori students.

The principal has identified suitable goals for continuing to promote success for Māori, as Māori, including reflection of Māori perspectives in the school and classroom environments, and learning contexts. School leaders recognise that raising the academic achievement of Maori students overall is an important priority.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Te Kauwhata College is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Features of the school that contribute to this sustainability are:

  • effective leadership by an experienced principal who is committed to the learning and wellbeing of students, and who is well supported by other leaders in the school
  • sound and well-established governance systems and procedures to guide school operations
  • good quality self-review practices, including a well-considered process for departmental reviews and frequent surveys of teachers, parents and students that guide continuous improvement
  • well-established and effective systems and procedures to promote a safe physical and emotional environment.

The school has close links with, and is well supported by, the local community.

Sustainability could be further enhanced by:

  • specific school-based training for the recently elected board
  • a review of the roles and expectations of middle managers to ensure that the school’s strategic direction is consistently implemented.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

6 December 2013

About the School


Te Kauwhata

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand Pākehā/European










Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

6 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

January 2011

April 2008

November 2004