Pakuranga College - 27/06/2018

School Context

Pakuranga College is a large co-educational school catering for students from Year 9 to Year 13 and serving the Howick and Pakuranga area of East Auckland. The roll includes 11 percent who are Māori students and 7 percent who have Pacific heritages.

The school vision is ‘to provide an exceptional and innovative learning community that challenges and supports students to excel and develop the skills, attitudes and values they need to succeed now and in the future.’ The school culture is one where high levels of student agency are valued alongside priority on student wellbeing for learning.

The school’s strategic goals for improving students’ learning outcomes include:

  • maintaining high quality innovative teaching and learning across all areas

  • providing a curriculum that offers diverse opportunities and pathways for all students

  • providing a safe, inclusive learning environment

  • strengthening family, whānau and community relationships.

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

  • progress and achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

  • student engagement, wellbeing and attendance over time

  • outcomes for senior students in relation to their learning pathways

  • participation, contribution and engagement information across sporting, arts and cultural areas

  • retention, stand down, suspension and attendance information

  • progress, achievement and qualitative data about international students.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the board has overseen extensive refurbishment of classrooms to facilitate and support different learning approaches. In addition, a new gymnasium has been added to the specialist campus facilities.

The board has appointed two new senior leaders and the principal has re-structured the senior management team. A strong focus in recent school development has been strengthening Māori and Pacific students’ achievement and learning outcomes. In order to successfully advance this development there has been some strategic teacher recruitment.

Pakuranga College is one of four schools in the Te ara Mana-a-Kura (Farm Cove/Pakuranga) Community of Learning|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 high expectations for student achievement and the high quality educational opportunities noted in previous ERO reports continue to be evident.

The college is continuing to successfully promote equity and excellence. Achievement levels for all students in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) continue to rise. Roll-based data shows that most students are achieving well in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Nearly all students achieved NCEA Level 1 in 2017. This denotes a recent, significant shift with approximately 10 percent more students achieving at this level and was inclusive of Māori and Pacific learners. The number of NCEA merit and excellence endorsements continues to rise at Level 1. There has also been an increase in merit endorsements at Level 3.

Māori and Pacific students achieve well across all NCEA levels. There is parity for Māori and Pacific students compared to others in the college at NCEA Levels 1 and 2, but some disparity at Level 3 and University Entrance (UE). To some extent, students’ pathways decisions have an effect on UE data. Overall, the UE results for all students in the school are well above the national figures.

Generally, girls are achieving better than boys in NCEA. The school continues a strong focus on boys’ engagement with learning and achievement.

The college uses curriculum level criteria in each learning area to track, monitor and report on junior students’ progress. This system gives families and whānau clear information about a student’s individual progress through each of their learning programmes.

Other valued outcomes that are highly evident are students’:

  • embedded learning habits

  • well-developed leadership skills

  • co-curricular engagement

  • service and contribution to school and the wider community.

The college has a learning ethos where the habits ‘to strive, connect, respect, reflect and create’ are an intrinsic part of learning programmes.

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

The school responds very effectively to all students whose progress needs accelerating.

Year 9 and 10 students’ literacy and mathematics knowledge and skills are assessed on entry to school. School leaders note that there is a growing trend of more students entering Year 9 working below curriculum expectations for their year level. The school literacy team identifies groups of junior students who need additional learning support to lift their reading levels.

During 2017, Year 9 students who required additional support in reading comprehension participated in a targeted programme. Most of these students made accelerated progress and were able to reach the expected curriculum level or above after two terms of additional support.

School information since 2013 shows that most learners who have made good or accelerated progress over a two-year period in the junior school, go on to achieve senior NCEA qualifications at Level 2 or above.

If students need further additional support to help with their learning at year levels 11, 12 and 13, the ‘Success Students’ system offers appropriate opportunities.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well-coordinated. There is effective liaison between classroom and tutor teachers, deans and specialist agencies. The school’s highly inclusive learning culture helps all students participate fully in a broad range of learning experiences.

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?

The school has very effective processes and practices to enable the achievement of equity and excellence for learners. The board’s careful scrutiny of the college’s work regarding student wellbeing and achievement supports leaders’ strategic drive and focus. Trustees bring professional expertise and knowledge to their stewardship roles.

Strong professional leadership for equity and excellence is evident. Leaders maintain an open-to-learning culture, have sound decision-making processes and manage change well. Coherent, interconnected initiatives and structures support the college’s vision and values. In addition, there is highly effective coordination, planning and evaluation of the curriculum. As a result, the school’s processes and practices are continually being improved to enhance student engagement and success.

Leaders promote collective responsibility for individual learners and strong collaboration between the extensive network of key adults and support for each student’s wellbeing and success. This helps facilitate personalised learning that supports students’ individual learning interests, aspirations and needs. Learning partnerships between students, parents and staff are helping to motivate and engage learners. A good strategy to support lower achieving students across faculties has been developed to ensure that the least advantaged learners are working with experienced staff, including leaders.

The school’s responsive curriculum promotes students becoming lifelong learners. The ‘learning habits’ approach has been sustained, and these habits are now taught more explicitly in each faculty. This sustained focus on ‘learning’ as the priority, and assessment for learning to guide students’ progress and achievement, is resulting in students gaining quality credits, NCEA endorsements and scholarships. Most notably there has been a positive trend in Māori and Pacific student endorsements.

High value is placed on diversity, and culturally responsive practice that supports individual learners’ sense of belonging in the college. The development of tikanga and school kawa is guided by Māori staff leadership and the school’s Māori development plan. ERO affirms leaders’ thinking around Māori learner pathways using te reo Māori as the central core.

Leaders and teachers have continued efforts to scaffold Year 9 and 10 students’ foundational understandings and skills for curriculum learning at Year 11. Learning progressions have been developed that link to the New Zealand Curriculum levels and are back-mapped from NCEA.

The college has a well-developed culture of evaluation and professional inquiry. This is underpinned by a continuous focus on capability building to use evaluation and inquiry to sustain improvement and innovation centred on learners. Evaluation practice is cyclic, evidence-based and incorporates and values multiple perspectives, particularly the voice of students.

Leaders maintain a focus on building the college’s collective capacity for leadership and teaching. Professional learning for teachers is a high priority and is centred on specific educational outcomes, including students knowing themselves as learners. The use of student voice to contribute to pedagogy development is a key focus. Professional learning is very well resourced and is growing multiple layers of leadership and capability.

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

ERO affirms the college’s evaluation capability and prioritisation of developments to promote equity and excellence. Senior leaders plan to continue building their sustained learning and learner-focused drive for equity and excellence.

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 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 188 international students attending the school, including 1 exchange student. Self-review processes are well developed to ensure that the school meets its obligations under the Code.

International students are provided with high quality support for their education and wellbeing from an experienced team of staff within the school’s international student department. Learning programmes, including those for English language learners, are tailored to students’ individual needs. International students achieve well in their studies for NCEA and participate widely in the many co- and extra-curricular activities available.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a well-established collective responsibility for individual learners’ wellbeing, engagement and success

  • personalised learning to support students’ individual learning interests, aspirations and needs

  • strong professional leadership that systematically evaluates and adapts conditions for equity and excellence

  • a well-developed culture of evaluation and inquiry

  • a ‘learning’ focused curriculum and pedagogical development that scaffolds students to be successful learners.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, senior leaders have set relevant priorities for continued development in:

  • building teaching capacity to adapt practices and extend opportunities for student equity

  • embedding the explicit focus on ‘learning habits’ so that it is integrated throughout the curriculum

  • prioritising student engagement in learning and growing student agency

  • designing and documenting the Year 9 and 10 curriculum.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

27 June 2018

About the school


Bucklands Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 9 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

South East Asian
Middle Eastern
other Asian
other Pacific


Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

27 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2013
August 2010
June 2007