Tawa College - 26/11/2018

School Context

Tawa College provides education for 1438 students in Years 9 to 13. The roll includes 17% of students who identify as Māori and 14% as of Pacific heritage. The roll has remained stable since the November 2015 ERO report.

The school states that its valued outcomes for all students are expressed through the school vision of: confident, empathetic, engaged learners in all areas of school life. Recent review of school values is leading their redevelopment under the whakataukī: He waka eke noa.

Strategic and annual goals are to promote student wellbeing, enhance teaching and learning to maximise student success, including targeted support for students at risk of not achieving.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement of national qualifications

  • achievement across learning areas in Years 9 and 10

  • engagement and wellbeing.

The college is a member of the Tawa Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Most students gain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs). Roll-based data has been consistent over time though with recent improvement in Levels 1 and 2. Leavers’ data for 2016 and 2017 shows high levels of retention and that almost all students, including Māori and Pacific learners, leave with at least NCEA Level 2.There is ongoing disparity for Māori students in each Level. In 2017, Pacific students achieved at similar levels to students overall at Levels 1 and 2.

At NCEA Level 3 and for University Entrance, the school has yet to get the level of attainment of Māori and Pacific students to that of their peers within the school.

Year 9 students have their literacy and mathematics knowledge and skills clearly identified on entry, and progress tracked and monitored across Years 9 and 10. Most students make good progress in literacy and numeracy and other learning areas.

Students with more complex and additional needs are well supported to make sound progress against appropriately challenging goals within their individual education plans.

Learners achieve very well across the school’s broader valued outcomes. Students show a strong sense of belonging and contribute to the wider life of the school through sports, cultural activities, leadership and service.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effective in responding to many students whose learning progress needs to be accelerated. School information indicates successful acceleration of progress for many students, including Māori and Pacific learners, in literacy and mathematics in Years 9 and 10. This enables them to access the curriculum at NCEA Level 1.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A strategic and coherent approach is taken to building leadership, staff professional capability and collective capacity to promote the school’s vision and valued outcomes. Professional learning opportunities are improvement-focused. Teachers are encouraged to be innovative and trial new approaches to improve outcomes for students. Leaders recognise and use the knowledge and skills of teachers to lead aspects of the curriculum. Teachers use current research and evidence of best practice as they effectively inquire into strategies and approaches for improving their teaching.

An appropriate range of assessment tools and transition information from contributing schools is well used to gather baseline data about students as they enter the college. Students in need of additional support are well identified and information, including possible strategies and approaches, is usefully shared with form and class teachers and heads of department. Each student’s progress is tracked and monitored throughout their time in the school. Appropriate supports are in place to mentor and provide guidance to students at all levels.

The school provides a wide range of curriculum choice and opportunities for students with different interests and aspirations, to succeed across all areas within The New Zealand Curriculum. Pathways, including tertiary programmes, Gateway, Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) and Industry Training Organisation courses, provide options for senior students. Aspects of the curriculum are regularly reviewed to ensure continued relevance and reflection of the diverse cultures in the school. There is a well-considered approach to managing change. The curriculum is appropriately future-focused.

Strong systems and processes promote student wellbeing. Student voice provides important feedback on many aspects of school operation. Students benefit from the strong schoolwide focus on inclusion. Relationships amongst students and teachers are positive and respectful. Staff are well supported to appropriately respond to the diverse needs of students.

Leaders report the positive impact on school operation of participation in the Tawa Kāhui Ako. Many teachers have leadership roles in the Kāhui Ako that is strengthening the relationships between the schools of Tawa. This together with enhancing links with whānau, aiga and iwi should develop into a learning partnership that effectively supports positive outcomes for all students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A well-established culture of discussion and reflection is demonstrated at all levels of the school. A next step is to develop a shared, schoolwide approach to internal evaluation that is evidence and data based and uses agreed indicators of success. This should enable teachers and leaders to evaluate the impact of initiatives, programmes and interventions on student progress and achievement and better inform planning for continuous improvement.

School leaders recognise the importance of continuing to develop and implement a consistent approach to enhancing and embedding the school’s response to Māori and Pacific students and families promoting their aspirations, culture, language and identity.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 19 international students were attending the school. Students are from a wide geographical distribution.

The school uses sound processes to monitor the provision of pastoral care, accommodation, English language learning, appropriate learning programmes and achievement.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the broad curriculum that encourages student engagement, learning and achievement

  • the strategic and coherent approach that grows staff professional capability to improve outcomes for students

  • strong systems and processes that support student wellbeing.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • strengthening internal evaluation to more deeply explore the impact of teaching, programmes and initiatives

  • enhancing the school’s response to Māori and Pacific aspirations, promoting cultural responsiveness and improved outcomes for these students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

26 November 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 14)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%
Pākehā 50%
Samoan 8%
Other Pacific 5%
Other ethnic groups 20%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

26 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015

Education Review November 2012

Education Review October 2009