Te Awamutu College

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Education institution number:
146
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
1309
Telephone:
Address:

938 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu

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Findings

Te Awamutu College has strong links to the local community. Students benefit from a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. They have a strong sense of belonging and enjoy success in an environment that is inclusive. Relationships among students, teachers and whānau are positive and respectful.

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 Awamutu College is a well-established, co-educational secondary college that provides education for Years 9 to 13 learners from Te Awamutu and surrounding rural areas. The college roll of 1101 includes approximately 30% Māori and most of these learners affiliate to Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngati Raukawa, and other iwi throughout Aotearoa.

O-Tāwhao Marae was established in the 1980’s and provides a feature for the college. It provides a place for pōwhiri and kapa haka. It is also used as a venue for the teaching and learning of tikanga Māori. The college mission statement recognises tangata whenua and cultural diversity.

The principal, senior leaders and many staff have continued in their roles since the 2013 ERO review. Recently appointed staff are contributing to the college culture. Changes to the board of trustees include a newly appointed chairperson and new trustees. The board plans to co-opt a Māori trustee representative.

Senior leaders have responded positively to the areas for review and development in the 2013 ERO report. They have strengthened the teacher appraisal system, improved assessment and reporting processes in Years 9 and 10, and increased the monitoring of the progress and achievement of all senior students, particularly Māori students.

Teachers have engaged in a range of professional learning and development opportunities, which has included a college-wide approach to positive behaviour for learning, and strengthen their responsiveness to learners with diverse learning needs.

Parents and whānau maintain strong inter-generational links with the college community. They make a positive contribution to college events and activities. Learners benefit from strong links with local businesses and other educational providers. 

2 Learning

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

The college effectively uses student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Trustees are focused on raising learning outcomes for students. They have set strategic goals and expectations for accelerating progress and achievement and particularly those learners at risk of not achieving. The board receives a range of analysed information from the principal about student achievement and progress. They use this information to make appropriate resourcing decisions.

The ‘Māori and Pasifika Achievement and Success Plan’ aims to improve the quality of teaching and raise the achievement of all Māori and Pasifika students, and particularly Māori boys. The plan provides clear expectations for teaching and learning.

In Years 11 to 13, student progress and achievement in NCEA is effectively tracked and monitored by teachers and deans. All learners, and particularly Māori learners, who are at risk of not achieving their qualifications are identified and well supported through extra tuition to achieve their required credits. There has been an increased emphasis on encouraging learners to obtain merit and excellence endorsements. Overall NCEA achievement data trends indicate that the progress of all learners including Māori is improving and the disparity between Māori and non-Māori is decreasing. This is particularly evident in NCEA Level 2. The college is progressing towards the national expectation of 85% of all students achieving NCEA Level 2.

In Years 9 and 10, college leaders and teachers use a range of achievement information to group students for instruction. Teachers use this information to set targets for all learners and particularly those whose progress needs accelerating in relation to curriculum level expectations. Senior leaders plan to extend the monitoring and analysis process to Years 9 and 10. This framework is currently used in Years 11 to 13 and the process provides leaders and teachers with a robust student tracking system that allows leaders to more effectively evaluate student progress and achievement against college targets.

The Centre of Excellence and subject specific challenges contribute to the learning of students who need extra support and extension. They are well catered for through high quality programmes and personalised initiatives. Teachers are highly committed to providing equitable outcomes for these students.

3 Curriculum

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

The college curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning, and curriculum provides an appropriate balance of academic, sporting and cultural learning opportunities. Learners are well supported in their subject choices and are encouraged by teachers, deans, career advisors and counsellors to pursue pathways that lead to further study and employment.

Students benefit from a curriculum that contributes to learning through, authentic, meaningful real-life learning contexts. Promotion of agreed values for positive learning opportunities for students to study through tertiary and workplace providers, and the increasing use of digital technologies enhance learning.

A college-wide initiative aims to provide opportunities by teachers for Māori learners to experience greater success. All learning areas develop ‘Māori Achievement Action Plans’. These plans aim to promote and support the learning of Māori students and accelerate their achievement towards meeting overall school targets. There is an expectation that the use of te reo and tikanga Māori is integrated into learning. Leaders are currently reviewing plans to ensure that there is consistency in setting measurable achievement targets, learner progress is identified and department targets and school goals are met.

The college appraisal system is robust and provides clear expectations for teachers. It is important that teachers continue to strengthen the quality of their teaching, by reflecting on the extent to which their teaching practices meet the needs of target learners. As a result they should be able to develop more responsive strategies that promote positive learning opportunities for these students.

Teachers use a wide range of effective strategies to engage students in learning. These include the use of groups for collaborative learning, hands on practical activities and strategies to scaffold learning. In classes, students were engaged and benefitting from caring and respectful relationships between teachers and among peers. Examples of high quality teaching strategies that engage students in purposeful and meaningful learning include:

  • interactive opportunities to lead learning and learn from one another
  • personalised learning that builds on interests and strengths
  • teachers working collaboratively across curriculum areas to develop effective strategies for individual target learners
  • frameworks that encourage students to see the purpose and meaning of what they need to learn.

Teachers of Years 9 and 10 should further develop student ownership of learning through practices such as student self and peer assessment, and co-constructing with students their next steps for learning.

There is a strong culture of support for students. Well-developed pastoral care provisions, and clearly defined positive behaviour for learning management systems promote student’s sense of wellbeing and belonging.

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

The college has a clearly defined intent to promote educational success for Māori. Policies, practices and procedures are put in place to value te reo and tikanga Māori. Current initiatives that aim to promote educational success for Māori learners include:

  • fostering a sense of belonging through the enactment of the college mission statement
  • integrated studies in some departments focused on Māori contexts
  • noho marae.

Many Māori learners actively celebrate te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in pōwhiri, kapa haka, karakia and waiata in the college.

Clearly defined college guidelines encourage teachers to raise their levels of competency in the use of te reo and tikanga Māori. It is important for teachers to continue to explore ways to further develop their levels of competency and how they might integrate te reo and tikanga Māori into their teaching.

The college aims to increase the involvement of whānau, hapū and iwi in the college. The strengthening of partnership between college and whānau should include frequent consideration of the views and aspirations whānau have for children and their learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Strengths include:

  • a considered and deliberate approach to managing change resulting in ongoing college improvement
  • sound governance by committed trustees who are well informed about their roles and responsibilities
  • capable leadership that promotes professional learning and distributes leadership opportunities across the college
  • a collegial staff who demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to improving outcomes for students
  • a positive culture for learning that promotes student safety and wellbeing.
  • very good examples of self review based on student engagement and staff feedback.

It is important for trustees, leaders and teachers to continue to work together to sustain the progress and achievement of all students particularly those who are at risk of not achieving equitable educational outcomes. The college recognises the disparity between its Māori and Pākehā achievement, and has implemented a number of initiatives to address the situation. It is important that these initiatives are regularly reviewed and evaluated against college achievement targets.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Learners (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

  1. The Educational (Pastoral Care of International Learners) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016. The school has updated its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.
  2. At the time of this ERO review there were 3 international learners attending the college.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international learners is thorough.

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.

Conclusion

Te Awamutu College has strong links to the local community. Students benefit from a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. They have a strong sense of belonging and enjoy success in an environment that is inclusive. Relationships among students, teachers and whānau are positive and respectful.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

14 December 2016

About the School 

Location

Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number

146

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1101

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys 49%

Girls 51%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Other Pacific

Indian

Asian

Other European

60%

30%

1%

1%

1%

2%

5%

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

14 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2013

May 2010

June 2007

 

1 Context

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

Te Awamutu College is a co-educational secondary school providing education for students in Years 9 to 15. The school is located in the south Waikato town of Te Awamutu and has a roll of 1170 students and approximately 31% are of Māori descent.

Since the last ERO review in 2010, the senior leadership team has remained relatively constant with one new appointment in 2012. The appointment of a significant number of new teachers has been a positive addition to the school. The board has continued to provide effective governance and although the longstanding board chairperson has resigned he continues to support his successor.

Teachers continue to participate in a range of professional learning and development opportunities including the Te Kotahitanga initiative, to enhance their teaching practice. This initiative has been ongoing for a number of years and is now funded by the board. A recent development has been the building of an expansive, purpose-built gymnasium to enhance recreational and sporting opportunities for students. The school continues to build strong networks with the local community.

The board, senior leaders and staff work collaboratively towards their vision of ‘Creating learning success for every student’. The school offers a broad range of educational opportunities for a diverse student population within a supportive and very well resourced learning environment. O-Twahao marae has a high profile and continues to be integral to the school community.ā

The principal, with support from the staff and board, is promoting a culture of high expectations. He continues to be widely respected and well supported by a committed board of trustees and senior leadership team. Positive relationships, care for the environment and a focus on raising academic achievement are evident throughout the school. Students and staff demonstrate a strong sense of pride in, and belonging to, the college.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders collate and analyse National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data to guide annual planning and reporting. Achievement targets relating to the expected percentage of students achieving NCEA are set each year and provide the basis for ongoing review. Heads of department make good use of data to design relevant courses for students. Deans work closely with senior students through academic counselling to monitor and track their achievement. The parent electronic portal was introduced in 2012 to keep parents informed about their child’s progress and to strengthen home/school partnerships. Teachers are increasingly using student achievement information to keep parents informed through this electronic portal. This approach, along with parent, teacher and student interviews, is strengthening communication and partnerships with parents.

While NCEA information indicates an overall improvement in achievement levels since the last ERO review, senior leaders acknowledge the need to continue to focus on raising achievement levels so that patterns of achievement are consistent with national expectations. It is acknowledged that the school was pleased Māori students met school targets for NCEA Level 2 Māori students and exceeded the targets for Levels 1 and 3. It should be noted however, that NCEA achievement data for Māori students shows that, with the exception of Year 13 in 2012, achievement levels continue to be below national expectations.

Area for Review and Development

Professional leadership: The interpretation and use of achievement information at Years 9 and 10 is an area for significant development. Senior leaders have yet to gather robust assessment information, and effectively analyse and report on overall patterns of progress and achievement for Years 9 and 10 students.

ERO has identified, and senior leaders agree, there is a need to use achievement information more effectively to inform decision making across the school. Senior leaders need to further develop and embed the following critical aspects of professional leadership by ensuring:

  • senior leaders critically analyse and interpret school-wide achievement information, including Years 9 and 10, to set specific and relevant student achievement targets as part of the annual reporting process
  • senior leaders and heads of department align performance management goals and professional development with identified priorities for raising student achievement
  • heads of department use achievement information from departmental analysis to inform the annual reporting process to management and the board
  • key personnel use achievement information to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives, particularly those designed to raise the achievement of Māori students and priority groups of learners
  • the board uses evidence based reports to strengthen and shape strategic decision making.

This should lead to better alignment of key school-wide operations, strengthen evidence-based self review and inquiry, and contribute to positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school continues to review and refine its curriculum, particularly for senior students. This approach is effectively promoting and supporting students' learning through:

  • a flexible approach to timetabling and accommodating students' course needs
  • the provision of a variety of academic and vocational pathways leading to relevant qualifications
  • opportunities for students to develop knowledge and skills in education outside the classroom (EOTC), student leadership, and cultural and sporting activities
  • the provision of learning support programmes for students with identified learning needs
  • an extensive pastoral care network to support student’s academic, social and emotional needs.

There is an increasing focus on strategies to engage students in purposeful learning. In classes observed by ERO there were positive and respectful interactions between students and teachers and among students, and many examples of cooperative group learning. Teachers clearly explained the purpose of the learning, used meaningful examples and gave constructive and helpful feedback to guide the learning process.

Professional learning and development is positively influencing teaching practice. School-wide professional learning and development centres around teacher focus groups that provide opportunities for teachers to lead and take responsibility for curriculum developments. Teachers are able to discuss, share and reflect on their practice. School leaders acknowledge the need to foster this approach and formalise a process for inquiring into teaching and learning practices. This is particularly important for progressively raising the achievement levels of students attaining Level 2 NCEA and for priority learners across the school.

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

The school promotes success for Māori in many ways. There is a strong emphasis on strategies and initiatives to lift the presence, engagement and achievement of Māori students. Improving learning relationships between teachers and Māori students is a significant focus for teachers and is contributing to calm and settled environments for teaching and learning. Māori students are benefitting from the many programmes and opportunities that promote their cultural identify, leadership skills, confidence and enjoyment of learning.

There is a need to improve the achievement of Māori students. While there are several initiatives designed to support and engage Māori students, school leaders now need to set specific targets and measurable goals to determine the effectiveness of these initiatives through ongoing self-review processes.

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 because:

  • the board is providing effective governance particularly in relation to financial management and resource allocation
  • the principal’s inclusive leadership style is fostering a strong commitment and ownership of the school’s vision and values
  • senior leaders work collegially to support the principal and ensure effective school operations
  • there is a safe and supportive school culture underpinned by high expectations and standards
  • there are many examples of effective teaching and teachers' commitment to professional learning and development
  • there is provision of holistic education and learning pathways that support students to succeed.

In order to strengthen sustainability it is essential that the board and senior leaders work collaboratively to develop and implement evidenced-based self review that is informed by student achievement information.

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. At the time of this review there were two international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 July 2013

About the School

Location

Te Awamutu, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

146

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1170

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Girls 55% Boys 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other European

Other

60%

31%

5%

4%

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

8 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

June 2007

March 2005