Massey High School

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School Context

Massey High School is a large co-educational school for students Years 9 to 13. Close to a quarter of students have Māori heritage, a quarter have Pacific heritage, and a third are Pākehā. There are also smaller groups of students from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

The school’s vision is that students will become confident young people, who constantly strive to improve themselves and who will shape the world of tomorrow. ‘Seek the heights, Kimihia ngā maunga teitei’ is the school’s motto and the school values are excellence, equity, respect, integrity and community.

The goals for improving students’ learning outcomes identified in the school’s strategic plan are to:

  • improve the quality of qualifications achieved by all students and promote academic excellence

  • continually build partnerships with community and tertiary providers to develop appropriate pathways and meet individual learner aspirations so that students are well prepared for life after secondary school and beyond.

Since ERO’s 2014 review, the board has appointed a new principal and overseen the building and opening of a dedicated arts facility. Vocational pathway provision has been significantly extended to include a fashion academy, full commercial kitchens which are used by the Hospitality Academy and the Food Technology Department and the introduction of Innovative Learning Environments in the Technology Department. Due to a decline in student and staff numbers the school’s bilingual unit has been closed.

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

  • progress and achievement across all year levels

  • achievement in relation to school targets

  • wellbeing, engagement and attendance

  • retention, stand down, suspension and attendance.

The school is a member of Te Kāhui Ako o Tiriwā, and an associate member of Whiria Te Tangata Communities of Learning (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 towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Roll-based data for 2017 in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) show that most students achieved Level 1 and 3, and nearly all students achieved Level 2. The majority of students achieved University Entrance (UE). Ten percent of Year 11 to 13 students are in the school’s Auckland West Vocational Academy and they gain vocational qualifications in addition to their NCEA qualifications.

Data from 2017 show that most Māori students working at NCEA Level 1 or 2 achieved these levels. The majority of Year 13 Māori students achieved Level 3, however less than half achieved UE. Māori student achievement at Massey High School is higher than Māori achievement nationally and in comparison to similar schools.

While historical in-school achievement disparity persists between Māori and Pākehā, relentless efforts are being made to address this across the school. Parity for Māori has increased at NCEA Level 1 and UE but has decreased at Level 2 and 3. There is also continued disparity for Māori students in relation to their retention and leaver qualifications. Fewer are retained at Year 12 or 13, and more leave school without NCEA Level 2 qualifications or above, than their non-Māori peers.

In-school achievement disparity has been decreasing for Pacific students across all levels. In 2017, the majority of Year 11 Pacific students achieved NCEA Level 1 and nearly all Year 12 students achieved Level 2. Most Year 13 Pacific students achieved Level 3, but less than half achieved UE.

Leaders and teachers have successfully used deliberate, personalised strategies to motivate boys to engage and succeed in their learning. As a result, achievement disparity between boys and girls has continued to decrease over the past two years.

NCEA data over time show generally positive trends in merit, excellence and scholarship achievement. Senior leaders continue to focus on increasing the quality of Māori and Pacific students’ credit attainment to ensure they experience more success in merit and excellence achievement.

The school’s data indicate that on entry many Year 9 students are below expected curriculum levels in literacy and mathematics. It is notable that considerable improvement is evident for these students over the course of two years. Similar achievement patterns and trends for Year 9 and 10 students are reported in other learning areas.

The small groups of students who spoke with ERO noted that they are proud of their school. They are supported well by adults and their peers to develop confidence and a sense of belief in themselves as learners. There are multiple forums for them to voice their perspectives regarding their learning, wellbeing and school life. They are confident that their voice is heard and responded to by teachers and leaders.

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

The school is achieving significant accelerated curriculum shifts for students in Years 9 and 10. The average curriculum level on entry at Year 9 is nearly two levels below expectation. Accelerated progress for individual students is supporting the school’s drive for greater overall achievement in NCEA.

Priority learners are identified early by teachers and leaders who make good use of sets of holistic information about each individual student. Contributing schools share information about students’ individual learning and engagement needs.

In Years 9 and 10, well embedded assessment is linked to the New Zealand Curriculum levels across all learning areas. Students’ skills and understandings are carefully built to achieve success at NCEA Level 1 in Year 11.

Leaders and teachers value data, and use this evidence to guide their strategies to accelerate students’ progress through the curriculum. Students make accelerated shifts in English and mathematics from entry at Year 9 through to the end of Year 10. Similar shifts are evident in other curriculum areas.

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?

The school has effective processes and practices to guide its continued strategic drive for equity and excellence.

The school’s highly inclusive, collaborative culture promotes a sense of collective responsibility for students’ wellbeing and academic progress. Culturally responsive practices are valued and used to support individual learners’ sense of belonging in the school. Students have many opportunities for leadership, and to meet in groups with common interests.

Students benefit from a comprehensive range of learning based relationships that support their engagement and progress. They are known by, and connected to, multiple key adults who believe in their potential. Academic counselling is advancing students’ personal growth and educational success. The school’s extensive network of support includes valued long-term partnerships with parents. These partnerships are focused on supporting their children’s learning and engagement.

Leaders are proactive in sharing with, and learning from other schools. The school is associated with two CoLs. These links are helping leaders and teachers to know more about students’ learning and achievement at their contributing schools. The school benefits from active community relationships to support the curriculum. Tertiary and business partners especially support the academies’ programmes. Leaders are committed to planning and developing a regional academies concept across the secondary schools in West Auckland.

Leaders are improvement focused. They use ongoing evaluation to adapt practices and systems for better student outcomes. The board and leaders actively seek the perspectives of students, staff and the school’s community to guide their evaluation and planning. Leaders are currently focused on developing more consistent teaching expectations and practices that promote assessment for learning. This common focus means students encounter familiar teaching approaches across all learning areas.

Developing teacher capability is guided by several layers of leadership and support. Senior leaders have positively managed change processes to bring coherence across the many initiatives aimed at strengthening teaching capacity across the school. There are multiple forums for staff leadership and a significant shift towards teachers sharing effective teaching strategies and observing each other’s practice. The leaders of learning forum uses and builds leadership capability, and has high potential for generating curriculum change and improvement.

Leaders have used a creative, solutions-focused approach to making changes to pastoral care and support. The behavioural focus now is more on students and teachers taking responsibility for fostering and maintaining positive relationships. Pastoral care staff work together to provide holistic support for individual learners. They consider students’ potential to succeed and help them to make better choices where needed. Students with additional learning needs are well supported by programmes and strategies to guide their progress and development. Staff take advantage of multiple agencies, and local school networks to support at-risk students.

Trustees have demonstrated sound stewardship capability in addressing issues arising from the school’s roll decrease over the past four years. The board has astutely mitigated the impact that the resulting financial and staffing issues could have had on student learning outcomes.

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

Senior leaders continue to lead the drive to increase parity of achievement and engagement for Māori students. They want to ensure that all students leave the school with worthwhile academic qualifications for tertiary or career pathways.

As part of the board’s self-review process it is planning a consultation process about the school’s provision of te reo Māori. ERO recommends that this work includes an evaluation of the school’s support for Māori students’ success as Māori. Broader provision for te reo Māori learning pathways for students from Year 9 to Year 13 would be an important outcome of this evaluation. Developing a strategic Māori education plan would help guide the implementation and evaluation of initiatives to support Māori students’ success as Māori.

Senior leaders and leaders of learning plan to explore ways to develop a more responsive curriculum for Years 9 to 10. They are considering including more cross-curricular opportunities for students, and involving them more in co-constructing their learning programmes. As a result of the recent instalment of wireless technology across the school, it is timely to consider a curriculum design that recognises the positive influence of a digital environment on student learning.

Senior leaders plan to continue refining and enhancing the staff’s individual and collective evaluative capabilities through current appraisal and coaching processes and initiatives. Teachers are developing their inquiries to explore what, and how to adapt their teaching practice to improve student engagement and achievement.

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 Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were 32 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school‘s self-review processes for international students are thorough.

Massey High School provides international students with high quality pastoral care focused on promoting their wellbeing. International students integrate well into the school’s education programme and are involved in all aspects of school life. The school provides good quality English language support. Families receive high quality service from the school in regard to NCEA course selection and counselling about their academic pathways.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an inclusive, collaborative school culture that supports students to be confident learners

  • leaders’ continuing strategic drive for equity and excellence that is resulting in accelerated progress for many learners at risk of not achieving

  • the comprehensive range of learning based relationships that foster and guide students’ engagement and progress

  • an improvement focused culture where school practices and processes are adapted to improve student outcomes.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, ERO endorses senior leaders’ priorities for further development in:

  • further increasing ‘within’ school parity of achievement and engagement for Māori learners with other students in the school

  • continuing the board’s evaluation of success for Māori as Māori, and developing more accessible provision of te reo Māori learning pathways

  • developing a responsive and knowledge-based curriculum for students in Years 9 and 10, that includes greater provision for building student agency.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

26 October 2018

About the school


Massey, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 -15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 25%
Pākehā 30%
Samoan 11%
Indian 4%
South East Asian 4%
Tongan 4%
other Pacific 10%
other European 4%
other ethnic groups 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

26 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review August 2009
Education Review May 2006

1 Context

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

Massey High School in West Auckland is a large multicultural secondary school catering for students from Year 9 to 13. The school is viewed by New Zealand’s educational sector as a school with a national profile in research-based initiatives that make a difference for learners. Twenty-two percent of the school roll identify as Māori, with a large number having northern iwi affiliations.

The school aspires to be an educational hub for the community. Young people demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and pride in their school and report that the school is inclusive and supportive.

ERO’s review in 2009 identified a variety of successful educational opportunities for students that were underpinned by high quality pastoral care systems. These features were supported by capable leadership, a collegial and collaborative staff and a school culture focused on student wellbeing.

This review finds that trustees and senior leaders have sustained these features and continue to seek out further ways to develop and improve the school.

Massey High School’s positive school tone is strengthened through a curriculum that offers learning pathways into tertiary education and employment. This approach ensures that students work consistently and purposefully towards their learning and vocational goals. Close monitoring by teachers helps to support the achievement of students' goals and aspirations.

The school’s direction clearly aligns to the board’s strategic vision. Self review processes are evidence-based and an integral part of all school systems and operations.

2 Learning

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

School leaders use achievement information for Years 11, 12 and 13 very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Ongoing tracking of student achievement information highlights groups of students who may be at risk of not achieving. Monitoring processes result in some positive shifts in student progress and achievement. The majority of students are achieving well in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). These results have been on an upward trend since the ERO review in 2009. The school’s academic counselling programme promotes student success.

Many students make good progress through Years 9 and 10 in order to transition into the curriculum at NCEA Level 1.

School leaders have identified that achievement information linked to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC),in conjunction with standardised assessment tools, should help teachers to accelerate Year 9 and 10 progress and achievement. Some departments are beginning to work on NZC level data to achieve this objective. Māori students in junior classes could benefit from these new processes being used school-wide in order to meet their learning needs at an earlier stage.

Māori and Pacific student achievement sits above the national averages for Māori and Pacific for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 and University Entrance.

School leaders are aware that Māori students’ performance needs to trend upwards more consistently in order to achieve government targets of eighty-five percent for NCEA Level 2, in 2017. The activation of the Te Kotahitanga research and professional development programme, used by teachers to engage Māori students, has helped to accelerate the achievement of these students in NCEA in 2013. The group of Māori students who have been at Massey High School since Year 9 are tracking successfully through NCEA qualifications.

The board of trustees is well informed about student progress throughout the year.

3 Curriculum

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

Massey High School’s curriculum promotes student engagement and learning very effectively. The curriculum is increasingly responsive to students’ individualised pathways. The curriculum’s evolving design has good levels of coherence and integration that benefit students’ course selections and assessment opportunities.

Positive and affirming relationships for learning underpin interactions between students and teachers. These relationships nurture and support the school’s strategic commitment to students’ wellbeing.

Extensive academic counselling and mentoring and high quality careers education assist students as they transition into the school at Year 9, through school and when they leave. Teachers have a strong commitment to meeting student aspirations and responding to their goal setting. As a result a large majority senior students are leaving school to take up further study or enter into employment.

The school is initiating a focus on extending gifted and talented students with quality programmes that may lead to increased success in NCEA qualifications and scholarship. Faculties have recently expanded this high level learning to include English, arts, languages and literature, mathematics and sciences, sports and leadership.

Some teachers increasingly engage students in creative learning through contexts for studies that reflect students’ interests. The curriculum is increasingly responsive to students’ cultural backgrounds, particularly Māori and Pacific contexts.

School leaders maintain a school-wide curriculum focus on literacy. Teachers continue to develop ways to ensure that their teaching is relevant and authentic for students. Skills and competencies of the NZC are fostered through the school’s teaching and assessment approaches.

Eleven vocational academies in the school include pathways such as construction, business and computing, and engineering. They deliver real-world learning to maximise students’ access to tertiary qualifications while still at secondary school. The school works hard to establish purposeful connections between academies and tertiary or industry providers.

A well considered e-learning vision is being implemented in stages to make the best use of digital learning and teaching for twenty-first century education.

Massey High School offers students a wide range of broader curricular activities. There are many opportunities for students to experience success and build their leadership capability in a variety of sporting, cultural and academic events and competitions. Student success is publically acknowledged and celebrated.

To further enhance the school’s curriculum, school leaders could continue to develop:

  • an engaging, challenging and relevant curriculum that promotes more inclusion of student voice and student co-construction in learning programmes
  • more inquiry approaches towards learning that promote the higher order thinking skills required for success in scholarship and to obtain NCEA endorsements and excellence and merit grades.

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

The school is promoting educational success for Māori students. This emphasis is well aligned to the Ministry of Education resource Ka Hikitia. The school provides a bilingual learning programme in Years 9 to 11. Te reo Māori is available as an option for all students from Years 9 to 13.

The school’s commitment to Māori student success is strategically signalled in charter targets, and is evident in its substantial and ongoing commitment to Te Kotahitanga.

Māori leadership includes a deputy principal, key teachers and Māori student leaders who support the board and principal to meet strategic school goals for students to experience success as Māori.

Māori students’ identity and sense of belonging are promoted through initiatives in the curriculum. These initiatives include Te Tapere Toi o Tiriwa (Māori Performing Arts) and other programmes that promote the engagement of Māori students in learning and increase their mana within the school.

All new students and teachers are welcomed with pōwhiri at the start of the year. The school has a visible commitment to bicultural practice.

The board and school leaders continue to investigate effective ways to consult and engage with Māori whānau to strengthen participation and partnership in their children’s learning.

To further promote Māori student success school leaders report that they will continue to:

  • set increasingly challenging targets for Māori achievement and success from Years 9 to 13 over the next three years
  • identify more specifically through self review the factors contributing to the increase in Māori student progress and achievement in 2013.

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

The school is highly effective in promoting educational success for Pacific students.

Pacific student success and wellbeing benefit from the school’s culture of high expectations for everyone to participate and achieve. Staff use teaching strategies to motivate and support Pacific students for future success.

Pacific achievement goals are included in the school’s strategic plans and targets. The Pacific community has elected representation on the board of trustees, and a consultative parent committee is in the process of being formed to advise the board.

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. Self review at all levels is systematically making positive changes for learners.

The principal is an experienced and respected leader. He ensures that distributed leadership benefits the school. A diverse school leadership group thinks and works collaboratively to provide the best outcomes for students.

Trustees bring a range of skills to school governance. They enjoy a positive and effective working relationship with school leaders. Trustees are currently examining their self-review systems to better reflect on and evaluate their own performance in governing the school.

Teacher capacity and capability has continued to strengthen. Many teachers work hard to find new and innovative approaches to raise student achievement within each student’s chosen pathway.

Students are given many leadership opportunities where they can express their views of how the school can improve and continue to be a strong influence on young peoples’ lives.

The school is highly effective in engaging the community in partnerships for learning and in the life of the school.

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 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this report there were 23 international students attending the school.

International students receive very good levels of pastoral care and high quality education, including English and first language learning and support. They participate in a variety of school activities including music, drama, sports and cultural events. International students are well integrated into the life of the school.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self review processes are thorough.

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.


Massey High School provides high quality education for its student community. Students have many excellent opportunities to succeed through a responsive curriculum that prioritises and supports their achievement and success. Students are confident and well equipped to transition into the world of employment or tertiary study. High quality leadership is a key factor in the school’s continued success.

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

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

About the School


Massey, Auckland

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

NZ European/Pākehā
Cook Island Māori


Special Features

Bilingual unit, Trade Academies

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

30 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2009
May 2006
November 2002