Rathkeale College - 13/11/2018

School Context

Rathkeale College is a state integrated Anglican school for boys, situated near Masterton in rural Wairarapa. The college is part of the Trinity Schools’ partnership with St Matthew’s Collegiate for girls and Hadlow Preparatory School. It has a combined senior school for Years 12 and 13 students, with St Matthew’s Collegiate. This is based at Rathkeale. Of the 331 boys on the roll, nine percent are Māori.

The board of trustees governs the school. The Trinity Schools’ Trust Board is responsible for oversight of its Anglican special character, property and boarding houses. At the time of this review, 176 boys boarded at the school, including nearly all the 26 international students.

The college’s valued outcomes are represented in the four pillars of the Good Rathkeale Man. Students are encouraged to be: at ease with themselves, have an awareness of others, be prepared to step forward and know they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them. The college strives to provide: ‘a foundation for the future needs of young men – Hei Tuarā Anamata’.

Achievement goals include: identifying the potential of junior students in Years 9 and 10 and tracking and reporting their engagement and academic progress; and measuring and reporting the engagement and achievement of Years 11 to 13 students against their own goals and schoolwide qualifications achievement targets.

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

  • National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs)
  • achievement and progress in Years 9 and 10
  • wellbeing.

All members of the senior leadership team and the school chaplain have been appointed since the May 2015 ERO report. The principal joined the school at the beginning of term two, 2018.

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 effective in realising equitable and excellent outcomes for its students. The high levels of success that boys experience have been sustained over time.

Nearly all Year 11 students achieve Level 1 NCEA, and nearly all Year 12 students achieve Level 2. Most Year 13 students achieve Level 3 and the University Entrance qualification.

In 2016 and 2017, all boys finished the school having achieved at least Level 2 NCEA and most achieved Level 3. Māori students achieve at similar high levels to their peers.

Nearly all students stay at the college beyond the age of 17.

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

The school is strengthening its response to Māori and other students whose learning needs acceleration. Learning information gathered when students enter the college in Year 9 shows that a small number do not meet the school’s expectations for achievement in literacy and mathematics.

School assessment information for 2017, shows that in mathematics many students, including Māori, identified as at risk of not achieving, made accelerated progress. However, literacy data shows that most at risk students have not made accelerated progress.

Levels of achievement for individual students are monitored and well known. However, the school does not deliberately focus on, or report, accelerated progress for those at risk of not achieving in Years 9 and 10.

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 is well managed and governed. Leaders have enhanced the established, positive conditions for learning. They provide an environment that promotes student success by collaboratively pursuing the school’s vision, goals and priorities to achieve equity and excellence. The school board comprises a blend of experienced and new trustees. They fully understand their roles and responsibilities and set a strategic direction that is focused on improving outcomes for students.

Students have a curriculum that offers a wide variety of cultural, performing arts, sporting, academic and service opportunities. An increased range of pathways respond to individual needs. Strong pastoral systems and processes are well considered, responsive and effective in supporting students to be successful learners.

Positive and respectful relationships are clearly evident. Teachers know students well and have high expectations for their learning and wellbeing. Shared values and traditions create a sense of belonging and connection.

The school’s special character has a strong influence on strategic direction and curriculum. Clearly enacted values underpin all aspects of school life. The extensive natural environment contributes to students’ sense of wellbeing and provides opportunities for interesting learning experiences.

Leaders and teachers give priority to building strong relationships with parents. Their views and input into decision making are gathered and valued. Connections to hapū and iwi are being strengthened. Leaders have increased the range of strategies to engage parents in the school and extend communication about their child’s learning. Further strengthening of these connections and partnerships that enhance learning is ongoing.

Teachers are collaborative, collegial and highly committed to the school’s values and student success. A positive culture of reflection is evident. Purposeful schoolwide professional learning aligns well with strategic priorities.

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

Leaders and teachers are currently reviewing aspects of the school curriculum for students in Years 9 to 11 to align with the school’s vision. The review should consider how well it:

  • reflects the principles and the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • promotes progress in literacy for all students in Years 9 and 10.

Leaders have identified a strategic priority to increase the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori within the curriculum. ERO’s evaluation confirms this as an appropriate next step.

A sound appraisal framework is in place. There is some variability in how well the process is used by teachers and appraisers. Further development of some of the components of the process should assist teachers to further strengthen their practice and contribute more positively to the school meeting its strategic priorities.

Review of practice and programmes is occurring and leading to improvements. A suitable range of achievement and pastoral information is gathered and collated. The depth and extent of formal analysis, inquiry, evaluation and reporting require improvement. Strengthening review to be more evaluative is a next step. Focusing on the worth and value of actions taken, should assist in determining the impact of these in improving rates of progress, particularly for those learners who need this.

Leaders and trustees are setting goals for improving already high levels of NCEA achievement. Making targets more specific and focused on the acceleration of learning for groups of students should support the monitoring and evaluation of progress towards achieving the school’s goals.

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 school boarding houses currently accommodate 176 students, including 25 international students.  They are owned by the Trinity Schools’ Trust Board. The owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. There is an ongoing programme of upgrading the facilities.

Relationships within the boarding houses and between the boarding houses and the school promote an environment that supports students' learning. Boarders value the supportive, family-like atmosphere. There is an appropriate focus on academic progress and achievement.

There is a comprehensive orientation process for Year 9 boys. Meaningful opportunities are provided for boys to assume leadership roles and take responsibility. Ready access to recreation activities and facilities is valued. Feedback from boys about boarding house systems and relationships is regularly sought and responded to.

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, nearly all the 26 international students attending the school are accommodated in the college’s boarding houses.

The school uses sound processes to monitor the provision of pastoral care, English language learning, appropriate learning programmes, community links and achievement for international students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • high expectations for achievement and wellbeing that reflect its values and culture

  • assessment practices that provide a clear picture of student achievement

  • positive and respectful relationships across the college and community, including a collaborative, collegial staff, that promote a positive learning environment.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening alignment of the curriculum to the school’s vision and The New Zealand Curriculum

  • further strengthening the appraisal process to better support teachers to improve their practice

  • strengthening internal, evidence-based evaluation, to better determine the impact of actions taken for improvement and next steps in development.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

13 November 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

State integrated Secondary School Years 9 - 15

School roll


Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%
Pākehā 75%
Pacific 2%
Other ethnic groups 14%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

13 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review May 2012
Education Review November 2008