Equitable opportunities to learn

Published: 12 Jun 2017
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


The important thing for us is not to waste any time.

At this secondary school leaders and teachers have responded to students’ need for more time to achieve their goals. While not mandatory for either staff or students, lunchtime and after school learning sessions have become the norm.

Key messages:

  • Students choose to attend tutorials outside of scheduled class time
  • For some students home based study is not an option
  • Students appreciate their teachers making themselves available to support their learning
  • Leaders and teachers believe that their students can and will achieve equitable and excellent outcomes through the investment of additional  time and support 

Things to think about:

  • What are the features of your learning environment that support equitable opportunities to learn?
  • What else might we consider?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence
    • Evaluation indicator
      • Leadership ensures an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.


Remote video URL

(The video opens on a classroom. A teacher approaches a group of students, handing out sheets of paper.)


OK, girls, let's get started.

I've got our worksheets.

Have you got this?

Which one?

New ones.



(A girl’s voice speaks over the scene.)


Students ask teachers for help.


(We see the speaker, a girl in a school uniform sitting at a desk as she speaks into the camera. Other students work at a table in the background.)

So teachers organise a tutorial on what they need help in.


(The girl continues speaking in voiceover as the camera shifts to another girl sitting at a desk. She points and speaks but we cannot what she says. Another girl, standing at the whiteboard and holding a pen, nods.)

After school, the tutorials start at 3:30 until 5:00.


(Other girls watch as the girl at the whiteboard solves a math problem.)

And that gives them the amount of time to work on what they need to work on.


(We hear the girl at the whiteboard speak.)

Did you get it? OK.


(The camera now shows a woman sitting in an office, speaking into the camera. Several small, New Zealand-themed artworks are hung behind her on the wall. Text of the bottom of the screen reads, “Kiri Turketo, Deputy Principal, McAuley Highschool.”)


From 9:00 till 3:00, you're in class. Outside of those hours, we're running a maths group, an English workshop, an art workshop, a digital media workshop.


(Her voiceover continues as we see a classroom. The camera pans across the desks as the students focus on their work.)

Those are all going so that those girls can opt in at any time.


(We return to the girl who was previously speaking, sitting in the classroom.)


Some students stay after school because they can't study at home.


(Now outside, two girls in uniforms stand in front of a tree. One of them speaks. As she says “through” the video changes to a classroom scene once more. Sitting at a table with other students, the girl speaking can be seen discussing something with a teacher enthusiastically.)

The struggles we see the seniors go through, it really makes us think if we're going to actually succeed. But the important thing is for us not to waste any time.


(Back in front of the tree, the other girl now speaks.)

You're not in school forever, so you have to make the most of it.


(The camera shows two more girls, standing in a classroom. One of them speaks into the camera. The other nods in agreement.)

We have class time, but that doesn't mean we always, we're always doing our work. So it would be after school tutorials, or before school.


(As she says “great way”, we see the classroom scene where students work in their workbooks once more.)


I think it's a great way for you to start taking responsibility for your own learning.


(The voiceover changes to another girls voice. We see the teacher walk around the room, observing.)


It's all up to the students.


(As she says “to get”, we see the speaker sitting in a classroom looking into the camera.)


If they want to work hard and go earn those credits, then they'll take their time out of school just to get that extra learning from teachers.


(We now see a woman standing in front of a large window, looking into the camera. Text on the bottom of the screen reads, “Rachel Williams, Deputy Principal Curriculum, McAuley High School”.)

Our students have become very adept at identifying where they need the help.


(As her voiceover continues the camera returns to the classroom once more. We see several different shots of students speaking to teachers as other students study in the background.)

And they will shoulder-tap particular teachers and say, when can you spare a couple of hours, or when can you spend a lunchtime with me? I need to go over this particular thing.


(We return to Rachel Williams.)

Very rarely do we have to sort of say to them, look, I think you need to turn up to the extra classes. They're pretty good at identifying themselves.


(A student in a uniform sits in a classroom, speaking into the camera.)

It's good that they take out not only school time, but their own time to try to help us learn.


(The scene changes to an almost empty classroom. Two students sit at desks watching as a teacher stands at the whiteboard, drawing a diagram.)

Sometimes they come early in the morning just to help us out, or at lunchtimes they sacrifice just for us to stay in class and work a little more.


(We are briefly back with Rachel in front of the window before returning to the almost empty classroom. A girl at a desk twirls her pen as she asks the teacher something.)

It's probably testament to the relationship our students have with their particular teachers, that they feel comfortable going up to the teachers and asking for extra help when they need it.


(A woman now sits in an office, speaking into the camera. On a shelf behind her sits a silver trophy and a small plant. Text on the bottom of the screen reads, “Anne Miles, Principal, McAuley High School.)

I've never ever asked teachers to do after school, lunchtime, holiday work. It's entirely voluntary. And I think the students really appreciate that.


(Her voiceover continues as we see Anne and a teacher in a classroom, speaking to a student.)

It's entirely of their own volition.


(Rachel takes over the voiceover as the scene continues.)

They do it because they want what's best for their particular students.

And they know that time is everything for our students.


(Rachel is once more in front of the large window.)

And they really believe that our students can achieve, and that they will achieve. But they just need a little bit more support and a little bit more time. And they're prepared to give that to our students.