Wairoa College - 15/06/2016


Raising student achievement at all levels of the college remains a significant challenge. The school is in a period of considerable development with many new initiatives in place, aimed at increasing students' engagement, achievement and progress. The board is developing a more strategic approach to change management so that a shared community vision for school improvement is realised. 

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Wairoa College is a Year 7 to 13 secondary school located in northern Hawke's Bay. At the time of this ERO review the roll was 505, with 88% identifying as Māori. The roll has declined since the July 2012 ERO report.

A strong sense of biculturalism runs through the school. A rumaki Māori language class is offered in Years 7 and 8. The well-established grounds feature a prominent wharenui. The ROCK values - Respect, Ownership, Choices and Kotahitanga - are centrally displayed in the school grounds. The college’s vision statement of ‘raising student achievement through building strong foundations’ underpins all school endeavours. Many students travel long distances to school and bus to other towns for sporting and cultural fixtures.

Since the previous ERO review, there have been several staffing changes, including the appointment of a new principal in term 2, 2015 and a subsequent realignment of the senior leadership team. A number of new initiatives and structures have been introduced since mid-2015.

2 Learning

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

There is variability in the use and understanding of student achievement information. School leaders should develop and implement a consistent, reliable way to measure and report on Year 9 and 10 students’ progress to evaluate the impact of schoolwide initiatives.

National Standards data for Years 7 and 8 is analysed and shared with teachers. Students at risk of not achieving are identified. Their learning is appropriately tracked. While there are examples of students making progress in reading, writing and mathematics, 40% of Year 7 and 8 students are not achieving at the relevant National Standards, especially in mathematics.

In 2015, roll-based student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at all Levels was below comparable schools and percentages of achievement nationally. The school has not been successful in raising levels of achievement in national qualifications over time. The percentage of learners leaving with NCEA Level 2 has declined. Each student’s progress is closely monitored and they benefit from regular mentoring and support from staff. However, school leaders recognise that raising student achievement at all levels of the college remains a significant challenge.

Transition processes into the school are strong and continually improving. Changes to the start of year programme and higher expectations for attendance are aimed at improving student presence. These new initiatives are yet to be evaluated. Students with specific needs are well supported by staff and programmes.

It is important for leaders to develop and implement a consistent schoolwide approach to the use of achievement information. This should assist trustees, leaders and teachers to:

  • better develop and monitor specific student achievement targets for all year levels
  • implement appropriate, targeted teaching and learning programmes
  • identify, track and support students at risk of underachieving to make accelerated progress
  • evaluate the impact of initiatives and programmes on student outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is developing its curriculum to more effectively promote and support learning for all students.

There is an increasing range of diverse learning and vocational pathways for students in the senior school. Programmes in outdoor education, engineering, horticulture, the Services Academy and Gateway, together with links to the local polytechnic, give students many opportunities to achieve success and continue with learning beyond school. A well-planned careers programme is in place.

The curriculum is well resourced with extensive provision of computer technology. The new initiative of Day 0 combined with an increasingly student driven timetable are initiatives being taken to increase student engagement. These have yet to be evaluated for their impact.

Classes are generally calm and settled with respectful relationships among students and teachers and high levels of participation. Students spoken to by ERO were confident and positive about the school and their learning.

ERO identified and school leaders agree that reviewing and re-developing an overarching curriculum framework in consultation with staff and community is an urgent priority. This should include:

  • school defined values, key competencies and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • links between different learning areas and recent initiatives, including those aimed at improving students’ literacy and numeracy
  • expectations for effective, culturally responsive, teaching practice and formal teacher inquiry
  • local themes, history and contexts
  • curriculum and assessment, including Ngā Whanaketanga, used in the Year 7 and 8 rumaki classes
  • shared understanding and common approaches to literacy and numeracy from Years 7 to 13.

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

Students demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and pride in being Māori.

Te ao Māori is embedded throughout the school with tikanga Māori interwoven in the school’s culture and values. There is a schoolwide commitment to improving opportunities for Māori students to express and celebrate their culture, knowledge and experience. Students benefit from strong links with the community and positive role modelling provided by Māori staff.

Year 7 and 8 students can choose to learn in a rumaki setting and bilingual classes cater for Year 9 and 10 students. Year 10 students achieve NCEA Level 1 Te Reo Māori credits and progress to Level 6 through Te Ataarangi.

The kapa haka group continues to have a prominent profile both in the school and the community. Students and whānau show strong commitment to high quality performance that is celebrated schoolwide.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is continuing to develop its capacity to sustain and improve its performance. Key supporting factors include:

  • student-focused trustees, with a range of experience, that support change and development
  • the principal and senior leadership team working to foster change and innovation in school operations, teaching and learning
  • sound systems supporting student wellbeing
  • high community interest and support for school activities and events.

Appraisal processes have not effectively supported growth and improvement in teaching practice. In 2015, endorsement for issue and renewal of teachers' practising certificates were not based on meaningful appraisal. A newly developed system is being introduced in 2016. This should, with rigorous implementation, better promote ongoing development in teaching and learning.

School leaders, staff and trustees recognise that enhancing internal evaluation capacity should help them to identify the impact of change to inform next steps and continual progress.

The school, under new leadership, is in a period of significant change and development. Leaders are working to grow a common understanding of the purpose and intended outcome of many of the initiatives. Effective change management is important to ensure all parties have input and ownership. Trustees and leaders should:

  • consult widely with whānau, community and interested parties
  • clearly articulate and document a shared vision and the plans, systems and processes to bring about school improvement
  • regularly communicate the rationale for and progress of change
  • develop indicators of expected outcomes against which to more effectively evaluate the impacts of recent initiatives for students.

There is a need to support leadership in developing relevant curriculum expertise and change management skills. Effectively managing the pace and impact of development should support the implementation of new systems and processes to lead to improved student achievement.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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.

During the review, ERO identified that the policy and procedural framework required review. In order to meet requirements the board of trustees must:

  • develop a robust policy and procedural framework and regularly review this to guide practice in all aspects of school operation in line with the National Administration Guidelines.[National Administration Guideline 5]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 to provide support to the school to address areas of concern identified in this report.


Raising student achievement at all levels of the college remains a significant challenge. The school is in a period of considerable development with many new initiatives in place, aimed at increasing students' engagement, achievement and progress. The board is developing a more strategic approach to change management so that a shared community vision for school improvement is realised.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 June 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 50% Female 50%

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Special Features

Years 7 and 8 Rumaki Years 9 and 10 bilingual class Special Needs Unit

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

15 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2012

December 2008

September 2006