Every year our families and teachers have 20 minute Family Conferences, where students introduce their caregivers to their work, goals are set and open discussions had about how families and students can work together with the school to achieve those goals.

Our style of family conference is more effective than rushed parent/ teacher interviews that some parents tell us they have experienced elsewhere. We promote ongoing involvement, realising this is not always easy for families to achieve with rapidly developing teenagers.

A typical parent comment from this year’s conferences: “Always a pleasure to speak with the teacher about our children. Family conferences are reassuring that this school cares about our kids”

Waitakere College has students of over 55 nationalities.

The diverse roll is made up of exchange students, international students, students whose families have moved to New Zealand and pupils with parents of different ethnicities.

Principal Mark Shanahan said the range of backgrounds brought richness to the school.

“We accept all students for who they are; their heritage and what they can bring to the school,” he said.

“If students are learning about something in social studies, history or geography that’s relevant to a student from a particular background, we encourage them to contribute to the class.”

Students were also encouraged to use their experiences for assessment.

“They might, for example, do a speech related to something from where they’re from,” Mr Shanahan said.

“It can be a great experience for students who have always lived in New Zealand as well, because they get to learn first-hand about different cultures.”

“The College has 80 Teachers and 40 additional staff working with its 1300 students. We try to have a diverse staff to relate to our students; Some are new New Zealanders themselves. Diversity is part of everything we do. There are opportunities for students to go on overseas trips. They are able to learn Mandarin, Japanese, Maori, French and Samoan.”

The school acknowledges everyone’s different backgrounds by putting a flag up in the assembly hall for each new international student who comes to the school. This five-year tradition has led to more than 70 flags being raised so far

Students gained NZQA Subject Scholarships in: English, Biology, Dance, Drama, Samoan and History.

98% of Year 13 left with NCEA Level 2 or above.

Our NCEA results are All above National Averages

  • Level 1 84%
  • Level 2 88%
  • Level 3 74%
  • UE 57%

86 students in yr 11 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

51 students in yr 12 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

40 students in yr 13 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

Endorsement means: 50 or more credits gained at Merit or Excellence in both internal and external assessments.

Waitakere College NCEA Achievers were congratulated for their academic successes by Dr. Malvindar Singh-Bains, a former pupil of the College who is renowned for her work studying Huntington Disease.

She is a two-time finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year (2015 & 2016), who was in the top three contenders this year, but narrowly missed out to winner Lydia Ko.

She aims to inspire the senior students, including those in the College’s Health Sciences Academy who are aiming for careers in Pharmacy and Medicine.

We’ve shown academic and sporting success across many codes, hosted development days for local intermediate students, produced a great school show, held one Art Exhibition and are planning another, and launched our Charitable Trust ‘the Waitakere College Foundation’.

Former students Shayne Elliott (now CEO of ANZ Australasia) and Dr Malvindar Singh-Bains visited to inspire current students, and we have made good progress on the building projects around the school to upgrade our Engineering Academy workshop and other facilities.

Read about our involvement in the local Community of Learners (COL) ‘across-schools’ cluster that aims “to create a community in which learning is engaging, empowering and successmaking for our diverse population, where no student is left behind”. This fits our College’s guiding tenets of Achievement for All, and Innovation, Excellence and Choice, and we are excited that the Waitakere COL is now recognised as a benchmark for other clusters of schools in New Zealand.

In June and July we welcome visits by families wishing to enrol their children at Waitakere College – please phone 836 7890 to book a school tour.

Mark P Shanahan

Waitakere College runs a series of Development Days in the fields of sport coaching (especially netball and soccer), Arts and Culture, Technology, Science, and Leadership.

The guest speaker for the first of these days was Silver Ferns and Northern Mystics netballer Temepara Bailey (formerly Temepara George) MNZM. Pupils from local Intermediates who were invited to the College benefited from her wise coaching advice, enjoying stories of how she reached the top of her sport and how they can too.

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Waitakere College is a successful mid-sized secondary school located in the heart of West Auckland.