Mackenzie College

Mackenzie College - 25/01/2018

School Context

Mackenzie College is a rural, coeducational school for students in Years 7 to 13, located in Fairlie. The school has a roll of 184 students. Students come from a large geographic area, including Sherwood, Tekapo, Fairlie and Albury.

The school vision states that it aims to provide a positive learning environment where ‘all students are encouraged to strive for excellence and to acquire the skills and values which will enable them to become responsible citizens of New Zealand.’ The school encourages students to develop and demonstrate the values of:

  • respect for themselves, others and their environment

  • commitment to their work goals and the community

  • personal excellence in all that they do.

At the time of this review the school’s strategic priorities were focused on raising student achievement across all areas of the curriculum, developing student leadership, reviewing the curriculum to enhance relevance and engagement, and providing facilities and technology to support 21st century learning.

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

  • achievement and progress in all learning areas at all levels

  • Year 7 and 8 student achievement in National Standards (NS) for reading, writing and mathematics, and Years 11 to 13 student achievement in national qualifications

  • students’ participation and engagement in the cultural, sporting and community life of the school

  • students’ transitions to work and further learning

  • aspects of wellbeing and engagement.

Since the 2014 ERO review, a new principal and assistant principal have been appointed. A number of staff changes in middle leadership and teaching roles has also occurred. Teachers have participated in a Ministry of Education professional learning initiative focused on raising achievement in literacy for the past three years. The school has reviewed the transition of primary school students into the college. ‘Home room’ teachers have been established to improve the continuity of their learning in literacy and numeracy and provide additional pastoral support for these learners.

The school is part of the Mackenzie Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

This school effectively supports its students to achieve excellent and equitable outcomes across the breadth of the New Zealand curriculum. This includes successfully supporting students to: become lifelong learners; participate and contribute confidently in a range of contexts; become socially and emotionally competent and be resilient and optimistic about the future.

The large majority of Years 7 and 8 students achieve at or above the NS in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall and over time there is disparity between girls’ and boys’ achievement in reading and writing. Recent data indicates this is decreasing. Almost two-thirds of Years 7 and 8 students are achieving at expected levels across all learning areas. School information shows that Māori students have achieved equitable outcomes against the standards in recent years.

Most Years 9 and 10 students make expected rates of progress in English and a majority make expected progress in mathematics. A high proportion of Years 8 to 10 students successfully complete the school’s Te Ara and Junior Diplomas. These diplomas recognise students that consistently demonstrate the school’s values and have high levels of participation in the sporting, cultural and community life of the school.

School-leaver information shows that, in two of the last three years, a very high proportion of students have achieved NCEA Levels 1 and 2. The school successfully engages and retains a high proportion of students to age 17. Leavers are well supported to investigate and make successful transitions to employment and further education. About half of leavers, and the majority of those who stay to Year 13, gain NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance (UE). Girls are more likely than boys to gain NCEA Level 3 and UE and the school has a range of plans for improving the achievement of boys in these qualifications. Māori students achieve equitably in national qualifications.

Students with additional needs make appropriate progress and are well supported to achieve success in personalised goals, adapted programmes and NCEA courses.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

This school is effective in accelerating the progress of a number of students not yet achieving at expected levels.

Efforts to raise boys’ achievement, in Years 7 and 8, in writing have shown some success, however boys’ achievement in both writing and reading remain focus areas.

The school was successful in accelerating the progress of the majority of Years 9 and 10 students in English and of Year 10 students in mathematics in 2016.

A high proportion of those senior students who received academic mentoring and/or special assessment conditions were successful in achieving national qualifications.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Personalised learning supported by adaptive teacher practice is very effectively promoting positive outcomes for all students.

Leaders actively foster and enable personalised learning and adaptive teaching by:

  • having clear and explicit expectations that teaching practice will respond to the needs of students

  • ensuring teacher appraisal processes are well focussed on effective teaching practice and positive outcomes for students

  • leading and modelling a culture of critical reflection on what works to support student success

  • providing relevant professional development and management support to develop teachers’ capability

  • having useful processes for monitoring and evaluating the impact of teaching programmes and practices

  • ensuring school structures are flexible enough to respond to students’ interests and needs.

Teachers use student achievement information very well to get to know students’ strengths, interests and learning needs. They use this information effectively to plan and adapt their teaching programmes and practices to enhance students’ engagement and success in learning. Teachers are highly skilled at using a range of teaching and assessment strategies to ensure students with diverse abilities can fully participate in learning.

Leaders and teachers continue to review and adjust the school’s curriculum to better respond to students’ interests, needs and pathways to work and further learning. They make excellent use of the local environment, community and teacher strengths to provide varied, authentic and interest-based learning experiences. All students have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori in Years 7 to 10 and to experience aspects of Māori culture in regular school activities.

Students at risk of poor learning or wellbeing outcomes are very well supported as a result of effective school-wide systems and practices. A wide range of learning information is very well used to identify those students needing additional learning or pastoral support. Leaders and teachers in collaboration with students’ families, work together well to plan and deliver appropriate support and tailored programmes for students. Where appropriate, staff work one-to-one with students to mentor students in strategies to improve their learning and/or wellbeing. There are effective systems for monitoring all students’ progress and achievement over time.

Trustees, leaders and teachers build positive, caring and strengths-based relationships with students and their families, and with each other. These support teachers and students to develop confidence, collaborate effectively and try new approaches to teaching and learning. New students’ transitions into the college are carefully managed. This includes individual profiling of incoming students’ strengths, interests and needs.

Evaluation and inquiry processes are very well used to sustain improvement and innovation. Curriculum review makes good use of information about the achievement and progress of learners and students’ perspectives to identify areas for improvement. Collaborative and individual teacher inquiries are well aligned with school priorities and goals for raising student achievement. The school is very responsive to external evaluation and has made significant progress in addressing the areas for development identified in its last ERO evaluation (2014). The school has received a very positive external evaluation of its assessment and moderation practices for national qualifications.

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

Trustees and leaders need to ensure that relevant student achievement targets are specific about the number of students needing to make accelerated progress to achieve at expected levels. This will mean that trustees, leaders and teachers can more effectively evaluate the impact of targeted teaching and learning support on outcomes for these students.

The following areas have been identified by the school’s internal-evaluation processes and confirmed in the course of this review.

  • further developing and clarifying the measurement of students’ rates of progress in Years 7 to 10

  • ensuring school-wide teaching and assessment practices strengthen learner agency

  • clarifying and documenting the school’s expectations for culturally responsive practice.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

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

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure it maintains its programme of ongoing policy review.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • flexible, personalised learning pathways and highly adaptive teaching that respond well to students’ interests, abilities and aspirations

  • very good systems and practices for identifying and responding to the needs of students at risk of poor learning or wellbeing outcomes

  • effective internal evaluation that leads to ongoing school improvement.

Next steps

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

  • target setting (refer to 2.2)

  • completing the review of existing processes to monitor and report learners’ progress in Years 7 to 10 to ensure the board receive relevant information to determine all students make sufficient progress

  • further developing the consistency of effective teaching practices for building students’ ability to lead and reflect on their own learning

  • developing and implementing guidelines and expectations for culturally responsive practice.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

25 January 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type


School roll


Gender composition

Female 56%

Male 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 10%
Pākeha 82%
Other 8%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

25 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review 2014

Education Review 2010

Supplementary Review 2009

Mackenzie College - 11/06/2014

1 Context

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

Mackenzie College is a small, rural family-centred school in Fairlie.

Since the last review in October 2010, the school has continued to make positive progress. There have been significant staff changes, including a recently appointed principal and many teachers. The gymnasium has been redeveloped and extended. Students enjoy learning in the modern technology rooms and science laboratories. A positive school culture has continued to develop over time.

Students benefit from strong community support with school activities, events and Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC). The school’s curriculum makes good use of the local environment for learning experiences. Some students achieve very well in adventure sports events within and beyond New Zealand. Students take up many leadership roles and are well supported by their peers and the staff.

Students in Years 11 to 13 learn in classes that are sometimes multi-level or subject based. Distance learning opportunities are also taken by some senior students. Students in Years 7 and 8 are taught by specialist teachers throughout their timetable.

There are family-like, friendly, supportive relationships between teachers and students, and generally between the students. These relationships are strengthened by the many opportunities there are for staff and students to participate in activities/curriculum events together. Teachers are collegial.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information should be better used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in Years 7 and 8 in reading, writing and mathematics. This is more evident for students in Year 7 than Year 8. The school’s analysis shows students make good progress between Years 9 and 11. Greater proportions of senior students are achieving NCEA in Years 11 to 13 than most comparable schools. Almost all Year 11 students gained Level 1 numeracy and literacy requirements for NCEA in 2013. Many students gain certificate endorsements. An increasingly large proportion of senior students remain at school until after their 17th birthday.

Senior students are consistently clear about the academic goals they want to achieve. They set high expectations for their achievement of these goals. Teachers support them well to achieve these. Junior students have an awareness of their achievement levels and short-term goals.

The school has introduced two award systems to increase levels of student engagement and achievement in Years 8 to 10. It has yet to review and report on the impact of these against the aims and objectives it sets out to achieve.

Teachers use student achievement information to:

  • report achievement levels to students, their parents and senior leaders
  • report overall student achievement each term and to monitor progress over time and report to senior leaders
  • identify strategies they will use to raise student achievement.

Some teachers are giving students very useful and specific feedback about aspects of their learning.

Senior leaders and learning area leaders use student achievement and progress information to:

  • look at trends and patterns over time to determine progress of year groups and individual students
  • analyse, reflect on students’ results and report to the board.

Senior leaders use student achievement information to inform curriculum, professional learning and resourcing decisions.

Areas for review and development

Students should more consistently know about aspects of their learning, such as:

  • what they are learning
  • why they are learning it
  • specifically what they need to do to improve.

Teachers need to improve the way they use assessment information to plan for students’ learning. Teachers should show how they intend to meet the identified needs of individuals and groups of students, and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching to determine next steps for these students. The school’s charter targets should more specifically focus on accelerating the progress of those students who are achieving below or well below expectations. Trustees should make better use of an evaluative approach to know what went well and what needs to be improved.

Senior leaders recognise that parents of students in Years 7 and 8 should receive mid-year reports which clearly show their children’s progress in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Overall, the school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

Teachers are guided by a well-designed curriculum. Key features of these guidelines include:

  • a well-developed vision to support students for life beyond school
  • clear expectations for teaching
  • a comprehensive and supportive pastoral system.

The guidelines for each learning area have useful links with the school-wide curriculum plan.

The school’s values are well known and understood by the students. Students appreciate and enjoy the many opportunities to learn in and about the local environment. Some aspects of the curriculum have been modified to better respond to the needs of current students.

Other positive features of the school culture include the way:

  • students in all year groups mix easily with one another and learn together during whole-school events and activities
  • student successes across a range of activities are celebrated and recognised
  • relationships at the school are welcoming, friendly, caring and cooperative.

ERO observed some areas of high-quality teaching practice. Most classrooms were settled, with respectful relationships between students and teachers, and among students.

Areas for review and development

Leaders need to ensure high-quality teaching is taking place consistently across the school by:

  • more effectively monitoring teaching practice against the expectations set out in the school’s curriculum
  • developing robust appraisal processes to support teachers’ development.

It is timely for the board, school leaders and teachers, in consultation with students and parents, to review the manageability and sustainability of the current curriculum for teachers and students. This should include an evaluation of how well teaching and learning programmes and initiatives are supporting the school’s vision, contributing to strategic priorities and achieving any other intended aims.

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

The school is continuing to develop a curriculum to promote educational success for Māori as Māori.

Māori students achieve well academically and in many other areas, in particular sport.

Throughout the school, leaders, teachers and students show respect for Māori language and culture. This can be seen through school programmes, activities, and practices such as powhiri for new students, staff and visitors, and celebrating events special to Māori such as Mātariki.

The school’s kapa haka group has continued to grow in numbers with many Māori, alongside non-Māori peers, enjoying learning about te ao Māori through this group. All students in Years 7 to 10 take part in weekly te reo and tikanga Māori classes.

Tikanga Māori, including core concepts such as manaakitanga/respect and caring, whanaungatanga/relationships and tuakana–teina (older students supporting younger students socially and with their learning), are a part of life at Mackenzie College.

School leaders hold regular meetings with the whānau of Māori students. They have established good relationships with the local marae.

School leaders agree that their next step is to develop a shared understanding of what Māori success means for Mackenzie College and to reflect this in all relevant school documents. This would provide a sound basis for evaluating the impact of programmes and initiatives to promote Māori success.

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.

This is evident in the:

  • progress over the last four-to-five years to improve the school’s performance
  • strengthened leadership at the principal level and by the senior leaders over recent years
  • high levels of commitment by staff to support students, within and beyond the classroom
  • comprehensive and effective systems to manage senior assessment throughout the school
  • increased knowledge trustees have about their roles and governance practices
  • focus on school development and continuous improvement
  • improved financial position
  • way in which senior leaders and the board consult with the community and act on the information provided.

Areas for review and development

The school’s trustees and ERO agree that the next steps to strengthen governance practices are to ensure that:

  • strategic and annual planning reflect the school’s priorities for development
  • priorities for development are closely linked to all relevant aspects of school operations
  • trustees receive regular reports about progress towards achievement of school priorities
  • any review identifies what has made a positive impact and what needs to be improved

senior leaders and the board gather and consider the views of staff about matters that affect them.

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. At the time of this review, no international fee-paying students were attending the school.

The school is aware of the need to strengthen the rigour of its annual review against the Code and document the outcomes of review thoroughly in the event that international fee-paying students enrol in the future.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

11 June 2014

About the School


Fairlie, South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys: 57%

Girls: 43%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Special Features

Itinerant Music cluster - participant in

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

11 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

October 2010

May 2009

June 2008