Rotorua Lakes High School - 05/08/2016


Students experience a wide range of educational opportunities. Pastoral care and guidance supports them to experience positive learning pathways. The school is committed to raising the achievement of all students, particularly Māori. Systematically maintaining and strengthening partnerships with parents ensures all students succeed.

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?

Rotorua Lakes High school is located in the eastern suburbs of Rotorua. The school roll is 662. There are approximately 308 Māori students who whakapapa to local iwi and other iwi throughout Aotearoa.

There is a clear focus on the learner and providing quality learning opportunities for all students. Parents, whānau, students and staff have a strong sense of belonging and are committed to working together to promote positive educational outcomes for all students. The school community has agreed that the mana of the individual student, the school, whānau, and lakes community is paramount to student wellbeing and success.

Close connections and productive relationships with local hapū encourages active participation in the education of their children and mokopuna. A focus on fairness and inclusion for all students contributes to Māori students enjoying and achieving many examples of academic, cultural and educational success.

Leaders are focused on building the collective capability of the teaching staff. Self-review processes contribute to improvements in teaching and learning. The school has made significant progress towards addressing the areas for development identified in the 2013 ERO report. Rotorua Lakes has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is used effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school continues to raise achievement levels for all students in Years 9 and 10 and in National Certificate Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school has been consistently achieving above national expectations for NCEA since the 2013 ERO review.

School data indicates that a significant number of students at Years 9 and 10, including Māori, make accelerated progress towards expected curriculum levels in Literacy and Mathematics. The vast majority of students who left the school in 2015 achieved success in NCEA Level 2. In levels 2 and 3 the school achievement data is well above national comparisons.

The school is committed to raising the achievement of all students, particularly Māori students. NCEA data for Māori students has consistently improved since 2013 and is progressing at the Ministry of Education expectation of 85% of Māori leavers achieving NCEA Level 2 by 2017.

Many students benefit from working partnerships with local businesses and tertiary providers that support lifelong experiences. The school effectively tracks and monitors the destination of all students as well as those who attend tertiary and trade related courses and employment.

Trustees are well informed about learners' engagement progress and achievement. They receive comprehensive student achievement reports from the principal and other leaders about student achievement and progress. Informed decisions are made about strategic planning and resourcing. Extra teachers are employed to provide a wider range of relevant learning opportunities for students to gain success in their learning. They have high expectations for raising student achievement and accelerating the progress of students at risk of not achieving.

A leadership team collates, and analyses student achievement information. They track and monitor student progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics from Years 9 to 13. Students who are at risk of not achieving at expected levels are clearly identified and monitored. This information is effectively used to assist teachers to plan appropriate programmes to meet the specific needs of individual students. Building constructive relationships with and sharing student achievement information between schools in the Rotorua East Community of learners, is supporting the successful transition of students from contributing schools to Rotorua Lakes High.

Heads of department and teachers effectively use a range of national assessment tools for Years 9 and 10 students and have aligned these to appropriate curriculum levels and NCEA. They share strategies across subject areas to assist one another to make decisions that will improve student engagement progress and success. Teachers, students, parents and whānau have a very good understanding of how well students are progressing and achieving.

Students have positive learning experiences and are focused on learning. This is attributed to the valuable pastoral care and guidance provided by the Deans. They know students and their families well and use that knowledge to motivate and engage students. Students with high learning needs are well catered for and receive a combination of mainstream and specialist support in ‘Ohaua’. A highly inclusive learning culture fosters student success and wellbeing.

Students' benefit from learning conversations with teachers. They receive ongoing feedback, and feedforward about their progress and achievement. Students are increasingly taking greater responsibility for their own learning. 

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum strongly supports and promotes student learning. Teachers from across curriculum areas meet regularly to share and develop strategies to meet the particular needs of Māori and other students', and those who are at risk of not achieving positive educational outcomes. A distributive leadership model encourages all staff to use their skills and expertise in the best interest of all students.

Students in Years 9 and 10 benefit from a considered approach to their placement in classes. These include:

  • extension and curriculum enrichment classes
  • rumaki class
  • mixed-ability classes
  • Te Puawaitanga class (across all year levels).

All students are provided with a wide range of curriculum opportunities to meet their individual learning needs and preferences.

A wide range of appropriate and effective communication practices are used to engage regularly with parents, whānau and community. Whānau views and opinions are valued and respected and they are kept well informed about their child's progress and achievement. Opportunities are provided to assist parents to better understand subject and choices and the range of learning pathways, programmes and career options.

A strategic approach to building the professional capability of teachers is underpinned by a highly effective and comprehensive appraisal process. This includes teacher inquiries that are aligned to target students, and involves learning conversations among teachers, and regular reflection about strategies to more effectively engage students in their learning. Differentiated teaching including use of multiple teaching strategies engage individuals and groups of students.

Teachers are highly reflective practitioners and are continuously focused on improving the quality of their teaching practice. They have positive relationships with students in settled classroom environments. Students demonstrate high levels of interest and involvement in their learning.

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

Māori students are confident and interact positively with each other and teachers within the school. Teachers are focused on raising Māori achievement and have identified and implemented programmes to raise individual achievement and sustain the achievement of those students experiencing success. The appointment of Māori staff into positions of responsibility across the school supports and provides students with confident role models.

A partial immersion class provides parents and whānau with a choice to have their children learn through the medium of te reo Māori. These students learn in the whare 'Manu Korihi i te Ata Pō' where the tikanga of the local hapū is observed. Māori students are confident in the whare and organise and contribute to pōwhiri through whaikorero, waiata and the manaaki of manuhiri. The school is well supported by the local hapū of the area. There are opportunities for other students to learn te reo Māori as part of the options programme.

Māori students are represented across the school in sporting, cultural academic and leadership roles that contributes to positive role modelling for all students. The school acknowledges and affirms the language, culture and identity of Māori students.

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:

  • Trustees are representative of the school community with strong networks that are highly committed to improving educational outcomes for all students.
  • The leadership of the principal is highly effective and strategic. He is consistently striving to improve student learning and achievement.
  • The senior leadership team, heads of department and deans work collaboratively with teachers to improve and sustain quality learning opportunities for students.
  • A school-wide culture of rigorous critical reflection and self review contributes to effectively sustaining the schools positive performance and continuous improvement in teaching and learning.
  • Māori learners are actively engaged in their learning. They are progressing, achieving and succeeding as Māori.
  • Parents, whānau and community have close connections and productive relationships with the school and staff. These connections contribute to successful learning partnerships.

The school has acknowledged that areas for further development are to:

  • Review the strategic plan to set specific student achievement targets that are clear and measurable particularly for Māori students.

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 ERO review there were 5 international students attending the school.

ERO’s investigation confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Effective policies and practices support the integration and learning programme of the school’s international students. The international student department is well led by an experienced dean who ensures that all aspects of student life are well managed. Students are provided with expert tutoring to raise their skills in English. They are part of the school community and participate in co-curricular activities that are available to all students.

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.


Students experience a wide range of educational opportunities. Pastoral care and guidance supports them to experience positive learning pathways. The school is committed to raising the achievement of all students, particularly Māori. Systematically maintaining and strengthening partnerships with parents ensures all students succeed.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

5 August 2016

About the School 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls    54%
Boys    46%

Ethnic composition

Other European


Special Features

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour Cluster

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

5 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
May 2010
June 2007