Kaipara College - 25/11/2013

1 Context

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

Kaipara College is a small secondary school located in the semi rural township of Helensville, north west of Auckland. The college serves a diverse community in a broad geographical area that includes five Ngāti Whatua marae. Students are proud of their school and benefit from positive relationships with teachers and each other.

The school continues to have a long serving senior management team who work with curriculum leaders as a wider management group. Over the past seven years, most of the school has been renovated or rebuilt. Modern teaching facilities now support most curriculum areas. The student support centre now provides a more connected and accessible range of services that are aligned to the school’s strategic plan and core values.

With the rebuilding project complete, the school is now planning to strengthen consultation with the local community to develop a more relevant curriculum for current and future students. A decline in the school's roll over the past three years is consistent with decreasing rolls in local contributing schools. Lower student numbers have provided resourcing challenges for the board which have been managed. Increased consultation with students and parents could also be beneficial in helping the school to sustain and/or increase student roll numbers.

The 2010 ERO report identified a number of key areas for school improvement. While a number of these areas have been addressed, further work on improving success for Māori students is recommended and further work relating to board operations is necessary.

2 Learning

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

The school has increased its use of achievement information to make positive changes to student learning.

Year 9 and 10 school achievement information is reliable and robust. Information about learning is analysed by school leaders and teachers. It shows many Year 9 and 10 students make good progress over time, especially in literacy. Recently, teachers have begun to use achievement information to review units of work and to highlight areas for improvement. This data could now be used more deliberately to accelerate achievement for specific groups of learners.

Senior school achievement information shows that students' overall levels of achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are rising. Outcomes for students who progress to NCEA Level 3 are above national levels. ERO and school leaders agree that increasing the number of endorsements to align with national levels in NCEA is a next priority. School leaders are increasing their focus on meeting government targets for school leavers.

Special education students and those requiring additional learning support continue to be very well supported. Students are also better informed about their levels of achievement. Teacher conversations with students about their learning are increasing, helping students to strengthen their sense of knowledge about, and ownership of their learning. Students could also be offered more opportunities to contribute to school self review.

Improving the overall achievement levels of Māori learners should continue to be a high priority. Strengthening teachers’ understanding and use of culturally responsive approaches school-wide should support improved outcomes and help meet school targets.

The principal continues to collate much of the school's information about senior student and whole school achievement. School leaders should now increase their expectations of heads of departments and pastoral leaders for documenting and evaluating senior school achievement information to produce more useful and informative reports.

Trustees should continue to increase their understanding and use of achievement information. This would increase their ability to make decisions that best support students to meet government qualification targets. It would be useful for trustees to receive reports which show:

  • how well the school compares with other schools and with national levels of achievement
  • progress towards achievement targets for priority learners, including Māori and Pacific students
  • the success of improvement interventions and benefits gained from additional resourcing requirements.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum continues to develop to provide students with effective programmes that promote and support learning.

The enhanced physical environment and improved pastoral care systems are supporting student engagement in learning. Behaviour management is more focused on restorative practices and rewards. To embed this culture shift and sustain the improvements, further training for all staff on restorative approaches is needed. The school is now well positioned to use the MOE’s Inclusive Practices Tools to evaluate the success of the school’s approach in supporting student wellbeing.

In recent years, school leaders have prioritised the school-wide development of a thinking skills framework in planning and the use of literacy strategies in the classroom. They have worked to ensure a range of subjects are available to students, despite the school's declining roll. A continuing focus on the effective teaching and learning strategies as outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) document would further strengthen the school's own curriculum.

School leaders could promote teacher and student use of the Career Education Benchmarks to raise students’ aspirations. School leaders acknowledge that the design of appropriate curriculum pathways for learners, linked to their interests and learning strengths, is a next step. The school should continue to offer students more flexibility and choice about what they learn and when. Pathway conferencing for individual students has recently begun and is beginning to support students and families with future decision making.

It would be beneficial for the management team to access Ministry of Education (MOE) external professional development. This should improve the curriculum and help develop a shared understanding of effective leadership and teaching practices that enhance outcomes for students, particularly those who have been identified by the government as priority learners.

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

The school has a range of initiatives that promote Māori success. School leaders set key targets in line with Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success. These targets should now focus on accelerating educational outcomes for Māori students.

Recent changes of key personnel have resulted in some Māori students feeling more connected and settled at school. The challenge is to now sustain and further build on Maori students’ engagement in learning to better support them to attain higher levels of qualifications and educational success.

The school has a number of strategies for connecting with its Māori whānau to celebrate student achievements and to promote whānau involvement in key school developments and activities. However, it also acknowledges that there needs to be wider consultation with the Māori community to inform parents and whānau about school policies, plans, targets and strategies for raising achievement. Developing a meaningful and useful approach for consulting with whānau, hapu and iwi is critical for promoting further student success.

School leaders have identified the need to revisit school-wide professional development for teachers. The senior leadership team should take a proactive role in developing and implementing a plan for promoting success for Māori students as Māori. This should involve the whole staff in further promoting a bicultural school culture and curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The principal and board are now ready to undertake further review and development work to strengthen school self-review processes and increase the school's capacity to sustain and improve its performance. While the previous board has reviewed its operating structure as a result of the 2010 ERO review, its current model of governance could be further developed. The existing high trust model should now be balanced with more formal quality assurance and accountability processes.

The board chairperson, a long serving trustee, is new to the chairing role and several other trustees are newly elected members of the board. Board training to support trustees to carry out the governance role and responsibilities effectively has begun and should be continued. The board's recent connection to external professional support networks should help to ensure it remains well informed about ways in which to develop and sustain high quality governance practices.

The current teacher appraisal process is collaborative and supportive of leaders and teachers. However, the process is not yet aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria. It is important that the accountability and evidence dimensions of the appraisal process are now improved, formally documented and reported on. Improvements should include more clearly documenting the alignment between the performance management process and the Registered Teacher Criteria. As the school has a number of very long serving staff, the board is also well aware they will have to develop and manage succession planning. Careful and well considered governance by the board is required to ensure strategic staffing decisions are made.

Self review is used to inform school decisions. However, it could be strengthened through a greater consultative and evaluative focus. Increasing opportunities for students and whānau to contribute is critical in making self review robust and effective at all school levels. During the next development period, the board should continue to ensure developments that accelerate student learning are prioritised.

The principal, board and ERO agree that it would be useful for the school to develop an action plan to guide its review and development work. ERO encourages the school to seek input from external advisors, including the Ministry of Education, to support the implementation of action plan priorities.

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 adequate. The inclusive school approach supports students and there are good processes for monitoring their wellbeing. However, the overall reporting about outcomes for students should be improved and aligned with section 28 of the Code.

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 course of the review ERO identified four areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  1. maintain an on-going programme of self review to ensure policies and procedures are in line with current legislation[National Education Guidelines 2(b)] 
  2. ensure senior leaders' and teachers' annual appraisal is aligned with current legislative requirements[s 77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]
  3. in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students[National Education Guidelines, National Administration Guideline 1(v)] 
  4. ensure requirements for police vetting requirements are met[Education Act 1989 78C,D].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 November 2013

About the School


Helensville, Rodney District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā











Special Features

Special Education Unit

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

25 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

July 2007

June 2004