Ngā Haeata Mātauranga: Annual Report on Māori Education 2007/08

Publication Details

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga: The Annual Report on Māori Education, 2007/08 is the ministry’s one-stop-shop for data, evidence and information about Māori education.

Author(s): Education Information and Analysis Group and Group Māori, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: February 2009

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  Links to related publications/ information can be found in the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box. To download individual chapters visit 'Downloads' in the Sections inset box.

Chapter 3: Young People Engaged in Learning

This chapter looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Young People Engaged in Learning goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

3.1: Introduction

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success focuses on better engaging young Māori in education, especially in years 9 and 10, so they gain the skills and knowledge they need to realise their potential in education and life.

Higher levels of education attainment for young people are linked with a range of benefits throughout life. These include greater success in employment, higher income levels, better living and health standards, greater satisfaction with life and increased contribution back to whānau, community and New Zealand's economic growth.

The latest evidence clearly identifies the factors that contribute to learners' success at secondary school and influence the likelihood of learners becoming successful lifelong learners.

All learners are more likely to succeed when they enter secondary school with belief in themselves as learners, the competencies needed to be independent learners and strong learning foundations, especially literacy and numeracy. They are also more likely to succeed if they are meaningfully engaged in learning at secondary school. For Māori learners having the support and involvement of their iwi, whānau and Māori communities are other success factors.

Research points to the importance of having a secondary education system that can show that learning is worthwhile, relevant and connected to learners' life goals and contexts. Evidence from current professional development programmes shows that relationships with teachers that are underpinned by the concept of ako, where the teacher also learns from the student, help Māori learners succeed.

Teachers and whānau having high expectations of learners, and learners having high expectations of themselves, are also critical to successful engagement in school.

In addition, supporting learners and whānau to make effective decisions about learning and career pathways is important to ensure that learners achieve the learning required to fulfil their aspirations.

Listening to young Māori is also important for their engagement and success in school. Māori learners consulted during the drafting of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success said they wanted schools to listen to them more and communicate more with their whānau about their progress and other issues. This reaffirms the importance of high-quality teaching including effective reciprocal teaching and learning relationships among teachers and learners, and with whānau.

3.2: Statistical highlights

2007/08 figures show:

  • the proportion of year 11 Māori learners achieving the reading literacy and numeracy criteria for NCEA Level 1 increased to 61.1%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from 2006
  • Māori school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above increased from 36.7% in 2006 to 43.9% in 2007
  • Māori school leavers qualified to attend university increased from 14.8% in 2006 to 18.3% in 2007
  • the retention rates for 17½-year-old Māori learners increased from 38.9% in 2006 to 39.1% in 2007
  • the proportion of Māori participating in modern apprenticeships has increased from 15.1% in 2006 to 15.6% in 2007.

3.3: Strategic focus

The ministry in its Statement of Intent 2008–2013 has identified having 'all young people participating, engaged and achieving in education' as a strategic outcome over the next five years.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success provides the framework for achieving this outcome for and with Māori learners, and is the overarching way of working for the ministry. It also provides the basis for ensuring the success of Schools Plus for Māori learners.

The Young People Engaged in Learning focus area of Ka HikitiaManaging for Success is based on the research demonstrating the need for more effective teaching for and with Māori learners in years 9 and 10 and having learners more involved in and more responsible for decision-making. It emphasises the need for effective professional development, responsive and accountable leadership and improved whānau–school partnerships focused on participation, engagement and achievement.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success sets out specific goals for this focus area:

  • more effective teaching and learning for Māori learners in years 9 and 10
  • improve support for years 9 and 10 Māori learners to make decisions about future education choices
  • support Māori learners to stay at school and stay engaged in learning
  • support professional leaders to take responsibility for Māori learners' presence, engagement and achievement.

In January 2008, the government announced the Schools Plus goal that all young people will be in education, skills or other structured learning, relevant to their abilities and needs, until the age of 18. The ministry will lead Schools Plus. The focus of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success on the engagement and achievement of young Māori learners will contribute directly to this goal so that all young people stay in school to achieve the qualifications they require to fulfil their aspirations beyond school.

In September 2008, the government announced additional funding for Schools Plus initiatives from the start of the 2009 school year. Key actions for Schools Plus are:

  • a compulsory education and training age of 17 to be introduced by 2011 and lifted to 18 in 2014
  • the school leaving age will remain at 16, but it is intended that early leaving exemptions for 15-year-olds will be removed
  • schools will remain the providers of learners' education, for National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1–3, and pastoral care
  • by 2011, all learners will have an education plan providing them with improved careers guidance and advice, and a planned approach to achieving their education and career goals.

The focus of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success on increasing the engagement of Māori learners in early secondary school not only provides a way of achieving the Schools Plus goals for Māori, but also provides a basis for further education success.

The government's Tertiary Education Strategy 2007–2012 aims to increase participation and achievement in qualifications at higher levels in tertiary education. A priority outcome of the Tertiary Education Strategy is lifting the numbers of young people achieving a Level 4 qualification (degree level) before they turn 25. The key to achieving this is to have more learners with the school-based qualifications needed to enter higher-level tertiary education straight from school.

The Skills Strategy complements this outcome with its focus on young people in work. The Skills Strategy is an initiative between government, Business NZ, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the Industry Training Federation. It is a unified approach to ensure New Zealand individuals and organisations are able to develop and use the skills needed in the workplaces of the future.

Effective teaching and learning for Māori learners

Teacher supply

In 2007, Māori teachers made up 8% of the teaching workforce employed in secondary schools. Māori learners, on the other hand, represented 19% of the secondary school student population in 2007. Increasing the number of Māori teachers is another priority for the ministry.

A range of scholarships, study awards, fellowships, study support grants and sabbaticals is available from the ministry that, in part, aims to improve teaching practice for Māori learners through recruiting high-quality teachers and offering teachers the opportunity to gain further skills. Criteria for some study awards include an interest in studying the participation and achievement of Māori and Pasifika in education.

Scholarships are also available for those looking to change careers and able to teach in Māori-medium settings. In 2007 TeachNZ allocated 438 scholarships for primary or secondary teaching, of which 149 (34%) were allocated to Māori.

Each year there are scholarships for people wishing to work in the special education field – 11 for prospective speech language therapists and 6 for prospective sign language interpreters. Between October 2006 and October 2007, 20% of the children referred to a speech language therapist were Māori. Given the expected growth in the Māori population, developing specialist workforces to work with Māori learners is becoming increasingly important.

The ministry is seeking to increase the responsiveness of speech language services to Māori children, particularly those in Māori-medium settings, by increasing the number of Māori  speech language therapists to 42 by 2012. One way of achieving this increase is by allocating the majority of the speech language therapist scholarships to Māori  applicants (8 out of the 11 scholarships).

By March 2007, 36 new scholarships had been awarded, 28 to Māori. However, 11 recipients (all Māori) discontinued their training prior to completion. Only 6 Māori therapists had taken up employment with the ministry, with 6 still in training.

To increase the opportunities for deaf Māori children to access their Māori culture, six scholarships were made available annually from 2003 for Māori wanting to train as sign language interpreters, or for trained interpreters wanting to gain fluency in te reo Māori. As with the speech language therapist training, there was a lower rate of completion by Māori of sign language interpreter training.

To address the low completion rates, the ministry has proposed to enable its key Māori  stakeholders, including iwi partners, to administer the scholarships and co-award them with ministry special education regional offices. This would enable iwi to select appropriate applicants using their own networks and provide ongoing support and encouragement to those selected to complete the training and then work in their region.

Addressing wider teacher supply issues requires a focus also on longer-term responses. These include strengthening initial teacher education and mentoring of beginning teachers, improving leadership within our schools and improving professional development. Work is progressing in all of these areas, with a focus on the specific needs of Māori, and Māori-medium teachers, to be considered within those work programmes.

Work is also being done to ensure culturally-responsive teaching is built into the professional standards for initial registration as a teacher and for maintenance of registration status and practising certificates for experienced teachers, professional leaders and teacher educators. These standards apply to all teachers across all sectors and education settings.

After reviewing the current standards, the New Zealand Teachers Council is currently consulting on new standards – Registered Teacher Criteria which will be refined and tested in 2009 with a view to implementation in 2010.

The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

A major focus for the ministry in its work to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning for and with Māori learners has been the development and implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum Project, leading to the publication of the new curriculum documents, The New Zealand Curriculum (English medium) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (Māori medium).

In 2007, The New Zealand Curriculum was released for schools where English is the primary language of teaching and learning. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa for schools where Māori is the primary language of teaching and learning was launched in September 2008 for full implementation in 2010. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa has been written in the Māori language from a Māori perspective. For more information about Te Marautanga o Aotearoa see chapter 4.

Together, the documents represent the backbone of high-quality, effective teaching and learning for all learners within the school sector. Both documents are clear statements of official policy about what is deemed important in education, setting out the vision of young people as lifelong learners who are confident, creative, connected and actively involved.

As The New Zealand Curriculum states in its purpose section:

'The documents complement one another and share the aims of encouraging schools to support Māori learners to reach their potential irrespective of whether they are learning through the medium of te reo Māori or English. Although they come from different perspectives, both start with visions of young people who will develop the competencies they need for study, work, and lifelong learning and go on to realise their potential. Together, the two documents will help schools give effect to the partnership that is at the core of our nation's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi.'

The new curriculum documents provide an enabling framework within which schools can develop their curriculum, and an expectation that they will do so with their communities so that the teaching and learning programmes reflect the contexts and priorities of the local community.

This will be important to encourage schools to work collaboratively with whānau, iwi and Māori communities to determine the content and contexts of learning that will best meet the requirements of Māori learners.

The implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum began in 2007 with a series of ministry initiatives such as workshops, professional development and support for professional learning communities. Support for its implementation will continue for three years.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will begin to be implemented from 2009, with associated support (see chapter 4).

In addition, the Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo  Māori in English-medium Schools in Years 1–13 are being finalised following consultation with the sector and the release of The New Zealand Curriculum. The guidelines and associated resource development and professional development will support the goal of improving quality teaching and learning of Māori language. The guidelines are due for release in early 2009.

Professional development

Enhancing teacher capability through professional development is a key way for the ministry to enhance effective teaching for and with Māori learners.

Best evidence research indicates that New Zealand's teacher professional development is at the forefront of international practice. The evidence also shows that embedding and sustaining effective professional practice within classrooms and schools to build Māori  learner achievement requires a long-term commitment to evidence-based and school-based professional learning.

Ministry professional development initiatives that are providing evidence of significantly improved outcomes for and with Māori learners are programmes that:

  • challenge teachers' beliefs and assumptions about Māori learners
  • challenge low expectations of Māori  learners
  • provide support for new teaching strategies
  • include whānau as partners in developing teachers' capability.

Extending such professional development programmes into schools with high numbers or a high proportion of Māori will improve outcomes for and with Māori learners currently in schools.

The ministry will also seek to improve teaching for and with Māori learners by integrating the best evidence of what works for and with Māori learners into all ministry professional development programmes. The ministry will work with the New Zealand Teachers Council to do the same with initial teacher education.

The Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES) was released in January 2008. This provides the ministry with an evidence base about the characteristics of professional development programmes that are improving learner outcomes. This work, as well as evaluations of other professional development (and in particular New Zealand-based work) is being used to inform the review and design of all ministry professional development.

The ministry is also strengthening and enhancing the way it evaluates professional development programmes, to ensure the extent to which programmes are improving outcomes for and with Māori  learners is identified.

Over the next few years, the ministry is seeking to engage more teachers in professional development that enables them to establish effective teaching and learning relationships with Māori learners, leading to improved learner engagement and achievement.

In addition, a secondary school professional development strategy is being aligned with Schools Plus. Ongoing work with the strategy and its implementation will begin with the 2009 school year with a priority to ensure system improvement for Māori learners is integrated throughout the strategy.

This programme of work will build the capability and capacity of secondary schools to improve the teaching and learning of Māori learners. This includes responding to the urgent need for a focus on improving outcomes for and with Māori learners currently in English-medium secondary schools as well as supporting a more focused and coherent system-wide approach to building the necessary conditions for sustained change and improvement across the sector. Actions include:

  • building the knowledge base within the secondary sector of what works to improve outcomes for and with Māori learners
  • extending professional learning programmes that work into a greater number of schools with high numbers of Māori learners
  • enhancing the system conditions that will enable the goal of improving teaching and learning outcomes for and with Māori learners to be embedded and sustained across the system.

In addition, the ministry is focusing on building the capability of in-service teacher educators (or advisors) to support teachers to improve their practices for and with Māori learners. The INSTEP project helps to develop an evidence base about effective approaches to the practice of in-service teacher educators. It is anticipated that learning communities established around those in the project will support improved learning and practice of in-service teacher educators. These communities will be supported by resources that have been informed by the findings of the INSTEP research.

School support services

Raising Māori learner achievement is a specific priority for the professional development services provided through the ministry's contract with school support services. There is a clear expectation that all advisors will focus on raising Māori learner achievement in the work they do in schools, underpinned by the principles of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success and evidence of effective professional development. In 2008, this focus has become increasingly data-driven, as school support services providers have been supported by the ministry to collect and interrogate data about the schools in their region, and prioritise those schools with high Māori  populations.

School support services specifically support teachers to focus on improving Māori learner outcomes in a number of ways, including in Māori-medium settings. Advisors focus on raising Māori achievement and provide programmes to strengthen the quality of teaching te reo Māori as a subject in English-medium schools.

In 2008, the ministry supported the school support services providers to improve teaching and learning relationships through Te Mana Korero – Relationships for Learning. This resource is the third in a series of resources for teachers and schools to build their knowledge and capability to effectively teach Māori learners.

Te Mana Korero is a media series and is the teaching side of the wider Te Mana information campaign thats seeks to raise the expectation of high achievement among teachers, Māori, the community and education providers.

The first Te Mana resource has a focus on the importance of teachers having high expectations of Māori learners, and draws on the evidence-based pedagogy that teachers make the difference in terms of learner outcomes. The second resource explored professional development opportunities for teachers and the significant contribution professional development can make to enhancing teacher capability to make a difference for Māori learners. The third resource, Te Mana Korero – Relationships for Learning, provides examples and tools for building and sustaining strong, effective and mutually respectful school and family, whānau, community links to enable Māori learner achievement levels to be raised.

It draws on the Teacher Professional Development and Learning: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration and the research on what is working well for Māori learners in programmes such as Te Kotahitanga and Te Kauhua. It acknowledges the wealth of cultural experience and knowledge Māori learners bring to the classroom and the need to draw on this in developing culturally responsive contexts for learning. It has a particular focus on how schools can build and sustain strong, effective and mutually respectful school–family, whānau, community links.

In 2007 all Leadership and Management advisors in school support services were trained to lead the implementation of Te Mana Korero – Relationships for Learning. In 2008 the ministry provided additional training for 230 advisors through six interactive workshops.

Advisors reported that the Te Mana Korero – Relationships for Learning resources supported them in their interactions with principals and staff. They were able to model approaches as identified in the resources and, where possible, present a bicultural model of facilitation. Advisors continue to explore professional learning opportunities using Te Mana Kōrero – Relationships for Learning resources to examine their practice and include the use of the resources in their work with schools.

Te Tere Auraki

In 2007/08, Te Tere Auraki continued to be a major professional development strategy to improve teaching practice and the engagement and achievement of Māori learners in English-medium settings. It includes programmes such as Te Kotahitanga, Te Kauhua, Te Hiringa i te Mahara and Te Mana Kōrero

The implementation of Te Tere Auraki has an explicit focus on improving teaching practice and improving the interaction and quality of relationships between teachers and whānau. It continues to make a significant contribution to the evidence base about the teaching practice that works well for and with Māori learners.

For example, a study of Te Kauhua and Te Kotahitanga's in-school facilitation approach found it to be successful because:

  • teachers had immediate access to their facilitator
  • the facilitator had a wealth of knowledge about his or her school
  • the facilitator was willing to model effective strategies and ideas
  • community communication and involvement improved, which strengthened relationships.

Teachers became more confident, moving from observers of Māori culture to participants within Māori culture, which enhanced teacher–learner and whānau relationships. Participating whānau members also became more confident and comfortable about approaching members of the school community.

Te Kauhua

Te Kauhua is a professional learning programme that aims to improve teaching practice and the level and quality of interaction between whānau and schools. Te Kauhua has ako as its key principle and 'culture counts' and 'productive partnerships' as the main pillars. The latest research continues to find evidence of positive teaching and learning changes within classrooms and productive partnerships developed amongst learners, teachers, whānau and the wider community. There is also evidence of improved achievement results, increase in learner confidence and reduction in suspension and stand-down rates.

Over the past six years, there have been three phases of Te Kauhua, with more than 30 schools and 350 teachers, principals and communities participating. In 2006/07 phase 3 saw lead school facilitators and principals mentor new cluster schools. Te Kauhua is being evaluated by UNITEC Institute of Technology with the findings informing the development of the programme in 2009.

Te Kotahitanga

Te Kotahitanga is another professional learning programme designed to strengthen cultural responsiveness and teaching capability. Evidence clearly demonstrates that it is having a positive effect on Māori learner achievement. Te Kotahitanga encourages teachers to develop strong, authentic learning and teaching relationships with Māori learners and incorporate a wider range of interactions into their classroom practices in order to engage more effectively with Māori learners (and all learners).

In 2007 Te Kotahitanga was delivered in 33 schools in the Northland, Auckland and Waikato regions. The schools were supported by Te Kotahitanga facilitators to continue to develop and embed school structures, processes and professional practices that focus on improving outcomes for and with Māori learners.

In each of the Te Kotahitanga schools reviewed by the Education Review Office (ERO) in 2006, ERO notes the positive impact of Te Kotahitanga on teaching and relationships within the schools. The most recent results from Te Kotahitanga found significant changes in their teaching practice:

  • teachers now spend more time interacting with learners in small groups or one-to-one
  • the cognitive level of lessons had increased, reflecting teachers' higher expectations of their learners
  • 78% of Māori  learners observed were engaged for 80–100% of the lesson – up from 59%.

Test results from asTTle show significant growth in Māori learner achievement for schools participating in Te Kotahitanga, in some cases twice the expected gain. Learner achievement results were more significant where Te Kotahitanga teachers were also involved in the numeracy or literacy professional development programmes.

Research on the 12 schools involved in Te Kotahitanga since 2001 shows NCEA Level 1 achievement rates increased from 49% in 2005, to 60% in 2006, and 62% in 2007 for all learners in year 11 taught by Te Kotahitanga teachers for all their secondary schooling. This increase is significantly greater than the increase for similara class="skiplink" schools nationally.

The research also shows fewer learners whose teachers were engaged in Te Kotahitanga had unexplained absences from school, more were engaged, and more learners said their relationships with teachers had improved.73

The success of Te Kotahitanga makes it critical to deepening understanding of what works for improving teaching practices and how these impact on Māori education success.

Victoria University is currently evaluating Te Kotahitanga to ascertain how, and in what ways, it improves Māori learner achievement. The evaluation combines interviews with teachers, learners, whānau, principals and boards of trustees members as well as in-class observations and assessments. The final evaluation report of Te Kotahitanga will be submitted to the ministry early in 2010.

A case study within this chapter explores the success of Massey High School, in West Auckland, in embedding Te Kotahitanga into the school over the past few years, with particular emphasis on the importance of strong programme leadership and effective teaching practice.

Māori Secondary Teachers Workload programme: Te Hiringa i te Mahara

The Māori Secondary Teachers Workload (MSTW) programme, delivered for the past 10 years through Gardiner and Parata Ltd, supports teachers with a wide range of professional development opportunities. Te Hiringa i te Mahara (THM) has provided support to Māori teachers in a culturally and professionally relevant context that supplements other support available. To date this programme has focused on providing resources, strengthening te reo Māori and second-language acquisition pedagogy, career development, professional learning communities, and management.

A 2008 survey of Māori secondary school teachers found that THM had:

  • successfully engaged many Māori secondary teachers in professional development – 603 teachers (74.8% of respondents) had some involvement with THM, either participating in courses or using resources
  • reached out to isolated teachers – half of respondents are teaching in schools with six or fewer Māori teaching staff
  • helped 66.7% of teachers improve teaching practice
  • helped around 69.2% of teachers to support and engage learners and 65.1% reported a positive impact on their ability to support Māori learners
  • helped 71% of teachers to access useful teaching resources and quality information
  • helped around 63% of teachers to use information and communication technology (ICT) better
  • improved 72.8 % of teachers' awareness of professional development
  • helped 68.1% of teachers to increase their professional experience and networks
  • positive impacts on the confidence and perceptions of their abilities for 69.2% of teachers
  • helped 62.3% of teachers involved in THM to manage their workload better.

A new provider, Haemata Ltd, will launch a new MSTW programme in 2009 to build on past successes in meeting the needs of Māori secondary teachers.

Staying engaged in learning


A first priority for the ministry is supporting schools to ensure Māori learners stay engaged in learning at secondary school. 'Engagement' in the education context describes the extent to which learners actively participate in learning in school. Without engagement, achievement is unlikely.

In 2007, almost 40% of Māori learners left school before turning 17, compared to the national average of 30%. This suggests high levels of disengagement, with associated low achievement. Data show around 56% of Māori learners left without a Level 2 NCEA qualification, compared with 34% of all learners. The percentage in some regions is higher.

The ministry measures student engagement mainly from participation data. Overall, the measures of participation (including retention, early leaving exemptions, suspensions, expulsions, exclusions and truancy) suggest that a higher proportion of Māori learners and Pasifika learners disengage from secondary education than learners of other ethnicities. For example, Māori learners are three times more likely to be stood-down, suspended, excluded or expelled than their Pākehā peers and four times more likely to be frequent truants. Data show patterns of disengagement are also more likely among boys than girls and among young people from low socio-economic backgrounds. Early leaving rates have dropped significantly, but again the Māori rate is still twice that for all students.

A key priority to support more effective engagement of Māori learners will be the development of best practice guidelines for student engagement, based on evidence, and supporting schools to share that information more widely with teachers, school leaders and Māori communities.

In 2007, the ministry published an attendance resource kit to provide schools, parents and caregivers and community groups with practical ways they can work together to increase school attendance and strengthen learner engagement. It also continued implementing a computerised attendance system to enable schools to manage, record and understand attendance data.

The Suspension Reduction Initiative (SRI), established in 2001, aims to reduce the disproportionate number of Māori learners being suspended. The SRI is now part of the Student Engagement Initiative (SEI), a programme designed to reduce suspensions, exclusions and early leaving exemptions, and to increase attendance. Between 80 and 100 schools each year receive support and funding to lift student engagement.

The SEI has been successful in lowering suspension rates in its original cohort of secondary schools. The overall suspension rate for these schools dropped from 35 learners per 1000 in 2000 to 18 learners per 1000 in 2007, a reduction of 48%. This compares with a slight increase in the overall suspension rate for secondary schools that have never been part of the SEI over the same period.

New Zealand population studies show that around 5% of all children have severe antisocial behaviour (conduct problems). Tackling disruptive behaviour is a core part of service and funding delivery by the ministry's Special Education group. Currently up to 40% of referrals to the severe behaviour service are Māori.

The ministry provides behavioural support services for learners whose behaviour is a risk to themselves and others, and impacts negatively on their learning and the learning of others. During 2007/08, the ministry provided 171,490 hours of behaviour support services for 6969 learners.

Learners with ongoing high and very high disability or sensory needs are described as having 'complex needs'. The ministry provides support for these learners through additional teaching, para-professional and specialist support. Most of these learners will be verified for support from the Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme, and may receive these services directly from the ministry or through fundholder schools. During 2007/08, the ministry provided 160,340 hours of complex needs services for 7918 learners.

Effective engagement of young people in secondary schools has become an even greater imperative for schools due to the plan to remove early leaving exemptions for those under 16. This emphasises the importance of staying at school, and reinforces the role of school boards of trustees to promote a positive and engaging school environment.

The following case study looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Young People Engaged in Learning goals of  Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

Case Study 3:

Promising results from Massey High's four-year Te Kotahitanga journey

Above photo of Massey High School principal Bruce Ritchie and Te Kotahitanga lead facilitator Robin Knox.

It's been more than four years since Te Kotahitanga was introduced at Massey High School – and principal Bruce Ritchie and lead facilitator Robin Knox believe it's now become part of the school's core business.

"That's because we've worked really hard to fully integrate Te Kotahitanga into the life of our school," says Robin, a former maths teacher who now leads the school's Te Kotahitanga team of six teacher facilitators.

Te Kotahitanga (meaning unity) is a research and professional development programme for teachers of learners in years 9 and 10. It aims to improve the achievement of Māori learners by changing teaching practice and introducing a culturally relevant pedagogy of relations.

Massey is one of 12 high schools that signed up for the programme in 2004. That first year, 30 teachers from Massey High took part in the programme. By the end of 2007, 96% (or 161) of Massey High teachers had taken part in Te Kotahitanga training – a rate the school is both proud of and trying to maintain in the face of ongoing staff turnover.

Developed by Waikato University in 2001, the programme began as a series of interviews with Māori students, their teachers, principals and whānau about the barriers to learning. These narratives and the ministry's Poutama Pounamu Research and Development Centre provided the basis for developing an effective teacher profile and a professional development programme for teachers. Today, it is a fully-fledged programme running in 33 schools.

Bruce says Te Kotahitanga has had a profound influence on all aspects of school life. But one aspect he is particularly pleased about is the school's ever-improving NCEA achievement results.

NCEA Level 1 results for Māori learners have increased from approximately 35% in 2004 to approximately 51% in 2007 – around 3% higher than the national average for Māori learners.

Meanwhile, NCEA Level 2 results for the school's Māori learners show an increase of approximately 22% over the same period. NCEA Level 3 achievement rates have increased by more than 30%   in that time. Massey High's Level 2 and 3 results are about 10% higher than the national average for Māori learners.

The school has yet to close the gap between the achievement rates of the decile-5 school's Māori learners and its general learner population. But Bruce is convinced they are on the right track.

He says Te Kotahitanga has taught Massey High staff a lot about effective teaching, particularly the importance of building mutually respectful relationships with learners that also recognise the cultural capital that learners bring with them to the classroom.

Looking around the school, it is evident the programme has had an impact on the school's overall culture and direction. Te reo Māori me ona tikanga is evident on classroom walls and the staffroom and workrooms feature references to Te Kotahitanga goals and philosophies. Learners are proud to identify as Māori, speak te reo, and participate in kapa haka.

The school's bilingual unit, set up in 2005, is another important development within the school that aims to support the teaching and learning of te reo Māori and reinforce the importance of culture in the learning process.

Te Kotahitanga practices such as teacher observations, feedback, feedforward and co-construction meetings are widely used across the school curriculum with nearly all teachers. The facilitation team works through this challenging professional development cycle with each teacher, each term.

Other programmes, including academic counselling and mentoring, work alongside Te Kotahitanga to raise overall learner achievement.

"These are all significant and important changes," says Bruce. "Every single thing reinforces the next and means we're all heading in the same direction, striving to achieve the same results."

Bruce uses the analogy of a four-legged stool to represent the way things are working at Massey High. The seat of the stool is student learning and achievement. Stool legs represent the strategic focus of the school's various programmes and initiatives – one leg is parents, one is teachers, one is learners and one is school systems. If you remove one of the legs the stool falls over.

"You can find Te Kotahitanga in our work across all four areas," he says.

Meanwhile, Robin says staff members work towards helping Māori learners to feel they belong in the classroom and that they have something of value to contribute. Staff members also continue to build on and improve their own knowledge about things Māori  and the Māori world.

"Our growing confidence and understanding have led to some innovative approaches to getting whānau more involved in the school," she says.

Annual parent–teacher meetings are an excellent example. as is academic counselling.

Academic counselling was introduced in 2007 and involves every learner and his or her dean developing a personal education plan for the learner. Parents are included in the process on Academic Counselling Days. Today, more than 75% of parents come to the meetings – up from a 10% turnout.

"A good number of whānau attend because they feel welcome and know we care about their children," says Robin.

"Staff formally invite all parents, close the school for a day, advertise the meeting in four different languages, provide parents with user-friendly NCEA information and give parents one point of contact for their child. Kai is served, baby-sitting is provided and the emphasis is on making parents feel comfortable and involved in their child's education."

Alongside these school initiatives, Te Kotahitanga has an impact on the school's teachers, individually and in small and large groups, helping them become more effective teachers and building a growing professional learning community.

The challenge for the next four years, agree Bruce and Robin, is to keep building on what they've achieved – and to make the changes sustainable over the long term.

"We're happy with where we're at – but we're not complacent. There's still plenty more to do," says Robin.

To support this move, Schools Plus will undertake a review of alternative education options for secondary school learners who have become disengaged from school. Alternative education aims to encourage learners back into secondary education, further education, training or employment.

In 2007, 62% of the 3355 learners in alternative education were Māori, similar to previous years. Data show Māori learners are more likely than non-Māori to be in alternative education because of chronic truancy.

Māori are also over-represented in Teen Parent Units (TPUs), making up just over half of those attending. A three-year action plan has been designed to improve TPU provision. In the next year there will be a focus on:

  • developing clear criteria for establishing new units
  • developing clear guidelines for host schools on their role in hosting a TPU 
  • processing proposals to upgrade and/or establish TPUs at Henderson, Stratford and Whangarei 
  • updating information about TPUs on the ministry website 
  • developing a clear process to monitor requests for increases and decreases in the maximum rolls of each TPU.

As part of Schools Plus, alternative education learners will now be able to access learning from the Correspondence School from Term 3 of 2008. Alternative education learners will therefore have access to a much broader range of subject and national qualification resources to support their ongoing learning. This gives these young people more interesting and relevant learning opportunities.

In 2008, the ministry began expanding the current learning opportunities available beyond school, such as Gateway, with programmes such as the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme, the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) and the Creating Pathways and Building Lives (CPaBL) initiative.

Gateway and STAR broaden the educational options for senior secondary learners by offering them work-based learning or courses with tertiary providers. These courses can be seen as more relevant by learners, thereby providing for better engagement as well as leading to the attainment of credits in NCEA or recognised tertiary qualifications.

In 2007, 16,587 school learners, including 2976 Māori learners, undertook courses with tertiary providers through STAR. Around 8240 learners participated in work-based learning through Gateway; 2128 of these were Māori learners.

The following case study explores the experiences of Aotea College head boy Sam Henare (Ngāpuhi) and the support he is receiving from teachers, employer and an industry training organisation involved in the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme.


Ensuring participation, engagement and achievement in early secondary school years will lead to greater achievement in senior secondary education and more successful transitions into further learning and the workforce.

Latest figures show that since the introduction of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) more learners are leaving school with qualifications than ever before – a trend also true for Māori learners.

In 2007, for example, 18% of Māori  learners left school with qualifications which allowed them to study at university, an increase of 11% since 2002. In 2007, 44% of Māori school leavers had attained a Level 2 or higher qualification – an increase of 7% from 2006.

However, there are still significant challenges for increasing the achievement of Māori learners within schools, given 35% of Māori school leavers in 2007 did not gain a qualification compared to 12% of non-Māori, and only 14% of Māori learners in the 2005 cohort sitting NCEA in 2007 gained three qualifications compared with 36% of non-Māori.

The National Qualifications Framework and the NCEA span learning in secondary school, tertiary and workplace settings. The NCEA is therefore an important contributor towards the government's Schools Plus goals.

In May 2007 work began to improve NCEA by addressing issues of learner motivation, moderation of internal assessment, consistency of results and transparency.

NCEA provides learners with access to a flexible assessment system and meaningful record of their progress and achievement. Innovative schools are using this flexibility, along with technology and the scope provided through the new curriculum, to provide learners with a richer range of learning opportunities that suits their interests and needs, while ensuring they gain credits towards qualifications. This increases the relevance of school for many young people, greatly enhancing their motivation to participate and achieve.

A web-based tool that allows learners to monitor their own achievement and plan their own future pathways has recently been trialled with more than 40 schools. The main area of focus was on developing a leaver profile as a tool for career education and planning.

The following case study looks at what has been achieved in 2007/08 to make progress towards the Young People Engaged in Learning goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

Case study 4

Sam gets ahead with Youth Apprenticeships Scheme

Above photo of Year 13 student Sam Henare (Ngāpuhi) and Elite Door Services' employee and mentor Jacob Taylor (Ngāti Porou).

Getting a head start in an electrical career is the big plus of the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme for Aotea College head boy Sam Henare.

"For me, this year's really about getting the real-world skills and experience I need for an electrical apprenticeship while I'm still at school – and, so far, it's looking like I'm on track," says Sam.

Sam, 17, is one of seven students taking part in the scheme's first year at the decile-5 secondary school in north-west Wellington. Together, the school's Youth Apprenticeships Scheme learners are exploring engineering, plumbing, baking, hairdressing and electrical and motor engineering.

Sam's big driver is to eventually use his trade to travel overseas and do aid work in poor communities where there's a high demand for electricians.

He's keen to leave Aotea College at the end of the year with his National Certificate in Educational Achievement (Levels 1 to 3) and enough unit standards under his belt to start a four-year electrical technology apprenticeship and continue his National Certificate in Electrical Engineering.

"It sounds a lot. But everything is fitting together well. I'm really enjoying building on my NCEA while working towards my apprenticeship."

"The immediate challenge, for me, is catching up on my school work. But my teachers are great;  they understand where I'm at. They've said they'll be there if I need any extra help," says Sam.

Sam's employer, Paul Kay, an Elite Door Services' director, is delighted to be part of Aotea College's Youth Apprenticeships Scheme, seeing the scheme as an excellent opportunity for employers and students alike.

"I see this as a huge step forward to be honest. It has the potential to help employers plug the skills shortages out there and, from what I can see, it lets students go out and have a look at an industry to see if they like it – which is good for employers too. It's potentially an early reality check."

Paul says he hopes schemes like this will help change attitudes among parents who see the trades as a low-quality career choice for their kids.

"I don't think people realise what we are paying for the trades right now. I don't think they realise how much learning is involved in developing a trades career either," says Paul.

The Youth Apprenticeships Scheme was launched in 20 schools in 2008 and will be rolled out to more schools in 2009.

The scheme offers schools the opportunity to knit together a range of related programmes such as the popular work-experience programme Gateway and the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource, which gives students a chance to take part in tertiary education relevant to a particular industry or interest. Careers programmes and funding such as the Career Information and Guidance Grant are also being integrated into the scheme by some schools.

Aotea College Gateway coordinator and vocational studies dean Sue Roberts (Ngāti Kahungunu) runs the scheme, alongside Gateway administrator Anne Taylor (Ngāti Porou). This year, they've set it up for students in years 12 to 13 who're particularly keen on combining classroom, workplace and industry-based learning.

For example, Sam, of Ngāpuhi descent, spends one day a week with his employer learning to be an electrician. In practice, that means joining Elite Door Services' employee Jacob Taylor (Ngāti Porou) out in the field as Jacob's assistant. The rest of the week he spends in class doing his regular ICT, classical studies, performing arts and physical education lessons and juggling his head boy, church and sporting commitments.

Recently, Sam completed a Level 2 electrical industry engineering paper at his local polytech, coming top in his class and making good progress towards completing his national certificate.

For one week, during his Term 4 holidays, Sam was employed and paid as an Elite Door Services electrical apprentice – a major component of the new scheme.

Sue and Anne say the scheme, at their school, is for students who are keen to commit to making it a success – it's no easy option. Yet, the rewards are huge for students who get through the school's rigorous application process, have the prerequisite NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy qualifications, manage the workload and fulfil their weekly work and training commitments.

Paul Craven, training manager for the Electrical Technology Industry Training Organisation, says the same high standards apply to an electrical apprenticeship. "Apprentices work hard at their education," he says.

"Apprentices are on a very steep learning curve. It's demanding. They're assessed, they do a minimum of six hours of study a week for three years, plus they do two major external exams."

"It's hard, they're on the job working and learning for 40 hours. Then they hop in the car for half an hour to get to night class and they're there for another three hours. They know before they go back next week that they've got at least another three hours of study to do as homework before they can go back to class. It's full on," says Paul.

Over time, Sue and Anne would like to take the scheme a step further by building a Youth Apprenticeships pathway that starts in year 10 and progresses through to year 13.

"Ultimately, the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme is helping us engage and motivate our students and redefine what it means to be successful at school," says Anne.

She says it's great to see the passion for learning among each of the school's seven students who are part of the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme.

"We want to encourage students to maintain that feeling, that enthusiasm for learning. It's part of our aim of developing lifelong learners, where students integrate their developing interests, their school education, as well as their aspirations beyond school – that's where schemes like this can be extremely powerful."

Making decisions about future education choices

In OECD comparisons, latest data show New Zealand has relatively low rates of participation in education and training for young people aged 15–19.

Decisions made by learners and whānau about which subjects to pursue in secondary school can determine the future education and career options for young people. For example, there is an indication that Māori learners achieving NCEA qualifications are not necessarily choosing the subjects needed to gain university entrance. This suggests that many Māori  learners and their whānau are not receiving appropriate or adequate guidance in choosing programmes of study at secondary school. In addition, consultation with Māori secondary school learners in 2007, undertaken as part of the development of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, also indicated that young people wanted more help in making subject choices early in secondary school.

In 2006, ERO evaluated how effectively schools are meeting the career education and guidance needs of year 7 and above learners, including Māori. ERO found that 42% of primary schools and 41% of secondary schools are effective or highly effective at meeting the career education and guidance needs of Māori, suggesting plenty of room for improvement.

Creating Pathways and Building Lives (CPaBL) is one programme that supports learner decision-making. CPaBL is a two-year pilot running in 100 secondary schools, due to end in December 2008 with a final report available in March 2009. An interim report completed by the ERO in July 2008 identified the importance in a successful careers education programme of a team approach, with engagement of senior management and clear links to curriculum planning and articulated school goals. Other findings include the importance of data collection and application, clear connections to the broader operational activity within the school, staff professional development and reflective practice, and self review. The findings from CPaBL will inform further development of Schools Plus initiatives to help young people identify and reflect on their knowledge, skills and aspirations so they make sound decisions about future education choices.

Schools Plus initiatives include a new expectation that all secondary school learners will develop an education plan to map out their education pathways and document their learning for potential employers or tertiary education providers. This should provide an opportunity to support more effective decision-making that will enable Māori learners to realise their potential.

Other future work relevant to this goal includes the ministry collaborating with Career Services and Te Puni Kokiri to pilot and evaluate a new programme to support Māori learners and their whānau to make decisions about future education choices. The pilot is expected to begin in March 2009 and will be evaluated by November 2009.

Increasing parental and whānau understanding of NCEA and the choices involved in building useful qualifications is another ministry focus.

Pouwhakataki from South Auckland have been holding presentations, workshops and forums with learners, parents and whānau about NCEA in most secondary schools in the Auckland region.

The pouwhakataki are aiming to equip the parents of Māori children in years 9–13 with the information and confidence to engage better with school staff and more importantly, to help their children make informed career choices. An NCEA tool kit is being developed as part of a kete whānau resource kit and programme to support whānau engagement. This kit will be provided to pouwhakataki across New Zealand.

Professional leaders

The latest data show that the percentage of principals who are Māori is slowly increasing in both primary and secondary schools. In 2007, Māori made up 12.5% of all principals at state schools, a higher percentage than for Māori teachers at state schools. Māori principals are highly represented in composite schools, a category of schools that includes most kura kaupapa Māori .

Research evidence shows effective leadership has a positive influence on Māori learner outcomes. Effective leaders help improve learner achievement by focusing on achievement, creating a positive school environment that supports learning, demanding and leading effective, culturally-responsive, teaching and engaging positively with parents, whānau and Māori communities. Latest research encourages school leaders to understand more about high-quality, effective, iwi, whānau, and Māori community engagement including what works and doesn't work well. This is a key part of the draft Educational Leadership (Schooling): Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration due to be released in early 2009.

The ministry provides a range of programmes and tools that aim to focus on responsive and accountable professional leadership as a way to ensure the education system performs better for and with Māori young people.

Kiwi Leadership for Principals (KLP) is the ministry's major work focused on responsive and accountable leadership and supporting principals to meet the challenges of their profession in leading 21st century schools. It presents a model of leadership that reflects the qualities, knowledge and skills required, with a particular emphasis on improving Māori learner presence, engagement and achievement.

The ministry released the final KLP document in 2008. Principals, academics, government officials, union and association representative groups provided advice and guidance to inform the development of the KLP through a range of forums including:

  • regional think tanks convened between November 2006 and March 2007
  • the establishment of a reference group in April 2007
  • a two-day National leadership hui with over 70 participants in August 2007.

Leading kura kaupapa principals contributed to the development of the KLP, with tikanga Māori concepts as the basis for the personal qualities described in the model of leadership.

KLP will be used as a reference point for developing a Professional Leadership Strategy or action plan, in partnership with the sector. The plan is intended to strengthen and support leadership in New Zealand schools over the next three to five years. Two further parts of the overall strategy are under development: Kiwi Leadership for Senior and Middle Leaders, and Leadership for Māori-medium Leaders.

To ensure KLP meets the unique leadership demands for those working in kura kaupapa and/or wider Māori-medium settings, a Kaupapa Māori Leadership project has begun. This includes the establishment of a ropü matua group of leaders from kura, Māori-immersion and bilingual units, educationalists, academics, and union representatives. Two ropü matua hui will be held in 2009 to support the development of a draft document consistent wirth Māori expectations and based on Māori perspectives, values and pedagogies.

There are several other professional development programmes supporting principals to build confidence and capability as leaders of learning in the 21st century. One example is the First Time Principals Programme (FTPP) run by the University of Auckland. Since 2002 the FTPP has had a commitment to the development of principalship, and in that time around 1200 new principals have taken part in the induction programme. The programme runs over 18 months, including two residential courses during term breaks, involvement with professional learning groups, online learning and working with mentors. There is a priority focus on leadership practices that improve outcomes for Māori learners.

FTPP is part of a suite of professional learning initiatives that includes the National Aspiring Principals Pilot for those considering school leadership, and the Principals Development Planning Centre for experienced principals looking to review and improve their professional practice. These initiatives are supported by LeadSpace (a website for principals and school leaders featuring resources for management and professional development) and the school support services  leadership and management advisors to schools.

In addition to an ongoing focus on professional development for leaders, work on revising the professional standards for principals has been completed in 2007/08. This represents a significant step up on the current interim standards. The revised standards focus upon what works for and with Māori learners, are designed to incorporate the Best Evidence Synthesis evidence of which leadership practices improve student outcomes, and align with the Kiwi Leadership for Principals model.

Whānau involvement

Along with effective teaching and leadership in schools, engagement of whānau with young people's education has positive effects on achievement and the effectiveness of learning. More specifically, research finds that sustained parental involvement focused on learning activities can improve young people's levels of achievement. For example, data from asTTLe show that student achievement in Māori-medium education is significantly improved if there is at least one adult who speaks a little Māori with them at home.

Effective whānau and education relationships are based on equal partnerships where the expertise of each party is respected and drawn upon, and people work together to achieve shared goals.

ERO evaluated schools' engagement with parents, whānau and communities at 233 schools in 2007. Parents and whānau noted that their involvement with school decreased as their children moved from primary to intermediate and on to secondary. Where partnerships between families and schools worked well, the benefits for learners included:

  • having their parents, whānau and communities notice and celebrate their successes and achievements
  • feeling more motivated and engaged at school
  • talking about their school work at home
  • feeling more confident about their school work
  • finding transitions between schools easier
  • wanting to stay longer at school.

The ministry has active partnerships and relationships with 20 iwi. In addition to these 20 iwi relationships, the ministry has agreements with four national Māori  education organisations. These relationships focus specifically on supporting iwi and whānau to support Māori  learner achievement.

The partnership relationships facilitate opportunities for iwi to be full participants in the education system alongside learners, parents, schools and the ministry. When all these parties work together much more can be achieved for and with Māori.

One iwi the ministry is working with has a number of small and isolated schools in its area that are predominantly Māori.

Supported by the ministry, the iwi is helping the schools to work together to address common issues, share expertise and resources, and reduce professional isolation for teachers and principals. Indicators of success include increased nominations from the community for school boards, and professional conversations that are now focused on learning. It is expected that the increased cooperation within and between these isolated schools will contribute to the success of concurrent work regarding literacy, pedagogy and assessment.

Another iwi is working with the schools in its tribal area to develop distinctive curriculum content that integrates the learning that whānau and Māori  communities see as important for their children. This partnership is also working to support governance, professional leadership, innovative learning and teaching, foundation learning in early childhood and iwi reo and cultural knowledge as critical factors that contribute to educational success for their learners.

The collaborative approach aims to bring a greater opportunity for iwi to have increased responsibility for designing and implementing solutions in ways that encourage wider inclusion and a sharper focus on learning and teaching. It also aims to support the relationships each service, school or provider has with iwi, whānau and Māori communities to determine the most appropriate way forward.

School boards of trustees are an important way for whānau to be involved in the life of their school. Most schools still have a long way to go when it comes to improving the achievement of their Māori learners and are struggling to become more responsive to Māori  learners' needs.

All boards of trustees are required, in consultation with the school's Māori community, to develop policies, plans and specific targets that will improve the achievement of Māori  learners. Boards of trustees are responsible for ensuring that the principal and staff are provided with the tools and the know-how to determine what is working for and with Māori learners at their school and how to meet the agreed targets for improvement. Boards must also monitor and report regularly to the community on the progress the principal and staff are making towards meeting the targets for Māori learner achievement.

Whether boards of trustees are made up of parents or education professionals does not in itself make any difference to children's levels of achievement. However, the quality of governance does, especially the culture and expectation of success that the board establishes through its strategic planning and performance management roles.

Encouraging Māori with governance skills to join their board of trustees by election or co-option is one way to support improved educational outcomes for Māori  learners. Māori now represent 19.3% of trustees, which is an increase of 4 percentage points since 1998 (15.2%). The proportion of Māori on boards of trustees is now only slightly lower than the proportion of Māori learners in schools (22.2% in 2007).

The ministry is seeking to increase the engagement of whānau and iwi with teachers and schools.

The ministry's Whakaaro Matauranga strategy aimed to increase the participation, engagement and achievement of Māori by providing information to young Māori, Māori parents and whānau, and teachers.

The strategy included the nationwide Te Mana information campaign and resources and 25 pouwhakataki (community workers) throughout New Zealand, who work with iwi, whānau and Māori communities to build strong links between Māori and education. It also featured a professional development package for teachers called Te Mana Korero – Relationships for Learning (see chapter 2).

Te Mana Whānau is an emerging initiative within the Te Mana programme focusing on the critical role of whānau in setting the context and purpose for learning, education and school for their children. New television advertisements that model relationships for learning between whānau, their children and teachers will screen from October 2008. Online and printed information about key education areas will be developed to support pouwhakataki in their work with whānau. Te Mana advisors will attend and support national and local events where key messages will be delivered and whānau will be engaged in conversation about education and learning.

Team-Up is a partner initiative to support parents and whānau to engage with education, which has accomplished much in a relatively short three-year period.

The latest research shows that 87% of parents are aware of Team-Up.

Research measurements also show high awareness levels amongst Māori and Pasifika parents. The majority of Māori (90%) and Pasifika (88%) parents are aware of Team-Up, and most consider it to be personally relevant (69% and 77%) and a good reminder (69% and 75%). Māori and Pasifika parents were more likely than other parents to say that Team-Up has given them some useful ideas (60% and 78%) and most have used them (56% and 66%).

Strengthening this work and other existing communications programmes with whānau is a key priority for the ministry.

In addition, the provision of workshops for parents and learners to support planning and aspirations for tertiary study has been found to be one of the most effective interventions in the draft Educational Leadership (Schooling): Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (forthcoming).

Tertiary and lifelong learning

The overall participation rate for Māori in tertiary education peaked in 2005 at 23%, and has since decreased to 20% in 2007. Most of the rise and fall of participation has been in Level 1 to 3 certificates.

The total participation rate of Māori aged 18 to 19 has remained steady over the past six years, with a positive shift away from Level 1 to 3 certificates towards study at Level 4 and above, including degree-level study. The major decrease in participation has been among Māori students aged 20 to 39, where there has been a large decrease in participation at Level 1 to 3 and a smaller decrease in degree enrolments.

A positive outcome of the increased participation in certificate- and diploma-level tertiary education by Māori over the past decade is demonstrated by the 2006 international Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey (ALLS). This survey found that Māori  adults had significantly increased their literacy since 1996, as had Pākehā and Asian population groups. Achievement of Māori in prose literacy (stories, brochures etc) was higher than Asian groups, although still lower than Pākehā.

While many Māori adults successfully engage in tertiary education after a period away from the education system, learners who enrol in tertiary education directly from school have higher completion rates, lower attrition rates, and are more likely to go on to higher levels of study than other learners. Earlier engagement by Māori learners in tertiary education is also important to maximise the career and financial gains that higher-level qualifications bring.

A goal of the Tertiary Education Strategy 2007–2012 is to have more people achieving qualifications at Level 4 and above by age 25 because of the economic and other benefits this brings. The Tertiary Education Strategy also identifies a need for a concerted effort to address truancy in the early years in secondary school to ensure that Māori learners remain engaged and achieving in secondary school. To increase the number of Māori learners with degrees, the most important change will be to increase the number of Māori learners staying at school and achieving university entrance at senior secondary school – a key goal in the Young People Engaged in Learning focus area of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

A 2007 study found that for those Māori learners who engage in degree-level study, first-year success, especially success in the first semester, is a critical factor for ensuring ongoing success. The study found that success in the first year of study was only partially explained by a person's background and subject choice. This finding reinforced a general theme found in international literature that a complex set of factors influence a learner's success, including readiness for degree study, commitment to reaching a goal, an ability to fit into the institution, and the institution's ability to adapt to individual learners.

A key factor for Māori learners was the extent to which they were able to maintain their cultural identity, access social and support networks outside the institution and feel their experiences were valued within the learning context.95 The study suggested that improved support was needed for Māori  learners in the first semester and first year.

3.4: Looking ahead

The ministry is aiming to ensure Māori learners remain at school, engaged and achieving well through changes to regulations and funding, and additional professional development and resources for teachers, learners and whānau.

The ministry's website sets out work to be implemented from next year. In 2009:

  • a trial of education plans will begin (education plans will be introduced in all secondary schools in 2011 to ensure learners have good information and guidance and can progress to the next stage of learning)
  • there will be more opportunities for learners to take part in the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR). Funding will be increased and the rules amended to improve the range of programmes schools can offer their students. This will allow an additional 6000 students the opportunity to participate in STAR
  • the Youth Apprenticeships Scheme will be rolled out to an additional 100 schools in 2009 (the scheme will be available in all schools in 2011)
  • a trial of school–tertiary partnerships will be done so schools can use the Youth Training investment to offer more young people, particularly those at risk of disengagement, opportunities to learn in different environments while remaining attached to their school
  • students under 16 years old will no longer be able to leave school by applying for an early leaving exemption (removed through the Education Amendment Bill, introduced to Parliament in September 2008).

In 2009, schools will be given the flexibility to choose between building new classrooms or accessing alternative facilities that better accommodate the changing learning needs of their learners. This may include leasing private or community-owned venues, or paying tertiary providers, other schools or employers for access to their facilities.

The government will provide initial funding to support the operation of a trial initiative between South Auckland secondary schools and Manukau Institute of Technology to provide a secondary education programme.

Over the next year, the ministry will continue engaging with all key stakeholders and policy and advice will be developed further. Other work includes:

  • developing an extended careers guidance package for all students ($11.7m over four years)
  • a review of alternative education provision, including Activity Centres
  • investigating initiatives that will increase participation and achievement in education ($6m over two years).

To further support Māori teachers in their professional practice, the new Māori Secondary Teachers Workload programme will begin on 1 January 2009. It will support Māori teachers in secondary schools and wharekura to:

  • plan and develop their career pathways
  • enhance their professional practice through involvement in professional communities and professional learning
  • develop and access useful and relevant teaching and management resources that support the wide-ranging work of Māori teachers.

The secondary school professional development strategy will begin in 2009 to further build the capability of secondary schools to improve the teaching and learning of Māori learners. This will include extending effective professional development programmes into a greater number of schools with high numbers of Māori learners.

In February 2009, the Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools Years 1–13 will be launched to support teaching and learning te reo Māori in English-medium schools. In addition to the guidelines, teachers will be supported by professional development and a range of resources.

In 2008/09, schooling improvement projects will continue to identify, and work with, clusters of schools with a higher proportion of Māori learners. Provision has been made for three new clusters to start the programme. Work will also continue planning and implementing activities with the ongoing clusters. The ministry will be evaluating the interventions and using the findings to inform its future work with clusters.

Meanwhile, the ministry is conducting a review of its support for Gifted and Talented education in the context of a wider examination of the effectiveness of professional development, and the overarching goal of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success to ensuring better outcomes for and with Māori students across all areas of the ministry's work.

The review will draw on a range of information currently or soon to be available. The Education Review Office completed a report on the overall provision of education for Gifted and Talented students across New Zealand schools in June 2008. A research and evaluation of the Talent Development Initiatives will also inform the review. The ministry expects to make recommendations about future support provisions by February 2009.

During 2009, the work with whānau will continue to contribute to the evidence base through investments in research to support the participation and engagement of whānau and iwi in education. This includes:

  • collecting and publishing examples of effective whānau participation in the implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in 2008/10
  • in collaboration with Career Services and other agencies, developing and testing new approaches to support whānau and their children in decision-making about future education choices.

To read more about the strategies, policies and programmes mentioned in this chapter, visit the Ministry of Education or Te Kete Ipurangi websites.

3.5: Statistics

This section includes the latest data relevant to young people engaged in learning.

Index of Graphs in this Section:

:    Domestic learners attending schools by ethnic group, 2007
:    Learner distribution by decile, Māori and non-Māori, 2007
:    Percentage of teachers and learners who are Māori, 2007
:    Proportion of Māori & non-Māori learners to meet both literacy & numeracy...
:    Year 12 Māori & non-Māori learners to gain an NCEA Level 2 qualification or higher...
:    Year 13 Māori & non-Māori learners to gain an NCEA Level 3 qualification or higher...
:  Early leaving exemption rates per 1000 15 year-old learners, Māori and total, 2001/07
:  Estimated percentage of domestic learners staying on at school from age...
:  Percentage of school leavers going directly to formal tertiary education...
:  Māori learners in formal, provider-based tertiary education by subsector, 2000/07

Index of Tables in this Section:
:    Number of learners by ethnic group, 2001/07
:    Number of Māori learners by age, 2001/07
:    Number of schools by percentage of Māori learners, 2007
:  Māori principals as a proportion of all principals in state schools by school type...
:  Appointed/co-opted and elected boards of trustees, by gender, Māori and total...
:  Number and percentage of appointed/co-opted and elected boards of trustees...
:  Percentage of school leavers with selected attainment, Māori and total, 2001/07
:  Student disengagement, age-standardised rates per 1000 learners, Māori...
:  Māori learners in formal, provider-based education by level, 2000/07
:  Māori participation rate in tertiary education by age and gender, 2007
:  Number of qualifications completed by Māori by qualification level, 2000/06
Graph 4: Domestic learners attending schools by ethnic group, 2007Image of Graph 4: Domestic learners attending schools by ethnic group, 2007.
Table 7: Number of learners by ethnic group, 2001/07
Ethnic Group Year
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 % change
Māori Total 149,590 152,556 157,270 160,732 162,534 162,385 164,020 7.5
% 20.7 20.8 21.1 21.4 21.6 21.6 21.9
Pasifika Total 58,402 60,313 62,707 64,121 66,088 68,059 69,888 15.9
% 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.8 9.1 9.3
Asian Total 43,653 49,294 56,024 58,737 60,358 61,857 62,867 27.5
% 6.0 6.6 7.5 7.8 8.0 8.2 8.4
Total 462,311 459,699 455,868 453,473 448,218 443,361 436,717 -5.0
% 63.0 62.6 62.1 61.8 61.1 60.4 59.5
Total NZ Learners 733,924 748,084 761,755 764,654 762,790 760,761 759,906 1.6
Table 8: Number of Māori learners by age, 2001/07
Age 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
5 12,720 12,674 13,302 13,061 13,700 13,497 13,016
6 13,414 13,350 13,438 13,648 13,454 14,036 13,987
7 12,998 13,548 13,679 13,567 13,749 13,393 14,065
8 13,216 13,128 13,765 13,668 13,478 13,726 13,405
9 13,493 13,368 13,328 13,806 13,656 13,361 13,691
10 13,395 13,591 13,643 13,384 13,776 13,602 13,472
11 13,043 13,495 13,791 13,658 13,637 13,863 13,643
12 12,637 13,167 13,650 13,852 13,825 13,586 13,820
13 11,806 12,298 13,184 13,738 13,913 13,707 13,679
14 11,113 11,618 12,259 13,117 13,492 13,444 13,438
15 9,297 9,907 10,421 11,092 11,630 11,849 12,303
16 6,372 6,394 6,965 7,402 7,686 7,979 8,440
17 3,783 3,682 3,807 4,395 4,580 4,763 5,127
18 915 871 874 950 910 907 1,083
19 168 195 157 199 196 133 183
20 110 99 87 124 117 90 97
21 70 72 66 71 61 59 47
22+ 1,040 1,099 854 1,000 674 390 525
Total 149,590 152,556 157,270 160,732 162,534 162,385 164,021
Table 9: Number of schools by percentage of Māori learners, 2007
Percentage of Māori learners Number of schools 
>0 and <=10 671 
>10 and <=20 647 
>20 and <=30 382 
>30 and <=40 215 
>40 and <=50 134 
>50 and <=60 95 
>60 and <=70 69 
>70 and <=80 60 
>80 and <=90 47 
>90 and <100 69 
100  126 
Graph 5: Learner distribution by decile, Māori  and non-Māori, 2007Image of Graph 5: Learner distribution by decile, Maori and non-Maori, 2007.
Graph 6: Percentage of teachers and learners who are Māori, 2007Image of Graph 6: Percentage of teachers and learners who are Maori, 2007.
Table 10: Māori principals as a proportion of all principals in state schools by school type, April 2001/07
Primary 10.4 10.8 10.9 11.7 11.0 11.7 12.0
Secondary 6.6 7.5 7.7 7.5 7.7 8.4 8.1
Composite 30.7 34.1 36.1 39.1 38.0 36.0 40.4
Special 2.0 4.5 6.5 10.6 10.6 12.5 10.6
Total 10.4 11.1 11.2 12.2 11.6 12.2 12.5
Table 11: Appointed/co-opted and elected boards of trustees, by gender, Māori and total, 2001/071,2
  1. This indicator is a snapshot of the composition of boards of trustees as at 1 December of each year.   
  2. The data here are presented as a proportion of parent-elected, appointed and co-opted representative boards of trustees members. Other members, such as school principals, staff representatives, student representatives and proprietors' representatives are not included in this analysis. 
Ethnic Group Gender 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Māori  Female 1,497 1,497 1,504 1,531 1,467 1,421 1,518
Male 969 945 949 965 919 883 883
Total 2,466 2,442 2,453 2,496 2,386 2,304 2,401
Total  Female 7,012 6,827 6,782 6,766 6,504 6,247 6,175
Male 7,193 7,025 7,088 6,802 6,704 6,514 6,274
Total 14,205 13,852 13,870 13,568 13,208 12,761 12,449
Table 12: Number and percentage of appointed/co-opted and elected boards of trustees, by regional council, Māori and total, 20071,2
  1. This data is a snapshot of the composition of boards of trustees as at 1 December 2007.
  2. The regional council area of the school each board trustee represented.
  3. The Chatham Islands County is a separate county outside the standard regional council boundaries. 
Region 3 Māori Total Māori as
% of Total
Northland 322 732 44.0
Auckland 399 2,492 16.0
Waikato 365 1,558 23.4
Bay of Plenty 279 764 36.5
Gisborne 164 272 60.3
Hawkes Bay 156 615 25.4
Taranaki 74 458 16.2
Manawatu Wanganui 218 995 21.9
Wellington 171 1,250 13.7
Tasman 14 164 8.5
Nelson 10 113 8.8
Marlborough 15 167 9.0
West Coast 15 172 8.7
Canterbury 99 1,485 6.7
Otago 54 753 7.2
Southland 43 446 9.6
Chatham Islands County4 3 13 23.1
New Zealand Total 2,401 12,449 19.3
Graph 7: Proportion of Māori and non-Māori learners to meet both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA Level 1 by the end of year 11, 2004/07Image of Graph 7: Proportion of Maori and non-Maori learners to meet both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA Level 1 by the end of year 11, 2004/07.
Graph 8: Year 12 Māori and non-Māori learners to gain an NCEA Level 2 qualification or higher, 2004/07Image of Graph 8: Year 12 Māori and non-Māori learners to gain an NCEA Level 2 qualification or higher, 2004/07.
Graph 9: Year 13 Māori and non-Māori learners to gain an NCEA Level 3 qualification or higher, 2004/07Image of Graph 9: Year 13 Maori and non-Maori learners to gain an NCEA Level 3 qualification or higher, 2004/07.
Table 13: Percentage of school leavers with selected attainment, Māori and total, 2001/071
  1. A direct comparison can not be made between rates up to and including 2002 with rates for 2003 on, due to the change in qualification structure.
  2. Due to methodological changes in the allocation of attainment levels in 2004 for leavers achieving a qualification between little or no formal attainment and UE standard, the percentages of leavers with at least NCEA Level 2 in 2004 is not comparable  with other years, and has been omitted.
Ethnic Group 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above
Māori 16.3 20.0 28.8 na 2 32.7 36.7 43.9
All 37.3 42.0 52.6 na 2 57.1 60.2 65.5
Percentage of school leavers qualified to attend university
Māori 7.4 7.7 8.9 11.7 11.9 14.8 18.3
All 26.0 27.0 28.7 32.1 32.9 36.3 39.0
Table 14: Student disengagement, age-standardised rates per 1000 learners, Māori and total, 2001/07
  1. NZAID learners (foreign learners sponsored by the New Zealand Agency for International Development – a branch of MFAT), foreign fee-paying learners, correspondence school learners, adult learners (age>19) and private learners are excluded.
Ethnic Group 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Māori 52.7 53.8 56.6 55.8 57.9 59.3 55.3
All 25.9 26.3 28.3 28.6 30.4 31.3 29.3
Māori 17.4 17.1 16.3 15.0 16.2 15.4 14.4
All 7.3 7.3 7.0 6.7 7.2 7.0 6.6
Māori 5.2 5.5 5.5 5.1 5.6 5.6 5.0
All 2.3 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.5 2.5 2.3
Māori 4.2 3.1 4.2 3.0 3.1 2.3 3.5
All 2.0 2.2 2.2 1.6 1.8 1.8 2.0
Graph 10: Early leaving exemption rates per 1000 15-year-old learners, Māori and total, 2001/07Image of Graph 10: Early leaving exemption rates per 1000 15-year-old learners, Maori and total, 2001/07.
Graph 11: Estimated percentage of domestic learners staying on at school from age 14.5 to 16.5, Māori and total, 2001/07Image of Graph 11: Estimated percentage of domestic learners staying on at school from age 14.5 to 16.5, Maori and total, 2001/07.
Graph 12: Percentage of school leavers going directly to formal tertiary education by level of study, 2002/06Image of Graph 12: Percentage of school leavers going directly to formal tertiary education by level of study, 2002/06.
Graph 13: Māori learners in formal, provider-based tertiary education by subsector, 2000/07Image of Graph 13: Maori learners in formal, provider-based tertiary education by subsector, 2000/07.
Table 15: Māori learners in formal, provider-based education by level, 2000/07
  1. Level 8 Honours/Postgraducate Certificate/ Diploma
Level 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Level 1-3 Certificates 26,945 39,764 49,973 52,141 54,832 54,551 49,076 46,840
Level 4 Certificates 3,325 6,332 14,435 19,910 18,444 17,987 17,162 17,018
Level 5-7 Diplomas 9,206 9,285 11,372 11,666 11,308 12,144 11,805 11,684
Level 7 bachelors 12,937 13,608 14,446 15,021 15,172 14,815 14,283 14,508
Level 8* Honours 900 901 973 1,098 1,276 1,327 1,437 1,677
Level 9 Masters 850 881 1,029 1,022 1,094 1,162 1,240 1,097
Level 10 Doctorates    211 230 235 248 259 275 279 308
Total 51,230 65,524 81,936 88,426 90,881 90,667 85,733 83,984
Table 16: Māori participation rate in tertiary education by age and gender, 2007
  1. Participation rate is the proportion of each gender and age group in formal, provider-based tertiary education.
  2. Participation rates given are not standardised for age.     
Age Group Female Male Total
Under 18 13% 12% 13%
18–19 39% 30% 35%
20–24 33% 24% 29%
25–39 27% 18% 23%
40+ 19% 12% 16%
Total 24% 17% 20%
Table 17: Number of qualifications completed by Māori by qualification level, 2000/06
  1. Level 8 = Honours/Postgraduate Certificate/ Diploma
Qualification Level 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Level 1–3 Certificates 5,502 7,357 10,312 12,662 14,169 13,685 13,298
Level 4 Certificates 851 1,323 3,859 8,061 5,121 5,667 5,208
Level 5–7 Diplomas 1,853 1,917 2,327 2,413 2,384 2,455 2,653
Level 7 Bachelors 2,222 2,225 2,226 2,212 2,353 2,214 2,636
Level 8* Honours 361 389 388 415 483 471 550
Level 9 Masters 174 167 154 156 187 207 236
Level 10 Doctorates    17 21 23 28 33 24 29
Total 10,980 13,399 19,289 25,947 24,730 24,723 24,610


  1. Alton-Lee (2003); Biddulph et al. (2003); May et al. (2004); Ministry of Education (2007b); Robinson (2007).
  2. Artelt et al. (2003); Wylie et al. (2005).
  3. Alton-Lee (2003); Wylie et al. (2006).
  4. The New Zealand Curriculum Online.
  5. Earl et al. (2003); Young-Loveridge (2005).
  6. For example, Tahuri (2007) and Bishop et al. (2007).
  7. Alton-Lee (2003); Benseman et al. (2005); May et al. (2004); Wylie & Arago -Kemp (2004).
  8. Timperley et al. (2007).
  9. The ministry has agreements with six universities for the ongoing provision of school support services. School support services providers are responsible for professional development support for school leaders and teachers, based on regional needs and government priorities.
  10. Te Tere Auraki - Māori in English Medium on the Ministry of Education website.
  11. Hindle et al. (2007).
  12. UNITEC Institute of Technology (2008)
  13. Bishop et al. (2007).
  14. Timperley et al. (2007).
  15. Same decile
  16. Bishop et al. (2007).
  17. See Gardiner and Parata on the Te Hiringa i te Mahara website: Retrieved Februaru 2009.
  18. Gardiner & Parata Ltd (2008).
  19. Ministry of Education (2007a); Ng (2007).
  20. Ministry of Education (2008d).
  21. Ministry of Education (2008d).
  22. McKinley (2007).
  23. Education Review Office (2006b).
  24. Unpublished report by the Education Review Office for the Ministry of Education. 
  25. Robinson (2007).
  26. Ibid; Robinson et al. (forthcoming).
  27. Education Standards Act, 2001.
  28. Education Review Office (2006a).
  29. NAG 1(v): 'in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori learners'.
  30. Bartusek (2000).
  31. This is largely because the proportion of school-age children who are Mäori is considerably higher than the proportion of adults aged 25–50.
  32. Research New Zealand (November 2007–June 2008).
  33. Ministry of Education (2006a).
  34. See the Tertiary Education Strategy Monitoring Reports for more information on Māori achievement.
  35. Ministry of Education (2007a).
  36. Earle (2007).
  37. Demographics and school background.
  38. Earle (2007).

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