Nga Tawa Diocesan School - 03/05/2018

School Context

Nga Tawa Diocesan School is located in rural Marton and caters for 198 girls in Years 9 to 13. Most are full-time boarders and some attend as weekly boarders or day students. Short and long-term international students are regularly enrolled. Of the students enrolled, 11% are Māori.

The school community is strongly focused on reflecting and promoting its Anglican values of integrity, respect and courage, and cognisant of its historical heritage. The school’s mission is to foster ‘a dynamic, innovative and student-focused environment, where active partnerships extend every individual girl; to equip her to inspire her future with confidence, courage and passion’.

School annual targets include: embedding practices that support the achievement of Māori students; using data to inform pedagogy and promote academic outcomes for students in the junior school; and developing a restorative practice framework.

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

  • the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs)
  • achievement of Māori students and Years 9 and 10 students
  • progress in relation to achievement targets
  • student pastoral care, health and wellbeing.

Many staff, trustees and proprietors have long associations with the school. Since the December 2014 ERO report there have been significant changes to senior leadership. 

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 highly successful in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. High achievement rates have been sustained over time, with NCEA results improving.  Almost all students staying through to Year 13 achieve NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance qualifications. Over half of students achieve qualifications with endorsements. Achievement for Māori students is high, with all girls achieving NCEAs at all levels in 2017. Most girls remain in the school until Year 13.

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

The school successfully supports students at risk in their learning, including those with additional learning needs, to accelerate progress and achieve success throughout their time at school. 

School data shows that many Years 9 and 10 students make accelerated progress in writing. A significant number of students who were at risk of not achieving NCEAs have done so.  Many girls continue to improve their achievement by gaining endorsements and University Entrance.

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?

Well-considered practices and processes assist teachers to know students well and provide responsive support to promote their success. These include:

  • robust systems for gathering and sharing information about students’ learning, progress and wellbeing and monitoring their engagement and achievement
  • a range of opportunities for students to access targeted teaching and support
  • fostering of caring, respectful relationships
  • adapting courses and programmes to cater for students’ emerging needs and pathways.

Pastoral care is well considered, collaborative and highly responsive to identified needs. A clear direction for student-focused pastoral care is in place. Students’ perspectives are regularly sought, analysed and responded to. They are meaningfully involved in evaluating the success of implemented actions, to inform decision-making and improvement. A restorative approach to relationship building is highly evident and promoting consistent expectations of students’ positive engagement in school. 

Leaders and trustees are improvement-focused and have high expectations for students’ success. They work strategically to align practices and processes to the established vision for successful outcomes. Trustees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and have significantly strengthened the process for review of policy and procedures, establishing comprehensive guidelines to guide practice. They demonstrate a collaborative approach and are actively involved in many aspects of school life.

Leaders provide ongoing, useful support for teachers to undertake their roles effectively. An appropriate appraisal process meets Education Council requirements and supports teacher improvement. Well-considered guidelines assist teachers to analyse assessment information and inquire into the impact of curriculum and teaching on outcomes for students. 

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

The school is committed to improving its reflection of te ao Māori and strengthening its cultural responsiveness to Māori learners. Leaders and teachers are working in productive partnership with Ngāti Apa and local iwi, external providers and a school cluster to build a more locally-based, culturally-responsive curriculum. The collaborative development of an effective teaching profile provides a useful guide for teachers. Embedding this in practice, through classroom observations and appraisal, is an appropriate, planned next step. 

School leaders continue to build the quality of evaluation to ensure it supports ongoing improvement in teaching. Staff gather a wide range of data to inform decision-making for improvement. A next step to more deeply inquire into the effectiveness of teaching and actions in maintaining and improving outcomes for learners. Establishing shared understandings and clear processes for internal evaluation across the school should help to promote and sustain success.

3 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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Provision for students in the school hostel

The Nga Tawa Diocesan School boarding houses are an integral part of the school and accommodates around 90% of the school roll.  At the time of this review it catered for 181 girls drawn from across New Zealand, along with short stay and long-term international students.

The principal and the director of boarding are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the boarding houses on behalf of the board of trustees and the proprietors’ board. The proprietors have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

The boarding houses provide suitable accommodation for full-time and weekly boarders from Years 9 to 13 in buildings integrated into the school campus. Good provision is made for girls to study individually and under supervision. Boarding practices effectively complement and support pastoral care and learning within the school.

Self-management and independence are increasingly fostered as the girls move through their years within the boarding houses. A strong focus is placed on building positive relationships. Feedback from boarders and their parents about boarding processes and relationships is regularly sought, encouraged and appropriately responded to. Increased opportunities are provided for girls at all levels to develop leadership and contribute through student groups. Routines and expectations are well understood. Students have opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities and sports.

Boarding staff provide pastoral care in an environment that successfully promotes student wellbeing and upholds the school’s special character. Establishing a systematic process for review of boarding provision should support leaders to determine changes needed to further improve.

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

At the time of this review there were 36 international students attending the school. This includes 15 who will be attending for a term or less. All students are boarders in the boarding houses.

The self-review process for international student provision is thorough. Comprehensive procedures are in place to support students to successfully meet their varying educational and other goals.

Students’ pastoral care, learning and participation in school activities are effectively supported within the boarding houses and the school. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strategic and aligned leadership of the senior management team and trustees that promotes a well-defined, shared vision for students’ success and improvement
  • collaborative, supportive staff who are highly responsive to students and their needs
  • strengthened partnerships that support improved responsiveness to Māori students’ identity, language and culture.

Next steps

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

  • embedding the use of the Effective Teacher Profile to establish culturally-responsive teaching and learning across the school
  • strengthening the use of teacher inquiry to support consistent practice and identify effective strategies
  • establishing shared understandings and clear processes for internal evaluation across the school to promote and sustain improvement and success.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

3 May 2018

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Integrated Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                   11%
Pākehā                                 65%
Chinese                                  6%
Other Asian                         11%
Other ethnic groups            7%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

3 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             December 2014
Education Review             September 2010
Education Review             April 2007