Pompallier Catholic College - 19/08/2016


Pompallier Catholic College provides high quality education for all students. Its special Catholic character in the Marist tradition and positive relationships are central to the school’s ethos and success. Students experience highly effective teaching and achieve well. The school is led and governed very well. 

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

1 Context

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

Pompallier Catholic College in Maunu, Whangarei caters for girls and boys from Years 7 to 15. Serving the local Whangarei community for over 40 years, Pompallier Catholic College is proud of its Catholic history and tradition in Tai Tokerau and connections to the far North. The curriculum is shaped by The New Zealand Curriculum. The school has a vision for all students to excel in their endeavours and aims for students to be outstanding citizens.

Twenty percent of students at the college are Māori. The majority are Pākehā, with small numbers of Pacific and Asian students. The principal, senior leaders and many staff have worked at the school for a number of years. Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has increased its use of digital devices for students’ learning and are in early stages of students bringing their own devices to school to use as learning tools. Teachers have engaged in professional learning around the use of digital technologies, and to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and literacy.

The college has a history of positive ERO reporting. The 2013 ERO report highlighted a strength in the positive relationships and good levels of achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement.

2 Learning

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

The school has a clear and consistent focus on promoting student engagement, supporting progress, and raising achievement. Student learning and success is characterised by positive and respectful learning relationships between students and teachers. Teachers and school leaders make very good use of student achievement information.

Leaders and teachers use student information very well to design curriculum courses and learning programmes that meet the strengths, talents and needs of students. They carefully monitor students’ progress and achievement to ensure that students are making appropriate gains and experiencing learning success. Teachers use this good monitoring approach for all students, and specifically target those students whose achievement needs accelerating.

Students achieve well at Pompallier College. Most Years 7 and 8 students achieve at and above the National Standards, especially in reading and writing, and Māori students achieve as well as or better than their peers in in these areas. Girls’ achievement surpasses boys’ achievement in reading, writing and maths. Students’ achievement in mathematics is good when compared to national results, but is one of the school’s recognised areas for improvement. Along with small numbers of Māori and Pacific students, the school identifies boys in its key strategic targets as groups requiring learning support and acceleration.

Teachers’ professional work to improve the teaching of literacy and mathematics is having a positive impact on accelerating the achievement of students who are below and well below the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Individual and groups of students are provided with appropriate interventions that are regularly evaluated and modified. This good practice continues as students move into Years 9 and 10, where the collection of nationally referenced data is used to track students to ensure their achievement gains continue. It is also used to extend the learning of more able students.

Teachers are confident in the overall judgements they make about students’ work. They moderate their judgements with each other and with teachers from another local primary school.

The school has high expectations that all students will leave school with at least NCEA Level 2 as a meaningful qualification. To meet this expectation, leaders and teachers maintain a broad, interesting and relevant senior course structure that engages learners and has meaningful academic and vocational pathways. They use student achievement information to monitor students’ progress and implement support programmes when needed.

The school achieves high rates of academic success in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement at Levels 1, 2 and 3, with increasingly high numbers of merit and excellence endorsements. University Entrance results are better than the results of other similar schools throughout the country and good scholarship results are spread across subject areas. Māori students’ results are comparable with the results of other students in the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. Curriculum programmes are broad and varied. The curriculum is based strongly on elements of social justice, and promotes students’ caring for each other and the wider community. The strong focus on promoting the wellbeing of students and staff supports the high levels of student progress and achievement. The pastoral care network is well led, widespread and clearly aligned to the school’s vision and special character values. Students experience varied co-curricular activities and have good opportunities for leadership.

Leaders and teachers promote interesting option choices for students in both the junior and senior levels of the school. They ensure that the curriculum is meaningful and relevant to students’ career choices and academic pathways. Parent involvement in the school and in their children’s learning is high. They receive very good information about all aspects of the school and have input into decision making about school’s curriculum design.

Teaching is well lead. Teachers have high levels of subject expertise and reflect on and critique their practice. They design learning programmes that provide students with good levels of challenge and critical thinking. Valued by school leaders as trusted professionals, teachers experience clearly targeted and strategic professional learning programmes. This professional learning gives teachers opportunities to build their leadership skills.

Teachers are continuing to strengthen their skills in supporting students’ learning through the use of digital devices. Leaders are also continuing to explore how to further expand curriculum options through the use of net-based learning and connections with tertiary providers.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Maori very well.

The school board, leaders and teachers have worked in partnership with whānau Māori to enhance the provision for Māori students to experience educational success. Years 7 and 8 students’ experience of Māori performing arts promotes a school-wide awareness and understanding of Māori language, culture and identity. This aspect is further strengthened through the promotion of te reo Māori, with qualifications currently offered at NCEA Level 1.

Māori and other students who participate in Tai Tokerau kapa haka festival have opportunities to gain meaningful credits towards their NCEA qualifications. Students’ pride in their heritage is further enhanced through other school wide practices such as whole school haka. They ably fulfil leadership roles and are very well represented in the school’s high achiever groups. Mass is also offered in te reo Māori at different times in the school year.

The board and senior leaders work in partnership with the school’s whānau support group to set the strategic direction for Māori success initiatives. Leaders could now consider how they might sustain and build on these very good developments, and further promote the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa throughout the school. It would be useful for trustees to explore Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, the Māori culturally responsive self-review resource developed by New Zealand School Trustees’ Association (NZSTA).

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The principal is a well-respected, experienced and professional school leader. He works collaboratively with and is well supported by a capable leadership team. Together with teachers and leaders throughout the school, the principal promotes the school’s special character, vision and strategic goals.

Trustees and the principal have mutually respectful relationships, are improvement focused and strategic. The board is highly committed to providing stewardship to its school community, and has a very good understanding of its governance roles and responsibilities. It receives high quality information from the principal and other school leaders and uses it to ensure that teachers and students are well resourced.

Internal evaluation is well understood and used as a tool for ongoing improvement at all levels of the school. The board and principal are now planning to review the school’s performance management systems to ensure that teacher appraisals are rigorous and well-managed and meaningful process. In addition, trustees agree that they should maintain a regular cycle of reviewing board policies and procedures.

Provision for international students

Pompallier Catholic College continues to provide its international students with high standards of education and support, including provision for regular access to English language learning. Students enjoy many opportunities to fully participate in school activities, especially sporting and cultural events. Students value the importance placed on the special Catholic character beliefs and values. Classroom teachers and specialist staff offer high quality academic and pastoral care for 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 14 international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.


Pompallier Catholic College provides high quality education for all students. Its special Catholic character in the Marist tradition and positive relationships are central to the school’s ethos and success. Students experience highly effective teaching and achieve well. The school is led and governed very well. 

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 August 2016

About the School 


Whangarei, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

State: Integrated (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls       52%
Boys      48%

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

19 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2013
April 2010
January 2007