The equal of everybody

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Evaluation indicators
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“They drive it into you that you are going somewhere in life. It’s important to have that hope.”

Driven by the conviction that everybody can achieve, leaders and teachers seek to overcome barriers to equity and excellence experienced by individual students at McAuley High School.

Key messages:

  • The school engages directly with students and their families to explain “What is it that successful students do”
  • Senior students and former students act as role models in setting high expectations
  • Trustees ensure that all students have equitable access to required resources such as stationary and uniforms
  • Leadership creates a school community in which deficit assumptions based on social and economic positioning, ethnicity, or gender being the determiner of ultimate success are directly challenged

Things to think about:

  • How well is the vision of equity and excellence for every learner enacted in your school?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence
    • Evaluation Indicator
      • Leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence

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.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

We make it absolutely clear to the students that we will help them in every way we can, but there are the expectations on them. We expect that they put just as much effort into the learning as we do.


We try to make sure that the students are doing everything they can to be successful as well. So one of the things that we have to work incredibly hard on is getting through to them and to their parents what is it successful students do.


One of the most important things is to get the parental input. So when the Year 9s come to the school, we have a Year 9 parent information evening where we get students to speak to the parents. Some senior staff will speak, but mainly it's led by the students.


The message is this is what my parents did for me to enable me to achieve.


We use ex-students as well. So we have the ex-students coming in different subject areas and talking to the students. This is what I'm doing now that I'm at university. This is what I wish I had done when I was at McAuley. And this is what you should be doing if you want to give yourself a really great opportunity of getting into the courses.


That's meeting their potential and to aim high, believing everyone can achieve. That's the core. That's the vision of the school. And the board has made sure that they have financed the school in such a strategic way that the students do not want for books, technology, sports uniforms, anything like that.


I can't control society out there. And I know that the level of poverty among some of our families is very high, but by day two, all our students have got their stationery. We send out the stationery lists during the holidays, so that when they come to school, they've got their stationery. And those that haven't are quietly identified, some have already been identified prior to that, and the social worker will take them out and get their stationery for them or we'll supply it from here.


It's the same with uniform, but again, if they don't hear on the first day, we'll phone them: is it because you haven't gotten a uniform yet? And if we find out it's that, we provide support with the uniform.


We expect that they won't make excuses, because of the barriers that are placed in front of them.


They drive it into you that you're learning for a goal and you're going somewhere in life, so it gives you hope. And it's very important for us to have that hope, especially coming from South Auckland. It's quite easy to assume that, being a young brown woman of South Auckland, you're already on the back foot.


They may have an invisible line that's in front of them. And we say to them, that line is drawn by yourself, it's not drawn by anyone else. What happens if you do go beyond that? You know, what do you lose? Well, you don't lose anything, but you gain a whole lot of learning and a whole lot of opportunity. And they're the equal of anybody. They're equal to anyone. They should not see themselves as not equal.