Tamatea High School - 18/11/2016


Tamatea High School provides inclusive education that focuses on student wellbeing. Rebuilding school systems and processes to improve teaching and learning is underway. The board, school leaders and staff should continue to focus on improving student achievement and use evidence to inform decision making and evaluate their impact on student outcomes.

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

1 Context

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

Tamatea High School caters for Years 9 to 13 students in suburban Napier. Over half the roll is Māori. Asian and Pacific students make up 6% and 5% of the student population. Most students move to Year 9 from Tamatea Intermediate.

The school’s vision is ‘growing good people for a changing world’. The guiding principles of ‘PRIDE’ include a focus on participation, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence. These are enacted by raising achievement, constantly seeking improvement and pursuing personal and academic excellence. The principles of diversity, inclusion and the Treaty of Waitangi are highly valued.

The school provides inclusive learning opportunities, with a clear focus on promoting students' wellbeing through extensive links with the local community and agencies. The school is part of the Ahuriri Community of Learning.

Significant personnel changes have occurred since the February 2014 ERO report. A new principal began in Term 4, 2015. Two deputy principals and most heads of departments are long standing. Some new teacher appointments have been made recently. The chairperson provides continuity to the board and there are three new trustees, two who are Māori and one who is Cook Island Māori.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its capacity to use achievement information to improve learners’ progress and achievement.

School leaders have reviewed the assessment tools used to identify Years 9 and 10 students' progress and achievement in reading comprehension and mathematics. 

Regular tracking of students’ progress and meetings where teachers discuss achievement information, are better informing teaching approaches, classroom programmes and identification of students who need learning support.

Positive learning behaviours and achievement are celebrated and recognised through initiatives such as the Junior Diploma for Years 9 and 10, Golden Ferns to affirm positive learning, and good attendance certificates.

Students with specific learning needs continue to be identified and monitored to ensure appropriate programmes and support for them, including from external agencies. The school is aware of a high proportion of students who require additional support to achieve at the expectations for their age.

Effective responses to students' needs should be assisted by:

  • further analysis and use of student entry data to set improvement targets for Years 9 and 10 and determine what progress is needed over these two years
  • clarifying what would constitute expected achievement, progress, and accelerated progress for learners in the target groups.

Senior students obtain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) through achieving credits in an increasing range of pathways and learning opportunities. Processes continue to be strengthened for regular tracking and monitoring of students’ progress toward achieving national qualifications. Students receive regular feedback on their progress and on what is required to obtain merit or excellence endorsements. The majority of students achieve the NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements.

In 2015, more students on the whole-school roll achieved NCEA Levels 1 and 2 after a dip in 2014. Next steps are to continue to lift the quality of NCEAs and results for NCEA Level 3, University Entrance and Vocational Pathways Awards.

Data for 2015 shows that 63% of students overall left the school with NCEA Level 2. Within this overall picture, the board and staff should explore how well groups of students are experiencing success, through closer analysis of roll-based data to identify trends and patterns. This will assist responsive annual target setting for improvement and help identify the groups that require targeted support to achieve well. It should also contribute to achieving equity and excellence of educational success for individuals, male, Māori and Pacific students and others who require support.

3 Curriculum

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

The school seeks to provide a curriculum that is underpinned by positive relationships between students and teachers.

Teachers work collaboratively. They coach each other, observe each other’s teaching and provide feedback. A useful evidence base is being established to support ongoing development of teaching approaches. 

There is increasing attention to culturally responsive teaching strategies in professional learning and development (PLD). Teachers' professional learning groups have been established. Teachers are lifting their expectations for effective practice and building capability for improving student achievement. Heads of department participate in PLD about improving learning opportunities for students. There is a continued growing momentum for positive change.

Examples of increased flexibility of approaches for students include project-based learning, group and team work that contributes to personalised learning. Such approaches are increasing students' engagement by supporting them to lead their own learning. Students set and share individual learning goals twice a year at conferences with parents and their house group teacher.

Students enjoy positive, calm and settled learning environments. Caring and supportive relationships between staff and students are evident and valued by students. Meaningful leadership and sporting opportunities for students have increased. Year 11 students who need support to achieve NCEA Level 1 benefit from recently introduced peer mentoring.

Results of annual surveys about student wellbeing are reported to the board, with recommendations for ongoing improvement. Links with the local Trades Academy, community organisations and support agencies are strong and purposeful.

Students enjoy increased access to digital learning experiences and technologies. Plans are to extend use of digital technologies for learning in 2017.

Leaders and teachers are aware of the need to continue to develop meaningful pathways for students across the school curriculum and within learning areas. Clarifying how the curriculum is intended to support achievement of equity and excellence in student outcomes should be assisted by:

  • reviewing how the schools' curriculum addresses the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • developing schoolwide expectations for:

- effective teaching and learning

- culturally responsive practices

- the role of literacy, numeracy and other key areas across the curriculum

  • evaluating and strengthening student goal setting to support:

- student-centred and student-led learning

- whānau partnerships for learning

  • continuing to strengthen curriculum leadership. 

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

The school acknowledges the importance of promoting educational success for Māori. There is increased Māori representation on the board and staff. Pōwhiri, karakia and mihi whakatau occur as a normal part of the tikanga of the school and there is an awareness of meaningful staff and student use of te reo Māori.

Whānau and student views are gathered about aspects of school operation. Some of this information has been shared at recently re-established whānau hui. The Ngāti Kahungunu education plan and resources have been considered. There is interest in progressing the school’s engagement with this work.

Pulling together the evidence about what is working well for Māori learners and their whānau will continue to help inform decisions about the school’s strategic direction, actions and resourcing. This should include clarifying what is desired for Māori students' achievement, progress, participation, language, culture and identity.

Continuing to strengthen educationally powerful connections for whānau, as planned, should also assist with this work.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is establishing strong systems and processes to improve learning outcomes.

The new board of trustees is improvement focused and is building its stewardship capacity. Trustees attend and value PLD for their roles and responsibilities. The importance they place on equitable access to the curriculum is clear in the board's resourcing decisions.

The board is updating the school's policy and procedure framework. External support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) is assisting with policy review in relation to recent legislative changes.

School leadership is clearly focused on improving teaching and learning. Provisionally certificated teachers are well supported through induction and mentoring. Continuing to link PLD to school improvement targets will further assist in increasing the impact of teachers' professional learning on student outcomes.

The appraisal system is being redeveloped. Teachers are taking increased responsibility for their individual growth by collecting evidence, critically reflecting on practices and responding to feedback about their teaching practices.

Teaching as inquiry is at an early stage of development. Refining and extending this process should assist teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies through the use of data and evidence, particularly for those learners at risk of underachieving.

Trustees and staff are aware of the importance of continuing to support involvement of whānau, families and community. Plans are for this to result in more focused learning partnerships. 

Further development is needed in the understanding and use of internal evaluation to support the board's strategic direction and ongoing school improvement, and should now be assisted by:

  • the board receiving whole-school and curriculum area reports about achievement that include:

- analysis in relation to agreed expectations and targets for the progress and achievement of students from Year 9 to 13

- information about the impacts for students of learning support programmes and other targeted support

  • setting annual targets that are linked to the evidence and to measurable student outcomes
  • strengthening the action plans that support the targets so that there are better links to staff professional learning and development (PLD), teaching as inquiry and use of differentiated teaching strategies
  • leaders and teachers continuing to strengthen systematic tracking and monitoring of the progress that is being made toward achievement of the targets.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.

At the time of this review there were 14 international students attending the school, including four exchange students.

The school is making good progress in aligning its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

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.

Since the on-site phase of ERO's external evaluation, the board has sought New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) expertise to support policy review. This had led to the adoption a
Child Protection Policy and procedures for safety checks of core and non-core workers required under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

In order to improve current practices, the board should:

  • seek to improve student attendance through a strategic focus on this.


Tamatea High School provides inclusive education that focuses on student wellbeing. Rebuilding school systems and processes to improve teaching and learning is underway. The board, school leaders and staff should continue to focus on improving student achievement and use evidence to inform decision making and evaluate their impact on student outcomes.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

18 November 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 56%, Male 44%

Ethnic composition



Special Features

Fairhaven School Satellite Unit

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

18 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

February 2014
October 2010
October 2007