John Paul II High School - 14/05/2014

1 Context

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

John Paul II High School is an integrated co-educational Catholic school for Years 9 to 14 students. The school’s special Catholic character is defined by a well-established history and longstanding traditions related to the Marist and Mercy founding orders. Christian values contribute to a strong ethos of caring for students, consideration for others and a commitment to excellence.

The school uses its unique position of having a primary school adjoining one side and a Polytechnic on the other to extend programmes and opportunities for students. The school’s board also governs the adjoining primary school.

Since the September 2010 ERO review, a new principal, senior leadership team and board chair have been appointed. Changes at trustee and staff levels have also occurred.

The school roll continues to grow and reflect the increasing cultural diversity in the community. More senior students are remaining at the school for longer periods of time. A significant building programme in 2014 will provide a range of new classrooms and facilities for students.

The school has made good progress addressing the recommendations in the previous ERO report and is continuing to strengthen its links with local and wider West Coast education providers.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school is making good progress in using achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Since the previous ERO review, the principal and senior leaders have:

  • strengthened systems for identifying and monitoring students’ progress across all year levels
  • significantly improved the tracking of student performance at National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) levels
  • introduced a new pastoral system to improve the way the wellbeing and academic needs of all students are being met.

The school’s NCEA achievement information over recent years reflects an increasingly positive trend of academic improvement across senior year levels. The number of merit and excellence endorsements at NCEA subject and course levels continues to increase.

The school has a clearly identified system for gathering the achievement information of students as they enter the school. This information is used to place students in appropriate programmes, provide extra support for students not achieving at expected levels and inform teachers about individual learning needs.

An experienced attendance officer tracks student attendance and uses this information to help support positive changes, where necessary, to students’ presence and engagement.

Teachers know students very well and work together to provide a wide range of support for their learning and achievement. Students told ERO that relationships with teachers are strong and that staff continue to go the extra mile to provide them with such support as extra tutorials and homework clubs out of school hours.

Areas for review and development

The principal and senior leaders are aware of the need to review the effectiveness of provisions for gifted and talented students. Outcomes from this review should help leaders to identify a clear policy, definition and register for gifted and talented education across academic, cultural and sporting codes. This should then form the basis for appropriate programme planning and review.

The principal, senior leaders and teachers should continue to build on professional learning related to inquiry approaches and practices across all learning areas.

Further clarification of responsibilities for the leadership, planning, and review of professional learning and development in the school should strengthen performance and outcomes in these areas.

3 Curriculum

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

Senior leaders advised ERO that they were in the process of reviewing the whole school curriculum. There have been a number of positive developments in the curriculum since the previous ERO review. These include:

  • a broadening of curriculum pathways and choices to meet increasingly diverse learning and career needs, including a trades academy, horticulture and new mathematics and English courses
  • further development of distance learning opportunities to extend curriculum choices
  • a system to support students to take greater ownership over their learning and progress
  • improved access to, and opportunities for, work experience.

Teachers told ERO that the strengthened leadership of assessment and moderation in the school is contributing to improved systems, decision making and practices in this area.

The Year 13 mentoring programme of Year 9 students is making a positive contribution to the engagement and sense of belonging of junior students.

Areas for review and development

The careers department review in early 2013 identified a number of significant areas for improvement. The school has a programme for the development of careers in the school for 2014. Strategic planning to ensure that careers programmes and practices are effectively embedded across the school should also include:

  • an annual action plan that identifies priorities and practices for development, review and reporting
  • clear guidelines and expectations for careers personnel
  • appropriate consultation with students and parents.

The school’s current curriculum review should ensure that New Zealand Curriculum key competencies, thinking and inquiry approaches are further strengthened and integrated into programme delivery and review. This development should extend the guidelines and expectations that the school has already identified regarding ongoing improvement of curriculum design and teaching and learning practices.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is making progress with promoting success for Māori, as Māori. Examples of this include:

  • professional learning related to te reo and tikanga Māori
  • significant progress, support for and pride in kapa haka from across the school
  • the continuing improvement of Māori student achievement at NCEA levels
  • increased attendance at cultural festivals and events.

Area for review and development

It is now time for the board and senior leaders to develop planning that clearly identifies priorities and goals for development. This plan should include:

  • clarification of the school’s vision, strategic direction and leadership responsibilities in regard to promoting success for Māori, as Māori
  • opportunities for Māori students and their whānau to be actively involved in planning and decision-making processes.

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.

The board has well-defined governance procedures, practices and responsibilities. Trustees bring a wide range of experience to their roles and a number have undertaken governance training. The board receives a good range of useful information that is targeted at raising student achievement. The principal told ERO that he is well supported by the board.

The principal effectively uses the strengths of staff to identify and lead important improvements across the school. His strong focus on succession planning is designed to promote sustainable practices and interventions. Staff told ERO that they are well supported by the principal and senior leaders.

The importance of effectively managing the considerable change occurring at the school, especially regarding building redevelopments, is well understood by the principal and senior leaders. They are well supported in this by the board.

Improved use of self review is contributing to an increasingly reflective culture that is focused on continuous improvement across the school.

Student voice and leadership opportunities have been expanded to include a wider range of responsibilities. Staff told ERO that students had contributed to some important developments at the school.

Areas for review and development

The board has identified the need to review its own effectiveness as a board. This could also include identifying the strengths and next steps involved in its governance of two adjoining schools.

With a new board in place, it is now time for whole board training. This should help to ensure that all trustees have a very good understanding of setting, monitoring and reviewing the strategic direction of the school during its current and next stage of development.

The senior leadership team should:

  • further clarify their roles and responsibilities in order to ensure that workloads are equitable and manageable
  • ensure that effective self-review practices continue to be embedded across all areas of the school’s operations.

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. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

  • 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 student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • 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 three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

14 May 2014

About the School


Greymouth, West Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 56%

Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other Ethnicities






Special Features

Catholic Integrated School

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

14 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

August 2007

October 2004