Motueka High School - 19/06/2014

1 Context

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

Motueka High School is a state co-educational secondary school. It caters for students in Years 9 to 15 and is the only secondary school in the Motueka area. The board and principal are very aware of the school’s unique position and the aspirations of the local community. They have formed partnerships with the community, including business links and trade academies, to provide different learning pathways for students.

The school enjoys positive relationships with the local marae and iwi groups. This is contributing to the school's understanding of Māori success as Māori. Students who identify as Māori make up 22% of the school roll. The achievement and progress of senior Māori students has lifted considerably over time.

Students and staff are proud of the way the school is progressing. There is a positive school culture. Achievement results and attendance levels are trending upwards. The school hosts a number of international students. High priority is given to building positive relationships with all students and lifting their achievement by recognising and responding to individual needs and interests, and celebrating their successes.

Good progress has been made by the school in addressing the recommendations of the 2010 ERO review.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers are making increasingly good use of student achievement information to better inform decision making, set priorities and shape learning programmes. The principal and senior leaders have developed a very strong culture of improvement amongst staff that is focused on raising achievement for all students.

Teachers provide senior students with useful updates on what they need to do to achieve NCEA qualifications. They also use achievement data and other learner information appropriately to make decisions on interventions, additional support and extension programmes to meet the needs of individuals and groups of students. A number of successful mentoring programmes are effectively supporting individual learners to make progress in their learning.

Teachers are becoming more thoughtful in considering their practice and ways they can adapted their teaching to meet the needs of individual students. They regularly share learner information with one another in professional conversations and discuss different techniques they could use to improve student engagement, progress and achievement.

There are some good examples of subject department reports that make connections between student achievements and the quality of programme provision. These reports also explore what else could be changed in order to further lift student engagement and progress.

Effective systems are in place to monitor and support individual student attendance. The attendance rate is high and constantly improving. The school works closely with students, parents and community agencies to reduce barriers to school attendance. Teachers are helping parents and students to become more aware of the close link between consistent attendance and improved achievement outcomes.

School results are based on those who have entered for sufficient credits to achieve NCEA certificates. These results show that NCEA achievement over time is tracking upwards. Attainment of certificates, endorsements at Levels 1, 2 and 3 and University Entrance have improved. Considerable efforts are made to ensure students are able to enter NCEA and are well supported to do so. Student achievement is now consistently at the level of those in similar schools.

School leaders have good success at keeping at-risk students in school and supporting students, who have left school early, to return. Teachers effectively use a range of strategies to build positive relationships with students and their families. Information on school leavers shows that three quarters of students not going onto further education are in full time employment.

School leaders and ERO agree that it would be useful to improve consistency across subject departments and amongst teachers in the way achievement information, including Year 9 entry data, is analysed and used to inform teaching and learning practices. The board and school leaders should also review student achievement targets to ensure they are sufficiently challenging and based more on the prior year’s learning information for specific groups of students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is a strength of the school. School leaders and teachers use it well to promote and support student learning. This can be seen in increased student attendance and retention, the number of worthwhile learning pathways offered to help students achieve success, and improved achievement outcomes.

Students benefit from a responsive curriculum. There is a focus on developing learning opportunities that are more relevant and authentic for students. Since the previous ERO report, school leaders have listened and responded well to the aspirations of the local community. They have worked with the community to develop a curriculum that is more closely connected to the needs of students. Teachers are able to offer students, particularly those in the senior school, a curriculum that:

  • has multiple learning pathways
  • is individualised to accommodate personal situations
  • links closely to businesses, community organisations and tertiary providers
  • increasingly reflects the local community context and environment
  • assists students in transitioning into employment or further education.

School leaders and teachers work well together to identify and support students who have specific needs. Many useful programmes and interventions are put in place to assist students to make appropriate levels of progress. Student wellbeing and learning are well considered in an holistic approach to meeting their needs. The progress of identified students is closely monitored and shared with students and their parents.

School values are well known and accepted by students and teachers. These values of being self managers, showing respect and striving for excellence are highly evident in the school environment. Teachers promote these values amongst students. They provide those in Years 9 and 10 with feedback on how well they demonstrate these school values in student reports. Teachers also recognise and make comment on the way these values are becoming more evident in students’ conversations with one another.

Professional development for teachers is having a significant impact on the positive way they interact and relate to students. Many teachers go to considerable lengths to build positive relationships and really get to know students as a way of effectively promoting student learning outcomes and sense of wellbeing. Teachers are making good use of the many opportunities provided to learn about positive ways of managing behaviour to increase students' levels of engagement in learning.

Leaders and teachers have taken a well-considered and effective approach to supporting the learning progress and engagement of students from Pacific cultures.

Since the 2010 ERO report, school leaders have prioritised the importance of building strong relationships with students. This is now the way teachers are expected to approach student learning. Professional development has also focused on boys’ education and building teachers' understanding of te ao Māori. It is now timely to increase teachers' understanding and use of other specific teaching practices also known to effectively support improved learning outcomes for students.

The school’s curriculum was reviewed in 2011. Since this time, a number of changes have occurred. School leaders are beginning the process to review curriculum provision at Years 9 and 10 to ensure it meets students’ needs. ERO agrees this is an important next step.

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

The school is making very good progress towards promoting educational success for Māori as Māori. Achievement results show improvement in the attainment of certificates at Level 1, 2 and 3 of NCEA and in endorsement certificates with merits and excellence.

The principal has placed a strong emphasis on promoting educational success for Māori. Positive and effective relationships between the school and local Iwi groups, marae and runanga are increasingly evident. These groups have a strong desire to work with the school on improving Māori success as Māori. Regular hui are enabling agreement and ongoing discussions about suitable pathways for Māori students. Other outcomes from strengthened relationships and partnership include:

  • development of trades academies linked to Māori interests in local business and industry
  • a collaborative approach to the employment of key staff in the Māori department
  • input into developing the school’s curriculum and programmes.

The board recognises the importance of Māori perspectives. Māori are well represented on the board. Māori values and specific commitment to developing and maintaining programmes that reflect Māori as tangata whenua are included in the school’s plans.

Professional development for staff on improving outcomes for Māori students takes place at the marae and at school. Teachers have made good use of readings and research on how to best support Māori success as Māori and are working on putting this into practice. Teachers understand the importance of developing positive relationships with students. Several teachers show the strength of their commitment to promoting Māori success as Māori by travelling fortnightly with students to attend Noho Marae in Nelson.

Students who are Māori have good levels of representation as leaders within the school. Vertical groupings and whānau classes are fostering tuakana teina relationships. Māori students' achievement is well monitored at an individual level. A selected group is being more closely mentored to support engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders have made significant progress in supporting Māori success as Māori. Until Māori student achievement is at or above that of their peers, school leaders need to continue to maintain their strong focus on raising the achievement of Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The principal, supported by senior staff, has high expectations and is leading effective change to improve outcomes for students. School leadership works well with staff to bring about and embed change. There is a positive culture amongst staff who appreciate the way school leader considers their ideas and opinions. Teachers are provided with good opportunities to take on leadership roles.

The board, principal and senior leaders have effectively linked the school charter, strategic and annual plans, department goals, professional development and teacher appraisal. This provides a strong sense of direction for senior leaders and teachers who work collaboratively to achieve school goals.

The principal and board work well together. The principal provides very good reports to the board. Trustees have a wide range of experience and have a good understanding of the diversity of the school community. Board members have accessed training to gain extra knowledge about being a trustee in a secondary education context.

The board provides good quality appraisal for the principal. Teachers’ appraisal is also comprehensive. It is well linked to expectations for registered teachers and includes school-wide, departmental and personal goals. Teachers receive useful feedback from their appraisers and their students.

Teachers are provided with good quality professional development carefully linked to school goals. Senior leaders are supporting the development of a reflective culture amongst teachers. They have adjusted the timetable to enable opportunities for teachers to observe one another’s practice and share information on specific areas of focus.

The board principal, leaders and teachers actively consult with community groups, parents and students on a wide range of school matters. They value having the perspectives of different groups and use this feedback to inform decision-making about school processes, programmes and plans.

While there is a highly reflective culture within the school and good levels of consultation, ERO and the principal agree that there is a need to further build common understandings across the school about how to carry out good quality self review. This includes strengthening the analysis and evaluative capacity of staff.

ERO has identified a need to further refine strategic and annual planning in order to provide the basis for improved self review.

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 45 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

The school provides a very good programme for international students. An experienced coordinator takes considerable care to ensure that students are happy and settled. Students are well supported and receive good quality teaching programmes. International students at Motueka High School make good progress and achieve well against their personal goals. Changes to programmes and practices are made in response to individual students’ circumstances and needs.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

19 June 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 51%; Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Special Features

The school hosts the truancy officer There are four itinerant teachers of music

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

19 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2010
September 2007 December 2004