James Hargest College - 17/10/2017


James Hargest College has a roll of 1807 students, 305 of whom identify as Māori and 34 as Pacific. Additionally, the school hosts 33 international students.

Since the 2013 ERO external evaluation, the school has sustained its high performance as a large co-educational school for students from Year 7 to Year 13.

The school has made good progress in addressing the areas for review and development outlined in the 2013 ERO report. A greater focus on students at-risk of not achieving equitable outcomes ensures learning support is provided for those students who need it. Tracking and monitoring systems provide useful information about effective teacher practice and how well students achieve over time.

School-wide achievement information indicates that most students increase their achievement levels as they progress through the school.

Leaders and teachers have enhanced their cultural responsiveness by participating in the Kia Eke Pānuku professional learning and development programme.

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

The school is effectively achieving equitable outcomes for most students. School leaders and teachers have high expectations for all students and have implemented a range of programmes and targeted interventions to achieve this. They are strongly focused on providing extensive opportunities for all students to reach their potential.

Students achieve very highly at L1 and L2 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Trends over time for NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 reflect sustained levels of high achievement overall.

A focus on developing the whole learner in preparation for life beyond school has resulted in a dip in boys’ achievement at Y13. This disparity is being specifically addressed by teachers in consultation with students.

Good progress is being made by most students at Years 9 and 10, in preparation for NCEA success at Year 11. Students in Years 7 and 8 achieve well in reading and mathematics. A focus on lifting achievement in writing is in place.

Effective systems are in place to monitor and track students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing. Together with school-wide collaboration and communication, these processes enhance consistency of practice and expectations that enable the achievement of equity and excellence.

Learners are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school is actively addressing in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • continue to address the disparity in achievement for boys

  • review and evaluate the reporting of student progress at Years 7 and 8.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding very effectively to Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Most Māori students are achieving well and make similar rates of progress in their learning as other groups of students.

Leaders and teachers actively support all students to achieve valued outcomes beyond academic performance. For senior students in particular, this includes active leadership, community service and tuakana-teina relationships related to mentoring and supporting their younger peers.

The school’s broader view of learning, progress and achievement builds the skills and capabilities that students need to become confident and competent lifelong learners and valued citizens.

Learning support programmes include the planning and implementation of appropriate interventions to support students with additional needs. The recorded tracking and monitoring of students’ progress indicate that most achieve positive outcomes over time.

A range of assessment tools and robust moderation procedures support teachers’ judgements about student achievement across the school.

Leaders and teachers celebrate and show they value the culture, language and identity of students from different cultural backgrounds. Māori and Pacific students stated that they gained personal pride from these positive approaches.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

School processes are highly effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

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

Leaders and teachers are very responsive to students who need additional support to be successful learners. They have high expectations that all students will experience positive educational outcomes. Increased retention rates are evident at Year 13.

Staff and students enact and model the school’s vision and values. The positive school culture enhances the focus on quality standards for teaching and learning. Students’ engagement and wellbeing are two of the school’s most valued outcomes.

The school meets the diverse needs of their students through the highly responsive curriculum. This document purposefully provides extensive and meaningful contexts to respond to the range of educational, cultural and sporting interests and needs of all students. Families and community members are regularly invited to contribute to the school’s programmes for learning. Senior students are very well supported by the business community to access career options and further tertiary study opportunities.

High quality leadership effectively builds teacher capability and capacity and actively supports the school’s focus, progress and achievement outcomes. Targeted whole-school professional learning and development further enhances teaching practice. Leaders and teachers are continually reflective and improvement focused. They give purposeful consideration to the best approach to meet individual students’ needs.

School leaders and teachers make very good use of external partnerships to enhance teaching and learning. This includes meaningful links with the business sector who provide practical experiences to enrich and support senior students’ learning pathways. External evaluators provide constructive, critical feedback against the school’s strategic goals.

The school is well supported by a highly capable board of trustees who bring a range of professional skills and experience to their stewardship role. Internal evaluation processes focus on ensuring positive outcomes for students.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

The school has good quality processes for addressing equity and excellence that have been sustained over time.

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

The school needs to evaluate the clarity of reporting against school expectations to make it clearer for students, parents and teachers.

The school has identified students in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 13 who need targeted support to increase their levels of achievement. The school needs to continue to provide the specific programmes and learning assistance already in place in order to address the current disparity in learning at these levels.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (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 33 international students attending the school.

The school is highly effective in providing pastoral care and quality education for its international students. Students are encouraged and well supported to integrate into the school and local community. The school has a highly rigorous process for annual review of the Code, the results of which are reported to the board of trustees.

Going forward

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

Learners are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school is successfully addressing in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • continue to address the disparity in achievement, particularly for boys

  • review the reporting of student progress at Years 7 and 8.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

17 October 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7-15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%

Pākehā 72%

Pacific 2%

Asian 4%

Other ethnicities 5%

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

17 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2013

Education Review October 2009

Education Review November 2006