Porirua College

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School Context

Porirua College is a Years 9 to 13, state co-educational secondary school located in Porirua East, Wellington. The roll has grown since ERO’s May 2017 review, with 554 students currently enrolled. The roll is culturally diverse with 60% of students identifying as Pacific and 29% as Māori.

The school’s mission, P.C Pride, is to develop powerful learners who are willing and able to use this quality in service to their communities. Other aspects of P.C Pride include being responsible (manaakitanga), building positive relationships (whanaungatanga) and being engaged (tū maia).

To support these outcomes, the board’s current strategic themes focus on tangatawhenuatanga and connecting the learning between schools and homes in Porirua East through:

  • voice – everyone has a voice that can change the way things are
  • action – learners make a difference
  • identity – know who you are, be who you are and show who you are.

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

  • achievement in relation to levels of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
  • attendance, wellbeing and engagement.

School leaders and teachers are active participants in the Porirua East Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). Strategic priorities have been purposefully aligned to reflect the CoL goals of voice, action and identity. This has strengthened the school’s focus and priorities of addressing social and learning disparities identified within the CoL.

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 strategically towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. The school is committed to accelerating students through curriculum levels during Years 9 and 10, to address current lower rates of achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1.

School information from the past three years (2017-2019) shows that:

  • the majority of students achieve the school’s broad achievement outcome targets in relation to levels of the NZC, attendance, wellbeing and engagement, in Years 9 and 10
  • a small majority of students achieve at or above expected NZQF levels over a period of two years.

NCEA information shows:

  • most students achieve literacy over time (Years 11 to 13)
  • almost all students achieve numeracy over time (Years 11 to 13)
  • a small majority of Level 1 students achieve NCEA Level 1 (but trending downwards)
  • a large majority of Level 2 students achieve NCEA Level 2
  • a small majority of Level 3 students achieve NCEA Level 3 (improved results from 2017)
  • a significant disparity for Māori students in relation to Pacific student achievement
  • a disparity for boys, at all levels of NCEA, in relation to girls’ achievement.

Junior school information from 2016 to 2019 indicates some progress in achievement, in mathematics and English, for a large majority of Year 9 and 10 students. Māori students showed slightly accelerated progress in Year 10 mathematics and English. Most students achieve numeracy and literacy at expected curriculum levels by the end of Year 10. The whole-school information is insufficient to show progress over time.

Students are well supported to achieve other valued outcomes such as being responsible (manaakitanga), building positive relationships (whanaungatanga) and being engaged (tū maia). Recent school surveys in relation to students’ wellbeing shows that most students feel their culture, language and identity are valued in the school. Overall, students feel safe, supported and positive about their school.

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

The limited school information about rates of progress over time means that it is difficult for ERO or the school to know how well it is accelerating learning for these students.

However, available information indicates that some students make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has identified the need to further strengthen the analysis of their achievement data to more clearly show acceleration of learning and progress for groups of students.

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?

Students learn and progress in a calm, collaborative and inclusive school. Diverse opportunities are provided for all students to demonstrate leadership. Students support and work alongside their peers in multilevel house groups. These house groups include sport, cultural activities and programmes of academic learning and wellbeing.

Long-established connections and links within the wider community and with external organisations enrich learning opportunities for students. The school continues to develop and strengthen learning-centred partnerships with parents and whānau. Their contributions are increasingly sought, valued and considered in strategic and curriculum decisions.

The recently reviewed curriculum is culturally responsive and provides diverse learning opportunities for most students. Recent curriculum developments and programmes such as Kō te Hāpori, have contributed positively to increased student engagement across most year levels. Students who need to make accelerated progress in their learning are increasingly identified, individually planned for and regularly monitored by teachers using personalised learning initiatives. Culturally appropriate transitions into, within and beyond the school have contributed to improving student retention rates through to Year 13.

A well-developed pastoral system supports students’ wellbeing, engagement and learning. The needs of diverse groups of students, including Māori and students for whom English is a second language, are valued and supported by staff. Pastoral leaders, year-level learning coaches and Kānohi ki te Kānohi (K2K) mentors effectively use agreed school restorative practices and processes to increase students’ wellbeing. These processes contribute to students’ readiness to learn.

School leaders are improvement focused and work collaboratively to strengthen systems and processes for effective functioning of the school. An open-door policy provides for positive and professional relationships across all levels of the school. Leaders and staff model and enact the school’s vision and values and provide holistic support to all students.

School leaders have high expectations of all teachers to continue to inquire, reflect and build on their practice. There is a deliberate focus on strengthening teachers’ practice and capability to improve outcomes for students. This helps promote engagement across a range of curriculum learning areas.

The board sets the strategic direction underpinned by clear priorities. Trustees work closely with school leaders to progress strategic goals and targets. Reporting to the board is used by trustees to set future priorities. Trustees and school leaders are responsive and supportive of improving staff and students’ wellbeing and promoting positive relationships across the school.

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

The school’s strategic priorities and overarching goals and plans focus on achieving equitable outcomes for all groups of students. Recently developed systems and processes designed to track and monitor acceleration and rates of progress for all students are yet to be embedded.

The school now needs to refine and use these systems to track the progress and achievement of all students in Year 9 and 10 to make better use of this information. Currently, leaders and teachers are using the system well to identify individual students who may be at risk with their learning. The school is now well placed to extend the analysis of information to know how well all students are progressing in their learning from Year 9 to Year 10. This should help teachers, leaders and trustees to better evaluate the effectiveness of junior programmes and learning support interventions in ensuring all students make sufficient progress across these years.

Leaders have begun to extend their analysis of a range of information to know more about how well different groups of students are achieving the school’s valued outcomes, over time, including those promoting wellbeing and pathways to work and further learning. The school has identified the need to strengthen the analysis of achievement and progress data throughout the school to clarify the picture of acceleration and rates of progress for groups at risk of not achieving curriculum expectations, and to identify and report on progress of all students against school outcome expectations.

Strengthening teacher practice and capability has been identified as an area for ongoing development. Continued participation in professional learning opportunities should help to build effective teaching practice and support improved outcomes for students.

Useful processes are in place for gathering and making sense of information about the impact of teaching and learning, student wellbeing and other relevant aspects of the curriculum and school processes that are designed to contribute to equity and excellence. However, leaders have identified internal evaluation practices as an area that needs ongoing development school wide. Improving these practices should support trustees, leaders and teachers to more effectively evaluate the effectiveness of plans and strategies to improve equitable outcomes for all 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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Porirua College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • redeveloped curriculum provision that is culturally responsive to meet the diverse range of students’ interests and needs and provides coherent pathways for further learning
  • useful systems for monitoring all students’ learning and wellbeing and supporting collaborative approaches to improving outcomes for students
  • caring, inclusive and culturally diverse school culture providing a positive environment for students to engage in and lead their learning.

Next steps

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

  • embedding current systems to monitor and regularly report on the progress of students who require acceleration in their learning
  • extending the analysis and evaluation of learning information for students in Years 9 and 10 and of outcomes from learning support interventions
  • strengthening evaluation processes and practices to know more about how well the school is supporting equitable outcomes for all groups of learners and to show the impact of initiatives and programmes supporting student engagement, achievement and progress
  • continuing to build and strengthen the capability of teachers to promote improved student engagement and achievement.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

25 May 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.


Leaders and teaches have made good progress with next steps identified in the 2014 ERO report. While NCEA results show some improvement, disparity remains for groups of students, especially Māori and boys. Leaders are reviewing the school’s curriculum to better cater for students’ needs, interests and aspirations, and promote equity and excellence.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Porirua College is a co-educational secondary school in Porirua East. It has a roll of 522 students. Twenty-seven percent identify as Māori and 66% are of Pacific descent.

The September 2014 ERO report noted that students enjoyed good relationships, positive class tone and student wellbeing was well supported. However, the school's curriculum and teaching required development to better respond to students' learning needs and promote higher levels of success. Since that time, the college has continued to:

  • further develop the Ministry of Education (MoE) initiative, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L)
  • receive MoE support to improve leadership and management.

Changes to governance and leadership occurred in 2016. New trustees joined the board. The principal retired at the end of Term 2, the deputy principal acted in the position in Term 3 and a new principal started in Term 4. Since her appointment, the principal has initiated community consultation, a review of the curriculum and restructured school leadership and accountabilities through ten faculties. 

The college is part of the Porirua East Community of Learning (CoL) with local primary schools and the intermediate school. The CoL has identified shared challenges to develop leadership, teaching capability and whānau engagement.

Most students entering Year 9 in 2015 and 2016 were below or well below National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A small number required additional support for English language learning. Leaders identify that attendance for some students is an ongoing concern and this continues to be monitored.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

In 2014, the following priorities for development were identified to improve:

  • achievement outcomes for students
  • the school’s curriculum to ensure: courses and teaching approaches in Years 9 and 10 better prepared students for success in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs); pathways supported students to progress into further education and employment; and responded to the needs of all students’ cultures, languages and identities
  • the use of, and response to, student achievement data at middle management level, and the quality of information about students' learning and progress reported to senior leaders and the board
  • leaders and teachers’ skills to inquire into, evaluate and further improve the effectiveness of the curriculum and teaching practice, and impacts of these on students' learning and achievement across all year levels
  • consultation with whānau, aiga, families and community to ensure that the vision and values reflect their aspirations for their children and express their values.


NCEA results between 2013 and 2015 generally showed an upward trend for Levels 1 and 2. There was little change in 2016, with some drops in achievement, particularly for Māori and boys. Pacific achievement tracked upwards. NCEA Level 3 results show fluctuations since 2013, with fewer students achieving this qualification. Continuing to raise achievement remains a priority.

Leaders are giving urgency to curriculum review to better provide for the needs, interests and aspirations of all groups of students, particularly those at risk of poor educational outcomes. The improved design and content of teaching programmes enables some groups of students to participate in meaningful learning pathways and be successful learners. Teachers report that e‑learning tools are having a positive impact on learning, especially in providing feedback to students.

Some effective transition programmes have led to high levels of success with student engagement and achievement. Some Māori and other students at risk of poor outcomes achieve success through appropriately designed learning pathways. These courses have explicit and relevant vocational and practical components. They cater well for the needs, interests and aspirations of these students.

A range of opportunities has been provided to increase teachers’ knowledge of effective literacy teaching. Some teachers have focused on improving students’ writing skills and understandings of subject specific vocabulary. They report a positive impact on the engagement and achievement of groups of students. Examples of accelerated learning and achievement are evident at junior and senior levels, particularly in aspects of English, mathematics and science.

Priority has been given to using inquiry to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Where inquiry has been used well, student progress and achievement has been accelerated. Effective practices have been identified that increase the rate of acceleration for students not meeting curriculum expectations. They include teachers:

  • using well-analysed assessment information to identify and plan for target students who are underperforming, including Māori
  • regularly monitoring, analysing and tracking each student’s progress to establish strengths and next learning steps
  • evaluating the quality of teaching practices to identify strategies that enable students’ learning to be accelerated.

In one faculty, most of the students targeted for acceleration in Year 9, then closely monitored over the next three years, achieved NCEA Level 1. This model should be more widely promoted and implemented to help the acceleration of a wider group of students who are at risk of underachieving.

Trustees give strategic priority to improved engagement with parents and whānau. A good consultation model has been used to gather initial data from leaders, teachers, whānau and aiga.

Key next steps

ERO affirms the leaders’ view that the curriculum is not yet catering well for the needs of all groups of students to be successful learners and promote equity and excellence. As a result of the planned curriculum review, leaders should ensure that the Porirua College curriculum includes:

  • high expectations for teaching and learning practices that are future-focused and support students to be confident lifelong learners
  • programmes and teaching that are more culturally responsive to support and promote students’ languages, cultures and identities
  • curriculum delivery, context and format that is flexible, responsive and provides all students with meaningful learning pathways suited to their interests, potential and aspirations.

The college needs to give urgency to providing targeted support, more responsive programmes and learning pathways for Māori students. Leaders acknowledge the need to ensure that more Māori students are involved in these programmes and that learning coaches are provided with high quality, ongoing professional learning and development in this area. There is a continued need to make te ao Māori more visible across the curriculum and college environment.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are developing shared understandings about acceleration in Years 9 and 10, and internal evaluation. Some faculty leaders and teachers have yet to make better use of student achievement and wellbeing information, including student voice, to help improve the effectiveness of curriculum, teaching practices and opportunities to learn.

Teaching as inquiry requires strengthening. The next step is to refine teacher and faculty level inquiries to be more explicitly linked to accelerating the achievement of identified target learners.

Trustees and leaders know there is an urgent need to use more effective strategies so that parents, whānau and aiga can participate in more meaningful and productive partnership with the school.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers are continuing to develop their capacity and capability to sustain, improve and review school performance. Key processes and practices that support this include:

  • a board of trustees that gives priority to student learning, wellbeing and achievement. Board members access appropriate training to gain shared understandings about their role and responsibilities. They seek relevant guidance on a needs basis to support improvement. School policies are being reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date with changes in legislation
  • leaders who are improvement-focused. Positive steps have been taken to address concerns identified in the previous ERO report, with plans for ongoing improvement
  • pastoral care networks that support and promote student wellbeing. These networks and conferences with learning coaches have the potential to provide improved, targeted support for individual students. Strong emphasis is given to restorative practices to resolve conflict. PB4L practices continue to be implemented
  • opportunities for parents, whānau and aiga to meet with teachers and attend a range of cultural and sporting events
  • leaders and teachers who continue to develop as reflective practitioners to enhance outcomes for students.
Key next steps

To support continuous improvement there needs to be:

  • clear alignment between specific, measurable, annual goals and achievement targets at board, faculty, pastoral and teaching levels that focus on equity and excellence for all students.

These should aim to reduce disparities in achievement, especially for Māori and boys. 

Leaders and teachers know the students whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated, especially when they enter Year 9. The next step is to:

  • build whole-school capability to accelerate students' learning and achievement, especially from Years 9 to 11
  • develop more targeted planning for acceleration
  • monitor and evaluate targeted planning and improvement in teaching and learning.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop in response to a request from the college.

ERO will maintain a liaison role with the board and principal.

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.


Leaders and teaches have made good progress with next steps identified in the 2014 ERO report. While NCEA results show some improvement, disparity remains for groups of students, especially Māori and boys. Leaders are reviewing the school’s curriculum to better cater for students’ needs, interests and aspirations, and promote equity and excellence.

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

15 May 2017

About the School


Porirua, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

15 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2014
May 2011
August 2007