Fiordland College - 16/07/2018

School Context

Fiordland College is a Year 7 to 13 state co-educational secondary school in Te Anau with a roll of 223 students.

Since the 2013 ERO review, most departments have new leaders and many members of the board of trustees have changed.

The school’s mission is to provide wide-ranging learning opportunities within the school, the community and the local environment, so that all students fulfil their individual potential. These aims are underpinned by the school’s values of Effort, Respect, Integrity and Curiosity.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in each curriculum area for students in Years 7-10

  • senior student NCEA achievement

  • annual and triennial reports for all curriculum areas.

Fiordland College is a member of the FiNSCoL Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. The principal of the college is a co-leader of the Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school works effectively to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Most students achieve at the expected levels of the New Zealand Curriculum. In the senior school almost all students, particularly girls, achieve to high levels. Students’ individual levels of achievement and engagement are closely monitored, supported and reported on.

Leaders and teachers have placed a schoolwide focus on encouraging students to aspire to achieving excellence in their learning. An increase in levels of engagement and excellence is being noted in a number of areas across the school.

An increase in overall levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is evident for students in the junior school. Students at this level, particularly boys, achieve less well in writing. Students in Years 9 and 10 have their learning progress and levels of engagement closely monitored and reported on.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

While processes for monitoring and supporting Māori and other students whose learning need acceleration are in place, the school needs to better show how well it is achieving positive outcomes for these students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Throughout the school there is a caring and inclusive school culture, where values are intentionally taught. A well-managed pastoral support system supports student wellbeing, and closely monitors each student’s attendance and engagement with school. Good relationships between senior and junior students and between teachers and students help to support the school culture of care and inclusion. Transitions into the school and within the school are well managed. Class sizes are small and teachers know students well as learners. Students with additional learning and wellbeing needs are identified and closely monitored and supported.

Students benefit from a strong localised curriculum which is connected to the community, the local environment and a range of out-of-school activities. The flexible curriculum design is tailored to students’ interests and to meet individual learning needs. Student opinion is sought and used to inform teaching practice. The curriculum in action reflects the school’s strategic vision to be a centre of environmental excellence.

Students in the junior school benefit from specialist curriculum teaching. Appropriately qualified teachers teach at a variety of levels, and sometimes across subjects. Teachers are well supported by professional development opportunities (targeted to identified needs and schoolwide priorities) and heads of department who have relevant curriculum and assessment knowledge.

The board has made strategic appointments to leadership positions within the school. The principal and senior leadership team empower staff, which is engendering professional trust. Leadership is building the capability of teachers to be leaders within the school. A robust and consistently well applied appraisal process is in place, which affirms and supports teacher practice. Senior leaders are promoting further innovation, such as cross department collaboration.

School systems are comprehensive, transparent and consistently applied. There is a strong alignment of planning to practice at all levels of school operation. The school vision is clearly articulated through strategic and annual planning. School assessment and moderation practices are very effective and capably led by senior leaders. This, coupled with a sound internal evaluation framework helps inform school improvement.

The school demonstrates its value of Māori language and culture in the school programmes and experiences. Students have increased opportunities to learn te reo Māori. The board has formed beneficial links with local iwi/runaka. Trustees and staff have undertaken te reo and tikanga Māori training.

Trustees work collaboratively and have a good knowledge of their roles and responsibilities for stewardship. They proactively develop networks that enable the school to extend and enrich the curriculum and increase learning opportunities for students. The college’s strategic goals and targets are closely aligned with those of the FiNSCoL Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. The board is responsive to local needs, and constantly ensures the school connects effectively with its community context and local natural environment. The links developed with the community and other local schools have enhanced the school’s plan to be a centre of environmental excellence. The board evaluates how effectively it is fulfilling its stewardship role and plans for ongoing improvement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A next step is for department and learning area reports to clearly show the:

  • sufficiency of progress in achievement made by students, including Māori, receiving targeted support
  • impact that strategies and programmes are having on progress and achievement for students.

The school should strengthen from strategic planning for Māori success, that includes opportunities for all Māori students to learn about their language, culture and identity.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were four international students attending the school, and one exchange student.

International students’ learning and wellbeing are closely monitored and supported. International students achieve well. They are well integrated into the school and community.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a strong localised curriculum connected to the community and the local environment
  • an inclusive school culture underpinned by school values that promote students’ learning and wellbeing
  • leadership building the capability of teachers to be leaders within the school
  • the board’s approach to its stewardship role that strengthens opportunities for learners.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • showing sufficiency of progress in achievement made by students, including Māori and other students receiving targeted support

  • evaluating the impact that strategies and programmes are having on progress and achievement for students

  • strategic planning for Māori success, that includes opportunities for all Māori students to learn about their language, culture and identity

  • strengthening Māori success that benefits all Māori students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 July 2018

About the school


Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Year 7 to 13 Secondary School

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 54%

Girls: 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 13%
Pākehā: 75%
Other Ethnicities: 12%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

16 July 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2013

Education Review August 2010