Waimea College - 12/06/2019

School Context

Waimea College is a state, co-educational school for students from Years 9 to 13. It is located in Richmond, Nelson. It has a roll of 1,560 students, about 11% of whom are Māori.

The school’s vision and valued outcomes are ‘For students to achieve through the broad curriculum, realise their potential, and become contributing citizens with the knowledge, understanding and skills to participate in an ever-changing world’.

The school’s motto, ‘Always Strive’, is the inspiration for the mission statement, ‘To bring out the best in students and staff and to encourage life-long learning’. The school’s values are achievement, equity, honesty, innovation, leadership and respect.

The school states that its strategic priorities are achievement, communication, culture, resourcing and wellbeing.

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

  • achievement in the eight learning areas, in relation to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), for Years 9 and 10
  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), for Years 11 to 13
  • other valued outcomes, including wellbeing.

Other significant features of the school include, an international students’ programme, an onsite alternative education facility and high numbers of Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) students, who have high or very high special education needs. The school is managing significant roll growth and property development and has implemented the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme, beginning in 2019.

The school is part of the Waimea Plains Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 school is effectively supporting most of its students to achieve the school’s broad, valued equity and excellence outcomes. A large majority of students achieve academically at or above expected NZC and NZQF levels over time.

School data shows that from 2015 to 2018:

  • most students, including Māori students, consistently achieved at or near national expectations in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 of 85% achievement

  • girls consistently exceeded the national expectation for achievement in NCEA Level 2

  • a large majority of students consistently achieved NCEA Level 3, with girls achieving more highly than other groups of students.

School data for NCEA Levels 2 and 3 from 2017 to 2018 shows improvement in attainment of endorsements by both girls and boys.

For students in Years 9 and 10 school data shows:

  • almost all Year 9 students achieved at expected curriculum levels in science, reading and speaking, and most achieved at expected levels in mathematics

  • almost all Year 10 students achieved at expected curriculum levels in science, most achieved at expected levels in reading and speaking, and a large majority achieved at expected levels in mathematics.

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

The school is positively and effectively accelerating the learning of many Māori and other students who require it.

In 2015-2016, at the time of enrolment, fewer than half of Years 9 and 10 Māori students achieved at or above expected curriculum levels in mathematics and reading. A large majority of these Māori students achieved NCEA Level 1 in 2017-2018, and most achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2018.

In 2015, of the students identified at risk of not achieving at the time of enrolment, most had achieved NCEA Level 1 in 2017 and NCEA Level 2 in 2018.

In 2018, accelerated progress was made for many of those Years 9 and 10 students at risk of not achieving in reading, science and mathematics.

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?

Capable, future-focused trustees serve the school and its families well. They build relational trust with school leaders, and the wider school and education communities, through open communication and respectful partnerships. As a result, their knowledge about, and scrutiny of, widely available data and reports enables them to effectively support school leaders to achieve valued student outcomes. Strategic resourcing decisions support leaders and teachers to strengthen learning and other pathways for student success.

School leaders collaboratively develop, pursue and enact the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence. Their well-considered strategic approach is consultative and inclusive. The current focus on change management processes to oversee significant roll growth is coherent. Leaders are actively promoting a distributed leadership model across the school, for staff and students, which is building capability and reinforcing a shared understanding of current priorities for continuous improvement. Their high expectations for teaching, learning, achievement and wellbeing have created an evolving culture of innovation, flexibility and creativity to meet the diversity of needs across the school.

Students learn, progress and achieve in a calm, collaborative and inclusive learning community. Effective curriculum review, design and enactment processes from 2016 have led to the creation of a local curriculum that has the breadth and depth to respond to students’ needs and aspirations. Strong teacher-student relationship building is central to these outcomes. Relevant curriculum, assessment and teaching practices provide a supportive learning environment for student success. A well-run international students’ programme adds to the diversity and vibrancy of a responsive curriculum.

Significant pastoral networks and multiple learning pathways are well managed and support student wellbeing. Students are given sufficient opportunities to consolidate learning. The school has a strategic focus on priority groups of students in order to ‘close the achievement and wellbeing gaps’. The commitment of leaders and teachers to review and evaluate identified priority areas of school life informs ongoing teaching and learning practices for equity and excellence.

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

School leaders have identified and ERO’s evaluation confirms that the school needs to continue to develop culturally responsive practices, for equity and excellence. This includes increasing schoolwide understanding and knowledge of te ao Māori and deepening schoolwide understanding and use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

3 Other Matters

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 the review, the school had 74 international students, 24 of whom were long term and 50 short term.

The international students programme is well organised. Students receive appropriate care and support to successfully participate in the school’s academic and wider curriculum. Communications with, and reporting to, families are robust. The school regularly reviews the programme in order to meet the aspirations of students and their families.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Waimea College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • future-focused governance and leadership that builds relational trust, and is collaborative and inclusive
  • strategic leadership that has a ‘clear line of sight’ to priority targets and actions for equity and excellence
  • a strong relationship-building culture that promotes a calm, productive learning environment to meet all learners’ needs
  • a responsive local curriculum that recognises the school’s growing diversity
  • extensive pastoral networks that are responsive to learners’ wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to focus on developing culturally responsive practices that include an increased understanding of te ao Māori, and knowledge and use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

12 June 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

State Secondary (Years 9-13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%, Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 11%

NZ European/Pākehā 79%

Other ethnicities 10%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

12 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014

Education Review October 2011

Education Review December 2008