Kamo High School - 31/01/2020

School Context

Kamo High School in Whangarei caters for students in Years 9 to 13. Of the 890 students currently enrolled, 50 percent are Māori and two percent have Pacific heritage. Over the last year, the roll has increased.

Since the 2018 ERO evaluation, ongoing concerns have been identified relating to school culture, working relationships and staff turnover, and personnel management. These areas of school performance have had a negative impact on learning outcomes for students. There have been changes in school governance and management.

In August 2019, the board of trustees sought help from the Ministry of Education to provide guidance and support with governance and personnel management. These issues have not been resolved. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed in August 2019 to undertake some functions and powers of the board, including employment, curriculum and assessment.

In September/October 2019, the board of trustees resigned, the LSM position was revoked, and a commissioner was appointed to govern the school.

The school’s vision is that it will be ‘a centre of excellence and equity for the changing and varying needs of every student’. The school values are Tū Pono (Pride), Aroha Atu (Respect), Tū Tonu (Perseverance), Ōna Tū (Self-Management) and Urunga (Participation).

The board’s strategic goals focus on the learning environment, school values, meaningful learning, student achievement, and positive partnerships with whānau.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading and mathematics for Years 9 and 10
  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  • student engagement
  • progress in relation to the school’s strategic goals.

The school is part of the Te Tai Raki Whangarei Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL). The focus of the CoL is to facilitate student learning and development through cultural responsiveness, authentic and meaningful learning, and wellbeing.

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 continues to develop systems and processes for achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data show that rates of achievement declined in 2017 and 2018. Achievement disparities for Māori and between genders persist across year levels.

High levels of numeracy and literacy achievement in NCEA have been sustained over time in Years 12 and 13. Data also show that the majority of students achieve in literacy and numeracy at Year 11. In 2018, 54 percent of students achieved Level 1, 56 percent achieved Level 2, and over 60 percent of students achieved Level 3. Achievement in University Entrance (UE) and excellence and merit endorsements increased in 2018.

Numeracy data collected at the beginning of 2019 show that over half of Year 9 students are not achieving the expected curriculum levels.

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

The school is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for those Māori and other students whose learning needs acceleration. School information shows examples of some students making very good progress over two or three years.

Over half of the students enter Year 9 with low levels of literacy and numeracy achievement. In 2018, school data showed improvements for many children in Years 9 and 10, in reading and numeracy.

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?

Leaders and teachers have a strong, student-centred approach. They know students and families well and are focused on prioritising student engagement, learning and wellbeing.

The school has had a long-term commitment to building teacher capability and developing effective teaching and learning practices to increase student engagement. Staff have access to professional learning opportunities to support students with significant learning and behavioural needs.

Improved systems for monitoring student progress and achievement are increasing the school’s responsiveness to students’ learning and engagement needs. Increasing numbers of students are staying at school through to senior year levels.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There is a range of identification processes and good liaison between classroom teachers, teacher aides, deans and specialist agencies.

Improving relationships and connections with parents and the community are helping leaders and teachers to achieve increasing equity and excellence in student outcomes. Parents who spoke with ERO reported positively about these connections and appreciated the leaders’ time, energy and efforts to build and maintain relationships.

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

There continues to be a need to improve employment practices and the work environment provided for staff in the school. Personnel, morale and employment concerns reported to ERO indicate that this area of school performance should be a priority. The challenge for school leaders is to work with staff in ways that promote wellbeing and incorporate learning leaders’ and staff input into decision making. This work should contribute to a more positive, inclusive and safe work environment, start to rebuild relational trust at all levels of the school, and create a school climate conducive to better outcomes for students.

Actions to address significant concerns include:

  • using a code of conduct that promotes professional communication and the use of appropriate language with and about colleagues and students

  • improving the quality of professional and curriculum leadership

  • more considered, thoughtful, collaborative and strategic change management

  • improving the quality of personnel management, including processes for changes to job descriptions, staff appointments processes, managing complaints and personal grievances.

In addition, to support ongoing improvements in teaching, learning and outcomes for students, leaders should work purposefully towards:

  • building an evaluative culture to make the best use of student information and survey feedback to support considered, evidence-based decision making and change management

  • improving the credibility, reliability and integrity of assessment practices, particularly in NCEA, to inform decisions about teaching strategies, interventions, target setting and resourcing

  • prioritising strategies to improve outcomes for students, including reducing disparity and raising levels of achievement.

The 2018 Special ERO report identified the need for leaders to embed bicultural practices that value Māoritanga and establish classroom and school environments that reflect te ao Māori. It also identified that a priority for leaders and teachers was to ensure that a responsive, culturally located, bicultural curriculum is delivered that recognises the 50 percent of the school who are Māori. These are still priorities for the school.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were eight international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Kamo High School has sound systems and practices to ensure quality education and pastoral care for international students. Students’ progress and achievement is monitored, and students’ course selections are carefully considered and personalised. Students integrate well into the school’s education community. Good standards of evaluation ensure systems and practices continue to develop and improve.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school did not complete 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

Based on the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Kamo High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • student-centred approaches to engagement in learning and wellbeing

  • a long-term commitment to building teacher capability to use effective teaching practices

  • improving relationships and connections with parents, whānau and the community.

Key Next Steps

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

  • prioritising strategies to improve outcomes for students, including reducing disparity and raising levels of achievement

  • creating a positive, inclusive and safe work environment for staff

  • improving employment practices and personnel management

  • improving the quality of curriculum leadership

  • more considered, collaborative and strategic change management

  • building an evaluative culture to make the best use of analysed data to support evidence-based decision making

  • improving the credibility, reliability and integrity of assessment practices, particularly in NCEA.

Actions for compliance

During the course of the review, ERO identified some areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the school must:

  • implement personnel policies and employment practices that comply with the principles of being a good employer

  • annually appraise the principal against all the professional standards for principals

  • develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students.

National Administration Guidelines, 1(e), 3, 5(c), State Sector Act 1988, s77A (1,2a,b).

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education continue the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the improvement in the key areas outlined in this report.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

31 January 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 9-13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 50%

NZ European/Pākehā 45%

other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

31 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Special Review June 2018

Education Review November 2016

Principal Recruitment Allowance December 2015