Selwyn College - 28/11/2014

1 Context

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

Selwyn College in Kohimarama, Auckland is a high performing secondary school. It values and celebrates the cultural and socio-economic diversity of its students and community. Students are very well supported to experience success academically and in the wider life of the school.

The college has undergone a significant transformation since the appointment of the current principal in 2008. Academic achievement has improved markedly including that of Māori and Pacific students. The settled purposeful learning culture acknowledged in the 2011 ERO report is well embedded. Productive partnerships with parents, local iwi and the wider school community support student achievement.

The junior performing arts academy and ASB sports stadium enrich the learning environment. The school's Totara Learning Centre provides for 15 students with high learning needs. The popular community education programmes and centre for refugee education for adults and families also support the uniqueness of Selwyn College.

Since the beginning of 2012, an elected board of trustees has governed the college. The current trustees work effectively with the principal to support and sustain the acceleration of the school’s transformation. The school’s broad curriculum is well resourced. The board is strategic in its approach to accommodate the projected roll growth and sustain the school’s high performance.

2 Learning

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

The school is highly effective in its use of achievement information to benefit learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Overall achievement in National Certificates of Education (NCEA) is high. In NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 achievement is well above national averages and government expectations for all students, and for Māori and Pacific students. Overall student achievement in NCEA excellence endorsements and University Entrance is trending upwards, as it is for Māori and Pacific students. Year 9 and 10 students are making very good progress and achieve well across all learning areas ofThe New Zealand Curriculum. The high academic achievement of both senior and junior students is indicative of the high levels of student engagement that characterise classroom learning.

Very effective use is made of reliable achievement information to monitor the progress and achievement of every student. Students monitor, take ownership, and share with parents their progress and achievement records. Senior leaders, subject teachers, mentors, heads of learning areas and heads of houses closely monitor student progress. Exemplary methods are used to moderate and ensure the reliability of student achievement information.

Achievement information is also used well to support students at risk of underachieving. Teachers plan well for gifted and talented, Māori, Pacific, and students with special learning needs so that these learners progress and achieve. There is clear evidence of accelerated progress of gifted and talented students, and of Māori and Pacific learners, especially in Years 9 and 10.

Students, teachers, school leaders and board members make very good use of achievement information to set goals and annual targets. Students set goals through 3-way conferences with their parents and mentors. High achievement targets are set for Māori and Pacific students in response to the expectations of their communities. The board’s annual targets reflect its high expectations of every student. These targets acknowledge the importance of Year 10 students reaching the required curriculum level to have success in their learning pathways through and beyond the senior school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum reflects The New Zealand Curriculum and the school’s mission, vision and values. It provides academic and vocational pathways for every student to gain the knowledge and skills needed for tertiary training and education, employment and lifelong learning.

The school curriculum is responsive to students’ diverse talents, abilities and interests. Teachers know their students well. They design learning programmes that are personalised and inclusive of students’ identity, languages and cultures. Teachers are committed to providing students with authentic learning experiences that enable them to see connections between their formal learning and the real world.

Numerous co-curricular school activities are an integral and distinctive part of the school curriculum. They support students to become actively involved, connected learners. Student participation in the performing arts, sports and various competitions continues to expand. Especially noteworthy are the opportunities and awards for student involvement in service and leadership.

Teachers are inspired and supported to provide high quality effective teaching that is informed by current educational theory and research. Led by the principal, they have evolved a learning toolkit that makes the Selwyn approach to teaching and learning visible for teachers, students and parents. It has gained rapid acceptance and is transforming classroom teaching and student learning.

Promoting student wellbeing is a prominent aspect of the school curriculum. The schools’ values and behavioural expectations underpin the caring, respectful and trusting relationships that characterise the school. Increased use is being made of restorative practices by students and staff. Extensive guidance and effective learning support systems promote and support student learning and achievement.

The well developed school-wide culture of critical reflection and self review supports ongoing development of the school curriculum. Data gathered from surveys of students, parents, staff and school leavers is used alongside student achievement information to review and improve teaching programmes and practices.

ERO suggests that as the school roll continues to increase, still further consideration could be given to:

  • broadening aspects of the senior school curriculum in response to trends in employment opportunities
  • enhancing the evaluation of student well-being and of the effectiveness of special needs interventions.

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

The school is very effective in its promotion of educational success for Māori, as Māori. Selwyn College has 135 Māori students. Of this total 35 identify as Ngāti Whatua – the local iwi. Others identify as Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Rarawa and Tuhoe.

Māori students experience educational success. Over the past five years there has been a dramatic and continuous improvement in the academic performance of Māori students in NCEA and in the junior school. Significant proportions of Māori students fulfil school leadership roles, participate in school sports, and gain placements in further education, training and employment.

Key factors in promoting success for Māori include:

  • the relentless focus on realising Māori potential in line with the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy, Ka Hikitia
  • collaboration with parents of Māori children and Whai Maia, the Ngāti Whatua Education Corporate
  • high expectations and commitment of the board, senior leadership team, Māori staff and teachers for Māori student success
  • implementation throughout the school of The Selwyn Way: Our Tikanga and its values of kotahitanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga
  • ako, the two-way teaching and learning relationship that is transforming teacher practice and classroom learning.

The identity, language and culture of Māori students are promoted in many ways. Students have opportunities to learn te reo at all year levels. Te reo and tikanga Māori is taught to all Year 9 students. School pōwhiri, kapa haka, marae visits and wananga are among the opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. Teachers continue to extend their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori to promote success for Māori and all 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.

High quality self review is characteristic of all school operations. Responsive, planned and strategic self review has been a key element in the school’s accelerated transformation to become a high performing school. Self review for ongoing school development is informed by data including the voices of students, teachers, parents and the community.

The principal provides outstanding professional leadership, clearly articulating the school’s vision, values and strategic goals. The effective leadership and collaborative teamwork of the senior and middle managers and staff is a hallmark of the school. The innovative, individualised school curriculum using proven effective teaching practices is recognised by educators nationally and internationally.

A distinctive family-like culture of respect, caring and inclusiveness permeates the school. Parents and families are actively engaged in their children’s learning. Effective consultation with parents of Māori and Pacific students has resulted in high annual achievement targets and results for these student groups.

The board of trustees provides highly effective governance. The school charter, strategic and annual plans provide a very clear direction for school development. Concise, well considered policies guide board decision-making and self review. The school is well resourced. Plans for major property development to cater for rapid and considerable roll growth are well underway. The principal’s comprehensive reports help to inform the board of the extent to which its strategic and annual goals are being realized and its legal requirements met.

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 the review there were 31 students mainly from Asian countries, especially Japan, but also from Germany and Italy.

The school provides well for its international students. They quickly become integrated into the culturally inclusive school community. Care is taken for students to be happy and well looked after in their homestay accommodation. Teachers know the students’ academic goals and aspirations. School records indicate students make good progress, especially with their English language.

The school has good systems to monitor its compliance with the Code. Refinements to current practice could include improving documentation of current procedures and practices, and providing formal reports to the board about the progress and achievement of international 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.


Selwyn College is a high performing school. Students experience personalised learning in a caring, respectful and vibrant learning environment. Students have a strong sense of school pride and belonging to their culturally inclusive school. The innovative and individualised curriculum and highly effective teaching practices are resulting in students achieving academic success and becoming confident lifelong learners.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the School


Kohimarama, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Southeast Asian
other European
Middle Eastern
other Asian
Latin American


Special Features

Special Education Unit

Adult Refugee Education

Adult Community Education

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

28 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

November 2011
January 2010
December 2008