Gisborne Boys' High School - 30/09/2016


Rates of student achievement have continued to improve at all NCEA Levels. Responsive programmes and initiatives enable Māori students to achieve high levels of success. Innovation and equity are promoted by effective governance, leadership and partnerships with parents. Continuing to build evaluation capacity should help sustain ongoing improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Gisborne Boys’ High School caters for students in Years 9 to 15. At the time of this review, 819 students are enrolled of whom 68% identify as Māori. Tongan students form the majority of the small number of Pacific students.

The school has sustained the kaupapa and processes strengthened during recent involvement in the Te Kotahitanga professional learning and development (PLD) programme. This has been done with support and additional resourcing from the board of trustees.

A range of locally developed programmes such as Tu Tane and Te Whakairo have successfully promoted and extended the engagement, culture and achievement of Māori students in particular. These programmes have received national recognition for teaching and learning in the 2015 Prime Minister’s awards.

The school culture is based on the school’s motto Toa Hinga Kore, Toa Mate Kore and values of respect, honesty, perseverance, loyalty and courage.

School leaders have collaborated with other schools in local Community of Learning (CoL) initiatives to build capacity to address shared student learning challenges and needs.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Leaders, trustees and teachers use student information very well to inform programmes and strategies that have led to improved student engagement, progress and achievement.

Since the November 2013 ERO report, rates of achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) have continued to improve at all levels. In 2015, the percentages of students who achieved Levels 1 and 2 NCEA were well above national results, with Māori students achieving at similar rates at Level 1, and above their peers and government targets at Level 2.

High percentages of students gain sufficient literacy and numeracy credits to support qualifications at Levels 1 and 2. As a result, the number of students who leave with Level 2 or better has risen steadily to over 83% in 2015. The school extends its high targets each year and identifies the ongoing need to improve numbers of certificate endorsements, and achievement at Level 3 and in University Entrance.

Increased and purposeful use by staff of information helps to raise levels of engagement and retention of students. Leaders, teachers and deans use student progress and achievement information well to closely monitor and respond to students at risk of underachievement.

Leaders have established robust processes and systems for identifying, regularly monitoring and responding to students’ wellbeing needs in order to reduce risk of poor educational outcomes.

Students have a range of opportunities to give their opinions and ideas which are used by teachers and leaders in decision making and planning.

Next steps for leaders are to continue to develop existing systems, and teacher capability, to better use Years 9 and 10 student achievement data.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum is highly effective at promoting and supporting students’ learning, wellbeing and their personal and social development as young men.

Teaching programmes are responsive to the identified and emerging needs and aspirations of groups of students. Programmes are highly reflective of local contexts, different abilities and partnerships with the community. This is evident through:

  • ongoing review and adaptation of programme content, structure and delivery across levels and departments
  • the implementation of schoolwide targeted literacy programmes to improve writing and communications skills
  • use of student and whānau voice to provide feedback and ideas for improvement.

Consistent expectations and practices support students to take on challenges, learn from each other and transfer learning. Positive, respectful and caring relationships are highly evident across and between age groups in the school. Students’ identity, language and cultures are supported. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and pride in the school.

Students use digital devices, programmes and resources in ways that promote choices, learning and engagement. Personalised learning pathways promote high levels of motivation, engagement and success for diverse groups of students. They are well supported by the close links between the curriculum, careers and pastoral leaders.

Transition into the school is well planned and managed. A range of information is used to inform placements, programmes and interventions to cater for needs or extend and challenge learners.

A recent review of the provision for careers education has led to significant improvements in this area. The careers leader and support staff are highly visible, proactive and responsive through their programmes and services. Students’ needs and aspirations are identified, monitored and well matched to ongoing course selections, new learning opportunities and obligations relevant to their future learning pathways. They also benefit significantly from the close and productive relationships that careers staff have with curriculum leaders, the local community, training providers, parents and whānau.

To strengthen the teaching practices and programmes, leaders should continue to develop measures and processes to increase students’ agency and management of their own learning.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is highly effective at promoting educational success for Māori students. Te ao Māori is valued and evident throughout the school environment, and many aspects of school practices and programmes. This has been enhanced by the leadership, coaching and modelling of school Māori leaders, who have been actively involved in promoting this strategic priority.

Teachers continue to make very good use of culturally responsive approaches and strategies gained from participating in the Te Kotahitanga PLD programme. There are increasing opportunities for students to connect to their culture and identity through a range of programmes, approaches, learning activities and experiences. These include strengthened provision and choices for learning about te ao Māori. Provision of a kura reo course supports students transitioning from immersion programmes to extend their language learning.

Some recently introduced targeted initiatives have provided additional learning pathways for Māori students to achieve successfully in the senior school. Some curriculum areas are actively increasing the inclusion of Māori cultural concepts and perspectives. These include:

  • Te Whakairo courses in the senior school
  • Tu Tane and Te Whaiao personal and social development programmes
  • Māori student leadership opportunities and tuakana-teina mentoring.

Māori are well represented in school management, pastoral and academic leadership roles. Increased levels of whānau involvement, contributions and support continue to strengthen productive partnerships and involvement in their sons’ learning.

The school has a commitment to enabling all Māori and other students to participate in programmes to increase understanding and use of te reo and tikanga Māori. Strengthening the framework for building cultural competencies of all teachers of Māori learners should help sustain such initiatives.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board has a clear commitment to equity and excellence of educational outcomes for all learners.

The board’s vision for improvement is enacted through transparent processes for accessing and sharing a wide range of useful information. A close alignment between the school operational goals and the board’s strategic priorities enables critical ongoing scrutiny of progress in relation to valued outcomes for students.

The school has established very effective partnerships with families and whānau, and the wider community, that support students’ learning, wellbeing and success. These are demonstrated and promoted through:

  • a welcoming staff culture with approachable leaders and staff who use a variety of regular, responsive and informative ways of communicating
  • valuing and responding to parent and whānau aspirations and ideas for improvement
  • empowering parents’ leadership and providing increased opportunity to be involved in the school. This is very evident in the establishment of the Tu Whānau programme designed to raise student achievement by increased involvement of parents and whānau in their sons’ education.

Leaders champion innovation and improvement and are highly focused on ensuring students are well supported to be successful. This is enhanced by the principal leading to empower others, and reinforced by collaborative decision-making and transparent communications with leaders and trustees.

Trustees and leaders demonstrate a sustained commitment to building teachers' capacity to responds effectively to students' strengths, needs and interests to realise their potential. This is evident through an ongoing focus on high expectations and targeted resourcing to support school priorities.

A useful appraisal process supports teacher development and schoolwide consistency of practice. To sustain and embed improvement from successful initiatives, expectations for curriculum leaders should be further developed. This should assist them in their roles in leading curriculum development and capacity building.

There is a deliberate and ongoing emphasis on promoting improvement in student outcomes through continuing reflection, review and knowledge building. Internal evaluation is well supported by:

  • a clear vision and expectations for improvement
  • close alignment between strategic goals and actions with good systems for gathering, sharing and reflecting on data and progress towards goals
  • valuing multiple perspectives to inform decisions and quality of outcomes
  • improved data analysis, tracking and monitoring.

Self review and critical reflection are widespread practice. Next steps for the school are to refine a shared framework for enhanced systematic evaluation and inquiry processes across the school.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements.

At the time of this review there were 17 international students attending the school, including two exchange students. Most students come from Asian or Pacific countries. The school is making good progress in aligning its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

The school has used sound self review and effective leadership for identifying and responding to students’ needs and interests. Processes and programmes are in place to meet expectations for the provision of English language learning, pastoral care, community experiences and curriculum opportunities for students to learn and achieve successfully.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.


Rates of student achievement have continued to improve at all NCEA Levels. Responsive programmes and initiatives enable Māori students to achieve high levels of success. Innovation and equity are promoted by effective governance, leadership and partnerships with parents. Continuing to build evaluation capacity should help sustain ongoing improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

30 September 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

30 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

August 2010

November 2006