Manurewa High School - 15/11/2013

1 Context

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

Manurewa High School is a large, culturally diverse, Year 9 to 13 secondary school in South Auckland. The majority of students, and an increasing number of staff, are of Māori and Pacific ethnicity. Improvements in the school’s curriculum, and in teaching and learning, are impacting positively on student progress, achievement and engagement.

The bi-cultural vision and values of the school’s charter are well embedded in the school’s culture and whānau system. Strategic goals and targets are agreed in consultation with key stakeholders, including local iwi. Community leaders support the school’s direction and parents are actively involved in helping students to be better learners.

The school’s friendly and purposeful tone supports improved outcomes for students. Students are respectful of staff and inclusive of one another. Planned property developments and increased investments in information and communication technologies are resulting in more attractive and modern environments for learning.

School leaders are innovative. They are actively seeking new directions for future-focused student learning and success. A clear commitment to equitable outcomes for all students provides the basis for robust self review and ongoing school improvement.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information very well to make positive changes in teaching and learning.

The school makes good use of achievement information to support students’ learning progress. In Years 9 and 10, students are placed in classes that suit their identified learning levels. Some teachers effectively differentiate their lessons to better meet student learning abilities within subject areas. Senior students mentor junior students to encourage and support learning success. The whānau system is designed so that whānau tutors can use progress and achievement information to help students become more effective learners.

The school benefits from its involvement in the University of Auckland Starpath programme. This initiative is based on tracking, sharing and monitoring data about student achievement and engagement. The information helps students and parents to make better choices about learning and achievement. Whānau tutors discuss student progress at student achievement conferences that are attended by the majority of parents.

Teachers are encouraged to reflect on student achievement information to evaluate the effectiveness of their programmes. They make changes to their courses and set appraisal goals relating to improved teaching practice. Heads of learning areas make very good use of subject achievement information to report on outcomes for students in their departments. These evaluations are contributing to a robust culture of self review across the school.

The board receives well analysed student achievement information from the senior and middle management teams. Upward trends in student achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) show:

  • an increase from 72% in 2010 to 82% in 2012 of students achieving NCEA Level 1
  • Māori and Pacific achievement above that for Māori and Pacific students nationally at NCEA Level 1
  • a significant increase, from 51% in 2009 to 69% in 2012, of students leaving school with NCEA Level 2
  • a rate of progress in NCEA Level 2 achievement that is on track to reach Ministry of Education goals for 2017
  • a continued decline in the number of students leaving school without qualifications.

Other reliable information shows a much higher retention level of Māori students (73%) compared to national levels (66%) and a declining rate of student suspensions. Curriculum leaders have set appropriate goals for continuing to raise Māori student achievement and increasing the percentage of NCEA merit and excellence endorsements.

Expectations for learning are clearly stated and consistently reinforced. This is helping to increase student engagement and understanding of how to learn. Restorative processes have replaced the previous disciplinary model of managing student behaviour. These developments are resulting in a more settled school environment and a focus on teachers and students working together to raise achievement levels.

The school’s goals are clearly focused on continuing to raise levels of engagement. It could be useful to explore the ideas about being an effective learner that students bring with them from primary and intermediate schools. Curriculum leaders could build on these understandings to develop a learner profile that would support the smooth transition of students into secondary school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides relevant and authentic learning experiences. The pathway model of success and the increased diversity of the curriculum are making a positive difference to student engagement, retention and achievement. Students leaving school have qualifications that better suit their transition to tertiary education, vocational training and employment.

Sport, culture and other co-curricular programmes continue to be strongly promoted. New programmes such as business and enterprise studies, hospitality, tourism, engineering and the trades’ academy, complement traditional subject-based pathways. Relationships with business and academic leaders in the community are strengthening opportunities and experiences for students beyond school. New courses including Samoan language, media studies, digital technologies, music and dance are extending opportunities for learning and attracting students into senior programmes.

Teachers have aligned the school’s curriculum with the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The values, principles and competencies of the NZC are evident in department documents, teacher planning and student progress and achievement reports. Literacy strategies across the curriculum are strongly promoted and new approaches to thinking skills are being trialled. These strategies complement the school’s goals for students to become lifelong learners.

The school’s curriculum caters for a significant number of students with moderate to high learning needs. The home-room learning environments provided enable many of these students to progress within a whole-school learning context. Specialist teachers, with the support of teacher aides, provide learning pathways that build success for students with special learning needs over time. Monitoring and reporting on the progress of students with very high learning needs is identified by the school as an area to strengthen.

Significant reviews of both the junior and senior curriculum have resulted in new and different ways for students to make choices about their learning. All Year 9 students have programmes in the inquiry-based Discovery Learning Centre. In this class students are supported by teachers to learn independently, setting their own goals and evaluating their learning success. These student-centred approaches could well be the focus of the school’s planned development of an effective teacher profile.

Students are well supported in their curriculum pathway choices by a wide range of staff including career services, deans, counsellors and youth workers. Whānau tutors are developing a significant student mentoring role. Māori and Pacific leadership within the school is strengthening the emphasis on language, culture and identify in motivating students to achieve well.

Opportunities for students to examine curriculum pathways online are being implemented in course selection for 2014. These initiatives will further enhance the school’s strategic curriculum development approach.

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

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao

The school’s plans for promoting success for Māori, as Māori, are central to the board’s vision and strategic goals. Community consultation has been used purposefully to integrate the school’s vision and values within a bicultural context that references the Manurewa history of iwi Māori. The symbolic representation of the vision is highly visible throughout the school and the values are incorporated throughout management and self-review systems.

School leaders are committed to the success and work of the steering group, Kahui Kaiako Māori. This group of teachers and managers, led by Māori staff, is providing guidance, building capability and setting directions for achieving the school goals. Teacher appraisal procedures aligned to principles of Māori learner success are designed to increase the sustainability of the initiatives.

The strategic planning model is closely aligned to the board’s goals to raise student engagement and is consistent with Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education’s strategy for Māori success. To encourage and sustain these developments the board could consider ways to further promote bicultural leadership at management and governance levels.

Māori student achievement and engagement is increasing and special events are held to celebrate Māori learner success. Well advanced plans to extend and relocate the school marae at the front of the school are likely to enhance the board’s goals for success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Manurewa High School is very well placed to sustain and to continue improving its performance. The school is strategically focused and has high quality self review. The principal is an educational leader with high expectations of staff and students. Together with the well respected senior leadership team, he has addressed challenges about the school’s performance raised in ERO’s 2010 report and made ongoing improvements.

Other factors contributing to school improvement include:

Innovative leadership. The principal challenges staff to be innovative and use data for self review. He leads a well organised and cohesive senior management team who work collaboratively to enact the school’s strategic values and goals.

External expertise. Senior leaders seek high quality expertise to assist with self review and to consult about their planning and decision making. Educational research is well used to support school improvement and to inform teacher practice.

Community engagement. The involvement of parents and whānau has increased significantly. The majority of parents now attend student progress and achievement conferences. Local business leaders, community members and youth development teams are making a valuable contribution to the school’s curriculum.

Performance management. Senior leaders value the work of the staff and build on their strengths. They have developed a comprehensive appraisal system in consultation with teachers that promotes reflective, inquiry-based practice.

Professional learning. Teachers contribute to school review through their involvement in professional learning groups. The groups consider different aspects of the school’s goal of increasing engagement in learning. Leadership emerging from these groups is building and sustaining good practices.

Governance and management. School management systems have been thoughtfully reviewed. Procedures are easily accessed through the school’s data management systems and information to support teachers is relevant and up to date. These well documented systems are supporting the consistency and sustainability of new initiatives.

The school board of trustees enjoys sustained and committed leadership. Trustees support the school and work positively with the management team. They receive useful and informative information and contribute to evaluating school’s charter goals and targets.

With the help of the business manager, trustees are developing a work plan that will provide a more systematic and long term overview for board planning and self review. Rationalising school policies and establishing a system of regular reporting in relation to the board’s legislative responsibilities are also agreed next steps for the board.

Provision for international students

Manurewa High School has a small number of International Students, most of whom live with designated caregivers. These students have courses designed to meet their interests, including English language programmes and co-curricular activities. The board is developing a new approach in selecting future international students that will complement the school’s curriculum pathways development.

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. 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 and well documented.

The board receives comprehensive reports about the engagement and achievement of international students. International students confirm that they feel well integrated in the school and enjoy and benefit from the learning opportunities provided.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

15 November 2013

About the School



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


New Zealand European



Middle Eastern






Special Features

High Needs Education Support Centre for students with Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding

Hosts of the BLENZ Visual Resource Centre

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

15 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Special Review

Education Review

November 2010

March 2008

October 2006