Kaiapoi High School - 13/06/2014

1 Context

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

Kaiapoi High School highly values its role as an inclusive, community school. The school receives and gives strong support to the local community. Considerable changes to housing developments within the Kaiapoi township are contributing to a growing school roll. The school is actively involved with a cluster of local schools in promoting educational improvement in the Waimakariri region.

A new principal began at the school towards the end of 2011. He has been working effectively with the board and senior leaders to continue to strengthen the school’s profile in the local community.

The school is continuing to experience a range of challenging issues related to the Canterbury earthquakes. This is being well managed by the board, principal, school leaders and teachers.

A major redevelopment of many school buildings will begin in 2015. Planning is underway for the rebuilding of a range of school facilities.

The number of international students at the school continues to increase.

The school has made very good progress addressing the recommendations in the December 2009 ERO report in regard to teaching practices, use of achievement information, student leadership and success as Māori.

2 Learning

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

The school is making increasingly effective use of achievement information to foster positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The principal, senior leaders and teachers are using achievement information in more targeted and deliberate ways. This is most evident in:

  • information the board receives about academic progress and achievement
  • the focus of a database manager to systematically track whole-school and individual progress and achievement
  • the way achievement information is analysed at faculty and classroom levels
  • the introduction of weekly learning reports sent home to the parents of Year 9 and 10 students
  • processes for using data to promote successful transitions into the school and set targets to further improve students’ progress and achievement.

Achievement information over recent years generally shows a continuing trend of improving academic results across National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) levels. Subject and course NCEA merit and excellence endorsements are increasing. The number of scholarships being gained reflects a positive trend.

The school’s increasing focus on acknowledging and supporting student success recognises the belief that it is small enough to care for individual students and big enough to compete successfully.

The good range of targeted interventions for students with special learning needs is helping to support these students well and build a culture across the school that includes all students. Appropriate emphasis is being given to developing programmes for gifted and talented students that will help them to improve the quality of their achievement and enrich the range of their learning opportunities.

Area for review and development

The next step for leaders is to extend reporting to the board for programmes such as the progress and achievement of students with special learning needs.

3 Curriculum

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

Ongoing improvements to the school’s curriculum are helping to effectively support and promote students’ learning.

The curriculum is flexible and responsive to students’ interests, needs and aspirations. Students benefit from a broad variety of curriculum choices, career pathways and learning opportunities within and beyond the school. Increasingly, vocational pathways are extending opportunities for students to pursue a wider range of employment or further study opportunities. A very good careers programme supports students to make appropriate course choices and study options related to their career goals.

The school’s values are strongly promoted across the school. An innovative senior student leadership programme provides meaningful and important opportunities for students to share and build their leadership capacity.

Well-targeted and implemented initiatives for success for Māori, as Māori, are helping to further improve the presence, participation and engagement of Māori students.

Useful systems are in place to further improve teaching and learning. These include:

  • a programme for investigating effective teaching approaches
  • faculty-based professional development and sharing of good practice
  • the use of external expertise to further develop curriculum leadership
  • ways of meeting individual learning needs in classes and ensuring that learning purposes are clear.

These systems are leading to teachers using a wider range of effective strategies to engage students in learning. Students spoken with by ERO said that teachers regularly go the extra mile to provide additional support for their wellbeing, learning and achievement.

There are good provisions and systems for the guidance counselling, support and pastoral care of students. Deans and other pastoral staff make regular use of a wide range of outside agencies to further support and strengthen students’ wellbeing.

Areas for review and development

Senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step is to embed and build on recent initiatives about learning opportunities and teaching practices.

The development of a clearer profile for a successful Kaiapoi High School leaver would more specifically identify the core outcomes for all students at their point of leaving the school.

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

The school plays an important role in contributing to the leadership and promotion of Māori culture in the local area. The commitment of the board, senior leaders and staff is enabling the school to make noticeable progress with promoting success for Māori, as Māori. Increased Māori staffing across the school is providing appropriate role models and leadership for Māori students.

Other examples of effective practice include:

  • a positive kapa haka presence in the community, including actively supporting some local schools with their kapa haka programmes
  • a high quality programme for supporting Māori male students and the promotion of senior Māori student leadership
  • an increasing number of Māori students who are speakers of te reo or who are learning it
  • increased participation by whānau and tuakana teina relationships where older students help to support younger students.

Area for review and development

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that a more formal and planned approach to planning for continued improvement for Māori at faculty and school-wide levels would further benefit current good progress.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is building a strong foundation to ensure that it is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board, principal and senior leaders maintain a strong focus and strategic approach to ongoing improvement at school-wide and student achievement levels. This is clearly evident in:

  • the board’s focused and purposeful strategic planning
  • the promotion of ongoing opportunities to build leadership capacity
  • the clear expectations and lines of accountability across the school established by the board and principal
  • a variety of targeted approaches to teachers’ professional learning development
  • a range of useful self-review practices
  • ensuring that appraisal is well-aligned to school priorities.

The board uses its very good levels of expertise and experience to provide strong governance across all areas of the school’s operations. Reports to the board provide a wide range of useful information to inform decision-making processes. Strategic appointments to key positions in the school reflect clearly-understood priorities for improvement at school, classroom and individual student levels.

Leadership practices and structures promoted by the principal, including the sound use of staff strengths, are clearly supporting school improvement. These are contributing to a positive school culture. School leaders bring a range of strengths to their roles that support the school’s strategic direction and activities.

Staff told ERO that relationships across the school are very supportive and are helping to promote a collaborative focus on students’ wellbeing and achievement.

Areas for review and development

The board, principal and senior leaders need to ensure that:

  • the effective Kaiapoi High School teacher profile is extended and used, as is appropriate, to inform self review
  • there is a formal and planned process for the board, as a good employer, to gain assurance about such matters as staff wellbeing
  • in ongoing consultation with Māori students and their whānau, planning for Māori success, as Māori, is more formally developed, implemented and annually reviewed.

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 review there were 24 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO verified that these processes had been completed annually.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s provisions for students’ wellbeing, education and participation are well managed, resourced and effectively implemented.

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.

At the time of the ERO review, appraisal processes had not been fully completed:

The board and principal must comply with Ministry of Education requirements for the appraisal of principals and or teachers (s77C State Sector Act 1988, NZ Gazette No 180: Dec 1996).

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

13 June 2014

About the School


Kaiapoi, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other Ethnicities




Special Features

Young Parents’ Unit

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

13 June 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

December 2009

November 2007

November 2006