Although the decile rating is reasonably high in the more well-resourced intermediate, there tends to be several students within each class with high needs. High needs are not necessarily determined by socio-economic factors, although they do play a role. Despite the resources available, distribution has not been directed towards an effective way of helping these students, or their teachers, in their education. My thoughts on this are that the school is familiar with 'managing' average behaviour, and students with extreme behaviour aren't common enough for effective strategies to be put in place. On reflection, this seems to be the case with Māori students, or those with other ethnic backgrounds. The school has the odd 'cultural' event, a poster or two in classrooms, the odd multilingual greeting - but the culture of the school accommodates white, middle class, 'average' behaved students.
What the school does do well, in part to their the large roll, is offering a wide range of opportunities in sport, culture and arts. From speaking with staff, this is what has previously defined the school culture. Involvement was strongly promoted among students, and even though the number of opportunities has continued, if not more, it seems that opportunities are now for those who know how to take advantage of them. To give examples, school radio, ski/snow trips, mountain bike training - new activities in the last few years - are niche activities for those a few students, many requiring existing skills. What has become less of a focus is helping those students unaware of how to participate or help those without learn skills.
In terms of the professional environment, the school has gone through a significant transition with a change of leadership. The former placed emphasis on structure, blanket participation in professional development (whether you needed it or not), reprimanding the whole staff (whether you did it or not) - where as the new principal allows teachers to follow their own paths without, the perhaps necessary, checks and balances to ensure quality teaching. Although a stance was made about keeping conversations professional, which was an issue under previous leadership, the avenue to air grievances or put forward suggestions has not been established. This can severely effects a staff's ability to maintain professionalism.
Education Review Office (ERO) http://www.ero.govt.nz/review-reports/highlands-intermediate-02-07-2015/
Decile system www.education.govt.nz/school/running-a-school/resourcing/operational-funding/school-decile-ratings/