Waimate High School - 31/01/2019

School Context

Waimate High School, located in the rural township of Waimate, caters for students in Years 7 to 13 and has a current roll of 260 students.

The school’s vision states that, ‘We want all our students to be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.’ The school values of respect, responsibility and real honesty are collectively known as ‘The Waimate Way.’ The Learning Advisory (LA) programme, a pastoral and academic support programme for all students, places emphasis on learning partnerships. It embraces the Māori concepts of whanaungatanga (relationships), kotahitanga (unification), whakatupuranga (growth) and ākonga (learner).

Three main strategic goals form the basis for planning at all levels of the school:

  • excellent student attainment

  • positive culture of learning

  • innovative learning environment.

The school is an active participant in the Waimate Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). The principal is currently the lead principal for the CoL.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics progress and achievement (Years 7-10)

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) framework

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations.

In 2016 and 2017, the school participated in a Ministry of Education writing initiative, Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL).

Progress has been made in relation to areas identified for further development in the 2015 ERO report. This is particularly evident in progress towards creating a positive learning environment which acknowledges the bicultural nature of the New Zealand Curriculum, and recognises the importance of language, culture and identity for Māori students.

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?

The board, school leaders and teachers are working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

In 2016 and 2017 for Years 7 and 8, most students achieved at or above expectations in reading, and the majority of students achieved at or above expectations in writing. However, there is a persisting pattern of underachievement for boys in writing. In 2017, the majority of Year 7 and 8 students achieved at or above expectations in mathematics. The school’s data indicates a positive trend in reading, writing and mathematics for Year 7 (2016) to Year 8 (2017).

The school is developing processes to report meaningfully on progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10. It is currently difficult to discern patterns of progress and achievement in existing data for these year groups.

The school’s data for Years 11 to 13 indicates significant variability in NCEA achievement over time. Leaders have identified the need to improve the numbers of students gaining merit and excellence endorsements at all levels. There is no significant disparity in achievement for Māori students evident in NCEA data.

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

The school’s data shows that it is successful in accelerating learning for a number of target students. Leaders are in the process of rationalising data management for Years 7 to 10 to ensure consistency in assessment and reporting of progress and achievement.

Nearly half of the Year 7 and 8 students, identified for support through the Ministry of Education’s ALL project, reached curriculum expectations for writing.

The school’s data identifies that almost half of the Year 7 and 8 students targeted for additional support in reading and writing made accelerated progress. It is unclear if this progress was sufficient to enable students to reach curriculum expectations for their stage of schooling. In numeracy, few of the target students made accelerated progress.

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?

The strategic direction of the school is clearly articulated. There is alignment between planning at governance and management level. Department plans, actions and reports to the board align with annual goals.

The board is committed to the provision of effective governance support for the school. Trustees have sourced professional learning from the New Zealand School Trustees’ Association (NZSTA). The board is knowledgeable about the range of learning opportunities provided for students at the school.

School leaders and teachers are focused on innovations to promote a positive learning environment for all students. The Learning Advisory programme provides pastoral and academic support for students in mixed age groups. Expectations for learning advisers are clearly documented. Timetabled advisory sessions enable teachers to work closely with students to identify goals, provide support for study, and assist decision making about programmes and career options. Older students also mentor younger students during these sessions. A thinking tool has been introduced to provide a common language for teachers and students to discuss levels of learning. Students in a number of subject areas, are able to identify the level they are working at and what they need to do in order to improve.

The school has a number of sound practices in place to assist all students, with a focus on those needing additional support. There are regular staff forums operating where student pastoral and academic progress information is shared and reported. Teachers collaborate across a range of curriculum areas to meet the needs of learners. The timetable is driven by the needs of students. Teachers willingly accommodate students’ learning requirements across a range of subject areas and levels within a class.

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

Leaders have introduced a number of innovations over the last three years. ERO has identified, and school leaders agree, that it is timely to evaluate which programmes and practices have had the most impact on students’ progress and achievement.

To ensure that these evaluations are useful and informed by reliable data, leaders should:

  • ensure that assessment practices in Years 7 to 10 include a range of assessment tools that are used consistently to inform an overall teacher judgement in relation to curriculum expectations, and that are moderated for reliability

  • analyse collated student assessment data to provide a clear overview of progress and achievement, in relation to curriculum expectations for each year group, and present this data to the board

  • adopt an evaluation framework and provide professional support for its effective use at all levels of the school

  • refine department plans to identify specific outcomes for teaching and learning so that progress and next steps can be determined.

Trustees should ensure that they have reliable ways of knowing about, and responding to, the wellbeing of all staff.

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 theEducation (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 there were two international students attending the school who are exchange students.

International students are well supported to develop English language skills and be actively involved in cultural, academic and social aspects of school life.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • clearly articulated strategic and annual planning

  • an evident focus on student-led learning and wellbeing

  • a collaborative approach to providing support for students requiring pastoral and learning support.

Next steps

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

  • refining assessment practices in Years 7 to 10

  • analysing collated assessment information to identify student progress and achievement in relation to curriculum expectations

  • the effective use of evaluation processes and practices to inform planning and decision making.

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 & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

31 January 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 48% ; Girls 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%

Pākehā 82%

Asian 4%

Other ethnicities 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

31 January 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2015

Education Review June 2012