William Colenso College - 20/10/2014


Strong community links contribute to a charter that is consultatively developed and provides clear school direction. Responsive learning opportunities, systems and processes support positive outcomes for students. Culturally responsive strategies are designed to engage Māori students in learning. Trustees and leaders recognise a continuing need to engage and accelerate all learners’ progress.

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?

William Colenso College provides education for 360 students in Years 7 to 13. Māori students comprise 65% of the roll, and NZ European 24%. There are more girls than boys on the roll. The 39 international students enhance the multicultural nature of the school.

The Middle School comprises Years 7 to 9 students. They are home-roomed, meaning that the majority of their school day is spent with one classroom teacher who integrates learning areas. A significant number of students enters the college at Year 9.

The school charter is underpinned by four key goals; responsive outcomes for all learners, responsive systems and processes, responsive learning opportunities, responsive relationships. Continued improvement in students’ attendance, engagement and achievement is recognised as a school priority.

A feature of the school culture is the strong focus on building and fostering positive relationships among staff, students, parents and whānau. Many initiatives have contributed to the strong culture of wellbeing. Examples include; restorative practice, building relationships to support learning, the vertical form structure for Years 10-13, the development of Te Whānau Ora as a learning and behaviour centre, and Careplan meetings involving whānau and agencies.

A teen parent unit and attached early childhood centre cater for teen mothers across Hawke's Bay and are integral parts of the school.

Areas identified for development in ERO’s 2011 report have been addressed by school managers and trustees. Progress with the analysis and use of student achievement information is ongoing.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The board has set achievement targets that are consistent schoolwide. Teachers actively participate in co-construction meetings where student achievement data is analysed and discussed and programmes are reviewed and adapted.

Since ERO’s 2011 review, department reviews have been strengthened. They have a strong focus on raising achievement. Heads of Learning (HoLs) are guided by a useful reporting template and receive capacity-building feedback from the principal. These reports are shared at board meetings.

Year 7 to 10

In Year 7 and 8, teachers use information from a range of sources to inform National Standards judgements in reading, writing and mathematics. In-school moderation is assisting teachers to increase the validity of judgements. Building knowledge and a shared understanding of the National Standards is a continuing priority.

In Years 9 and 10 judgements on achievement are based on curriculum expectations and build towards National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1.

The achievement of a high proportion of students entering the school is significantly below expected achievement levels. Some students make accelerated progress, but a number continues to be below expectation in literacy and mathematics.

Targets are set to significantly improve learning for those achieving below expectation. Some teachers make good use of information that shows the extent of students' progress, to consider the impact of their teaching, particularly on accelerating learning.

Assessment information identifies the key teaching areas for individuals and groups. Written language was prioritised in 2014.

A strength of the school is the support provided for students identified as needing extra support through well-considered programmes for groups and individuals.


Improvements to the achievement of students in NCEA since the previous ERO review are evident, especially at Level 1. Most students who complete Year 13 gain at least NCEA Level 2.

There has been significant improvement for Māori students at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Māori, on average, now achieve at similar levels to other students in the school. The comparatively small numbers of Pacific students generally achieve at similar levels to those in comparable schools.

The college has an appropriate goal of raising the proportion of students remaining at school until their 17th birthday to ensure they gain at least NCEA Level 2.

The school is focused on providing positive achievement outcomes for every student. Many effective strategies have been introduced to support this aim, including tracking and monitoring of students towards NCEA qualifications. The school actively seeks parent and whānau involvement in their child’s learning.

Increased consideration of leaver qualifications (both for individuals and groups) should assist the school to more effectively review the impact of the curriculum on student achievement.

Attendance issues impact on the learning and achievement of some students. Comprehensive initiatives are in place to improve attendance, including close liaison with home. This has resulted in improved attendance for some students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning. It is responsive and regularly reviewed to meet individual and group needs. Literacy and numeracy are key focus areas within the curriculum.

The middle school curriculum is responsive and supports success for Māori as Māori. The innovative, multi-level and flexible senior curriculum provides a range of course options. This enables students to follow a variety of interests and pathways.

Most students participate in the social, cultural and sporting elements of the curriculum. Successes are celebrated.

There is a wide range of initiatives designed to increase engagement. They include having responsive relationships, responsive leadership, restorative practice and a focus on presence. Self review indicates that more consistent implementation of expectations is needed, as student engagement in learning is variable. Leaders recognise the importance of continuing to develop and implement strategies to engage and accelerate all learners’ progress. ERO’s evaluation confirms this.

A key strategic focus is to develop meaningful relationships with the community. The recently introduced vertical form structure, using all teachers as mentors, facilitates closer school-whānau links. The board actively promotes home liaison and intervention for learners at risk of not succeeding, especially in relation to attendance and retention.

Student wellbeing is regarded by all as paramount. A recent survey indicated that students feel well supported by adults in the school. The student support centre provides a range of services to provide for students’ social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

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

A high proportion of the students identifies as Māori. Teachers meet regularly and formally to discuss practices to assist them to develop culturally responsive strategies to engage Māori students in learning.

Ongoing review and development of the school’s curriculum and teaching practice help the school to promote education success for Māori as Māori. The curriculum reflects a valuing of students’ language, culture and identity. There are increasing opportunities to gain NCEA in content areas that are relevant to the Māori students. These include place-based learning at local marae and other locations.

Te ao Māori, te reo Māori and tikanga are an integral part of students’ schooling experience. Te reo Māori is a compulsory subject in Years 7, 8 and 9.

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. The well-considered, consultatively developed charter and annual plan set a clear vision and direction for the school. The annual plan target goals are student-centred.

Trustees are well informed on progress towards meeting goals. In-depth reflection and review support the board in making appropriate resourcing decisions and taking actions to improve student presence, engagement and achievement. There now needs to be more focused evaluation on the impact of strategies on target students.

Senior managers’ strengths and skills complement one another. They have a clear vision and articulate high expectations for teachers and students. The leaders actively promote high quality relationships and their collaborative approach ensures responsibilities are clear and appropriately distributed. They know students, their families and the community well.

A revised appraisal system directs teachers to reflect on their practice. Culturally appropriate and responsive teaching indicators and data-driven evidence, along with improvement-focused observations, promote teacher development.

Trustees have particularly good community links. They use a variety of strategies to ensure all sections of the community, including those who are harder to reach or are under-represented, are consulted.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. A comprehensive review of its systems and procedures, to confirm they align with the Code, has recently been conducted.

At the time of this review there were 39 international students attending the school. Most students came from Germany (13) and Brazil (11).

International students achieve well throughout their time at the school. A director of international students, a home-stay coordinator and two specialist teachers of English language learners (ELL) have high expectations for their achievement. They work together to monitor students’ needs and use a range of strategies to promote their learning. The ELL classroom provides a base for students to learn English and access support.

All students have home-stay accommodation. The coordinator is on site and available for school, social and home-stay discussions. She has regular contact with the families who often meet together over the year.

International staff liaise well with the HoLs, management and the home-stay director to share useful student information. School staff and management work collaboratively to provide a good level of pastoral care. They build positive and productive relationships with students. Students integrate well into school life and participate in a range of sporting and cultural events.

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.


Strong community links contribute to a charter that is consultatively developed and provides clear school direction. Responsive learning opportunities, systems and processes support positive outcomes for students. Culturally responsive strategies are designed to engage Māori students in learning. Trustees and leaders recognise a continuing need to engage and accelerate all learners’ progress.

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

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifJoyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

20 October 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 59%, Male 41%

Ethnic composition


NZ European


Other ethnic groups





Special Features

Teen Parent Unit

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

20 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

October 2011
November 2008
June 2005