Hutt Valley High School - 14/08/2018

School Context

Hutt Valley High School provides education for 1720 students in Years 9 to 13. Māori students comprise 16% of the roll. The roll has grown steadily since the July 2015 ERO evaluation.

The school states that its valued outcomes for all students are expressed through the school vision of: ‘Aim High – Be the best you can be; with the values of Excellence – Pukenga, Diversity – Puāwaitanga, Innovation – Auahatanga, Respect – Mana and Citizenship – Tangata whenua’. These are the guiding principles for the charter and school operation.

Inclusion, wellbeing and engagement are key desired outcomes. Annual goals in 2018 include raising the achievement of Māori students and improving literacy levels for students in Years 9 and 10.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement of national qualifications

  • achievement across learning areas in Years 9 and 10

  • engagement and wellbeing.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

School leaders systematically work to address disparity and promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school reports that most students in Years 9 and 10, including Māori, are achieving at expectation across learning areas.

Most students gain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs). Many achieve highly. Roll-based data shows that achievement is consistent over time. There is an ongoing disparity for Māori students in each cohort level. Leavers’ data, however, shows most students, including Māori, leave to further education, training or employment. Most Year 12 and 13 leavers in 2017, including Māori, left with at least NCEA Level 2.

The Tautoko - Supported Learning Centre provides systems and programmes to meet the needs of students with complex or additional learning needs. These students are supported to make sound progress against appropriately challenging goals within their individual education plans.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school recognises there is disparity in literacy and mathematics achievement for many students on entry. School leaders report they successfully accelerate the progress of many students, including Māori, especially in literacy.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Strong systems and processes promote student wellbeing. Student voice provides important feedback on many aspects of school operation. Students benefit from the strong schoolwide focus on inclusion. Relationships amongst students and teachers are positive and respectful. Staff are well supported to appropriately respond to the diverse needs of students.

Students are well engaged by the school’s Connected Curriculum. It underpins all department programmes and teaching practice. There is a strong focus on growing student agency and giving students responsibility for their learning. Aspects of the curriculum are regularly reviewed to ensure continued relevance and reflection of the diverse cultures in the school. Ensuring each student has an appropriate pathway to further training or employment is a key curriculum expectation.

An appropriate range of assessment tools and transition information from contributing schools is well used to gather baseline data about students as they entry the high school. Students in need of additional support are well identified and information, including possible strategies and approaches, is usefully shared with form and class teachers and heads of department. Each student’s progress is tracked and monitored throughout their time in the school. Appropriate supports are in place to mentor and provide guidance to students at all levels.

Leaders have a strategic and coherent approach to:

  • growing schoolwide leadership to support the school vision and valued outcomes

  • providing professional learning and development and appraisal that is improvement focused

  • managing change

  • building sustainable systems and processes.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Sound internal evaluation has led leaders to appropriately identified priorities for development to enhance outcomes for students. ERO’s external evaluation supports the focus on these priorities to further:

  • develop the culturally located curriculum to positively reflect the importance and presence of te ao Māori across the curriculum

  • target and evaluate specific programmes and initiatives to provide more equitable outcomes for those Māori and other students identified as at risk of poor educational outcomes.

3 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

  • finance

  • 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.

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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review, there were 55 international students attending the school. 

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students are appropriate. Well-developed systems, processes and practices guide provision for international students. Orientation into school is well planned. Students are provided with access to appropriate learning experiences, including programmes to cater for their language needs. Close tracking of achievement and engagement enables staff to monitor students’ progress toward realising their goals and to support their wellbeing. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • strong systems and processes that support student wellbeing

  • a curriculum that promotes student engagement and achievement

  • leadership that is strategic and improvement focused.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for ongoing development are in:

  • enhancing programmes and initiatives to achieve more equitable achievement for those Māori and other students identified as at risk of poor educational outcomes

  • continuing to promote the presence of te ao Māori across the curriculum to better support students’ culture, language and identity.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

14 August 2018

About the school


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%

Pākehā 56%

Asian 19%

Pacific 5%

Other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

14 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2015

Education Review August 2012

Education Review June 2009