Onehunga High School - 08/11/2018

School Context

Onehunga High School is a well-established school with strong links to its community. The school roll reflects the cultural diversity of the community, with 53 percent of learners of Pacific heritage, and 20 percent Māori.

The school’s vision is ‘Te Haerenga - The Journey’. This is underpinned by a commitment to holistic education, high standards and achievement, partnerships with whānau and the wider community, and values of loyalty and courage. The key principles that guide school direction are diversity and inclusiveness, innovation and creativity, critical thinking, and a commitment to Te Ao Māori.

The school is served by a long-standing principal and senior leadership. Two new appointments have been made to the leadership team since the 2015 ERO review.

Onehunga High School continues to provide adult and community education and an English language school for adults on site. The school hosts satellite classes of Central Auckland Specialist School and manages the local Alternative Education cluster.

The school is part of the Te Iti Kahurangi Community of Learning (CoL) |Kāhui Ako. It is committed to working with the CoL to meet collaboratively developed achievement challenges.

The 2015 ERO report identified areas of development to support further improvement of outcomes for students. Progress has been made, including the development of an effective teacher profile and development of processes to review the progress and achievement at Years 9 and 10.

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

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

  • progress of Years 9 and 10 achievement in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations

  • student success and achievements in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets.

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.

Overall school National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data show high levels of achievement in numeracy and literacy for all groups of students. Achievement data from 2015 to 2017 show that this level of achievement has been sustained over time and is higher than similar type schools.

The majority of students achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. However, there is disparity in achievement for Māori, particularly at NCEA Level 1. The school is working towards parity for Māori students by NCEA Levels 2 and 3. Pacific students achieve at similar levels to overall school achievement in Levels 1 and 2. The school is working towards parity for this group at Level 3.

Girls achieve at higher levels than boys at all levels of NCEA and University Entrance (UE). Since 2015 boys’ achievement has improved. There is disparity between Māori and Pacific achievement and the achievement of other students in UE data.

There has been ongoing improvement in the number of learners achieving NCEA with merit and excellence endorsements. This demonstrates some groups of students are making accelerated progress.

The school has good systems and processes to track and monitor progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10. School data show that most students in Years 9 and 10 are making expected progress.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Most students:

  • follow meaningful pathways for the future and increasingly access tertiary level courses

  • are engaged and active participants in learning

  • have respectful and positive relationships with staff and each other

  • are proud of themselves, their peers, their school and their community

  • engage in the wider educational, cultural and sporting opportunities offered by the school.

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

The school is working towards achieving parity in outcomes for Māori, Pacific and other students whose learning needs accelerating. School-wide targets have been established to promote acceleration of learning and achievement of equitable outcomes for all students. The school is implementing programmes that support increased opportunities for Māori students to be successful and achieve equitable and excellent outcomes. One example is the introduction of Māori Performing Arts programmes at Levels 2 and 3.

Senior leaders and teachers effectively track and monitor student achievement and progress. Collective responsibility for this process ensures early identification of those students whose learning needs accelerating and additional support.

The school’s inclusive learning culture helps students to participate fully in a broad range of learning experiences. Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There is effective liaison between classroom and kaitiaki teachers, deans and external agencies.

Students are very well supported to transition into Onehunga High School. The school seeks out and responds well to information about individual students. Positive learning partnerships are developed with learners, their families and whānau.

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?

Students benefit from the school’s positive culture that values them and their hauora (wellbeing). Respectful and affirming relationships between teachers and students are evident. Extensive pastoral care systems provide students with high levels of support to reduce barriers and increase engagement in learning. This promotes a welcoming, caring environment in which adults and students have a strong sense of place and belonging.

Students access a broad curriculum that continues to provide good opportunities for individualised pathways. Teachers are increasingly focused on promoting key competencies for learning and transferable skills. They place value on developing students’ strengths, talents and interests, as key drivers of student success and ability to access meaningful pathways.

Teachers in most curriculum areas are developing relevant and contextualised curriculum programmes. There are growing opportunities in the curriculum for te reo and tikanga Māori. Students are provided with a range of sporting, cultural, leadership, co-curricular and extra-curricular learning opportunities to cater for their diverse interests and capabilities.

Strong community partnerships promote educational opportunities for students. These are regarded by the school as essential to support meaningful learning for students. The school proactively draws on community resources to enhance student learning, achievement and wellbeing. Relationships with business, community leaders, organisations and school alumni support student pathway development.

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

The school is responding to achievement data with the development of several initiatives that have the potential to accelerate learning and achieve equitable outcomes for all students. This includes the development of an effective learner profile. The priority for senior leaders and teachers is to continue to refine and embed these initiatives.

It is timely for leaders and teachers to focus on building coherence and alignment across school systems and processes. This includes continuing to strengthen current evaluation practices through a more formalised approach. Leaders and staff can further develop the school’s quality assurance practices to support the sharing and building of knowledge. Increased monitoring of alignment in practices should sustain improvements and help achieve consistently equitable outcomes for students.

Leaders, teachers and trustees recognise the positive impact tikanga and te reo Māori has on Māori student success. They are committed to weaving bicultural experiences and te reo Māori throughout the curriculum and school environment. The school should seek out ways to continue to develop school-wide bicultural practices. This includes growing connections and partnerships with whānau Māori and continuing to empower Māori students in their decision making about their learning.

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 Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 26 international students attending the school.

ERO confirms that the school’s internal evaluation process for international students is thorough. The school has highly effective systems and practices to ensure quality education and pastoral care of international students. Students’ progress and achievement is well monitored and their course selections are personalised. Students integrate well into the school’s education community.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a positive school culture that responds to students’ needs, promotes their wellbeing and supports their learning success

  • a broad and increasingly responsive and relevant curriculum that allows for students to access meaningful pathways

  • strong community connections and partnerships that work to enhance student engagement and achievement.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to implement and embed key initiatives to accelerate learning and achieve equitable outcomes for all students

  • continuing to develop a systematic and formalised approach to internal evaluation to better identify what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed

  • seeking out ways to further develop school-wide bicultural practices including further developing connections and partnerships with whānau Māori.

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

8 November 2018

About the school


Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 50% Boys 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 20%
Pākehā 13%
Tongan 22%
Samoan 15%
Niuean 7%
Cook Island Māori 7%
Indian 6%
Southeast Asian 4%
other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

8 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2015
Education Review November 2012
Education Review October 2009