Feb 12, 2011


I have wanted to blog about an issue affecting the Eastern Bay for a few days now. The problem is nothing significant is happening at the moment. Right now the big issues, in my opinion, are Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne’s election overspend and the proposal to move the Rangitaiki Ward under the governance of the Kawerau District Council. However, both of these issues are presently in limbo, Tony Bonne’s spending is currently under police investigation and the Rangitaiki Ward proposal is currently before The Local Government Commission, therefore there is not much I can add to what I have already said here and here. With this in mind I scoured the Whakatane Beacon website for something to blog about – anything really – and this story caught my eye.

Whakatane High School’s first roll increase in 10 years has not come at the expense of its neighbours, with Trident High School and Edgecumbe College both reporting similar increases.
Trident principal Peter Tootell said he expected the school to have a starting roll of around 1240, up from 1224 last year.

Historically, Whakatane High School (WHS) has outperformed Trident and enjoyed the largest roll as a result. However, over the past 10 years that trend seems to have reversed markedly. Compared to WHS Trident now enjoys a higher roll and a higher NCEA pass rate. Trident had a 77.5% pass rate at Level 1, 81.6% at Level 2, 76% at Level 3 and 69% of Y13 students gained university entrance. WHS results are considerably lower. Of course you should never take NCEA results at face value. The above figures do not take into account the percentage of endorsements at either merit or excellence level or scholarship passes (endorsements are an indicator of a robust teaching program and a talented student body while scholarship passes are an indicator of individual academic excellence). The figures also do not take into account the mix of internal and external credits (internal credits are far easier to obtain) and the figures are not broken down according to gender, ethnicity and decile. Essentially you can manipulate statistics to tell any story and I think many schools do this. They present you with raw figures which sound very impressive but upon investigation are revealed as nothing great.

He said Trident was inundated with requests from students, particularly from Opotiki and Kawerau, after parents were informed in term 3 of the hostel’s planned shut.
They did not want to go to their local school, preferring to attend school in Whakatane.

Kawerau College has been in decline for two decades I believe. For as long as I can remember many parents have sent their children to WHS, Trident or Edgecumbe College. Others have sent their children to boarding school. This comes down to the fact that Kawerau College is absolutely inadequate – an epithet of mediocrity. This is unfortunate, every student deserves a quality education.

I don’t think there is much of a point to this post. I just wanted to highlight a story I found interesting.

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