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Research

Research and reports that investigate the experiences of Pasifika students in New Zealand schools.

Current research publications

Leadership practices supporting Pasifika student success

These six reports focus on school leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The reports show how these schools identified the need to improve Pasifika student progress and achievement outcomes and then made a strong commitment to addressing that challenge in a variety of ways to bring about more successful outcomes. The reports emphasise that continued progress towards the overall goal of achieving strong, positive outcomes for all Pasifika students, through: excellence in teaching, curriculum content and delivery, and ensuring student well-being is an ongoing process. 

  • Three case study reports describe leadership practices with a specific focus on Pasifika student success in three secondary schools – McAuley High School, De La Salle College, and Otahuhu College.
  • Three exemplar reports describe in more detail one aspect of each case study school’s approach to improving achievement outcomes for Pasifika students.

A key intent for the case studies and exemplars is that they will provide a helpful basis for reflection and discussion amongst those with responsibility for and interest in ensuring successful outcomes for all Pasifika students in our schools.

McAuley High School

This report is one in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

De La Salle College

This is the second in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

Otahuhu College

This is the third in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

About the reports

Ministry and other data show that while some Pasifika students are amongst the highest achieving students in New Zealand, too many are leaving school without the foundation they need to take up further study or career options for a successful future.

The three schools featured in the reports were selected primarily because they had significantly improved NCEA level 2 achievement results for Pasifika students over recent years, turning around previously much less favourable student outcome trends in these schools.

Effective school leadership is identified in the research literature as vital to ensuring successful outcomes for students. The Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Iteration School leadership and student outcomes: identifying what works and why (Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2009) identified seven key themes in effective school leadership for successful student outcomes. The Rangiātea series (Ministry of Education, 2012) – information collected for the Pasifika case studies has been analysed and presented according to the seven key themes identified in the BES Iteration.

The reports provide valuable insights about the challenges faced by the case study schools in raising achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students and how the schools were working to progressively meet and overcome those challenges (at the time the case study data were collected in late 2012).

Factors that contributed to successful improvements in Pasifika student achievement outcomes in these schools included:

  • strong, clear school values and goals well articulated by the leadership team, and understood and supported by the whole school community
  • a school culture that is inclusive and fosters a sense of family
  • an emphasis on everyone taking responsibility for achieving successful Pasifika student outcomes
  • a well-informed board of trustees, strongly committed to ensuring Pasifika student success
  • demonstrating respect for Pasifika students, including an appreciation of the students’ strengths and a firm belief in their ability to succeed
  • addressing students’ pastoral care needs as an essential part of meeting the students’ academic needs
  • a strong emphasis on the effective collection, analysis and use of robust achievement data to identify student learning needs and strengths
  • planned evaluation of initiatives and approaches introduced by the school to improve student outcomes to ensure they were working as intended
  • an emphasis on achieving quality teaching practice, through ensuring appropriate professional learning and development opportunities, through adopting a supportive, ‘no blame’ approach to improving teacher practice, and by adopting a teacher appraisal system that involves sound evidence and feedback and results in planned opportunities for development
  • a strong emphasis on curriculum content and delivery within the  school that is relevant, engaging and sufficiently challenging for Pasifika students
  • recognising the importance of understanding and integrating Pasifika identities, languages and cultures into all aspects of the school
  • a commitment to effectively involving parents, families, and the wider community in everything the school does, including student learning activities and supporting students in setting goals and preparing for the future.

These factors illustrate aspects of the seven key leadership themes identified in the literature and demonstrate principles of the Ministry of Education’s Action Plan for Pacific Education.

There was a clear realisation among the case study schools of ongoing challenges to be faced, and the need to continue to monitor progress and adapt practice as required to ensure successful outcomes for Pasifika (and all) students into the future. 


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