Tauhara College

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Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

101 Invergarry Road, Taupo

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School Context

Tauhara College is a state co-educational high school located in Taupō, catering for students in Years 9 to 13. The current roll of 617 includes 199 students of Māori descent and a small number from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Many Māori students whakapapa to Tūwharetoa. The school’s mission statement includes the intention to provide an education which challenges, encourages and supports students to reach their full potential through all aspects of school life, achieved in a caring environment where the worth, rights, responsibilities and dignity of the individual are fundamental. The school’s commitment to excellence, tino ū tou hiranga, is captured in the values of curiosity, diversity, integrity, manaakitanga, personal growth and whanaungatanga.

Since the last ERO review in 2015, a new principal has been appointed and all trustees are new to their governance roles. Some trustees have previous governance experience at local contributing schools. In response to school achievement data, a substantial and ongoing programme of externally facilitated professional learning for teachers is now in place to build teacher capability across the school. The school is part of the Taupō Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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

  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) including monitoring and tracking data for all at-risk learners

  • Year 9 and 10 achievement in reading writing and mathematics

  • Attendance.

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 working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all of its students. Achievement information gathered by the school shows that in 2017:

  • overall the majority of students achieved success in NCEA

  • less than half of all students achieve University Entrance (UE)

  • girls outperform boys at NCEA Level 1 and 2, but achieve at similar levels at Level 3

  • boys achieved at slightly higher rates than girls in UE

  • Pākehā students achieved at significantly higher levels than Māori across all levels of NCEA and UE

  • more Pākeha than Māori leave school with NCEA Level 2.

Achievement patterns show that since 2015:

  • overall levels of achievement in NCEA have slightly declined

  • Māori achievement has declined at Level 1 and 2 of NCEA but increased slightly at Level 3 and UE

  • boys’ achievement has declined at Level 1 and 2, and girls achievement has been consistent

  • disparity for Māori students is significant and has increased at Levels 1 and 2 but decreased for Level 3 and UE

  • overall rates of merit and excellence endorsements for NCEA have largely remained consistent

  • although significantly more Pākehā than Māori leave school with NCEA Level 2, this disparity is reducing. However, disparity for boys has increased.

The school has started to collect school-wide achievement data for Year 9 and 10 to identify groups and individuals whose learning is at risk. This data shows that the majority of students entered the school achieving at expected levels in reading, but less than half in writing and mathematics. There are a many strategies in place to support at-risk learners at Years 9 and 10. Data from 2017 is now used to identify, track and monitor students whose learning is at risk.

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

The school is effectively accelerating progress for some groups of students. School data shows that:

  • the majority of at-risk students, including Māori, who entered the school in 2017 made accelerated progress during the year in reading, writing and mathematics

  • the majority of Māori and Pākehā who entered Year 9 in 2015, achieving below expected levels in writing, made accelerated progress to achieve NCEA Level 1 in 2017.

However the school is not yet in a position to show how well it is accelerating progress for all Māori and other students whose learning is at risk. Leaders are not yet systematically analysing data to show rates and trajectories of acceleration for all these learners.

As a result of sustained school-wide professional development during 2017 and 2018, there are now strategies in place to support at-risk learners at Years 9 and 10. In addition, the school is working with external support to more effectively track, report and respond to NCEA achievement throughout the year.

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?

Ongoing review has resulted in a strong focus on raising student achievement, especially for students whose learning is at risk. Teaching principles have been established that provide shared expectations for high-quality teaching practice across the school. Learning progressions across The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) are enabling differentiated planning for learning in response to individual student needs. Students now receive ongoing feedback from teachers about their learning and can monitor their own progress. Teaching as inquiry is focused on Māori students whose learning is at risk and is providing a common context for accelerating learning for these students. Teacher capability is being systematically enhanced through multiple sustained professional learning initiatives.

Senior leaders have successfully established conditions for ongoing improvement. Relationships across the school are based on high levels of relational trust, collaboration and increasing accountability across the school. Systems to track and monitor student progress and achievement are in place and a revised teacher appraisal system supports high expectations for teacher practice. Respectful relationships in classrooms reflect the current school-wide focus on relational pedagogy.

Students participate in a caring and inclusive learning community. Leaders and teachers know who the students are whose learning is at risk. Responsive and inclusive initiatives are in place to support these students. Student voice is gathered by student leaders who work closely with senior leaders to strengthen Māori engagement, wellbeing and learning.

Trustees represent and actively serve the school community. They work strategically and collaboratively with school leaders to realise the school’s vision. The board is kept well informed about levels of student achievement and strongly support recent and planned initiatives to improve student outcomes.

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

School-wide internal evaluation needs to be more aligned with the focus on accelerating student progress. The alignment needs to begin with annual targets that include all at-risk learners and should enable:

  • increased awareness, visibility and ownership of school-wide targets that focus on all students whose learning is at risk

  • leaders and teachers to more effectively track and monitor rates and trajectories of acceleration over time for all students whose progress needs to be accelerated

  • regular evaluation and reporting to trustees about the effectiveness of teaching programmes.

Teachers need to fully implement and embed processes for differentiated planning, making use of the recently developed curriculum learning progressions. The use of data to inform and evaluate teachers’ professional inquiries also needs to be more evident across the school, as a key strategy and source of evidence for building teacher effectiveness.

There is a need to strengthen the presence of te ao Māori across the school. Teachers need to establish and embed agreed practices and processes to support the place and presence of Māori in the school, and reflect the bicultural partnership of New Zealand. This will support the current teacher professional learning and development focus on culturally responsive pedagogy and ensure that te reo and tikanga Māori are more evident across the curriculum, in the environment and in interactions with students.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should fully implement the school policy to consult effectively with Māori about plans to improve achievement for Māori students.

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 this review there were 12 international students attending the school, including 0 exchange students.

The school has comprehensive systems to ensure quality provision of pastoral care and education. International students are given many opportunities and are well supported to be involved and integrated in the school and local community. The school’s monitoring and review systems to ensure compliance and improvement are ongoing and responsive.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • school-wide professional learning initiatives that are building teacher capability

  • leadership and governance that is providing clarity of direction and purpose for accelerating student achievement

  • a school climate that supports the diverse needs of all students.

Next steps

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

  • the management and use of achievement information to support a strategic focus on the acceleration of progress, especially for at-risk learners

  • practices to support the place and presence of te ao Māori in the school curriculum

  • internal evaluation to provide a sound foundation for ongoing school review that is more sharply focused on accelerating achievement, especially for at-risk Māori and other learners.
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

5 October 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 32%
Pākehā 56%
Other Pacific 4%
Other 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

5 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2015
Education Review May 2012
Education Review June 2009

1 Context

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

Tauhara College is located in the eastern suburbs of Taupō at the base of Mount Tauhara. It caters for students in Years 9 to 13 and there are currently 563 on the roll. Thirty percent of the students identify as Māori and most of these students whakapapa to Ngāti Tūwharetoa. There are 8 international students.

The experienced and highly respected principal is retiring at the end of Term 2, 2015. A new principal had been appointed and will take up the position at the beginning of Term 3, 2015.

Since the 2012 ERO review, there have been significant and strategic changes in senior and middle management positions. In addition, the school has been involved in a number of Ministry of Education (MoE) and school-led initiatives and programmes in response to needs and challenges identified from the school’s self review processes. Throughout the school there has been an increase in the effective use of technology by staff and students, and a wider range of learning pathways have been made available in the senior school.

The school is effectively governed by a committed and well-informed board of trustees. With the principal, they have led a strong strategic focus on improving attendance, attitude and achievement. The principal has been pivotal in embedding the vision and values of Tauharatanga, which are strongly promoted and demonstrated in the positive school culture.

The school responded constructively to the areas for review and development in the 2012 ERO report. Staff are reviewing teaching practice to better meet the learning needs of students. A new teacher appraisal process is in the early stages of implementation.

2 Learning

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

The school has improved the use of student achievement information across all year levels.

Information from contributing schools is used by the pastoral care and learning support teams to place students in appropriate classes and programmes. School-wide data on Years 9 and 10 student achievement levels in aspects of literacy and mathematics is gathered and shared with departments and classroom teachers. The effective use of this data for planning and reporting on student achievement and progress, remains an area for ongoing development.

Tracking and monitoring of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data is effectively managed by the academic dean, heads of faculties, tutors and teachers. Students at risk of poor educational outcomes are well identified and monitored. A wide range of support programmes are in place to meet their needs. There is comprehensive annual reporting by faculties to the board of trustees. This information helps trustees in decision making and the allocation of resources.

Students and their parents/whānau have regular access to NCEA achievement information. Careers advice and various mentoring initiatives provide valuable support for students as they plan current and future learning pathways.

Student achievement in NCEA is widely recognised and celebrated. NCEA data for 2014 shows that the proportion of the school roll achieving formal qualifications has been sustained at levels comparable to national averages. In particular, the proportion of students gaining Level 2 NCEA continues to be above national averages.

The school should now consider the promotion of scholarships and endorsements for academically able students.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning by providing a wide range of learning pathways that allow most students to experience success. Key features of the curriculum are the:

  • responsive curriculum design at senior levels, which has included trades academies, Industry Training Organisations, Gateway, and close links with local and regional tertiary providers and businesses
  • significant increase in the use of digital technology, including the Bring Your Own Device (BYoD) programme and the schools participation in the Volcanics on-line learning programmes
  • high quality curriculum programmes for students in the Special Needs Department
  • a range of initiatives linked to the local community.

The school is in the process of consultation with the community to review its curriculum values, philosophy and implementation. This is likely to include a review of how the timetable supports students’ learning needs.

Students experience considerable success in a wide range of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and events. These include cultural, sporting and leadership opportunities.

Strong pastoral care networks continue to enhance the physical and emotional wellbeing for most students and provide a sense of belonging and identity. Caring and committed teachers and teacher aides provide students with a variety of good quality learning support programmes and interventions.

There are many examples of teachers using a range of strategies that promote student learning. These include:

  • developing respectful, caring and responsive relationships with students', which are reflected in settled classrooms
  • high levels of engagement and collaboration, that encourage students enjoyment of their learning
  • the use of a range of teaching strategies, including SOLO taxonomy that support students understandings of the learning process
  • an increase in students' managing and leading their own learning.

Senior leaders are placing priority on teaching as inquiry to guide teachers and professional learning groups to reflect on their own practice. This priority is being developed and reinforced through the revised teacher appraisal process and Kia eke Panuku initiative.

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

The Tūwharetoa Cultural Project has been embraced by the school and is in the second stage of development. In addition, NCEA data indicates that Māori students who stay at school to senior levels, are achieving increasing levels of success.

The school has identified that there are some Māori students who remain disengaged. Recently introduced initiatives such as Kia eke Panuku have been implemented to respond to this challenge. These initiatives aim to:

  • increase engagement of Māori parents/whānau
  • grow professional knowledge and cultural responsiveness of staff
  • increase engagement and relevance for students including the strengthening of Māori performing arts as a NCEA subject.

A next step for the school is to adopt a strategic approach to ensure equitable outcomes for Māori students. This includes further strengthening partnerships with iwi and whānau and giving equal priority to Māori values and knowledge throughout the school and across the curriculum. This is likely to lead to a greater sense of belonging and self efficacy for Māori students.

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. Positive factors that contribute to this are:

  • the range of appropriate skills and knowledge of the board of trustees
  • positive leadership by the current principal to build the positive profile of the school, the professional capacity of staff, and position the school well for future development and change
  • a cohesive team of senior school leaders
  • the strategic appointment of highly capable middle leaders in important curriculum areas and programme initiatives
  • staff who are open to new initiatives and give generously of their time to support student success in and outside the classroom
  • students who make important, positive contributions to school leadership and culture
  • local community support
  • strong evidence-based self review which has successfully identified many of the areas for school development and growth.

Areas for review and development

It is now important for the school to review the understanding and use of achievement and progress information at Years 9 and 10, in order to enhance the evaluation of programmes, set appropriate achievement targets, and inform decision-making by senior leaders and the board.

Senior leaders acknowledge that professional development and specific performance appraisal for teaching with additional responsibilities and management units needs to be implemented.

Provision for international students

The college 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 college has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this ERO review, there were 8 international students attending the college.

High quality pastoral care is a feature of the college, and this extends to the care of international students. A designated dean coordinates communication with parents and homestay families, as well as with school management and teachers. Careful assessment at entry ensures students are placed in appropriate courses of study, and receive language support as necessary to allow appropriate access to the curriculum. Ongoing monitoring ensures any concerns are identified in a timely manner, and responded to.

International students are well integrated into the life of the college, and participate in a full range of sporting, cultural and social activities.

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.


Students at Tauhara College access a broad range of academic courses and extra-curriculum opportunities. Pastoral care and guidance on learning pathways for students is effective. The experienced principal retired in July 2015, but strategic appointments at senior and middle management ensures the college is well placed for ongoing future development.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 51%
Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Other European
Other Asian
South East Asian


Special Features

Special Needs Unit

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

28 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

June 2012
June 2009
February 2007