Part 4: Our work on Māori educational achievement during the next five years

Education for Māori: Context for our proposed audit work until 2017.
One hundred and thirty years plus of formal schooling under the shadow of colonialism has left a legacy that cannot be reversed overnight.
Professor Wally Penetito

In this report, we have brought together a picture of the history of Māori educational policy and of recent Māori educational achievement using statistics, research, and advice from our Advisory Group. From this information, we have framed some questions that seem important and prepared a simple framework to identify the focus of our audit work during the next five years.

We have decided on the topic for the first year of our programme of audit work on this subject (see paragraphs 4.7 and 4.8). To determine and shape the next four years of the programme, we will work with Parliament, the relevant public entities, our Advisory Group, and other interested parties.

Overall focus for our five-year programme of audit work

The overarching question that our programme of audit work will focus on during the next five years is:

How well does the education system currently support Māori students to achieve their full potential and contribute to the future prosperity of New Zealand?

We intend to concentrate on English-medium primary and secondary schools, because they are where most Māori students receive their education. We have not ruled out looking at kura kaupapa Māori later in our programme of audit work. We may also consider audit work on aspects of tertiary education and the transition from secondary to tertiary education, training, or first employment.

We will ask several supplementary questions to help answer the overarching question. These questions include:

  • Is the strategy for raising Māori educational achievement (Ka Hikitia) being effectively implemented in schools?
    • How effectively is the strategy communicated to schools and other stakeholders?
    • Is there an understanding of and co-ordinated approach to implementing the strategy?
    • Are qualitative and quantifiable benefits being delivered as a result of Ka Hikitia?
    • What has been the difference in the experience of Māori students?
    • Are the changes being made likely to be sustainable?
    • Is good practice being shared throughout the schools sector?
  • Is educational achievement appropriately monitored and acted on?
    • Is the data meaningful and reliable?
    • How is data used to focus resources, share learning, and influence decision-making?
    • What does the data indicate about success?
    • Is good practice being shared and, if so, what is the effect?
  • Are resources (funding and other) delivering effective results and providing value for money?
    • What funding is committed to this area, including specifically targeted funds?
    • What is the total cost to the taxpayer?
    • How are schools and other agencies using the funding?
    • Is there effective evaluation of results and success factors?
    • Has the investment provided a tangible return in either raising achievement or providing a platform for further achievement?
    • What would be the potential cost to New Zealand of not delivering successful outcomes?
    • Is good practice being shared throughout the sector?
  • Are effective partnerships used to enhance Māori students' achievement?
    • Are education agencies, including schools, working effectively and collaboratively?
    • Do schools actively seek out involvement from whānau, and are whānau actively engaged and involved in their children's learning?
    • Is there effective collaboration between schools, iwi, and other community stakeholders?
    • Has collaboration resulted in greater understanding between education agencies, schools, iwi, whānau, and other community stakeholders, and contributed to raising achievement?
    • Is good practice being shared throughout the sector?
  • What has been the effect of specific initiatives in improving Māori educational achievement?
    • Te Kotahitanga (see Appendix 3);
    • Student Achievement Function (see Appendix 3);
    • Youth Guarantee programmes (see Appendix 3);
    • He Kākano (professional learning and development, see Appendix 3); and
    • initiatives in tertiary education institutions.

Framework guiding our programme of audit work

We have used five aspects of the education system that relate to these questions to form a framework to guide our work. This framework is explained in Figure 9 and covers:

  • implementation;
  • resources;
  • partnerships;
  • good practices; and
  • results.

Figure 9
Framework guiding our five-year programme of audit work on Māori educational achievement

Aspect of system Explanation
Implementation The current policy/strategic basis is Ka Hikitia. Implementing Ka Hikitia is the joint responsibility of the central educational agencies and schools. We expect a framework and plan for implementation to flow from the Ministry to schools and that appropriate strategies, processes, and practices are in all schools. Specific programmes and initiatives should be effective in improving outcomes for Māori.
Resources To implement Ka Hikitia, the funding and capability needs to be well targeted and applied efficiently. Rather than focusing on new funding and new initiatives, we will focus any work in this area on the total funding that central educational agencies and schools apply to education. We also know from the research to date that teacher-student relationships and teachers' ability to be culturally responsive is important. Any future work in this area will need to consider the assessment of teacher capability.
Partnerships Ka Hikitia is underpinned by the partnership between Māori and the Crown. This aspect is particularly important in enriching the cultural awareness of, and capability in, the sector. Partnerships between teachers, schools, whānau, iwi, and the community are important.
Good practices There are about 2500 state and state-integrated schools, each with their own ideas and practices. It makes good sense to share ideas and practices that work.
Results In any system, results need to be meaningful, reliable, monitored, and – most importantly – acted on. We will look at whether results are effectively and reliably reported and whether student achievement is being raised.

Our first audit topic: Implementation of Ka Hikitia

Our first audit, which we will complete in 2012/13, focuses on the implementation of Ka Hikitia:

Ka Hikitia is the educational strategy for supporting young Māori to thrive academically, socially, and culturally for New Zealand's future: Are there proper processes and practices in schools and other educational agencies to support that strategy?

This audit will address parts of the first question we posed in paragraph 4.5 – Is the strategy for raising Māori educational achievement (Ka Hikitia) being effectively implemented in schools? We expect to consider:

  • the level of awareness of Ka Hikitia in schools;
  • how effectively schools are implementing processes and practices to support Ka Hikitia (and with what outcomes);
  • the Ministry's effectiveness in leading and facilitating the successful implementation of Ka Hikitia; and
  • the role of other educational agencies.

Potential audit topics for subsequent years

Potential topics for the rest of our five-year programme of audit work may include:

  • Implementation:
    • Do the relevant public entities and educators understand and address the identified potential barriers to Māori students achieving their potential?
    • Do the relevant public entities and educators understand and make the most of existing opportunities?
    • Has "refreshing" Ka Hikitia resulted in its wider and more effective implementation?
    • What is the effect of truancy, and suspending and expelling students?
  • Resources:
    • Is the funding committed to education well targeted and successfully applied?
    • Is the funding sustainable, and is it sustained long enough to deliver the intended results?
  • Good practices:
    • What systemic changes make a difference to student achievement, and are they sustainable?
  • Partnerships:
    • Do effective partnerships with iwi enhance student achievement?
    • Is the sector co-ordinating its efforts to achieve results?
    • Are the systems for supporting students to make successful transitions into work and learning adequate?
  • Results:
    • Is reporting effective?
    • Do results show that student achievement is being raised?

We plan to work with various interested parties to make sure that we focus this programme of audit work to best effect. We will provide information about how to engage with us on this subject on our website at

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