Avonside Girls' High School - 28/02/2018


Avonside Girls’ High School has a roll of 846 students, 169 of whom identify as Māori and 49 as Pasifika. The school’s sustained focus is on consolidating its vision for learning and wellbeing to improve outcomes for learners and to position the school well for re-location in 2019.

ERO recognises that the school has faced extreme challenges, some of which are ongoing, since the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. These challenges have been managed by the board, leaders and teachers in ways that have prioritised minimising any negative impact for students.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has had a number of staff changes, some in key positions. In regard to the school’s relocation in 2019, an ongoing focus for the board, leaders and teachers is the planning and preparation for a unique new school, co-located with Shirley Boys’ High School, while also continuing to provide teaching and learning for current students.

International students attend the school mainly from Japan and Thailand. The school has a richly diverse student population and is a member of the Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL). Leaders and teachers have established a reciprocal relationship with local iwi.

Since the last review the school has made progress in establishing a more responsive curriculum and in developing ways to seek and value student voice.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is making progress to achieve equitable outcomes for all learners. Interventions aimed at raising the achievement of learners at risk of not achieving in the senior school have been successful. The school has strengthened its monitoring and support for students identified as requiring learning support.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori students have been making positive progress over time. This data also shows that ongoing disparity within the school for these students remains.

Teachers are in the early stages of working collaboratively and promoting practices that enable greater personalisation of learning, particularly at the senior level. The school needs to continue to develop and evaluate processes and practices that effectively support the engagement, achievement and progress of all learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in 3 years.

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Over the past three years the school has not consistently ensured that the learning needs of all priority groups of students have been well met. Recent initiatives have been implemented to more effectively improve outcomes for these learners.

During this time, school achievement reports show that Equitable outcomes for Māori and Pasifika learners at other levels of NCEA remains a school priority.the school raised the proportion of Māori and Pasifika learners achieving NCEA Level 1 in 2016.

High numbers of Pākehā learners made sufficient progress to achieve NCEA Level 2, and the number of NCEA endorsements for both Māori and Pākehā students has increased.

The school is developing systems to respond to students in Years 9 and 10 whose learning and achievement need acceleration. As yet, leaders cannot be assured of the reliability of its data to show the amount of progress these learners have made.

In 2016, most learners who were supported through the provision of specialist services made appropriate progress.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school is developing some effective processes and practices that enable equity and excellence. Leaders now need to put robust processes in place to promote consistency and to ensure the regular evaluation of these processes and practices.

School targets and intentional actions by leaders have led to improved attendance and achievement. NCEA endorsements at Levels 1, 2 and 3 have shown continued improvement over the last five years. At NCEA Level 2, a range of targeted interventions in 2015 and 2016 were successful in achieving positive outcomes for many students whose achievement was identified as being at risk.

The board and senior management have developed and are implementing a clear Vision for Learning for the school. This incorporates a comprehensive and responsive school-wide wellbeing initiative that now needs to be embedded and evaluated. At the onsite stage of ERO’s evaluation, it was too early for ERO to evaluate the impact of these changes on outcomes for learners.

As part of the school’s Vision for Learning, leaders and teachers are building their capacity to incorporate collaborative and personalised approaches to teaching and learning. Senior students now have more ownership of their learning through increased choice in both how and what they learn. The school provides a range of programmes in response to student needs, aspirations and wellbeing. Students benefit from opportunities to access outside agencies and organisations who work with the school to support learning and wellbeing.

Learners with additional or high learning needs are well provided for and benefit from a comprehensive transition process into the school. The school has strengthened its learning support resourcing and practices and can show progress for some of the students who receive this additional support. This information needs to be regularly reported to the board.

The school has some systems to monitor sufficiency of progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10. Leaders and teachers have begun to analyse data and learning information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes. The school needs to ensure that there are robust processes that contribute to data reliability and that monitoring processes are consistently effective.

Since the last ERO review the school has successfully introduced several initiatives to encourage a greater sense of identity within the school for both Māori and Pasifika students and their families. These positive initiatives include regular hui with whānau, a designated vertical whānau form group, employment of a kaiawhina, and a Pasifika liaison teacher.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

The range of initiatives aimed at achieving equity and excellence are in the early stages of implementation. The school now needs to further strengthen processes that effectively support the engagement, achievement and progress of all learners.

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

School leaders acknowledge the need to continue to strengthen internal evaluation across all aspects of its organisation. To do this, the board, leaders and teachers should:

  • adopt a more systematic approach to internal evaluation at all levels of the school

  • evaluate the effectiveness of Year 9 and 10 monitoring, assessment and interventions to ensure that systems are robust and coherent and that all learners are making sufficient learning progress

  • evaluate the impact of initiatives on learning and wellbeing outcomes for learners.

To ensure positive outcomes for all learners the school should continue to strengthen consistent and cohesive systems and practices relating to:

  • reliable, timely and evaluative reporting against targets, progress and achievement

  • embedding accurate tracking of progress within and across Years 9 and 10

  • the ongoing promotion and embedding of high quality teaching practices, and monitoring the goal setting, wellbeing and engagement of all students.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal audit

At the time of this review the school had recently introduced a new appraisal system to meet Education Council requirements. Appraisals audited by ERO during the current review were part of the previous system and did not meet requirements.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code)established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 24 international students attending the school, including 2 exchange students.

The school is effective in providing pastoral care and education for its international students. Students are well supported to integrate into the school and their progress is closely monitored. The board of trustees receives quarterly reports on the international students.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. Disparity in achievement for Māori and other learners remains.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to build and embed:

  • consistent approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner

  • processes that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement

  • teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement

In order to continue to extend the current capacity and capability in the school to accelerate learning for all students, leaders and teachers also need to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate progress for learners

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and learners’ progress.

ERO will work with the school regarding reporting about progress against agreed outcomes.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.


Current planning for the re-location of Avonside Girls’ High School in Term 2, 2019 involves major environmental and teaching and learning changes. The board and leaders are committed to continuing to manage this change in a considered, consultative and transparent manner that promotes the learning and wellbeing of all students and staff. They acknowledge the support provided by the Ministry of Education to date.

In order to ensure full support for the school during this time, ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education, in consultation with the school, considers providing:

  • increased support for the board and leaders in managing school re-location, in ways that are determined by the school, and that reflect key priorities and needs as they emerge during this process.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

28 February 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type


School roll


Gender composition


Ethnic composition

Pākehā 64%

Māori 20%

Pacific 6%

Asian 5%

Other 5%

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

28 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

November 2013

September 2009

November 2005