Schools in this study

ERO selected 10 secondary schools as case studies for this study. These schools were selected in consultation with the Ministry of Education and followed on from the work undertaken by the Ministry's reference group on boys' education

The schools all had a positive ERO reporting history, good levels of student achievement and had previously demonstrated good practice in the pastoral care of students. Because of the nature of the topic, the majority of the schools selected had also developed, to some extent, particular approaches or strategies relalted to boys' education. This criterion also influenced the final choice of the five boys' schools and five coeducational school.

Given the influence of socio-economic and geographical factors on boys' achievement, the case studies included low and middle-decile schools; schools with moderate or high numbers of Māori and Pacific students; and schools that were either based in a rural area or drew on a significant number of students from rural background.

Approach to this study

Following the selection of the schools, ERO evaluated each school's approach to supporting achievement, including any particular approaches used to support boys' education. This information was then drawn together to develop the case studies and overall findings for the report.

The information collected included documentary evidence, achievement analysis and descriptions of any initiatives and school-wide approaches. The study also included interviews with principles, members of boards of trustees, senior managers, teaching staff, students, school counsellors, and parents and whānau.

Particular emphasis was given to talking with groups of boys (and in some instances boys and girls) at each of the schools. Over the 10 schools visited, as part of this study, ERO discussed issues of boys' education with approximately 160 students. These students offered consistent and thoughtful messages about boys' education and provided a rich source of information for this report.