Dargaville High School

Dargaville High School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 12 months of the Education Review Office and Dargaville High School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. This timeframe was impacted by Covid lockdowns. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website. www.ero.govt.nz


Dargaville High School is a co-educational secondary school for students in Years 9 to 13 located in the Kaipara District, Te Tai Tokerau. Approximately half of the students are of Māori heritage who predominantly whakapapa to local hapū and Ngāti Whatua iwi. This school has four different senior trades academies and a vertical Kaupapa Māori class. Tutamoe is a supported learning environment for students with diverse needs.

Dargaville High School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • Ākonga – All ākonga are given an equitable opportunity to excel in their learning and in their community.

  • Hauora – All ākonga have a sense of belonging and hauora, feeling connected with their identity, language and culture.

  • Kaitiakitanga – Acknowledging ākonga as kaitiaki of the past, present and future.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Dargaville High School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how well teaching practice in Years 9 and 10, prepares all ākonga, in particular Māori, for success.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • to ensure students are well prepared for future NCEA changes

  • school leaders and the school board acknowledge the need to improve holistic outcomes for all ākonga, and especially for Māori and Pasifika

  • to strengthen pathways for ākonga as they move into, through and beyond Dargaville High School

  • to support students to confidently explore their language, culture and identity through a range of contexts

  • for kaiako to participate in professional learning to further the development of a responsive curriculum.

The school expects to see:

  • kaiako responsiveness to the changing needs of students, to include ākonga language, culture and identity through a localised curriculum

  • kaiako consistently using effective teaching strategies and practices in adaptive ways to promote equitable and excellent learner outcomes

  • teaching that is consistently relevant, challenging and meaningful

  • appropriate interventions effectively support learners and focus on equity for Māori and Pasifika

  • ākonga with diverse learning requirements are a school-wide priority 

  • subject areas and departments working collaboratively to provide contextualised learning experiences

  • improved ākonga, whānau and parent understanding of the significance of subject selection for meaningful learning pathways

  • enhanced internal evaluation capability and capacity, particularly amongst middle leaders.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to evaluate their Year 9 and 10 curriculum:

  • the school is strengthening ākonga wellbeing through working holistically and collaboratively with whānau, external agencies and the wider community

  • the senior leadership team is stable and cohesive, with a focus on continuous improvement and a shared understanding of the school’s vision

  • strategies to increase ākonga progress and achievement are increasingly effective as a result of closer monitoring and regular evaluation of impact on learning.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • collecting student, staff and whānau voice to inform the evaluation process

  • developing a shared understanding of the key concepts, related to the evaluation focus, to ensure the work has impetus and is a collective endeavour.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

8 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Dargaville High School is the managing school for Northern Wairoa Alternative Education.

Dargaville High School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of May 2022, the Dargaville High School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Dargaville High School Board of Trustees.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

8 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Dargaville High School

Provision for International Students Report


The Education Review Office reviews schools that are signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020.


Dargaville High School has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

Dargaville High School’s provision for international students is reviewed annually.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

8 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Dargaville High School - 14/11/2017


Dargaville High School has a roll of 461 students in Years 9 to 13. Approximately a third of students are of Māori heritage who whakapapa to local hapu and Ngāti Whatua iwi. There is a large group of Pākehā students and small groups of Pacific and Asian students.

At the start of 2016, the previous principal resigned. The board successfully lead the school through the challenges that this change presented. During 2016 the deputy principal took on the acting principal role, and other leaders and teachers took on extra duties. This helped to ensure that students experienced a good level of continuity and that their education was not affected. A new principal was appointed for the beginning of 2017.

The school is a member of the Community of Learning |Kahui Ako (CoL).Northern Wairoa

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. However, there is some persistent disparity in achievement between Māori and Pākehā, except at National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2, and for boys at all year levels.

The school is developing worthwhile processes that are designed to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners. These processes are underpinned by increasing responsiveness to Māori and other learners who need to make accelerated progress.

The board, leaders and staff show commitment to improving practices to support equity for all learners. The board and senior leaders agree that next steps include:

  • further developing the school’s capability to support learners to make accelerated progress and sustain positive shifts in achievement

  • extending students’ opportunities for pathways to future employment, training or study.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is becoming more effective at responding to Māori and other students whose progress needs to be accelerated.

Teachers are at different stages in developing their understanding of how to use achievement data to plan learning programmes, and reflect on their practice. Data are becoming more accessible to leaders and teachers. Leaders acknowledge it is necessary to further build capability in data analysis, and to make better use of analysed data to evaluate teaching and learning programmes.

The school’s analysis and use of achievement information is improving. For example, there is increased awareness on the part of leaders and teachers about how learners make progress towards NCEA qualifications. Greater use of formative assessment in Years 9 to 10 would provide teachers with a clearer picture of how well students are making accelerated progress over time.

In the NCEA, the majority of Māori students achieve Level 2 and 3 qualifications. However, only half achieve Level 1 and this low achievement requires strategic action. There is increased retention of Māori students through to Year 12 or 13, and an increase in Māori students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 qualification or above.

In-school disparity persists between Māori and Pākehā, except at NCEA Level 2, where for the past two years Māori achievement has been higher than Pākehā. There is also an evident and ongoing disparity in achievement for boys, across all year levels.

Over the past three years there has been a positive shift in overall NCEA Level 3 attainment, including that of Māori. There has also been an increasing trend in merit endorsements in NCEA Level 3. Māori are not so well represented in the school’s NCEA endorsements.

School leaders use standardised assessment tools to track students’ achievement from the beginning to the end of Years 9 and 10. They are aware of the benefits of using this information more deliberately to differentiate learning programmes to promote accelerated shifts in achievement. Doing this would also help them to identify groups of students who need targeted learning support.

The school’s moderation of NCEA assessment is developing well. School leaders should continue to extend teachers’ understanding of assessing and moderating student work in Years 9 and 10.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School processes are being developed to enable equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

The new principal is leading school wide improvements for better outcomes for students. He demonstrates a strong learner focus and is setting clear expectations to improve the quality of curriculum pathways and teaching and learning. Senior leaders are being supported by some good leadership capability among the staff, to grow effective teaching practice through the school.

The development of effective teaching practice is now more aligned with the Education Council requirements. Expectations of teachers are more robust, and teachers’ inquiry processes consider the effectiveness of their teaching practice. This increasingly reflective, professional culture will support teachers and leaders as they adapt practice to improve learner outcomes.

Learners are benefitting from the school’s positive and inclusive culture. They have increased awareness of pathway opportunities, and appreciate the many adults who support them in selecting these pathways. The provision of Gateway programmes is a part of the pathways structure. These programmes are responsive to individual students’ interests, learning needs and aspirations.

Students particularly appreciate the broad range of opportunities to visit tertiary and career institutions. Past students and members of the community visit the school to share their work and experiences with students. These opportunities give students real insights into career pathways and encourage them to consider their own potential and the possibilities for their future.

Pastoral care processes are assisting students and their families. Learners with additional educational needs benefit from social and health promoting services and in-school support. Teacher aides assist learners in class. Leaders could develop a framework of the pastoral care provision in the school to show how the systems and approaches are interconnected to ensure maximum benefits for students.

The school’s curriculum is becoming more responsive to individual student aspirations and learning needs. It is also more focused on teaching and learning in authentic contexts. In recent years a junior diploma has been introduced for Years 9 and 10 that is linked to the New Zealand Curriculum levels. This initiative could be extended by focussing more on developing students’ understanding of themselves as learners, and providing activities for them to explore their preferred future directions.

The board is well led, and its operation is supported by sound documentation that is regularly updated to meet legal requirements. Connections between the board and community are now more transparent. As a result, there is greater community involvement in the school’s curriculum to support students’ learning and pathway success.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The board, leaders and staff show commitment to improving practices to support equitable and excellent outcomes for learners.

Relevant development priorities include:

  • developing students’ agency in determining their learning progress and their individual pathway development

  • closer monitoring of students’ progress in Years 9 and 10, and increasingly responsive teaching to accelerate progress and lift achievement

  • documenting a longitudinal picture of the progress and achievement of identified individuals and groups of students from Years 9 to 13

  • developing a school-wide pathway framework for Years 9 to 13

  • increasing the formative evaluation of initiatives, planning and targets.

ERO also recommends the development of a Māori strategic education plan with a focus on increasing parity in achievement for Māori students. Whānau involvement in this planning will be a critical contributing factor in its potential for success.

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

  • 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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theCode 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. At the time of this review there were no international students attending the school.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. However, disparity in achievement for Māori and other learners remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the learners whose progress and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to build teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate progress for learners

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and learners’ progress

  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 November 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 9 - 15

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

other European
other Pacific


Provision of Māori medium education


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 4 MLE


Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

14 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2014
May 2012
October 2008