It’s no secret that Tai Poutini Polytechnic has faced significant challenges in recent years.


Since our Crown Manager, new Chief Executive and Council have been in place, we have been systematically working our way through the organisation to make the changes necessary to create a vibrant, sustainable solution that brings relevant, quality education to the West Coast. Academic quality has been the top of our list since the start: we want to be sure our qualifications are to up-to-scratch, are meaningful and meet the needs of students and employers alike.


We are grateful for the support of the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and our quality improvement partner, the Southern Institute of Technology, and we are pleased to note that our External Evaluation and Review (EER) quality rating improved from a Category 4 to a Category 3 as a result of our December 2018 re-evalutaion. This is great news and shows were are on the right track – however we still have a lot of work to do to meet our requirement to achieve a Category 2 rating by the end of 2019.


You can read Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s media release here.

Some of our quality initiatives

Everything we are doing is about raising the bar and creating an academic programme we, our students, and our community, can be consistently proud of and confident in. Some of the ways we are doing this include:


  • Internal evaluation and associated changes to address EER recommendations 


  • A partnership with Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) providing academic board support, moderation and assessment verification, capability building and the introduction of a quality management system; reviewing best practice models of other polytechnics


  • Review of programmes and student results, with SIT, for quality assurance; tracking results and trends to address any issues early on


  • An action plan with NZQA to address academic quality; work with auditors


  • More and more consistent data collection and analysis


  • Centralisation of core functions for easier and more effective oversight 

NZQA uses External Evaluation and Review (EER) to review the current quality of performance within Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs). After each EER, a report is published. Due to historic issues, Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s 2013-2017 report placed it in the lowest category NZQA can assign.


Many of the issues raised in the report had already been identified by the Crown Manager, Chief Executive and Council, and solutions were already in place. Others have been the focus of a concerted piece of improvement work over the past year.


“Quality is absolutely our number one priority: we need to get it right above and before all else,” says Alex Cabrera, Chief Executive of Tai Poutini Polytechnic.“ The 2017 result was disappointing but not a surprise. We’ve made good progress over the past year, and I am confident that TPP will show improvement in our December review.”


TPP has developed a post-EER Improvement Plan that shows how we will make improvements. Our EER Improvement Plan addresses nine recommendations from the EER report.

"The West Coast deserves vibrant, relevant, quality-focused tertiary vocational training, and it's our job to make it happen. "

A number of key groups have been formed, or reformed, at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, focused on improving our academic performance. Our Academic Board - the body responsible for making sure our courses are up to scratch - has been restructured. New committees for programme approval and teaching and learning have been created. All our courses have had a thorough review, and changes made where necessary. We’re working closely with the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to improve our teaching and learning, academic processes and evaluations. The SIT Quality Management System now provides our quality checks-and-balances.

“The West Coast deserves vibrant, relevant, quality‐focused tertiary vocational training, and it’s our job to make it happen,” says Andrew Robb, Chair of the Tai Poutini Council. “I’m proud of the Tai Poutini Polytechnic management team and staff who are leading and embracing the significant and rapid change required to achieve this.” 

​© Tai Poutini Polytechnic