Te Kauwhata College - 12/06/2017


Students at Te Kauwhata College benefit from a range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. They participate and enjoy success within an affirming, inclusive school culture. Relationships among students, teachers and whānau are positive and respectful, and this helps students achieve to their potential.

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?

Te Kauwhata College is located in a rural town approximately 50 km north of Hamilton. It provides education for students in Years 7 to 13 from the town and surrounding rural areas. The school roll has steadily increased since the last ERO review in 2013. The current roll is 502 students, of whom 35% identify as Māori.

The school is guided by the mission statement ‘Ko te matauranga te huarahi ko te anamata, Education is the key to the future’. The school actively encourages students to be ‘competent, connected, curious, caring, creative, and confident citizens’.

The school is undergoing a significant period of growth and change in all aspects. Since the last ERO review in 2013 there has been significant changes to the senior leadership team with a new deputy principal and assistant principal appointed. A new principal was appointed in 2016 and has started the process of reviewing current systems and practices to ensure they meet the needs of students. This has led to several changes to leaders of curriculum and learning across the school and redefining roles and responsibilities, including the pastoral and academic care team.

There has also been significant changes to the teaching staff. The board of trustees includes a combination of newly elected and experienced members. The chairperson is experienced in the role. Trustees bring a wide range of skills and expertise to their governance roles and have strong links in the community. The principal is working to develop a strong relationship with Waikato-Tainui and to access external professional development for staff in cultural responsiveness.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO, however the areas identified for development in the previous ERO report continue to be an urgent priority for the new leadership team. 

2 Learning

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

There remains a need for the school to make better use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The school uses a range of standardised assessment tools to gather achievement information on students in Years 7 and 8. Information gathered in Term 1 is used to identify students at risk of underachieving. However there is a need to use this information in a more timely fashion to ensure students whose learning requires acceleration are targeted more effectively from the start of the year. The school is currently developing systems to ensure more robust moderation processes.

School data in 2016 shows that 78% of Year 7 and 8 students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, 60% in writing and 52% in mathematics. There is a significant disparity between the achievement of boys and girls, and between Māori and other children in reading, and especially in writing and maths.

The school acknowledges that they do not currently have school-wide collated and analysed data on achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics for students in Years 9 and 10. A key next step is to:

  • clarify responsibilities for leadership of Years 7 to 10
  • provide professional development to build capabilities in effective assessment and moderation processes
  • ensure systems are in place for the collation and analysis of achievement information.

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data for 2016 shows that 72% of students gained Level 1, 78% gained Level 2, 70 % gained Level 3 and 35% gained University Entrance (UE). There was an overall improvement in the achievement at Level 1 including the achievement of Maori students. However there was a significant disparity in the achievement between Māori and other students at Levels 2, 3 and UE.

To address this significant disparity, there is an urgent need to develop and implement a focused, strategic approach to raise the achievement of Māori students. Particular attention should be given to:

  • developing systems and processes to gather, collate and analyse robust and reliable data and use this to inform target setting
  • refining charter targets to more specifically focus on students at risk of underachieving and reporting on the progress of these students regularly to trustees
  • developing specific department targets and action plans that focus on raising Māori student achievement and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of these actions in addressing the disparity
  • strengthening processes that support teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their professional practice in relation to raising the achievement of targeted students
  • comprehensive internal evaluation, including seeking the perspectives of Māori students, whānau and iwi to underpin the strategic direction in raising student achievement. 

3 Curriculum

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

Some aspects of the school’s curriculum promote and support student learning. These include:

  • a range of opportunities to participate and gain success in sporting, cultural and academic pursuits
  • extending links with industry, trades organisations and businesses to provide learning opportunities for students in authentic contexts
  • project learning and activity days for students to follow their interests and strengths.

Student engagement and wellbeing are effectively supported by comprehensive pastoral care processes. Committed deans carefully monitor students’ attendance, emotional safety and academic progress, and develop useful partnerships with parents and whānau. They are well supported by a range of health professionals and work closely with outside services to provide effective ‘wrap around’ support for students and their families.

The newly appointed Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) has considerable experience in identifying and addressing learning and behavioural issues for students and is developing systems to effectively track and monitor at-risk students. The SENCO works collaboratively with leaders, teachers and teacher aides to provide support and individual learning plans for students whose learning requires acceleration.

The curriculum is yet to effectively respond to a significant proportion of Māori and boys. Reviewing the curriculum to see how it can better meet the needs of these students is an urgent priority.

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

The school promotes initiatives that support educational success for Māori. Te Puawai vertical form classes provide a strong sense of whānau and belonging for Māori students. Kaiako of theses classes regularly mentor individual students, track and monitor their progress and work collaboratively with teachers and whānau in the best interests of students. The positive impact of these relationships has led to the extension of these strategies for Māori students in other form rooms and the creation of the Kaitiaki Hauora role.

The school hosts regular whānau hui which are very well attended. These hui provide a highly effective forum to celebrate Māori language, culture and identity and showcase Māori student success in all aspects of the curriculum. Staff and trustees also attend hui which are also opportunities for informal conversations about children’s learning and wellbeing, and make whānau feel welcome and valued in the life of the school.

The principal has established a group, Te Ropu Kaiwhakatere, to lead the direction for cultural responsiveness in the school. This group provides professional development in te reo and tikanga Māori or staff and sessions about Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako. Teachers have also learnt about the local history and stories of the region at their local marae. These connections have strengthened relationships with local iwi and there is a developing relationship with Waikato-Tainui to find productive ways to further support Māori students and their learning.

Building on these effective initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori students is an ongoing priority for the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Supportive factors include:

  • trustees who have a positive working relationship with the principal and staff, and promote student success in many different areas
  • school leadership who is committed to establishing an inclusive bicultural school culture
  • leadership of staff to improve systems and processes to support positive outcomes for students
  • broad networks of support between the school and its community.

The key next step is for the board and school leaders to continue to focus on raising levels of achievement and reducing disparity. This includes:

  • developing and implementing an action plan to address the matters identified in this report regarding raising student achievement levels including targets, action plans, monitoring, and reporting on at-risk learners
  • undertaking an internal evaluation of current practices and processes with reference to research and best practice
  • ensure that the process for meeting the requirements of the Education Council is fully implemented.

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. 


ERO recommends that the school participate in an ERO internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all students.


Students at Te Kauwhata College benefit from a range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. They participate and enjoy success within an affirming, inclusive school culture. Relationships among students, teachers and whānau are positive and respectful, and this helps students achieve to their potential.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

12 June 2017

About the School 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 255 Girls 247

Ethnic composition











Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

12 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2013

January 2011

April 2008