Rotorua Lakes High School - 05/06/2013

1 Context

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

Rotorua Lakes High School is a co-educational secondary school that caters for students from Years 9 to 13. The school is located in the eastern suburbs of Rotorua. Buildings and grounds are well presented and maintained providing an attractive physical environment for students and staff.

The school currently has a roll 690 students. Forty-seven percent of students are Māori and forty-three percent are Pākehā/European. The remainder come from a range of ethnic backgrounds. There are four Pacific students and seventeen international fee paying students. Since 2009 there has been a steady roll increase.

Since the last ERO review there have some changes within the senior leadership team with the appointment of a new deputy principal in 2011 and an additional senior manager this year. Both of these appointments were designed to strengthen leadership of curriculum, teaching and learning in the school. While there is a new board chairperson, there has been little change in trustee membership.

The school has responded positively to areas for review and development in the last report about the setting of achievement targets and the use of assessment information to guide teaching in Years 9 and 10. This has been a major focus for staff professional development and ongoing review.

The school's vision is to 'provide an excellent education for every student'. This is reflected in an increasingly wide range of learning pathways and experiences available to students.

There is a commitment to promote success for Māori students as Māori. The school recognises that raising the achievement of Māori students continues to be an important priority.

The school has worked hard to develop a positive perception in the community. There is a positive atmosphere and tone in the school and relationships at all levels are supportive and respectful.

2 Learning

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

There is a strong emphasis across the school on building awareness and knowledge in the effective use of student achievement information. Recent professional development has supported teachers to use this information to more effectively differentiate programme planning to meet the diverse needs of individuals and groups of students.

A range of valid and reliable assessment information is gathered by the school for students in Years 9 and 10. Account is also taken of information about student achievement provided by contributing schools. This information indicates that a high proportion of students arrive in the school with low levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy. Evidence-based targets are being set to improve outcomes for these students and appropriate intervention programmes are being implemented. While many students make positive progress as they move through Years 9 and 10, overall achievement in literacy and numeracy remains below national expectations.

Good progress has been made in assessing and reporting students' achievement in Years 9 and 10 against The New Zealand Curriculum levels. Reports to parents are being reviewed to help ensure that they provide useful information about their children's progress and achievement.

In 2012, student achievement in National Certificates of Education (NCEA) at Level 2 was comparable with other schools nationally, but below at Levels 1 and 3. A new system of academic monitoring has been introduced to identify and further support all students as they move through Years 11 to 13.

Māori students, both in Years 9 and 10 and in Years 11 to 13, are not achieving as well as non-Māori students in the school. In NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 their results are comparable with those of Māori students nationally.

Senior leaders should continue to improve the analysis and interpretation of student achievement and engagement information to:

  • clearly demonstrate trends and patterns of student achievement for cohorts and groups over time
  • develop a shared understanding of, and agreed expectations for, teaching as inquiry
  • guide curriculum and school development focused on outcomes for students; and
  • further develop evaluative reporting that focuses on effectiveness of initiatives, identifies implications for teaching and learning, and informs resourcing decisions.

Strengthening the use of achievement information in these ways should assist in ensuring positive outcomes for students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting students' learning. It is responsive to students' needs through:

  • the provision of a variety of academic and vocational pathways leading to relevant qualifications
  • a strong focus on learning support for literacy and numeracy, particularly in Years 9 and 10
  • a flexible approach to timetabling and accommodating students' course needs
  • opportunities for students to develop knowledge and skills, in education outside the classroom (EOTC), student leadership, and sporting and cultural activities.

Clear expectations and coherent systems are being developed to support consistency in teaching practice across the school. Teachers are being encouraged to reflect on their practice and to use a greater range of strategies to engage students in learning. Students are well supported through comprehensive and effective pastoral care systems.

A curriculum support team has recently been established to help ensure ongoing curriculum monitoring, greater sharing of effective teaching and learning strategies between departments, and self review. This is contributing to an alignment between school-wide targets, professional development and teacher appraisal.

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

Ongoing self review is supporting the school to promote educational success for Māori as Māori.

School leaders and teachers are committed to enhancing learning relationships with Māori students in order to promote their success. Teachers participate in structured, professional conversations that are assisting them to develop effective strategies to engage Māori students in learning.

The school is revitalising its relationship with the Māori community, including a developing partnership with a local kura kaupapa Māori. There is a strong emphasis on promoting tikanga Māori knowledge and history through programmes and activities such as Te Waharoa, Te Puawaitanga and kapa haka. These programmes and initiatives affirm Māori language, culture and identity.

In response to the aspiration that Māori parents have for their children, the school has prioritised and raised the profile of te reo Māori as an option choice for students. Significant resourcing has enabled students to study te reo Māori at their level of ability and attainment.

To further improve outcomes for Māori students, the school should:

  • continue to identify strategies to strengthen the engagement and retention of Māori students
  • evaluate the curriculum and the extent to which it promotes and supports success for Māori, as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Rotorua Lakes High School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Factors that are contributing to this sustainability are:

  • a strong focus, at all levels, on improvement and raising student achievement
  • a collaborative senior leadership team, with complementary skills, who promote a collective responsibility and accountability for student achievement and well being
  • the development of effective systems and processes for self review with an emphasis on evidence-based decision making
  • sound governance by an experienced board who are committed to supporting students to achieve success in their education
  • a school's vision and goals that reflect community expectations, including the aspirations that parents/whānau of Māori students have for their children.

Students continue to benefit from an inclusive and supportive school climate that support's their learning.

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.

At the time of this review there were seventeen international students attending the school, with the majority coming from China. The school also hosts short-term stay students from Japan every second year.

International students continue to benefit from high quality pastoral care. They make very good progress in English during their time at the school. The dean of international students agrees that further monitoring of these students' achievement across the curriculum, and evaluative reports to the board, would enhance their learning and achievement.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

5 June 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition


NZ Pākehā/European

Other European










Special Features

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour Cluster

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

5 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

June 2007

October 2003