Matamata College - 24/01/2020

School Context

Matamata College caters for students in Years 9 to 13. There are 664 students on the roll, of whom 23% are Māori. Students come from a diverse range of ethnicities. Since the 2015 ERO evaluation the roll has significantly decreased.

The school’s vision for learners is that all students achieve educational success as confident, connected, lifelong, and resilient learners.

The Totara Learning Centre (TLC) provides specialised education and care for learners with complex needs from Year 9 to 21 years of age. The college is the host school for the Matamata Alternative Education offsite facility.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been changes to the senior leadership and teaching team. The principal remains in his role. A new board of trustees was elected in 2019.

Matamata College is a member of the Matamata Kāhui Ako. The principal is the leader for this Kāhui Ako.

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 is not achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

The majority of learners achieve at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. Less than half achieve University Entrance (UE). Career and tertiary intentions beyond school are gathered for students in the senior school. This information shows that in 2018 most of the Year 13 students achieved the requirements for their chosen pathway. Since the 2015 ERO evaluation, overall achievement has remained constant at NCEA Level 2, 3 and UE. However, it has declined at NCEA Level 1.

In 2018, the majority of Māori learners achieved NCEA at Level 2, less than half at Level 1, and very few achieved Level 3 and UE. Significant disparity is evident for Māori student achievement in comparison to their Pākehā peers at all levels of NCEA and UE. This pattern of achievement and significant disparity has continued over time at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and UE. It has widened at NCEA Level 3. In addition, disparity increases for Māori students as they progress through the levels of NCEA.

Most boys achieve Level 2, the majority Level 1 and less than half achieve Level 3. Over time there is some improvement in achievement at Level 1 for boys and at Level 3 for girls. However, it has significantly declined for girls at Levels 1 and 2.

School leavers’ data shows that the majority of students leave the college with a minimum of an NCEA Level 2 qualification. Since the 2015 ERO evaluation, there has been a downward trend. Ongoing disparity for Māori students and boys leaving with NCEA Level 2 compared to Pākehā and girls remains.

In 2018, less than half of students in Year 10 achieved in relation to curriculum expectations in reading, and few achieved in mathematics and writing. There has been a decline in the achievement of mathematics over time. The school is yet to analyse trends and patterns of student progress and achievement in relation to curriculum levels at Years 9 and 10 and report this to the board.

In 2018, Year 10 Māori students achieved significantly less well than non-Māori in mathematics and reading. This disparity is less significant in writing. Boys achieve significantly lower than girls in reading and writing, and at comparable levels in mathematics.

The school can show that students in TLC make progress towards their learning goals. The centre has identified that student outcome information needs to be collated, analysed and reported to the board.

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

The school is not responding effectively to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school is unable to show the rates of accelerated learning and progress. There are some examples across the school of individual teachers beginning to gather acceleration and progress information.

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?

Students are supported to know, understand and explore future pathways for learning and employment. A wide range of opportunities enriches students experiences and extends their interests. A comprehensive strategic direction has been developed that guides initiatives and connections that support Māori students develop a sense of belonging and confidence. Strong links with local businesses provides extensive opportunities for work experience and vocational pathways.

The college actively accesses external agencies and seeks expertise to enhance learning opportunities and experiences for students with complex needs. Goals are developed, alongside parents and whānau, for these learners and this supports successful pathways. Programmes for learners are focused on acquiring life skills and meaningful literacy and numeracy skills. Well-considered transitions into and out of the centre extends learners’ sense of belonging. Strong relationships promote student’s confidence to be actively involved in the life of the school.

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

Significant developments are needed schoolwide to develop school conditions to accelerate progress and achievement to improve equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. The following areas are of urgent priority:

Building leadership capability for a coherent approach to leading learning across the school. Collaborative review of current systems, processes and guidelines is necessary to ensure a shared understanding of expectations that promote consistent and sustainable practice. Implementing a robust appraisal process for all leaders and teachers, for accountability and improvement in practice, is needed.

Establishing a shared understanding between trustees and leaders of their roles and responsibilities to effectively govern and lead the school. This should include policy and procedure review and development that meets accountability requirements. Ensuring these are robustly implemented is imperative for building quality. Establishing meaningful reporting to trustees that reflects analysis and evaluation of student outcomes and progress towards strategic direction to inform decision-making is needed. Building relational trust across all stakeholders is a priority.

Implementing a robust process for internal evaluation to inform decision-making at all levels for schoolwide improvement. This should include identifying intended outcomes for students to establish a sense of urgency for a trajectory of improvement. Ensuring decisions and inquiry are informed by achievement information that is dependable is a priority. Trustees, leaders and teachers need to know the impact of strategies, initiatives and interventions on accelerating the progress and achievement of at-risk learners to effect change.

Developing leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of the effective analysis and use of achievement information for equity and excellence. Extending and aligning tracking and monitoring systems and processes for accelerated progress, achievement and attendance schoolwide is needed. Reframing schoolwide targets to focus leaders and teachers on accelerating the progress of all those at risk and the acceleration of students’ progress to improve equitable outcomes for learners. Regularly reporting to the board ongoing progress and acceleration towards these targets. Extending the analysis of achievement information for the effective planning for and responding to student needs is an urgent next step.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students (Code of Practice 2016 (the code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the code.

At the time of this ERO review there were six long-stay international students attending the school.

Clear systems and processes have been developed to support the pastoral care of international students. The school monitors its provision for students through ongoing self review. Enabling students to integrate meaningfully into school life is a strong focus. Students have positive experiences at school and are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities and events.

Students are provided with relevant curriculum experiences and subject choices. Provision for Useful processes support transitions into and out of the school.English language learning is differentiated and caters for individual student needs.

ERO has identified the need to enhance reporting to the board of trustees. This will further support the school to evaluate its effectiveness in providing positive academic outcomes for all international students.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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 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

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Matamata College’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:

  • tracking and monitoring career and tertiary pathways information that extends learners knowledge of meaningful pathways.

Next steps

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

  • building understanding of governance and leadership to guide school-wide improvement
  • extending trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of effective analysis and use of achievement information to reduce disparity and improve educational outcomes for at-risk learners
  • growing schoolwide understanding of innovation and evaluation to promote equity and excellence schoolwide.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to police vetting and maintaining in-committee minutes.

  • In order to address this, the board of trustees must:
  • ensure the regular police vetting of employees [Education Act 1989 Sections 78C to 78CD]
  • ensure minutes are recorded for in-committee meetings of the board of trustees. [Public Records Act 2005]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure:

  • policies and procedures are reviewed in-line with changes in legislation and expectations. Priority should be given to the communication of physical restraint guidelines to parents and alignment of the safety checking procedures of the Children’s Act 2014 and the school’s appointment procedures for staff
  • provisionally certificated teachers and their mentors receive appropriate time for wellbeing, advice and guidance. This should be in-line with school’s timetabling policy.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • governance
  • leadership
  • data analysis and use.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

24 January 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary School (Year 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 23%

NZ European/Pākehā 64%

Other ethnic groups 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

24 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015

Education Review July 2012

Education Review August 2009