As schools are experiencing an unprecedented period in lockdown, Tamatea High
School principal Robin Fabish has been reflecting on the school's latest school leaver statistics.

"Last year, we set a goal to ensure that all students had meaningful pathways to pursue when they left school.

"Previous to that, we had focused on NCEA results and worked to improve them, but we realised that, while qualifications are important, they're not how we should be measuring success. We should be ensuring that qualifications actually lead somewhere and give students meaningful options when they leave school," Fabish said.

Around the country, it is common practice for secondary schools to publish their NCEA
pass rates as evidence of their success as a school, but Fabish believed that what was really important was what students did when they left.

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"Have they got pathways, are they work-ready, can they earn money and start contributing to society?"

He said this year the school had tracked where the 2019 leavers had gone.

"We're very pleased that nearly 40 per cent of our students are working. More than a
quarter have gone to EIT to do diploma and certificate courses. Ten per cent of our students are starting degrees. And there are a handful of students who haven't returned and aren't working, with a couple who we're not sure about – we'll work hard to make sure this doesn't happen in 2020. We want all our graduates to be doing well."

A few of the Tamatea High students have started apprenticeships or cadetships, with large numbers enrolled at EIT to start pre-employment trades courses.

Fabish said several Tamatea's leavers were pursuing careers in nursing, computing, music, building, farming, painting, panel beating and childcare, with last year's deputy head girl studying health science at Otago with a view to becoming a doctor.

"Many employers express concerns about young people struggling with a good work ethic, turning up on time, staying off their cellphones and displaying a good attitude to feedback. Tamatea High has a strong focus on values in our curriculum which assists with this problem so they are developing a 'work ready' passport.

"The results from 2019 have set a benchmark for Tamatea High and, as a whole school, we will continue striving to ensure that 2020 school leavers have meaningful pathways," Fabish said.