Selwyn College

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

Kohimarama Road, Kohimarama, Auckland

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Selwyn College - 06/11/2019

School Context

Selwyn College, in Kohimarama, caters for students from Years 9 to 13. Of the 1031 students currently enrolled, a small number have Māori or Pacific heritage. The roll also includes smaller groups from a wide variety of other ethnicities.

The school’s Totara Learning Centre provides support for students with additional learning needs. The Refugee Education for Adults and Families centre, an on-site facility for new migrants, provides community education, literacy and numeracy support for parents and students, to ease their integration into New Zealand society.

The school’s mission statement is based on growing learners’ “agency, achievement and attributes in a respectful, vibrant, inclusive and purposeful learning community”. The school’s key values, kotahitanga, rangatiratanga and manaakitanga, underpin the school’s vision of developing students to be the best learners they can be.

The school sets high targets for achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and in NCEA merit and excellence endorsements for all students.

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

  • achievement and progress in NCEA

  • achievement and progress in Years 9 and 10

  • Māori and Pacific students’ achievement

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations

  • wellbeing for success

  • progress in relation to the school’s strategic goals.

Since the 2014 ERO review, two new senior leaders have been appointed. Schoolwide professional learning and development has focused on “the Selwyn Way”, the “Selwise” language of learning and the embedding of a schoolwide culture.

The school is part of the Te Roopu Pourewa Kāhui Ako | Community 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 increasingly effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students. High levels of retention through to the senior school supports students’ success in learning.

NCEA data show that most students achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and University Entrance (UE). Merit and Excellence endorsements in NCEA Levels 1 and 2 have increased over the last five years. This trend demonstrates that some groups of students are making accelerated progress. Almost all students achieve NCEA Levels 1 to 3 in numeracy and literacy. These high levels of achievement have been sustained over time.

Leaders recognise that addressing in-school disparity for Māori students at NCEA Level 3 and UE is a priority. Pacific student achievement in Levels 1 and 3, and in UE, are trending upwards. Individual Māori and Pacific students’ progress and achievement is monitored closely. A collaborative inquiry process to support learners to further lift their achievement is well utilised.

School achievement information indicates that some groups of students enter the school below expected curriculum levels in literacy and numeracy. Students in Years 9 to 10 make good progress. The majority of these students achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in core learning areas.

Other valued outcomes are highly evident in the ways that students:

  • are inclusive, respectful, supportive and accepting of others

  • build sound learning relationships with each other and their teachers

  • follow meaningful pathways for the future

  • build resilience in their learning

  • take leadership roles and opportunities.

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

The school responds effectively to those students whose learning needs acceleration.

Longitudinal tracking shows that the school is accelerating students’ learning progress and that outcomes are increasingly equitable for most students over their time at the school.

Targeted strategies to increase parity for Māori and Pacific students are improving learning outcomes. Positive and respectful relationships support student engagement, build connections to the school, and promote positive outcomes for Māori and Pacific students. Strategies include partnership with Ngāti Whātua, a Pacific homework club, student leadership initiatives and mentoring.

School information shows that most junior students whose learning needs acceleration make accelerated progress over a two-year period and go on to achieve NCEA qualifications at Level 2 or above.

There is a common understanding and language of learning at the school. Leaders, teachers, trustees and students have collective ownership of learning. Effective processes to track and monitor student achievement, and a collaborative inquiry process, support shared understandings about students’ learning needs and progress. Students are empowered to work with teachers in the design and delivery of individualised programmes, leading to meaningful pathways and successful transitions through the school.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There is effective liaison between classroom teachers, heads of house and specialist agencies. The school’s inclusive learning culture helps all students participate and succeed in a breadth of learning experiences.

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 is committed to growing a shared understanding of biculturalism through Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the visibility of te ao Māori concepts and knowledge. This enables all students to have a greater understanding of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

School leaders are highly strategic and focused on future improvement. They promote a collaborative, respectful learning culture. Leaders build and maintain relational trust at every level of the school community. They develop and pursue the school’s vision, goals and targets to accelerate students’ progress and promote their wellbeing. Leaders across all levels are working to strengthen conditions that support equity and excellence, and positive outcomes for all students.

The leadership team’s coherent approach builds teachers’ individual capability and increases the school’s collective professional capacity. Leaders and teachers have shared understandings, high expectations, and a professional learning culture. Professional learning for staff is a priority and is centred on specific educational outcomes, including students knowing themselves as learners. This is supported by highly effective communication for the sharing and dissemination of all knowledge around improvement and innovation.

Students benefit from the school’s positive and inclusive culture. Respectful and affirming relationships between teachers and students are highly evident and create positive expectations for teaching and learning.Students regularly reflect on their learning and self-management.This culture forms a solid foundation that motivates learners to participate, contribute and progress. A variety of student-led initiatives develop students’ strong sense of agency in the school.

Students learn through a broad curriculum that is inclusive and responsive to their individual strengths and interests. Students co-construct and participate in increasingly authentic, relevant learning experiences. They are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. All learning pathways are valued equally. Senior students are very well supported to follow their personalised pathways and achieve quality NCEA credits.

The college has a well-developed culture of evaluation and professional inquiry that contributes to continual improvement. This is deeply embedded in everyday practice across all levels in the school. Leaders and trustees evaluate the school’s progress towards realising the vision, goals and targets. Ongoing curriculum review has enhanced students’ learning opportunities.

Learning-centred relationships engage and involve the school community. Reciprocal communication between the school and its community supports and strengthens these relationships. Learning focused partnerships enable parents and whānau to contribute to the curriculum and school direction. Students’ engagement is increased through these partnerships.

Effective pastoral care, and learning support systems and processes, help to nurture students’ wellbeing, increase their engagement and reduce barriers to learning. An extensive network of mentors, heads of houses, and counsellors provide comprehensive support for students.

The board of trustees is strategically focused on promoting equity and excellence. Trustees work collaboratively with school leaders. A well-designed strategic plan supports progress towards a shared vision. Trustees are well informed about student achievement and school priorities. This information supports the board’s decision-making about resourcing, personnel and professional development.

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

Leaders, teachers and trustees recognise the positive impact that integrating te reo me ngā tikanga Māori has on Māori students’ success. They are committed to improving the extent to which te ao Māori is woven throughout the curriculum and school environment. It is timely to continue building partnerships with whānau Māori and exploring ways to engage Māori students and whānau in decision-making about learning.

Leaders and teachers have identified continual development of the pathways (careers) hub as an ongoing focus. This will expand opportunities for students to access multiple and meaningful pathways while encouraging positive contributions to the local and global communities.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code)established undersection 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 112 international students attending the school.

Selwyn College has good systems for providing education and pastoral care for international students. Course selections are personalised, and progress and achievement are closely monitored. Students have many opportunities to participate in school activities, take leadership roles and integrate into the school community. The school has effective systems in place to monitor compliance with the Code.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that promotes positive connections and relationships that actively support equity and excellence for all learners
  • a positive school culture that responds to students’ needs, promotes their wellbeing and supports their learning success
  • a broad and relevant curriculum that allows students to access meaningful pathways
  • the strategic focus on building professional capability and capacity that promotes collaboration across the curriculum to help raise achievement.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to develop schoolwide bicultural practices, including further developing connections and partnerships with whānau Māori
  • continuing to develop student pathways to provide greater opportunities for school leavers.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

6 November 2019

About the school


Kohimarama, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 9-15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 13%
NZ European/Pākehā 46%
Pacific 9%
Asian 7%
other ethnic groups 25%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

6 November 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2014
Education Review November 2011
Education Review January 2010

Selwyn College - 28/11/2014

1 Context

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

Selwyn College in Kohimarama, Auckland is a high performing secondary school. It values and celebrates the cultural and socio-economic diversity of its students and community. Students are very well supported to experience success academically and in the wider life of the school.

The college has undergone a significant transformation since the appointment of the current principal in 2008. Academic achievement has improved markedly including that of Māori and Pacific students. The settled purposeful learning culture acknowledged in the 2011 ERO report is well embedded. Productive partnerships with parents, local iwi and the wider school community support student achievement.

The junior performing arts academy and ASB sports stadium enrich the learning environment. The school's Totara Learning Centre provides for 15 students with high learning needs. The popular community education programmes and centre for refugee education for adults and families also support the uniqueness of Selwyn College.

Since the beginning of 2012, an elected board of trustees has governed the college. The current trustees work effectively with the principal to support and sustain the acceleration of the school’s transformation. The school’s broad curriculum is well resourced. The board is strategic in its approach to accommodate the projected roll growth and sustain the school’s high performance.

2 Learning

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

The school is highly effective in its use of achievement information to benefit learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Overall achievement in National Certificates of Education (NCEA) is high. In NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 achievement is well above national averages and government expectations for all students, and for Māori and Pacific students. Overall student achievement in NCEA excellence endorsements and University Entrance is trending upwards, as it is for Māori and Pacific students. Year 9 and 10 students are making very good progress and achieve well across all learning areas ofThe New Zealand Curriculum. The high academic achievement of both senior and junior students is indicative of the high levels of student engagement that characterise classroom learning.

Very effective use is made of reliable achievement information to monitor the progress and achievement of every student. Students monitor, take ownership, and share with parents their progress and achievement records. Senior leaders, subject teachers, mentors, heads of learning areas and heads of houses closely monitor student progress. Exemplary methods are used to moderate and ensure the reliability of student achievement information.

Achievement information is also used well to support students at risk of underachieving. Teachers plan well for gifted and talented, Māori, Pacific, and students with special learning needs so that these learners progress and achieve. There is clear evidence of accelerated progress of gifted and talented students, and of Māori and Pacific learners, especially in Years 9 and 10.

Students, teachers, school leaders and board members make very good use of achievement information to set goals and annual targets. Students set goals through 3-way conferences with their parents and mentors. High achievement targets are set for Māori and Pacific students in response to the expectations of their communities. The board’s annual targets reflect its high expectations of every student. These targets acknowledge the importance of Year 10 students reaching the required curriculum level to have success in their learning pathways through and beyond the senior school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum reflects The New Zealand Curriculum and the school’s mission, vision and values. It provides academic and vocational pathways for every student to gain the knowledge and skills needed for tertiary training and education, employment and lifelong learning.

The school curriculum is responsive to students’ diverse talents, abilities and interests. Teachers know their students well. They design learning programmes that are personalised and inclusive of students’ identity, languages and cultures. Teachers are committed to providing students with authentic learning experiences that enable them to see connections between their formal learning and the real world.

Numerous co-curricular school activities are an integral and distinctive part of the school curriculum. They support students to become actively involved, connected learners. Student participation in the performing arts, sports and various competitions continues to expand. Especially noteworthy are the opportunities and awards for student involvement in service and leadership.

Teachers are inspired and supported to provide high quality effective teaching that is informed by current educational theory and research. Led by the principal, they have evolved a learning toolkit that makes the Selwyn approach to teaching and learning visible for teachers, students and parents. It has gained rapid acceptance and is transforming classroom teaching and student learning.

Promoting student wellbeing is a prominent aspect of the school curriculum. The schools’ values and behavioural expectations underpin the caring, respectful and trusting relationships that characterise the school. Increased use is being made of restorative practices by students and staff. Extensive guidance and effective learning support systems promote and support student learning and achievement.

The well developed school-wide culture of critical reflection and self review supports ongoing development of the school curriculum. Data gathered from surveys of students, parents, staff and school leavers is used alongside student achievement information to review and improve teaching programmes and practices.

ERO suggests that as the school roll continues to increase, still further consideration could be given to:

  • broadening aspects of the senior school curriculum in response to trends in employment opportunities
  • enhancing the evaluation of student well-being and of the effectiveness of special needs interventions.

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

The school is very effective in its promotion of educational success for Māori, as Māori. Selwyn College has 135 Māori students. Of this total 35 identify as Ngāti Whatua – the local iwi. Others identify as Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Rarawa and Tuhoe.

Māori students experience educational success. Over the past five years there has been a dramatic and continuous improvement in the academic performance of Māori students in NCEA and in the junior school. Significant proportions of Māori students fulfil school leadership roles, participate in school sports, and gain placements in further education, training and employment.

Key factors in promoting success for Māori include:

  • the relentless focus on realising Māori potential in line with the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy, Ka Hikitia
  • collaboration with parents of Māori children and Whai Maia, the Ngāti Whatua Education Corporate
  • high expectations and commitment of the board, senior leadership team, Māori staff and teachers for Māori student success
  • implementation throughout the school of The Selwyn Way: Our Tikanga and its values of kotahitanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga
  • ako, the two-way teaching and learning relationship that is transforming teacher practice and classroom learning.

The identity, language and culture of Māori students are promoted in many ways. Students have opportunities to learn te reo at all year levels. Te reo and tikanga Māori is taught to all Year 9 students. School pōwhiri, kapa haka, marae visits and wananga are among the opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. Teachers continue to extend their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori to promote success for Māori and all students.

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.

High quality self review is characteristic of all school operations. Responsive, planned and strategic self review has been a key element in the school’s accelerated transformation to become a high performing school. Self review for ongoing school development is informed by data including the voices of students, teachers, parents and the community.

The principal provides outstanding professional leadership, clearly articulating the school’s vision, values and strategic goals. The effective leadership and collaborative teamwork of the senior and middle managers and staff is a hallmark of the school. The innovative, individualised school curriculum using proven effective teaching practices is recognised by educators nationally and internationally.

A distinctive family-like culture of respect, caring and inclusiveness permeates the school. Parents and families are actively engaged in their children’s learning. Effective consultation with parents of Māori and Pacific students has resulted in high annual achievement targets and results for these student groups.

The board of trustees provides highly effective governance. The school charter, strategic and annual plans provide a very clear direction for school development. Concise, well considered policies guide board decision-making and self review. The school is well resourced. Plans for major property development to cater for rapid and considerable roll growth are well underway. The principal’s comprehensive reports help to inform the board of the extent to which its strategic and annual goals are being realized and its legal requirements met.

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 the review there were 31 students mainly from Asian countries, especially Japan, but also from Germany and Italy.

The school provides well for its international students. They quickly become integrated into the culturally inclusive school community. Care is taken for students to be happy and well looked after in their homestay accommodation. Teachers know the students’ academic goals and aspirations. School records indicate students make good progress, especially with their English language.

The school has good systems to monitor its compliance with the Code. Refinements to current practice could include improving documentation of current procedures and practices, and providing formal reports to the board about the progress and achievement of international students.

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.


Selwyn College is a high performing school. Students experience personalised learning in a caring, respectful and vibrant learning environment. Students have a strong sense of school pride and belonging to their culturally inclusive school. The innovative and individualised curriculum and highly effective teaching practices are resulting in students achieving academic success and becoming confident lifelong learners.

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


Kohimarama, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Southeast Asian
other European
Middle Eastern
other Asian
Latin American


Special Features

Special Education Unit

Adult Refugee Education

Adult Community Education

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

28 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

November 2011
January 2010
December 2008