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High expectations

This section draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support leaders and teachers as they consider the high expectations principle.


Primary | Secondary | General


Student goal setting and parent engagement
Goal setting and community workshops are some of the initiatives that have been introduced at Pomaria School to improve educational outcomes for students. This story describes how teachers, parents, and whānau work in partnership to help all students achieve personal excellence.

1:1 netbooks – Allowing excellence in the classroom
Tyler, a Year 6 student with dyspraxia from Parkvale School, is enabled to learn and achieve personal excellence in writing through the use of a netbook.

Developing whānau priorities at Te Kura o Hiruharama
The staff, board, and whānau at Te Kura o Hiruharama worked together to identify their priorities for student achievement. Together they devised a profile of an ideal Hiruharama graduate that encapsulates their aspirations and high expectations.

Striving for personal excellence
Sue Ngarimu-Goldsmith, principal at Te Kura o Hiruharama, explains how a whakataukī was used to inspire the thinking behind the school's mission, "Striving for personal excellence". This whakataukī ensures that the principle of high expectations guides curriculum decision making at the school.

Renwick School vision and values
Renwick School lives out its vision and values through a simple yet powerful statement, "Learning is strength. Be the best you can be."

Making meaning
Students from Stonefields School talk about the importance of having strategies to solve problems, which allows them to own their own learning and achieve success.

Boys will learn like boys
This Education Gazette article describes how a group of North Shore schools recognised different strategies are needed for boys to engage with learning than those used with girls. By grouping boys from different schools, student engagement and achievement has increased.


My dreams and future plans
Katrina, a student at Onlsow College, has Down syndrome. In this video she talks about her ambition to become a kindergarten teacher and how she is working toward achieving this goal.

The impact of a school having high expectations
Matt Frost reflects on how his school supported his interests and maintained high expectations of his participation and achievement.

Creating a culture of excellence
Alec Solomon, subject specialist leader of physical, health and outdoor education at Albany Senior High School, discusses how he supports students to excel by creating "a culture of excellence."

Creating a positive learning culture
Kathryn Hutchison from Wellington East Girls' College explains how exemplars, modeling, collaboration, and learning conversations are integral to helping students learn and achieve personal excellence. 

Leaving the past in the past
A high expectations culture at Tokoroa High School has led to a massive transformation in student achievement, especially for Māori and Pacific Island students. This Education Gazette article explains how the school's mission statement – “The best and highest qualifications for all” – has been brought to life.

The taro patch – Pasifika success at Westlake Boys’ High School
This Education Gazette article, highlights one of several support systems Westlake Boys' High School has developed for meeting the needs of Pasifika learners. The school believes that this programme and the schoolwide emphasis on excellence have contributed to high achievement rates for Pasifika students. 

Captivated by coding
This Technology Online video describes the experience of the only girl in an all boy coding class and discusses how to engage more girls in computer science.

Personalising learning for NCEA Pasifika students
As HOD Performing Arts at Rutherford College, Manu Fa'aea-Semeatu worked with Pasifika students to realise their full potential, catering for their abilities and aspirations through collaboratively designing personalised courses in years 11 - 13.

Te Kotahitanga – Student voices
Māori students leaving Te Kotahitanga schools at year thirteen, reflect on their experiences in these schools since year nine. They talk about a culture of high expectations, respect, caring, support, and safety.


Success for all
Lynne Silcock from the Ministry of Education discusses how Universal Design for Learning theory and technology together can support success for all.

High expectations
This film clip explores the impact of high expectations on Pasifika students. You can use the set of accompanying questions to help you reflect on high expectations and achievement for students at your school.

Students as leaders
In this film staff and students discuss how leadership opportunities and rewards can help Pasifika students enjoy success and be secure in their Pasifika identity, distinctiveness, and potential.

Next – Resources

Published on: 27 Mar 2012