Rotorua Boys' High School has bagged the top award tonight at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards.

The school received a combined prize worth $59,000, professional development opportunities, and they will represent New Zealand at an international education event.

Six of the 20 finalists represented kōhanga reo, early learning services and schools in the Bay of Plenty at this year's Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards at Parliament in Wellington tonight.

An independent judging panel of education experts visited the finalists between June and August to see their work and speak with those involved.

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Rotorua Boys' High School won the Supreme Awards at the Prime Minister's Supreme Award. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Boys' High School won the Supreme Awards at the Prime Minister's Supreme Award. Photo / Supplied

Rotorua Boys' High School was a finalist in the excellence in leading, teaching and learning, and health and wellbeing education categories.

As well as winning the Supreme Award, the Rotorua school also won the Excellence in Leading award.

The judging panel said their entry was impressive and showed a "thriving" school.

The judges were impressed by the well-established boarding hostel which was growing in numbers and met the students' needs.

"Having teachers as house-masters is innovative, creating a learning and pastoral environment for the students' holistic development," the judging panel said.

The school demonstrated that there have been significant shifts in the outcomes for these students and that the hostel provides 24-hour learning opportunities.

Aerial shot of Rotorua Boys' High School. Photo / File
Aerial shot of Rotorua Boys' High School. Photo / File

"A strong element of whānau and involvement was shown with the hostel. The entry shows the students are thriving in this environment," the judges said.

Rotorua Boys' High School supported achievement of their students in the school's hostel through effective leadership and culturally responsive teaching and learning.

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The school and Tai Mitchell Hostel set out to remove the disparity of educational achievement by focusing positively on Māori potential.

Strong whānau involvement has provided increased educational opportunities for the students.

As a result, there have been significant shifts in outcomes for the students and they are thriving in this environment.

Ministry of Education acting deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement Pauline Cleaver said all winners were a testament to the great teaching happening around the country.

"Their hard work and dedication to education excellence have changed the lives of children and young people, and will have a lasting impact not just to them, but to their whānau and the community they belong to," she said.

Winners from each category received $20,000 and a professional development opportunity.

The category winners:
-Excellence in Engaging - Holy Family School, Porirua
-Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Te Kōhanga Reo ki Rotokawa, Rotorua
-Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education - Tiaki Early Learning Centre, Rotorua
-2019 Education Focus Prize: Excellence in Māori-medium Education - Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae, Auckland

Bay of Plenty finalists

Tiaki Early Learning Centre was also a finalist in health and wellbeing education

Te Kōhanga Reo o Tarimano and Te Kōhanga Reo ki Rotokawa were finalists for Māori-medium education excellence and Te Kōhanga Reo ki Rotokawa was also a finalist in the teaching and learning category.

Te Kōhanga Reo o Tarimano and Elstree Kindergarten were both finalists in the excellence in engaging category.

Te Puke's Toitoi Manawa o Fairhaven School was a finalist in the for excellence in leading as well as health and wellbeing.