James Cook High School - 18/12/2018


The May 2017 ERO external evaluation of James Cook High School identified a number of significant concerns regarding the educational outcomes and opportunities for students. In response, the Ministry of Education (Ministry) appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) in August 2017 to undertake functions and powers of the board. This included employment, curriculum, financial management and developing an action plan to address recommendations and compliance issues.

The school is involved in a longitudinal evaluation process with ERO to support school progress and development. Termly evaluations of progress have involved ERO and the senior leadership team, board of trustees, the Ministry, LSM, professional development providers, teachers and students. The school has also gathered student, teacher and whānau input to inform ongoing improvement.

This report is intended to inform the board of trustees and school community of the positive progress made to date. It summarises ERO’s midpoint evaluation of the school’s progress and development, and the ongoing areas of focus in the longitudinal evaluation process.

ERO Judgement

The school has significantly improved its organisational capability and operational capacity.

Leadership is beginning to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning, and the design of the school curriculum, to improve student access to meaningful learning opportunities and pathways.

To begin to address the findings of the 2017 ERO evaluation, the most significant areas of progress and development so far include:

  • well developed systems and processes to monitor student progress and achievement

  • targeted professional development to promote culturally responsive teaching practices

  • robust appraisal systems and processes

  • the operation of the senior leadership team

  • financial management decision making systems and processes

  • ongoing internal review and more targeted plans for school improvement.

While there is ongoing progress leading to school improvement, there remains a considerable amount of work required to fully address and sustain the areas for development. This will require ongoing intervention and support, leading to accelerated and sustainable student wellbeing and learning outcomes.

Key areas of progress and development


To promote more effective leadership the school has:

  • restructured the senior leadership team

  • increased senior leadership capability and teamwork

  • defined clearer leadership roles, responsibilities and accountabilities

  • used internal and external evaluation evidence to inform decision making

  • made good use of expert Ministry personnel and advice

  • expanded connections and relationships with professional networks and partners

  • received targeted support from the Ministry to develop schoolwide leadership capability including building effective middle leaders as leaders of learning.

Teaching and learning including curriculum and assessment

To improve the curriculum the school has:

  • developed clear, shared expectations for culturally responsive teaching practices

  • made good use of external teacher professional learning and development opportunities to begin to improve the quality of teaching and learning

  • completed a comprehensive curriculum review including consultation with students, teachers and whānau to inform the curriculum development over the next two years

  • provided broader curriculum learning opportunities for all Year 9 students beginning in 2019 including new courses in tikanga Māori (Year 9) and te reo Māori (Year 10)

  • initiated a reading intervention, as an interim approach, to support targeted students

  • maximised learning opportunities for senior students to attain their National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications by providing targeted support, additional learning opportunities and extending the school year

  • accessed and effectively used Ministry expertise and support to strengthen the schoolwide use of student achievement information

  • improved senior school assessment practices including moderation by working closely with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

  • made important links to industry, to better focus on supporting students into further training and access to apprenticeship and meaningful vocational pathways

  • begun to investigate the equity of learning opportunities and outcomes for:

    • Māori students in Puutake, the Māori medium pathway, compared with Māori students in the English medium pathway

    • students in O le Tupu’aga, the Samoan bilingual unit, compared with Pacific students in the English medium pathway.

School culture and student wellbeing

To promote student engagement and wellbeing, the school has:

  • reorganised pastoral care structures

  • increased the use of restorative student management practices

  • significantly decreased the number of students arriving late to school

  • begun to investigate student attendance patterns and trends to inform further action.

Key next steps

To support ongoing school improvement, ERO‘s evaluation will focus on:

  • governance effectiveness and health and safety matters

  • student outcomes and pathways

  • teaching effectiveness

  • curriculum development

  • school culture and student engagement.

ERO will conduct a full evaluation in Term 2, 2019 to review and report the level and sufficiency of overall school progress in relation to the 2017 ERO external evaluation.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement (Northern)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

18 December 2018

About the school


Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 47%
Pākehā 2%,
Samoan 21%
Cook Island Māori 10%
Tongan 8%
Indian 4%
other ethnic groups 8%

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

18 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2017
Education Review June 2014
Education Review May 2011