Papatoetoe High School - 22/10/2015


Papatoetoe High School values the cultural diversity of its students and community. Students access an interesting and varied curriculum and are able to access relevant qualifications and opportunities. School leaders and teachers are improvement focused and employ useful strategies to improve students’ progress and achievement, and support their sporting, cultural and creative successes.

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

1 Context

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

Papatoetoe High School in South Auckland continues to celebrate its culturally diverse school community within a settled and positive school environment. Twenty five percent of the students are of Pacific heritage, mainly Samoan, and 16 percent are Māori. Indian students make up 36 percent of the school roll. The school caters well for the significant number of students in the school who speak English as an additional language.

Students continue to enjoy the variety of academic, sporting and cultural opportunities the school provides. Good relationships between teachers and their students are highly evident. Students participate and learn in caring, inclusive learning communities. The Richards’ Centre for physically disabled students, a valued part of the school, demonstrates the school’s positive attitude to inclusivity and equity of opportunity.

The experienced principal and his leadership team have recently re-allocated roles and responsibilities with the team. The board of trustees is very supportive of school staff and the school vision.

Several of the recommendations from the 2012 ERO report have been addressed and a particular focus has been placed on the learning and achievement of students in Years 9 and 10. The school’s documented Māori education strategy, underpinned by Kia Eke Panuku – Building on Success, is aimed at Māori students enjoying and achieving educational success as Māori.

The school is justifiably proud of its new maths block and refurbished learning environments. Digital technologies are becoming an important part of the school’s learning programmes, and are being used to further engage parents, whānau and aiga as partners in their children’s learning. 

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders use well analysed achievement information to monitor student progress and achievement and provide specific learner support. They set relevant school targets and place a strong emphasis on teachers knowing their learners and supporting their wellbeing.

In response, teachers are continuing to strengthen their use of achievement data and other information to plan and deliver learning programmes that meet students’ interests, strengths and needs. They are also continuing to improve how they assess and report achievement for students in Years 9 and 10 across all learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

A weekly mentoring initiative is further supporting all students from Years 9 to 15 to understand themselves as learners and to track their progress and achievement. Most students remain at school to Year 13, and high numbers of senior students achieve tertiary certificate diplomas that provide a good base for future study and career pathways. In addition, the number of merit and excellence endorsements in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has increased over the past three years.

Leaders are continuing to investigate ways of improving student results in NCEA. They aim for students to achieve at least NCEA Level 2 before they leave school but this area continues to be a challenge for the school, particularly with Māori students and boys. Senior leaders identify that raising achievement in all three NCEA levels and in University Entrance remains a priority.

Senior leaders and ERO also identify other key next steps that include:

  • evaluating and documenting the impact of programmes on improving student achievement
  • reporting regular and evaluative information to the board about student engagement, progress and achievement to inform the board’s strategic decision making and resourcing.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It is broad and varied, and provides well for students’ interests, talents and career pathways. Senior students have significant choice to learn in flexible cross-curricular and multi-levelling NCEA courses. The curriculum promotes high levels of success for students within all learning areas, and in regional and national sporting events, and academic and sporting competitions. Teachers design and deliver a curriculum that increasingly responds to the interests and aspirations of students and their whānau.

The school’s pastoral system is designed as a wrap around service to promote students’ health and wellbeing. The pastoral focus includes good learning support for students to complete NCEA courses over periods of time and that are suited to individual needs and abilities. Leaders and the board are now keen to conduct regular student wellbeing surveys to further support students in their learning.

Overall there is good teaching practice, including examples of innovative practices that are especially engaging students in learning. The school’s commitment to resourcing and using digital technologies is having a positive and significant impact on teaching and learning. Teachers promote positive learning relationships with students, and are continuing to develop culturally responsive teaching and learning practices. This commitment is supported by the school’s more recent work with Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success to promote positive outcomes for Māori students.

School leaders recognise that it would now be useful to evaluate the impact of changes made to the curriculum on promoting student success, and identify future directions. In particular, school leaders need to ensure that success for Pacific students is clearly understood and supported school wide, and report self-review information regularly to the board. Leaders could also consider reviewing the extent to which their curriculum reflects the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

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

Māori students comprise sixteen percent of students at Papatoetoe High School. Māori students and their whānau value the school’s commitment to supporting their success as Māori.

The school’s prominent waharoa and whare nui complex, Whakatongia te Kakano, continue to strengthen Māori students’ sense of belonging. It promotes a school-wide appreciation of tikanga Māori and recognises a bicultural Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Māori students benefit from supportive ngā kaiako. Rautoetoe whānau classes at all year levels promote good opportunities for students to participate in and lead wero, karanga, whaikorero and waiata. Māori students’ language, culture and identity are further enhanced with the provision of te reo Māori from Year 9 to 13. Māori students ably fulfil leadership roles in kapa haka, the house haka competition and teachers’ professional learning.

Senior leaders and teachers are committed to strategically supporting and enhancing Māori students’ success as Māori. They set specific targets to improve Māori student achievement. A recent school-wide initiative, Kia Eke Panuku is formally encouraging culturally responsive teaching strategies aimed at strengthening Māori students’ engagement and success. The school is continuing to develop a culture that acknowledges and celebrates mana Māori.

Māori students who stay at school to Year 13 feature in overall student success. Teachers closely monitor Māori students’ progress and achievement, and individual students are mentored and supported to achieve. However the school is aware that more could be done to support Māori students to stay at school and to achieve in NCEA at levels similar to other groups.

To further strengthen Māori student success, senior leaders recognise that it would be useful to:

  • continue developing whole-school understanding of success for Māori, as Māori, and evaluate the impact of school-wide initiatives on promoting positive outcomes for students
  • analyse, evaluate and report Māori students’ involvement and success in key areas throughout the school and across year levels.

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.

Students and staff throughout the school benefit from purposeful relationships for learning. This focus includes relevant and appropriate professional learning for staff aimed at improving outcomes for students. School leaders provide good opportunities for teachers to be leaders in different ways throughout the school. Trustees are committed to the school vision and endorse leadership development across the school.

The senior leadership team is ably led by the school’s experienced principal and is currently in a transitional phase. They agree that reviewing their leadership roles and responsibilities could help them to evaluate their effectiveness as a leadership team. The board acknowledges that that it could encourage more professional support for the principal by reviewing its policy and practice around the principal’s appraisal. The board and principal recognise the need to review and strengthen the teacher appraisal process so that it meets the requirements of the Education Council. Trustees are also keen to inquire into their effectiveness in their stewardship role, using available research and resources.

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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review processes for international students are thorough and effective.

 At the time of this review there were 17 international students attending the school, predominantly from Vietnam, Cambodia, China and India. Their wellbeing is supported by effective pastoral systems. The director of international students and her team closely monitor international student welfare and accommodation.

Well documented systems guide educational programmes for international students. Students’ progress and achievement in English language learning and across the curriculum is tracked and reported regularly to the board of trustees. The principal leads academic mentoring for international students. They are well integrated into the wider life of the school.

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.

During the review, the school notified ERO of an area of non-compliance. In order to address this matter, the board must comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.

[Section 60B Education Act 1989]

In order to improve current practice the board and principal should ensure:

  • reports are provided to the board that include well analysed information about the school’s pastoral care and health and safety systems, including the management of hazards
  • that all support staff have current police vetting status.


Papatoetoe High School values the cultural diversity of its students and community. Students access an interesting and varied curriculum and are able to access relevant qualifications and opportunities. School leaders and teachers are improvement focused and employ useful strategies to improve students’ progress and achievement, and support their sporting, cultural and creative successes.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 October 2015

School Statistics


Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys      54%
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

South East Asian
Cook Island Māori
Middle Eastern


Special Features

Satellite Unit: Richards’ Centre for Physically Disabled Students

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

22 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

October 2012
February 2010
August 2006