Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Making changes: What it might look like

This section includes excerpts from case studies on several schools that participated in the Ruia exploratory study. A link to the full case study is provided at the end of each excerpt.


In addition, there are excerpts from Rangiātea case studies found on Educational Leaders.

Ōpōtiki College

Ōpōtiki College is a state secondary school in the Bay of Plenty. Over 80 percent of the students are Māori. The school is a participant in the Te Kotahitanga project. The principal, a teacher who is the school’s Te Kotahitanga facilitator, and a parent were interviewed for the Ruia project.

Teachers at Ōpōiki College have put multiple strategies in place to help lift Māori student achievement. For example, the restorative justice programme described in Rangiātea: Ōpōtiki College case study.

This programme, based on an ethic of care. has specific about the expectations of teachers and students. One of the ways teachers show they care is by making themselves available, outside of class time, to students who have been absent to help them catch up.

Read the full Ōpōtiki College Ruia case study.

Randwick School

Randwick School is a decile 3, year 0–8 suburban school with 207 students, of whom nearly half are Māori. The principal, a teacher, and a parent/Board of Trustees member asked to be interviewed together for Ruia, reflecting the way they usually work.

During the school’s participation in the Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP), a range of evidence from classroom observations, student interviews, and student achievement data indicated that the teachers needed to establish groups to address students’ writing needs, just as they did for reading and maths.

The literacy lead team believed that writing groups would help build student capacity because:

  • groups are based on analysis of student strengths and needs, and so tasks can be devised to specifically address those strengths and needs
  • they give students more frequent opportunities to talk with each other and share strategies
  • many students find it easier to participate in classroom talk within a smaller group
  • the groups give students a sense of support.

Read the full Randwick School Ruia case study.

Hastings Boys’ High School

A Rangiātea project school

Hastings Boys’ High School is a decile 2 school in which 45 percent of the students are Māori. The school achieves high and improving rates of success for all students, including Māori. For example, from 2004 to 2009 the percentage of Māori students achieving NCEA level 2 rose from 33 to 85 percent.

Rangiātea: Hastings Boys' High School case study describes the school's pedagogy, which is based on research into how boys learn.

The school has identified four key aspects of boys’ learning and development: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical.

For each aspect, potential issues for boys and the teaching and learning strategies they necessitate are made clear.

For example, the school’s pedagogical approach now takes into account the generally slower cognitive maturation of boys compared to girls and so supports their development with careful scaffolding, including by providing short, structured tasks that build from the concrete to the abstract.

Student achievement is closely monitored, and information flows are set up so that issues can be swiftly identified and addressed.

Classroom teaching is supported by an extensive array of carefully considered systems and processes, including the school’s pastoral and careers education initiative (PACE).

PACE, described in the school’s Rangiātea case study, builds students’ knowledge and understanding of career options available to them and helps them participate in life within and beyond the school.

In addition, PACE helps students to become aware of their talents, to see the relevance of their learning in school, and to make good subject choices that will help them engage in their learning and link to high-quality educational and career pathways.

Kakapo College

A Rangiātea project school (The school chose not to use its real name; the pseudonym Kakapo College is used here.)

Kakapo College Rangiātea case study describes changes the school’s English department made to better address the needs, strengths, and interests of boys, especially Māori boys.

Parts of courses were specifically designed to be of high interest or appeal to boys. For example, boys in the English through Film class have had opportunities to explore what it means to be a man and healthy gender relationships, through films such as Boyz n the Hood, Sione’s Wedding, and Whale Rider.

Teachers are supported by their departmental colleagues to build strong relationships with male Māori students, to include specific Māori content in the classroom, and to support student engagement.

Features of the approach include:

  • allowing time to build relationships and for students to complete work
  • supporting the students’ ideas
  • drawing on the support of Māori colleagues from outside the department. 

As a result, Māori boys at the school are engaging in their learning and experiencing success, and an increasing number are choosing to continue with English through to year 13.

The case study cites one of the English teachers:

The biggest thing is the relationship with the students. That’s what I put the most time into, as it’s pretty apparent that without that you can’t really make much progress at all, and sometimes that takes a really long time and you need to be really patient with that. If it takes a long time for students to respond – that’s OK. Still have high expectations, but be mindful of not taking any measures that might be harmful for the relationship, and still be very supportive. That’s worked really well. Eventually, once you get a little trust and they have some learning experiences where they have achieved a little success, the whole learning experience becomes more positive.

Western Springs College

A Rangiātea project school

Western Springs College works to maximise educational success for students through focusing on their learning and building strong relationships. Senior leaders support teachers to understand and implement research-based strategies that enable differentiated teaching.

Rangiātea: Western Springs case study explains that the strategies for maximising the engagement of Māori students include:

  • making the work interesting and fun by breaking tasks down
  • working with Māori students as a group and allowing students to build on one another’s understanding
  • teachers having an open-door policy for students.

The exemplar describes the school’s highly effective maths programme.

A unique feature of the programme’s design is a banding system, which enables the department to cater to individual student needs.

Careful monitoring and tracking of students’ progress means they can be placed in a course designed to meet their needs but can also move from one course to another if those needs change.

Ongoing collegial discussion, student feedback, and engagement with whānau ensure teachers know students well and can help them move through an individualised pathway towards a clearly defined end goal.

Students expressed great satisfaction with the care and attention they received from their maths teachers:

They don’t judge you; they just know what you’re capable of and will help you to achieve.


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