Wakatipu High School

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

47-49 Red Oaks Drive, Frankton, Queenstown

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Wakatipu High School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


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


Wakatipu High School is a co-educational Years 9 to 13 secondary school in Queenstown. The school successfully relocated to a new modern learning campus at Frankton in 2018. The school rebuilding and expansion has been well-managed and is almost complete.

Wakatipu High School’s strategic goals for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • engagement, learning, progress, and achievement which enables every student to gain their best possible qualification
  • maintaining high levels of student achievement and extra-curricular participation
  • delivering high quality teaching and learning
  • embracing biculturalism and Mātauranga Māori
  • ensuring a safe and inclusive learning environment.

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

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate accelerating the progress of students in the junior school, with a focus on key aspects of the school’s Ākonga Profile, beginning with literacy.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is that the school has identified it wants to accelerate the literacy progress of learners in Years 9 and 10 to ensure access to the breadth of the curriculum and achievement of the best qualification. Through this the school seeks to improve equity for learners. Sustaining ongoing learner achievement, including high performance, remains an ongoing focus.

The school expects to see:

  • an increased proportion of Year 10 learners achieving at or above Level 5 of the New Zealand Curriculum in literacy by the end of the year
  • all learners advancing in their levels of literacy achievement
  • more equitable outcomes for learners

a comprehensive framework for literacy which includes:

  • expectations for literacy teaching across the curriculum
  • a plan for raising awareness and understanding of literacy with parents/whānau and the wider community
  • a model of intervention for accelerating at risk learners in literacy
  • improved evaluative capabilities across the school.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school in its goal to achieving equity and excellence:

  • the substantial knowledge and skills of literacy leaders
  • its comprehensive information base reflecting how well learners are achieving and progressing
  • the abilities of staff to analyse and interrogate this data to determine what is working and what can be improved
  • the strong strategic planning with an equity focus
  • leadership recognition of the importance of teaching practice as a key lever in improving outcomes for learners
  • a capable and committed leadership team striving for continuous improvement
  • the commitment and support from the school’s community, including the Whānau Advisory Group and the WHS Foundation.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will continue to prioritise:

  • equity and excellence across genders and ethnicities
  • biculturalism and Mātauranga Māori
  • the school’s Ākonga Profile including academic and holistic achievement
  • the ongoing development of evaluative capability.

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.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

8 July 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

Wakatipu High School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2021 to 2024

As of December 2021, the Wakatipu High School Board of Trustees 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 Wakatipu High School Board of Trustees.

The next Board of Trustees 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

8 July 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

Wakatipu 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.


Wakatipu High School has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual self-review of its implementation of the Code. 

At the time of this review there were eight international students attending the school, and no exchange students.

The school has established clear and thorough processes for reviewing its provision for international students and compliance with the Code. School governance and leadership make good use of a range of information on student wellbeing, learning and engagement to know about the quality of provision and to identify any actions needed to sustain positive outcomes for students. The benefits of a major review of the international student area in recent years are clearly evident. 

Sound processes and practices support students to settle into school, develop a sense of belonging, and to be active participants in school life and the wider community. Students’ wellbeing is closely monitored, and supported by effective links between international students, families, staff, and the International Director. Particular care is taken to support international students’ health and emotional wellbeing, with all students spoken with indicating that they have good support networks with staff and connections with other students. Information relevant to international students is effectively recorded and updated on the school’s student management system.

The director has active and effective lines of communication with international students, their teachers, and their families. The director keeps families informed in an ongoing way, for example, by talking through changes in goals a student might make during the year and gaining the family’s approval. Students are actively encouraged and supported to take part in co-curricular activities alongside their peers.  

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

8 July 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

Wakatipu High School - 23/05/2014

1 Context

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

Wakatipu High School is the only school in the wider Wakatipu Basin offering education to students from Year 9 to 13. Students and staff members come from diverse backgrounds, with over thirty cultures groups represented in the school. The school is effectively managing the challenges as a result of growing roll numbers. A new site for the school is being planned for 2018.

The school provides education for a significant number of temporary-entrant students, transient students, and students from migrant families.

Students know about the school’s strategic direction. They know the part they can play in bringing about the goals that affect them, and the high expectations the school and community have for them.

The school’s vision and values are shared regularly by staff with students. Students know what part they play in meeting the school’s expectations for students to:

  • be life-long learners who ‘reach for their heights’
  • show respect for self, others and the environment
  • act responsibly
  • cope with and grow from challenge
  • value diversity.

School leaders, teachers and students make good use of the nature of the wider local environment, and opportunities, such as in the hospitality and adventure tourism industries as contexts for learning, and employment for students.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of learning information to effectively support students to engage well with their learning, make appropriate or accelerated progress, and achieve well. In 2013, 83% of students leaving school did so with at least a NCEA Level 2 certificate.

Students use achievement information well to:

  • have discussions with teachers to set useful goals for their learning, including aiming for merit and excellence in Years 11 to 13
  • play their part in monitoring and tracking their own progress towards achieving their goals each year.
  • Teachers use student achievement information purposefully to:
  • inform discussion with students about meeting high expectations
  • meet the needs of the students and help them know the purpose of the learning
  • ensure the learning is suitably challenging for students
  • implement appropriate literacy and numeracy support for students.

Teachers in middle-management/leadership roles make good use of student learning information to:

  • know about students’ learning needs on entry into Year 9 and through to Year 10, and share this information with the teachers who need it
  • assist with course selection and student placement
  • support teachers to use or improve their use of learning information in their teaching
  • report to trustees about overall student achievement in their learning area against annual targets.

Senior leaders use student achievement information effectively to:

  • inform decision making such as the choice of professional learning and development, setting annual achievement targets, and resourcing
  • contribute to curriculum review.
  • Trustees use student achievement information strategically to:
  • know where the priority learners are in the school
  • work with senior leaders to set targets for improvement
  • ensure they are well informed for data-driven decision making.

3 Curriculum

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

The school‘s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Students benefit from the breadth of the curriculum offered. Leaders and teachers actively help students understand how the school’s values support their learning. Students are keen participants in the wider life of the school and in the wide range of sporting and cultural activities made available to them.

Senior students have a wide range of subject options and courses to prepare them for life beyond school. They learn to take responsibility for their own learning and study time through the well-resourced and effectively managed Senior Independent Learning Centre. The centre includes spaces for silent study, cooperative learning, and lessons taught by correspondence. Students move from being closely supported to managing their own learning with increasing independence. This high-trust environment has been significantly developed since the 2010 ERO review, including the use of students’ views about how it can best support their learning.

The shape of the school timetable is unusual in its allocation of time equally across learning areas, especially for students in Years 9 and 10. Aspects of the timetable have been reviewed, for example the degree to which students are accelerated and the number of mixed-year-group classes. An extensive review of the timetable is currently being undertaken. ERO believes that this review is timely and highly appropriate.

ERO saw multiple examples of effective teaching strategies in the sample of classes ERO reviewers visited. These strategies included:

  • students and teachers demonstrating mutual respect through their interactions
  • teachers using a good range of strategies to engage students with learning
  • teachers making personal connections with students’ lives and interests
  • students and teachers making good use of ICT resources, including their own devices
  • students’ ideas being valued in planning what is learnt and how the learning might occur
  • students being encouraged to learn at their own pace and/or use their own learning style.

Students benefit from targeted support in their learning to help them achieve appropriate success at each level of the school.

Senior leaders are at an early stage in developing a ‘Visible Learning’ philosophy. The development of strategies to implement this philosophy should help the school arrive at an agreed view of what good teaching practice looks like. The agreed strategies should act as a foundation for monitoring, reviewing and appraising the quality of teaching in the school. ERO endorses this development as an important next step in defining and supporting high-quality teaching.

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

The school is increasingly effective in promoting and supporting educational success for Māori students. There is a growing awareness of the importance of a strong bicultural dimension in the life of the school. This includes a goal in the board’s strategic plan to increase success for Māori students. Māori students ERO spoke to said that they feel they are valued and that their culture is being increasingly recognised.

Challenges that the school has identified include providing te reo Māori for senior students, strengthening the links between kapa haka and recognition for NCEA, and developing different ways for Māori students not involved in kapa haka to experience success.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board has a good balance of longer-serving and newer trustees. Trustees are confident in asking questions, especially around improving outcomes for students. They communicate well with the local community and have clear ideas about the future direction of the school. The school’s charter was developed in consultation with the community and is well used by school leaders to monitor and improve performance.

A positive, collegial school culture is now well established. The strategic approach to growth and development demonstrated by the board and the senior managers is effective in establishing priorities and managing change. Staff members feel that their views are sought and considered in decision making. Middle managers are confident in their roles. There is a general spirit of optimism throughout the school, balanced by a realisation that further work will always be needed, especially as the school plans for its new site, set to open in 2018.

The board receives good quality student achievement reports from each learning area and reports from some other parts of the school’s operation at the end of each year. This good practice should be extended to include more areas where staff members have specific responsibilities. Some of these reports could usefully be required during the year rather than at the end of the calendar year.

Trustees, managers and teachers continue to place the creation and maintenance of a safe and inclusive culture as central to the school’s operation. The school is proud of the multi-cultural backgrounds of its staff and its students. Student wellbeing is supported by a team of deans and tutor teachers, guidance and careers staff, senior managers and learning support staff.

Students feel that their opinions and ideas matter and are acted on. They understand and appreciate the feedback they are getting from the surveys they take part in, for example the recent wellbeing and engagement survey carried out in term one, 2014. They contribute, alongside adults, to the school’s strategic plan and other aspects of the school’s operation, for example the uniform review.

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, there were 35 international fee-paying students attending the school, including one exchange student.

The school is very aware of the needs of all its international students, those paying fees, those who are children of migrant workers and those that have temporary entry.

The school has effective systems that meet the Code requirements for the care and support of fee-paying students. All international students who need support with English are assessed and placed in appropriate courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages. The school has strong systems for monitoring the progress and welfare of all students, including those not born in New Zealand. International students are well integrated into the school and community.

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

23 May 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male: 51% Female: 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other ethnicities






Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

23 May 2014

Most recent ERO reports

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February 2013

February 2011

March 2007