8 Sep 2012

Maori college aims to improve under consistent management

8:03 am on 8 September 2012

A Maori college says negative parts of its Education Review Office report are due to inconsistent management in recent years and it's confident the school will improve now it has a permanent principal.

The review office found Hato Petera, on Auckland's North Shore, needs a curriculum that better aligns to its students' career paths, and improved student assessment.

It has suggested the college's board seek outside help to improve the school's finances and its self-review processes.

It is also recommending the Secretary of Education help the school raise its students' achievement.

But ERO says new college principal John Mathews, who has led the school for eight months, is making a positive difference.

And its four hostels which accommodate 80 students - most of the school's roll - provide a good environment.

Mr Mathews says the problems are due to inconsistent management, with three acting principals over the past three years.

He says, until now, the college has followed a traditional curriculum and he's working to bring it into the 21st century.

So far the school has helped its senior students buy tablet computers. Greater emphasis is also being placed on student achievement, with more academic counselling and longer study tutorials in the evening.

Mr Mathews says Hato Petera makes a vital contribution as the only co-educational Maori Catholic school.

The first Maori Catholic priest Father Wiremu Te Awhitu, academic Professor Ranginui Walker and the artist Ralph Hotere are among its past students.

The college's roll dropped by 30 last year to 100 students but new students have enrolled for next year and Mr Mathews is confident the college will be at its capacity of 245 students within two years.

The college will be reviewed again in one to two years.