Kamo High School - 31/05/2013

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

ERO’s 2011 review of Kamo High School identified significant concerns about school leadership and management. Community confidence in the school was low and enrolment numbers, particularly at Year 9, were considerably below those of previous years.

The board of trustees was concerned about the high number of complaints from staff and parents. These matters were impacting negatively on staff morale and affecting student engagement and attendance.

ERO recommended that the Secretary for Education consider an intervention to assist the board address these concerns. As a result a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed in mid-2011 with specific responsibilities for managing community concerns and school leadership issues.

The board has worked collaboratively with the LSM and significant review and school improvement is now taking place. The new principal and two new deputy principals, all appointed in 2012, are providing effective leadership. There is renewed confidence in the school’s future.

School leaders are now better placed to prioritise student learning and achievement. The quality of planning and reporting has improved and self review is becoming more purposeful. A major challenge for the new board will be to restore parent confidence as the school rebuilds. Following the forthcoming board elections ERO recommends that the need for the LSM intervention be reconsidered.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development? Areas for review and development identified in ERO’s 2011 Education Report were used as a basis for the priorities agreed by ERO and the board of trustees for this review. These priorities included the need to:

  • introduce and sustain initiatives to improve student learning, progress and achievement
  • develop specific and measurable student achievement targets in planning and reporting
  • improve confidence in the leadership, management and direction of the school
  • use effective self review to inform school improvement
  • improve student attendance, engagement and discipline.

Following the 2011 ERO review, the board developed an action plan to address these areas for review and development. During 2011 the LSM was appointed to support the work of the board particularly in managing complaints and personnel matters. Limited progress was made during 2011 to improve outcomes for students. However the board and LSM did work to resolve outstanding issues around school leadership.

In 2012 the school leadership team changed significantly. The board’s appointment of a new school principal and two new deputy principals provided the impetus needed to review school management systems and prioritise areas for improvement. The new principal is experienced and insightful. Since his arrival, school values and expectations for behaviour have been reviewed. Management systems have been improved and student support is better identified and coordinated.

The declining roll since 2010 has resulted in the loss of a considerable number of experienced teachers and support staff. This trend continues to concern the board. While the process has been carefully managed, the loss of teaching staff has impacted on the delivery of the curriculum. Curriculum pathway options should now be more fully explored to better cater for the career interests of students leaving school.

With more stable school leadership in place teachers are able to refocus on student progress and achievement. Professional learning and development for middle managers is being used to strengthen curriculum leadership. Teachers are being encouraged to examine student achievement information and to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Student monitoring is improving with the implementation of a data tracking system. Pastoral care systems are better coordinated and student attendance levels are rising as a result. Plans for increasing student mentoring are likely to have a positive impact on overall achievement.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is increasingly well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

Key aspects underpinning improved school performance include:

  • the principal’s considered and respectful leadership style
  • the increased capability of the senior leadership team
  • clear and consistent expectations of students and staff
  • proactive engagement with the school community and local contributing schools.

The emphasis on educational success for Māori as Māori is being highlighted. Kaumatua and Māori community leaders are advising the principal and board on strategies to increase support for Māori learners. The skills of the executive officer are acknowledged by the principal and board for maintaining high quality financial monitoring and controls throughout the lengthy period of uncertainty. The focus of improvement can now turn to the use of evidence about student achievement and engagement for reviewing school practices and prioritising of resources.

The board of trustees has maintained a clear focus on governance throughout the two years of ERO’s Arotake Paetawhiti review process. Strategic goals and targets are being strengthened to support the school’s vision. Trustees have appreciated the ways that the LSM has supported them to resolve complex employment matters. They are committed to the school’s future and to ensuring the school regains its position in the Kamo community.

Students express their pride in the inclusive culture of the school. They speak highly of the new principal and the opportunities they have to be involved in school activities and leadership. They report that students and parents are treated respectfully.

While school improvement is now evident, there are still challenges facing the principal and the incoming board. These include:

  • professional learning and development for teachers that results in raising student achievement
  • considering student leaver information in reviewing the effectiveness of the school’s senior curriculum
  • restoring the school roll through continued liaison with parents, whānau and the wider community.

ERO is confident that the principal, trustees and staff can sustain recent initiatives and continue to develop capability for self review and ongoing school improvement.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider reviewing the intervention under Part 7A of the Education 1989.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

31 May 2013

About the School


Kamo, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

31 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

July 2007

June 2004