Glendowie College - 04/07/2011

1 Context

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

Glendowie College is a co-educational state secondary school that caters for students from Years 9 to 13. The school has recently celebrated its 50th jubilee, which was well supported by the community, including past pupils. The school community has continued to diversify. The high expectations for student achievement and high quality educational opportunities noted in previous ERO reports continue to be evident.

The continuity of the board of trustees, principal, senior leadership team and staff provides stability and has sustained the school’s commitment to self review and school improvement. The school community is focused on the students’ needs. The board, staff and students are guided by a cohesive school-wide philosophy that is based on The New Zealand Curriculum and on four pillars of learning: respectful relationships, learning for the future, valuing individuality, and academic success.

A well resourced school environment and improvements in school property and resourcing have created up-to-date areas for learning and working. Strong pastoral care systems benefit students and the provision of academic counselling supports their achievement. The positive culture of care in the school fosters respectful relationships between students and staff and between students.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are engaged in learning and attend school regularly. They are focused in classrooms and are confident learners. Students show pride in their learning and their school. They appreciate the academic, sporting and cultural opportunities that the school provides.

Students are progressing and achieving very well. Student achievement in National Certificates of Education (NCEA) is very high compared with national averages and is higher than averages for other coeducational decile 9 schools. Students also achieve well above national and decile levels for NCEA credit and excellence endorsements. The school has had a notable increase in endorsements over the last three years. Students also achieve very well in a range of Scholarship subjects, often outperforming students from schools of a higher decile.

While the achievement of Pacific students is good for some individual students, their results as a group are lower than those of other Year 11 to 13 students in the school. As a result, the school has identified the need to seek external support to develop a Glendowie Pasifika plan to further support Pacific students to achieve highly.

Student learning is constantly improved through robust self review, and strong planning and reporting systems. Valid, reliable data are analysed and used, together with case management and academic counselling meetings, to assist senior students to make very good progress during their time at school. Appropriate senior school achievement targets are set, monitored, measured and reported on.

Students with identified special needs are well provided for and the school is proactive in seeking support for other students who require additional support. Teachers actively track students’ progress and faculty reports show extensive analysis of student achievement. Faculties can continue to focus their evaluation on the students they have identified as not achieving their potential in order to further enhance the school's high level of student achievement.

Achievement information for students in Years 9 and 10 indicates that students make good progress in literacy and numeracy. Year 9 and 10 student achievement data are used to identify areas of need and special programmes are used to boost learning for identified students in English and mathematics. The board could find it helpful to receive regular information about the achievement of junior students and the progress of identified groups of students receiving additional support.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

In Years 11 to 13, Māori students at the school generally achieve at higher levels than the average for Māori students nationally. However, the overall performance of Māori students as a group is below school-wide levels of achievement. Most students are actively engaged in class and appreciate the support they receive through academic mentoring. In Years 9 and 10, the progress and achievement of Māori students is tracked. It would be useful for senior managers to report regularly to the board on the progress of Māori students.

The school has identified the need to develop a school-wide approach to further support Māori students. It has joined an initiative, He Kakano, to develop a plan for increasing the ability of school leaders and teachers to respond to the needs of Māori students and their families.

Kapa haka has recently been offered as a co-curricular opportunity. Te reo Māori is now part of the junior school curriculum and the board is committed to supporting the growth and development of this subject in the school.

The principal and senior leaders have identified that developing and documenting regular and varied types of consultation with Māori families would be helpful in strengthening partnerships to increase student achievement. Ongoing consultation through He Kakano is a priority and is on the board of trustees’ current self-review schedule. The consultation that takes place with families as part of an academic mentoring project provides a good basis for further consultation with Māori whānau.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning effectively. The school is well prepared to deliver The New Zealand Curriculum and integrates its values, principles and aims within its curriculum framework. Curriculum values and vision statements that are clearly aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum are included in the school charter. The school has plans to further examine how curriculum content caters for cultural diversity. Findings from this self review could help teachers to further engage students from diverse backgrounds. Collaborative review processes are in place to support an ongoing review of the school curriculum.

Curriculum planning within faculties and departments is effective and thorough. Staff collaborate to document detailed schemes of work and to identify meaningful contexts to interest students. Most teachers use a range of activities to engage students in learning. A very good standard of teaching is evident, with examples of teachers providing students with interactive, challenging, thoughtful and stimulating lessons. Students could further benefit from teachers continuing to develop formative teaching practices and using these consistently with students so that they have greater ownership of their learning.

The school has an innovative, well managed and well established professional learning programme. Senior leaders are focused on consolidating this programme to enable teachers to embed the teaching as inquiry process. Student input is being used to determine aspects of the programme and senior staff have plans to listen to the views of particular groups of students more regularly to inform decision making. A new appraisal system is in place and teachers are setting measurable targets for improving student outcomes and reporting on their progress. The school intends to continue to refine and embed this process.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Robust self review underpins school operations. High quality review and reporting practices are in place.

The governance and financial management of the school is clear and effective. School trustees value the principal and staff. Trustees are well informed and have sought training for new members. They are strategic in their thinking and are responsive to the reports they receive. To further develop the sustainability of governance, the board is documenting its operations and revising its policies in line with external advice. Trustees have sought the expertise of a health and safety consultant as part of their review of school needs. It would be useful for trustees to continue to co-opt members from the diverse community to broaden parent representation on the board.

High quality, consistent leadership is a key factor in the school’s success. Senior leaders actively respond to emerging needs through effective self-review processes. They engage in wider educational forums to keep well informed about research and use the most relevant and useful aspects to improve school performance. They work collaboratively to foster a culture of mutual trust and respect.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this ERO review there were 59 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

ERO has suggested, and the board has agreed, that it would useful for the board to receive reports on international students’ academic progress, achievement, and participation in the wider life of the school.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' achievement:

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

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

4 July 2011

About the School


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 52%, Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā







South East Asian

Other European

Other Asian

Other Pacific

Other ethnicities













Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

4 July 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

May 2008

September 2005

November 2001