Tangaroa College - 09/10/2013

1 Context

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

Tangaroa College is a multicultural secondary school located in the South Auckland suburb of Otara. The school has students from predominantly Pacific cultural backgrounds, as well as a number of Māori students. The school values and celebrates the contributions made by Māori and Pacific students and staff.

Students’ rich Pacific culture is strongly reflected throughout the environment and is highly evident in displays of student artwork, the mix of cultural performing groups, and the school’s curriculum. The Pacific heritage and cultural backgrounds of students sits comfortably alongside the school’s commitment to New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Tikanga Māori is a key feature of school protocols, special events and welcomes for visitors.

ERO’s 2010 report commented on the school’s strategic and operational focus on raising student achievement, its effective governance and leadership and focused school-wide self review. These positive features continue to be evident. Good progress has been made in addressing the agreed priorities of the 2010 report. Initiatives to improve teaching practice, promote students’ ownership of their learning and to use achievement information to plan for individual learning has had a positive impact on school performance.

The board of trustees ensures that students are at the centre of the school’s strategic thinking and planning. Trustees promote meaningful partnerships with their parent community, including Māori and Pacific whānau and aiga, and the wider business community.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very effective use of achievement information to make positive changes for all learners. As a result students are actively engaged in their learning and are motivated to achieve success. The increased number of students continuing to Year 13, together with improved attendance rates and reduction in the numbers of stand-downs and suspensions contribute to a positive school tone.

Student achievement in NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 has continued to improve since the last ERO review and the school is making good progress toward meeting its strategic objectives and government goals. Māori student achievement rates have improved significantly and increasingly align with those of their Pacific peers. School leaders and teachers recognise Māori progress and achievement as an ongoing priority area for development.

The school’s well developed academic mentoring programme is providing opportunities for all students to work with the guidance of a tutor teacher to set goals and plan pathways to achieve success. Students in Years 11 to 13 receive regular updates on their progress and achievement and are increasingly monitoring their own learning. Students in Years 9 and 10 have the opportunity to achieve a Junior Diploma based on their attendance, effort and achievement against key competencies.

Raising achievement in literacy and mathematics is a school-wide goal, with particular focus in Years 9 and 10 as many students enter the school performing well below expected levels in literacy and numeracy. Leaders and teachers make good use of assessment information to identify specific needs, to develop programmes and to monitor progress across all areas of the curriculum. The school’s data indicates that students make significant improvement in their literacy and mathematics learning over their first two years at the school.

Achievement information is used well to identify students who require targeted support. Learning support is well coordinated and effectively promotes teachers’ use of strategies and approaches that improve individual student’s engagement and progress. A significant number of students receive additional support, particularly those for whom English is not their first language. The ESOL programme is particularly effective. A summer school programme provides students with opportunities to complete credits for NCEA qualifications so they stay on track to achieve their pathway goals.

Senior leaders and teachers use the school’s comprehensive achievement information to make strategic decisions. This includes setting achievement targets and school goals, and prioritising teacher professional learning and development (PLD). Strategically planned PLD is further assists teachers to plan programmes that cater for students’ individual learning needs.

The board of trustees makes good use of analysed achievement information provided by school leaders. Charter targets focus on raising the achievement of all students and accelerating the progress of those students not meeting NCEA or curriculum level expectations. Trustees use student achievement information to evaluate the impacts of programmes designed to improve outcomes for students. Senior leaders and the board could now consider setting more challenging targets given the pattern of improvement shown in NCEA results over the past 3 years.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a well designed, relevant and responsive curriculum that caters for their interests and aspirations. Cultural diversity is celebrated and community spirit is fostered across the school. The use of Pacific and Māori cultural contexts promotes students’ learning.

The school’s strong commitment to students’ personal learning pathways is reflected in programmes of learning across curriculum areas. These pathways enable students to plan their learning at school and prepare for their future education, training and employment. Careers education responds to students’ interests and aspirations.

School leaders and teachers regularly review the school curriculum. New programmes and teaching approaches are introduced in response to review findings. Collaboration between learning areas promotes cross-curricular approaches. Students and teachers benefit from the board’s support of innovation, including the development of the Health Sciences Academy.

Teaching practices are generally of a good standard and some high quality practices are evident. Students respond positively to teaching that acknowledges and values their culture and identity. School-wide PLD has enabled teachers to reflect on and share effective and innovative teaching and learning strategies, building a culture of professional learning amongst staff. An agreed school priority is to achieve more consistently high quality teaching across the school.

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

Tangaroa College continues to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Māori students make up 14% of the school population. The school’s commitment to Māori student success is evident in teachers’ increased capacity to use culturally relevant contexts to enhance learning for their Māori students.

The school’s Māori academic mentoring programme, which targets Year 11 Māori learners, has been effective in improving their attendance, engagement and achievement. The students work with their tutors to develop personalised learning plans. Tuakana-teina relationships are evident, with Māori students mentoring and helping each other to be successful in following their chosen learning pathways.

The school’s kaumatua and Māori staff continue to contribute to building teacher expectations for Māori students. Te reo Māori is offered at all levels. Tikanga Māori is expressed in a variety of ways including pōwhiri, blessings of buildings, hui with whānau, kapa haka and Pou whenua carving.

The voice of whānau Māori is valued in school-wide planning and decision-making. Feedback from parents of Māori students indicates that they feel more informed about their child’s achievement as a result of their participation in learning and are able to ask better questions about their child’s progress and development areas.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Tangaroa College is well placed to sustain and further improve its performance. Self review is student focused and helps to ensure that school systems are effective in supporting students’ academic, social and cultural learning.

The experienced principal and her supportive senior leadership team work collaboratively to foster the relationship-focused school culture. Senior leaders and middle managers mentor and support teachers, actively working to grow leadership at all levels of the school. This is a key priority for the school and one in which they are using external expertise to facilitate leadership development.

The board and school leaders value the school’s strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community. They share a commitment to school improvement through the school’s strategic goals and targets set to raise student achievement. Trustees understand their governance role well. Senior leaders provide the board with comprehensive, evaluative reports on progress aligned to strategic goals, enabling trustees to make well informed decisions.

Trustees plan strategically in response to the high quality information that they receive from school leaders. The board and school leaders use self review to identify and prioritise areas for development and to monitor the progress and success of existing initiatives. Trustees value staff and provide well for their ongoing professional learning and development.

School leaders and trustees agree that to further sustain and improve current good practices they should continue to:

  • grow the leadership capacity of teachers and middle managers
  • foster strong partnerships with the local community.

Provision for international students

Tangaroa College 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. At the time of this review there were seven international students attending the school.

The board annually awards scholarships to students from Pacific nations to enable them to attend the school. These international students integrate readily into school life and have opportunities to succeed academically and socially. They are well supported to learn English, to study for national qualifications, and to participate in a range of sporting and cultural events.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

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

9 October 2013

About the School


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Cook Island Māori



Other Pacific










Special Features

Teen Parent Unit Alternative education centre

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

9 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

November 2007

November 2004