Horowhenua College - 25/09/2014


Students' learning is supported by clear routines and positive relationships. Sound pastoral systems support student wellbeing. Students have access to a range of diverse pathways. Key areas for development include reviewing the curriculum and assessment programme. Establishing a shared schoolwide framework for self review is a priority.

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?

Horowhenua College caters for students in Years 9 to 13 from Levin and surrounding areas. There are 674 students attending the school, 36% of whom identify as Māori and 10% as Pacific.

The college’s vision is, ‘Success for all students. Be the best you can be’. The ‘Nua Way’ underpins all aspects of school life. Sound pastoral systems support the wellbeing of each student. The school continues to maintain strong and supportive links with local iwi and the wider community.

The board of trustees is working with a Ministry of Education Limited Statutory Manager on aspects of finance and personnel. A new principal has been appointed, but had not taken up his position at the time of this review.

The 2011 ERO review highlighted a number of areas for ongoing development. Several of these are still to be fully addressed.

2 Learning

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

There is variability in the use and understanding of student achievement information. Schoolwide patterns and trends for students in Years 9 and 10 are unclear. There is not yet a consistent, reliable way to measure and report on student progress.

School leaders collate and present National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) participation data. This shows that for 2013 overall student achievement in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 is comparable with that of students nationally. Māori student achievement is below that of their peers.

School leaders acknowledge that use and analysis of roll based data would give a more accurate picture of overall student retention, progress and achievement.

The depth of analysis of NCEA data at faculty level is variable. Better use of this data should enable faculty leaders and teachers to more effectively review teaching programmes, set specific achievement targets and monitor progress against them.

Deans and senior leaders have begun tracking and mentoring students at risk of not achieving in Years 11 and 12. These students have access to their own achievement data through tracking sheets and online. The parent portal gives parents and whānau access to student achievement, attendance and pastoral information.

It is important for management to develop and implement a consistent schoolwide assessment programme. This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to:

  • better develop and monitor specific student achievement targets at all levels
  • implement appropriate, targeted, teaching and learning programmes
  • identify, track and support students at risk of underachieving to make accelerated progress
  • evaluate the impact of initiatives and programmes on student outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school aims to provide a curriculum that meets the needs of all students.

An increasing range of diverse pathways are being provided for students in the senior school. Programmes in outdoor education, engineering, horticulture, the Academy and Gateway together with links to the local polytechnic give students many opportunities to achieve success and continue with learning beyond school.

A well-planned careers programme from Year 9 onwards is in place. Senior leaders are introducing strategies aimed at improving literacy and numeracy in all subjects. The curriculum is well resourced with extensive provision for computer technology, widely used to support learning.

Classes are settled environments with students on task, supported through clear routines. Many are able to discuss their learning goals and next development steps. Students have positive relationships between themselves and their teachers.

There is no comprehensive, schoolwide curriculum overview that guides faculty planning or leads to a consistent approach to learning from Years 9 to 13.

ERO has identified and school leaders agree that it is an urgent priority to develop an overarching Horowhenua College curriculum framework, in consultation with staff and community.

This should include school defined values and the key competencies and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. It should show the links between different learning areas and recent initiatives, including those aimed at improving students’ literacy and numeracy. Expectations for teaching practice, teacher inquiry and appraisal should be clearly stated.

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

Māori students in Rangatahi Ora have a strong sense of belonging. Their language, culture and identity are acknowledged. Leadership opportunities are provided with strong encouragement for whānau involvement.

School leaders have set Māori achievement targets. Key staff members are leading teacher professional development in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

In making the curriculum more responsive and relevant to Māori students and their whānau, leaders should use the Ministry of Education documents Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. These should help establish clear expectations for culturally responsive teaching.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific students?

Pacific student achievement is variable schoolwide.

Several positive initiatives are supporting Pacific student engagement and achievement. These include a dean of Pacific students who tracks, mentors and supports these students. A Pacific homework centre operates after school and there is an effective English language support programme. School leaders are engaging in the Ministry of Education Pacific Success Talanoa Project.

Leaders recognise that making the curriculum more inclusive of Pacific cultures, languages and identities is an important part of curriculum review and design.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Trustees have a clear vision for school improvement. They bring a range of complementary skills and experiences to their roles. A well-considered approach was used in the recent appointment of a new principal.

Restorative practice is well embedded and contributes to a positive school culture. The pastoral team uses sound systems to promote and support students’ health and welfare.

An overarching structure that aligns school processes into a connected system is not evident. A large number of initiatives, programmes and trials have been introduced, some in apparent isolation. For change management to be effective the rationale for decisions needs to be shared and understood.

Developing a schoolwide framework for self review will, over time, introduce consistent understanding about how self review contributes to improvement.

A common approach to systematically collecting, analysing and reporting information from teachers to senior leaders and from them to the board is required. This should enable clearer understanding of progress and outcomes, rationalising of initiatives and lead to ongoing improvements in student learning.

A key priority is to develop leadership capability within the new senior leadership team and across the school. This is needed to address improvements required in:

  • curriculum, to develop a comprehensive curriculum overview including expectations for teaching and teacher appraisal
  • assessment, to introduce a consistent schoolwide programme to better monitor student progress and achievement
  • self review, to establish an overarching framework that will guide a common approach to review.

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. At the time of this review there were 11 international students attending the school.

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

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The school programme caters for a range of long and medium stay students as well as short intensive group visits from sister schools. Policies and practices effectively support the social integration and academic learning programmes of the school’s international students.

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.

During the review an area of non-compliance was identified in relation to the school's health curriculum. The school has been prompt to address this.

The board must comply with the requirement to consult with the school community, at least once every two years, on the delivery of the health curriculum.Health Curriculum consultation [Section 60B Education Act 1989]


Students' learning is supported by clear routines and positive relationships. Sound pastoral systems support student wellbeing. Students have access to a range of diverse pathways. Key areas for development include reviewing the curriculum and assessment programme. Establishing a shared schoolwide framework for self review is a priority.

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region

25 September 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 51% Male 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other Pacific

Other Asian

Other ethnic groups








Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

25 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

January 2008

October 2006