Queen Charlotte College is "punching above its weight", according to the latest NCEA results, and suspensions have halved over the last year, principal Tom Parsons says.
Figures released by the Ministry of Education show Picton's decile 4 college achieved an 89 per cent NCEA Level 1 pass rate last year compared with a national average of 78 per cent and a decile 4 school average of 69 per cent.
The school also revealed that its number of suspensions and stand-downs dropped from 33 in 2011 to 16 last year. This was the lowest number since there were six in 2007. The number of expulsions dropped from three to two over the same period.
Mr Parsons said he was delighted. "As [former All Blacks coach] Graham Henry says in his book, ‘It is difficult to take an underperforming team and get the momentum going to improve.' He also says, ‘It is even more difficult to maintain the momentum when the team is seen as successful' - we at Queen Charlotte College have done both.
"The college ticks all the right boxes and the very successful school-wide pass rates testify to this successful focus."
The NCEA Level 1 pass rate for Maori students was 95 per cent, compared with a national average of 63 per cent and a decile 4 school average of 59 per cent. The college achieved a 78 per cent pass rate in 2011. College staff were "delighted" that their focus on improving the passrates for their Maori students was "paying dividends", Mr Parsons said.
Nationally, pass rates for Maori and Pasifika students tended to lag behind other ethnic groups.
The college's success in helping Maori students achieve their potential was rewarding for the staff and the results were particularly noteworthy considering the college had one of the highest percentages of Maori students in the South Island, he said.
The drop was largely due to fewer incidents of violence being committed by male students.
Figures provided to the Marlborough Express by the school show 32 males and one female committed a serious offence, such as one involving violence, drugs or alcohol, in 2011. The figures dropped to 12 males and four females last year. Of the males, 19 were Maori in 2011 and that figure dropped to six last year.
Mr Parsons said success builds success and the culture at the college had become focused on each student achieving their personal best. "Focusing and resourcing for school-wide success engages students like nothing else and students and staff are finding that there is no place or time for disruptions that in the past led to such statistics.
"Our one school rule: ‘You cannot stop someone else from learning' is contributing greatly."
- The Marlborough Express