Tikipunga High School - 12/10/2017


Tikipunga High School requires external support to build leadership and teaching capability to promote excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Tikipunga High School is a co-educational school for students from Years 7 to 13. The majority of students are Māori and a small number are from Pākehā or Pacific backgrounds. Over the past two years the school has experienced considerable changes to leadership and staffing, some due to promotion. This has opened up opportunities for promotion and new staff.

In 2015 the school received professional learning support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) through the Student Achievement Function (SAF). This support, which ended early in 2016, focused on developing teaching practices to accelerate student progress.

Through 2017, the board has been managing long awaited projects to repair and refurbish school buildings. Planning to build a new marae at the front of the school site is now underway.

The 2014 ERO report identified concerns about school performance. Concerns included low student achievement, governance capability issues, ineffective teaching and curriculum, and lack of internal evaluation.

ERO decided to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal evaluation over two years. During that two year period ERO and the school collected evidence to evaluate progress made in addressing these concerns and this report summarises ERO’s findings.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

In April 2015, the principal and board agreed to address five broad improvement priorities during ERO’s two year longitudinal evaluation. These priorities identified through ERO’s 2014 review included:

  • improving and developing teaching practice, school-wide
  • developing and documenting a junior curriculum
  • developing capacity in evaluation and school self-review
  • building governance capability
  • increasing the school’s capability and capacity to analyse and use data for improvement.


While there has been some progress in most of the priority areas, overall there has been insufficient sustainable improvement.

Good progress has been made in developing teachers’ culturally responsive teaching practice. Previous development through the Te Kotahitanga and Kia Eke Panuku projects has provided a platform for this work over recent years. Current professional learning, supported by an external adviser, is focused on teachers working together to build cultural responsiveness.

Students now have greater opportunities to learn te reo Māori in Years 7 to 10. In addition, through consultation with the school community and local marae, five new school values have been agreed. They are: Ako, Manaakitanga, Pono, Tikanga, and Whanaungatanga. These values are promoted through visual representations as “pou” which have been designed to reflect the ‘story’ behind each value. The board and senior leaders remain committed to building on these developments and sustaining a strong focus on Māori language, culture and identity.

In the course of this review ERO was not given the school's evaluation of roll based achievement data, or of data for students not represented in the NCEA participation data. Such evaluation would provide valuable information and a better picture of school achievement for the board and community.

In 2016, overall student achievement stood at 60 percent for NCEA Level 1, 70 percent for Level 2, 55 percent for Level 3, and 28 percent for University Entrance. Positive shifts were made in Level 3 from 2015 to 2016. The school is now at National achievement averages for Māori students at Level 3. The school's strategic goal is to have 80 percent of students achieving NCEA Level 2 or above when they leave school.

In 2015, the school was provided with the assistance of a MoE Student Achievement Function practitioner (SAF).This was done to help teachers address the challenge of continuing patterns of students entering the school in Year 7 with low achievement in literacy and numeracy, and insufficient progress being made in Year 7 to 10. However, the school has little evidence to show about how the SAF work has been sustained in Years 7 to 8 and transferred to Years 9 and 10. The school is currently engaged in a second SAF project.

More systematic, deliberate and tailored actions at all levels are now necessary to help teachers accelerate student progress. ERO affirms the start that leaders and teachers have made to use the MoE’s Learning Progressions Framework as a coherent guide for implementing effective assessment and learning programmes in Years 7 to 10.

Students in Years 7 to 9 now have the opportunity to be part of the ‘I have a dream – Navigator’ initiative. This externally managed programme is linked to research carried out by the University of Auckland. The programme provides mentoring for students through their years at primary and high school. It aims to increase student engagement and success in learning. Senior leaders value and support this programme and evaluating its impact will be a priority.

The school is continuing to develop strategies to make positive shifts in NCEA achievement. The school's data management system is assisting leaders and teachers to increase their use of achievement data. It is also helping parents to have greater knowledge of their children's achievement. In 2017, whānau teacher and team leader roles were restructured with the aim of improving academic counselling for students.

The school's developing ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ process is a worthwhile strategy. Teachers' inquiries are becoming more deliberately focussed on individual student’s progress and achievement. This should make teacher inquiries increasingly useful in helping teachers to accelerate student achievement. It also aligns with initiatives by the newly appointed team leaders who are taking a more systematic approach to building the reflective capability of staff.

Staff have participated in professional learning about restorative practices. This focus should continue in order to sustain decreases in the number of student stand-downs and suspensions.

Key next steps

Senior leaders recognise that priorities to improve student outcomes include:

  • implementing more systematic evaluation and targeted planning to accelerate the progress of individual students in Years 7 to 10
  • improving the Year 7 to 10 curriculum and teaching practices to accelerate learning in literacy and mathematics
  • better evaluation and reporting of student achievement for Years 7 to 13
  • building students’ sense of agency and ownership of their progress and learning pathways
  • evaluating the extent to which students gain relevant NCEA credits to support their individual curriculum pathways.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is not well placed to address the concerns raised in this report, and requires continued support from the MoE and ERO.

There is insufficient evidence that internal evaluation is being promoted and used by school leaders to guide school improvement and sustain progress.

Good progress has been made in building the school’s governance capability. The board is appropriately using the New Zealand Trustees’ Association (NZSTA) information and resources to guide board policies and practices. Trustees value NZSTA training opportunities that have helped to strengthen their understanding of the board’s role in stewarding the school.

Early in 2017, the board employed an external consultant to carry out a review of leadership across the school. This review has yet to be finalised by the board and shared with staff. The report contains valuable information which has the potential to contribute to improving aspects of school leadership and culture.

ERO affirms the very recent actions taken to increase the effectiveness of the school’s educational leadership through focussed professional development and external appraisal for senior leaders as individuals, and as a leadership team.

Key next steps

Leaders must ensure that systems more purposefully increase professional capability and sustain, embed and evaluate change initiatives. Development priorities include:

  • improving educational and strategic leadership
  • growing the internal evaluation capacity of leaders, teachers, students and the board
  • systematically evaluating and monitoring progress towards the school charter, annual and strategic goals through the year
  • evaluating the effectiveness of internal communication and the management of students’ pastoral care and discipline.

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 leaders and the board should:

  • improve monitoring of student attendance in classes and programmes
  • continue developing, documenting and evaluating a systematic careers education programme for Years 7 to 13 students.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education now provide further support for the school to:

  • Lift and accelerate progress and achievement in Years 7 to 10
  • strengthen leadership capability throughout the school
  • build internal evaluation capacity at all levels of the school.


Tikipunga High School requires external support to build leadership and teaching capability to promote excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 October 2017

About the School


Tikipunga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition



Special Features

High Needs Facility – The Centre

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

12 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
September 2011
November 2008