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Tamaki College in Auckland has doubled the percentage of students achieving NCEA Level 2 in 2012. 51.5% of students achieved Level 2 in 2012, compared with only 25.2% in 2011.

Tamaki took part in a pilot initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Education's Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner, Colleen Maguiness.  Schools provided intensive support to identified students to boost the number of students achieving NCEA Level 2.  There are 48 SAF practitioners working in schools across New Zealand.

In term 3 2012 Colleen and Tamaki Principal, Soana Pamaka worked on an analysis of the school's achievement data.

It was clear to Soana that drastic action was needed. Unless something was done quickly, some 40 pupils were in danger of not achieving NCEA Level 2 in 2012. "We called them the blue students because we felt they needed some oxygen," Soana said. 

The school moved fast. Deans, heads of departments and support teachers "adopted" two students each. Staff worked with students to identify what needed to change so they could achieve. In some cases, the teacher sat with them through a class to identify what support was needed.  

The attendance of 11 of the 40 students was a focus. The school visited families at home and showed them the student's attendance rate. The parents did their part. Six of these eleven students achieved NCEA Level 2.

Most initiatives were put in place over just a few weeks. The long term impact is very positive. Mentoring relationships between students and teachers have continued. There is more focus on student results and progress towards the student's own achievement goals. Students know how many credits they need to achieve.

The focus also had a positive impact on the motivation of other students. Students not in the blue group clearly saw the positive results of the increased attention on their student friends - some are now asking for the same help.

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