Waiuku Community of Learning


Every child attending a school in our Community of Learning will receive quality teaching and support to achieve the expected standard and every teacher will be supported to be an effective classroom practitioner.

Our Community of Learning schools will work together in a collaborative way with students, parents, Whānau and community to achieve the achievement goals.

We Aim

  • To raise the achievement levels of all students in Writing and Mathematics with a particular focus in 2016-2018 on Māori students and Male students.
  • To increase the Numeracy and Literacy achievement of Year 9 and 10 students
  • To raise the number of students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 as a minimum qualification.

We will achieve this by working together on three important areas:

  • Culturally responsive pedagogies- where teachers understand how to work effectively with diverse groups of students.
  • Collaborative teaching as inquiry to identify the most effective practice to reach the targets for Writing and Mathematics.
  • Effective transition process to support student achievement in Writing and Mathematics as they move from Early Childhood Education through to Primary School and on to Secondary School.

Core Values


  • Mahitahi – Working together


  • Whakawhānaungatanga – process of establishing relationships, relating well to others.


Our Community


The Māori name Waiuku comes from a legend that two prominent brothers, Tamakae and Tamakou, vied for the hand of a beautiful high-ranking Waikato chieftainess . Tamakae washed in the wai (water) and uku (a white mud) of the stream that flows into the Manukau Harbour, before he met her. Tamakae won her heart and married her. From then the place was named Waiuku.

The local Iwi of Waiuku or Mana Whenua of Waiuku are Te Iwi o Ngati Te Ata Waiohua. A striking statue of Tamakae stands in the township, carved from swamp kauri logs found during some excavation work at New Zealand Steel and gifted to the local iwi, Ngati Te Ata.

Waiuku came into existence as a port in about 1843, and an important trade route between Auckland and the agricultural area of the Waikato. Waiuku later grew as a farming centre and from 1914 has been a town district of Franklin with now approximately 8,000 people.

A major development for the town was New Zealand’s first steel plant at Glenbrook to convert iron sand brought from the black sand deposits at Waikato Heads into steel. The company continues to be a major employer in and influence on the town.

The ethnic makeup of Waiuku is 75.6% European; 17.7% Māori and 3.6% Pasifika peoples.

English is the most commonly spoken language in Waiuku, spoken by virtually the entire population.


Waiuku Community of Learning

The group of schools that comprise the Waiuku Community of Learning is centred on Waiuku with all schools being within close proximity. The schools have formed long and close associations through previous networks, such as the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) cluster. These schools have similar demographic characteristics that reflect their local communities.

Schools in the Waiuku Community of Learning have a significant Māori roll (21%) when compared to the national average (15%) and a smaller than the national average Pasifika roll (6%) when compared with the national average (20%).

A high number of children entering primary school have participated in early childhood education, 94.5% of Māori students, 91.4% of Pasifika students and 99% European/Pakeha students.

Schools in this Community of Learning report overall achievement information that is at or above the national averages for National Standards. However, there are groups of students, particularly some Māori students and Male students, who given additional support, strategies and structures have the potential to achieve at higher levels.
The role of education is to nurture every child’s potential and to support their educational success. Many New Zealand students do very well in education and achieve outstanding results. We have many talented and committed education professionals, parents, whānau, iwi, families and communities who support New Zealand’s students every day. However, there is much room for improvement in how well the education system is performing for particular groups of students and this needs urgent attention and focus for change. Too many Māori students are left behind and disengage from education before gaining the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to reach their full potential. The negative impact of this on students, their whānau, wider communities and New Zealand is significant. – Ka Hikitia 2013-2017

Waiuku Community of Learning Achievement Challenges

Our inquiry started with the learners at each school. We used 2014 achievement data as these moderated data were reliable and enabled valid comparisons.

The primary schools brought to the conversation their National Standards data for Reading, Writing and Mathematics and engagement data.

The secondary schools brought students’ assessment data for Year 9 and 10 and the NCEA results for years 11, 12 and 13.

Rich evidence-based discussion ensued with individual schools identifying challenges and priority groups of students. A number of possible shared challenges were identified.

The next step was to collate the data to look at the achievement pathway for different groups of students: cohorts, Māori, Pasifika, boys and girls.  Collating group data enabled school leaders to unpack the differing educational experience of these groups.

The Ministry provided engagement infographics profiles for the Waiuku Community of Learning

The inquiry resulted in agreement that shared challenges should initially focus on raising student achievement in Mathematics and Writing from years 1-10, Level 2 NCEA achievement rates for secondary school leavers and that Māori students’ and Male students should be a priority groups for the community.

The Waiuku Community of Learning recognised that each school will select targeted learners and that these students will include Māori learners and Male learners.

The thinking behind our achievement challenge decisions

The focus on Writing and Mathematics was based on evidence and agreed by all schools. It is acknowledged that there is considerable expertise available to be shared across the community.

Raising achievement of Māori learners is one priority for the Waiuku Community of Learning.

The Waiuku Community of Learning schools will demonstrate their commitment to strengthening pedagogy that makes a difference for Māori learners. They believe, on the basis of evidence, that what works for Māori works for everyone.

Raising achievement of Male learners is another priority for the Waiuku Community of Learning.

Gender differences for national standards are marked in Writing where boys achieve 20% below girls. It is expected that a significant number of these identified as target students will be boys and strategies and interventions will be tailored to their needs.

Waiuku Community of Learning Focus:

Priority Learners

Definition of Priority Learners targeted in this community:

The Waiuku Community of Learning will focus on the following children

  • Children who are performing below or well below the National Standards.
  • Māori students
  • Male students
  • Students with additional educational needs

In the Waiuku Community of Learning we have identified that Māori students and Male students are the students with the greatest potential to improve.