Central Southland College - 06/12/2011

1. Context

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

Central Southland College draws students from the local township of Winton and the surrounding rural community. Most students travel to school by bus, many for long distances. Students can still experience a wide range of extra sporting and cultural activities within the school day.

The size of the school roll enables teachers to provide a personalised approach for students. Since the last review, the number of Māori students has increased and there are more students enrolling from overseas. These changes present new challenges and opportunities for making a difference to students’ learning. Students have access to many facilities that are used well to support their learning, such as the library and the technology suite. Further property redevelopment is planned.

In 2010 the school gained a new principal and many new trustees. They are well placed to continue the focus on student learning and explore new directions.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students achieve across a wide spectrum of academic and cultural activities and this includes both academic achievement and other aspects of students’ individual personal development. Students overall are achieving in NCEA at levels about the same as students in similar schools nationally.

The board has received reports on the reading achievement of students in Years 9 and 10. It has yet to receive well-analysed reports about the progress and achievement of junior students, including Māori students, over time. Such reports will assist the board to apply a rigorous review of school initiatives for engaging students and lifting their levels of achievement and progress.

There is some variation in how levels for achievement are used across the school. For example, at Year 9 some subject leaders set New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) Level 4 and some NZC Level 5 as suitable levels for achievement. The principal recognises the need to better align these levels to assist smooth transitions for students as they move to, through and from school. This will also help teachers better plan for, assess and involve students in their learning at the appropriate level in line with national expectations.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Overall, Māori students achieve at levels below those of their non-Māori peers. A school initiative to better engage a number of Māori boys who are at risk of not achieving in Years 11 to 13 has significantly improved their attitude, behaviour and mana at school. As a result of this focus on the boys’ strengths and interests, such as culture, identity and sports, these students have:

  • taught and led the school in haka.
  • explored pathways to career success with Māori male role models
  • built strong relationships with whānau teachers who recognise the boys’ strengths and are helping them achieve their potential
  • engaged in a culturally meaningful unit of study to achieve their NCEA literacy goals
  • inspired other Māori students in the school to seek similar opportunities.

The school recognises the need to extend and enhance communication with and reporting to Māori whānau.

3. Curriculum

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

Students benefit from an interesting variety of learning experiences across a range of curriculum areas. The school’s curriculum is promoting and supporting students’ learning. However, this is being implemented in each department at various levels of effectiveness. When reports to the principal from all departments meet improved guidelines, school leaders will be in a better position to know how effective learning programmes are.

School leaders continue to look for ways to extend the curriculum. Senior students benefit from classes being provided with a teacher, even where there are small numbers of students. Students in Year 9 choose from a range of options, with their final choice being carried over into Year 10 to provide continuity in learning.

The pastoral system provides a strong, coherent support for students, with an emphasis on positive behaviour so that they can learn effectively and make good progress. The impact of this programme is evaluated at the end of each term. When students set individual short-term goals in each subject, they are likely to be in a better position to contribute purposefully to meeting the overall goals set with the deans.

Quality of teaching. ERO saw evidence of high quality teaching. This was most evident when teachers:

  • made expectations for learning clear to students, and frequently referred back to these
  • sequenced learning so that it built on prior knowledge
  • used information and communication technology (ICT) to effectively engage students and enhance their learning
  • used questioning to promote students’ thinking and understanding
  • taught to a variety of levels, setting the learning at the right point of challenge.

Relationships. Teachers make deliberate efforts to build effective relationships to help students engage positively in learning. This is most evident where teachers:

  • interacted with students in a positive, good-humoured way
  • demonstrated a genuine, personal interest in the students and their lives beyond school.

Areas for review and development

Curriculum design. School leaders and teachers are yet to formally document a coherent framework for how they are implementing the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) uniquely at the school. While there is an agreed overall understanding of the vision, values, key competencies and principles and how these could be included in learning, this is yet to be reflected in all curriculum area documents. Some curriculum areas have developed aspects of the curriculum more completely than others.

Gifted and talented. Trustees and school leaders should review the policy for meeting the needs of students with gifts or talents. Procedures to implement the policy should include how students are identified, how provision is made to meet their needs, and how this is to be evaluated and reported.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is suitably placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees are enthusiastic in their support for the school. Staff members benefit from a strong culture of collaboration and mutual support.

Staff are very committed to the needs of the students and the unique nature of the school. They appreciate each other’s skills and strengths. When all stakeholders have a shared understanding of the school’s vision for learning and clear expectations for teaching to implement this vision, the school will be better placed to continue and extend its performance.

A new board and a new principal have undertaken some planning for the future of the school. Further developments in strategic planning and self-review practices should help with the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the school’s vision for learning. The board will then be in a better position to know that its money has been well spent and that it has good information to underpin its views. Reports to the board need to include information about programme outcomes, for example, the outcome of intervention programmes for students who are gifted and talented or who have special learning needs, and the progress students are making towards achieving targets set by the board.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Students are well supported through the pastoral care network. They spoke positively about their school experiences. ERO’s investigations found that the school’s self-review process for international students is ineffective. ERO could not verify the extent to which the school complies with the Code because the record keeping is inadequate. The board does not receive any information about outcomes for international students. Roles and responsibilities are not clear for the planning, delivery, assessment and evaluation of the programme for English Language Learners.

Legal requirements

The board must record the outcomes of the annual review of the school’s performance against the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (The Code) in a form that can and must be made available to the Administrator if requested.


In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • ensure that it can meet the requirements of The Code, Part 8, Section 28.3.

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
  • 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

6 December 2011

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)



School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 52%

Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā










Special Features

Alternative Education

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

6 December 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2008

August 2005

September 2002

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.