Kelston Boys' High School - 07/11/2012

1 Context

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

Kelston Boys’ High School is the only state secondary boys’ school in West Auckland. It caters for students in Years 9 to 13. In this multicultural school, fifty percent of the boys identify as Pacific and twenty percent identify as Māori.

The principal was appointed in 2011. He is strongly focused on improving student achievement. One of the many initiatives under his guidance has been the redefining of school values of resilience (tohea), respect (mana), excellence (kairangi) and whānau (family). The values are beginning to take a central role in school-wide conversations, initiatives and operations. The school is in its final year of funding for the Te Kotahitanga project. The board’s strategic plan focuses on improving student achievement.

The school prides itself on the provision of academic, sporting and cultural opportunities for boys. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the main qualification pathway for senior students. The school also offers Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in Year 11, in selected subjects, for boys who wish to gain this qualification.

2 Learning

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

Boys are engaging, progressing and achieving increasingly well. Respectful relationships and a commitment to student wellbeing contribute to the positive and purposeful tone of the school. Boys are responding well to the growing school culture of high expectations for student progress and achievement.

In 2011 there was a significant increase in NCEA achievement in Levels 1 to 3, and in Level 1 literacy. This improvement has been attributed to better monitoring and support for students to progress towards gaining NCEA credits. A marked improvement has been made in student attendance at school.

There is a greater focus on Māori student achievement as an outcome of the Te Kotahitanga project. Senior leaders and teachers are working towards embedding strategies to sustain the development of this project over time throughout the school. The school currently defines success as Māori in terms of academic success.

NCEA data for 2011 shows a significant increase in the achievement of Māori boys. However, this achievement is still below that of non-Māori students. There are significant challenges for senior leaders and staff in further raising the achievement of Māori boys, including improving attendance rates and reducing the numbers of Māori boys leaving school without qualifications.

The significant increase in student achievement includes that of Pacific students, which is now comparable to national achievement levels. Senior leaders and teachers are now focusing on increasing NCEA University Entrance (UE) qualifications and merit and excellence endorsements.

The school has not collated or analysed school-wide achievement data for students in Years 9 and 10. While class teachers are able to identify the progress and achievement of individual students over time, it is not possible to comment on overall student progress and achievement at these year levels.

The new initiative for Year 9 and 10 assessment in relation to national curriculum levels should enable the school to gather useful baseline data against which to monitor and evaluate student progress over time, and across the curriculum. Currently, overall NCEA, and NCEA Māori and Pacific student achievement is reported to the board. Improved reporting about Years 9 and 10 should enable trustees to be better informed about the achievement of students in these years, including Māori, Pacific and other priority learners. Improving the quality of reporting to the board should better inform their decision making and the school’s strategic direction.

Students are generally purposefully engaged in classroom activities. Students in Years 9 to 11 in the learning support department are well engaged with their learning. They are making good progress and achieving well. Examples of effective teaching across the school include:

  • teacher responsiveness to students’ cultures and the knowledge that learners bring to the classroom
  • the use of a variety of effective strategies to engage students in learning.

Senior leaders and teachers are working hard to provide an environment that is conducive to student participation and opportunities for students to develop high self esteem. Positive behaviour for learning strategies and the professional learning from Te Kotahitanga are supporting teachers to develop effective classroom practice and to build strong teacher-student learning relationships.

Senior leaders acknowledge the need to embed, and support teachers to consistently implement, exemplary teaching practices across the year levels, and to improve classroom environments to enrich student learning. Teachers are developing strategies to sustain these good practices throughout the school.

ERO’s 2009 report recommended that the board continue to consider how pastoral care could be extended so that it included full-time counselling to further provide for the emotional wellbeing of students. This remains an ongoing need.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is becoming increasingly effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

A variety of pathways for learning are provided, including academic and vocational alternatives and opportunities for work experience. The school timetable is flexible and responsive to student choice. Academic counselling with students is beginning to build their awareness of pathways for learning. As a result of self review, the range of pathways at Year 13 has been extended to enable students to meet NCEA University Entrance and Level 3 requirements, and to have wider choices in technology. Senior leaders continue to investigate the provision of appropriate learning pathways for all students.

The current review of the learning support department would benefit from an evaluation of the extent to which students in mainstream classes, and in Years 12 and 13, are supported in learning. Senior leaders could also consider undertaking an evaluation of the relationship between the learning support department and other learning areas of the school.

There is a growing consistency in departmental reporting and curriculum review. Senior leaders acknowledge that in order to improve the quality of the curriculum they should continue to:

  • shift the focus of curriculum programmes to student-centred learning
  • implement a responsive and rich curriculum
  • use assessment information to know about, and plan for, students’ learning.

Further use of the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum would help guide the design, practice, and evaluation of the curriculum and is likely to contribute to the realisation of a vision for young people as confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners.

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

The school is developing its effectiveness in promoting Māori educational success as Māori.

The recent appointment of a dean for Māori students has resulted in the development of a programme to monitor and provide support for at risk Māori students and their whānau. An annual plan that outlines how the school intends to support Māori boys to reach their academic potential has been developed. Elements of this plan include:

  • celebrating Māori student achievement with whānau
  • reconnecting Māori students with their heritage and identity
  • providing insights into te ao Māori, and ways of correcting and rewarding behaviour
  • empowering and developing leadership through tikanga across the school.

The head of faculty for Māori and the Māori dean work collaboratively with a team to provide leadership and guidance across the school for all students. School-wide initiatives for Māori students that contribute to their sense of self esteem and belonging, and that promote Māori language, culture and identity include:

  • a designated classroom that has become a focal point for Māori students in the school
  • the development of the wananga as a central point for Māori students
  • opportunities for Māori students to meet as a group, led by the Māori dean
  • iwi initiative meetings with iwi representatives
  • ways to address ongoing concerns about Māori student attendance at school.

Heads of faculty and teachers should review how contexts for learning and school environments promote Māori as tangata whenua. The board and staff should also review the extent to which the school charter, strategic plan and practices reflect school policies for Māori success, and the extent to which the school’s Treaty of Waitangi policy is reflected in practice and supports a partnership with Māori whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is growing its capability and capacity, and is building a good foundation for sustained and improved performance. The principal leads improvement in teaching and learning well and provides effective leadership for change.

Features of the school that contribute to sustainability are:

  • the commitment that the board, principal, senior leaders and teachers are showing to support students to achieve, particularly in NCEA
  • the clear alignment between the school's strategic and departmental goals, and plans for initiatives that are focused on improving outcomes for students
  • the positive emphasis on developing middle and senior management capability
  • the revised teacher performance management system, which promotes high quality teaching and learning
  • iwi and Pacific initiatives that demonstrate the school’s commitment to developing partnerships with parents, families, whānau and aiga.

To further strengthen sustainability ERO recommends that:

  • senior leaders continue to develop their capacity as leaders of teaching and learning
  • the board, senior leaders and teachers increase their knowledge and use of self review to ensure improved outcomes for students
  • consistency in, and between, classrooms is developed so that all students experience rich learning environments in which their motivation and interest is fostered
  • learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific students are improved and that this goal is clearly articulated in the charter and strategic plan
  • the board ensure that high levels of professional support are provided for the principal.

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 28 international students attending the school, mainly from Fiji. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. However, the expiry dates of visas, and travel and medical insurance should be more closely monitored to ensure that these are current.

The school continues to monitor students’ welfare through regular contact with students, designated caregivers and homestays. A high level of English support is provided for students. Students are included in school activities and are positive about the level of care provided by the school.

Previous ERO reviews have identified that reports to the board about international students did not include specific detail about their academic achievement and progress. This continues to be the case. ERO’s 2009 review also noted that the school’s review of the provision for international student should be strengthened. While there has been some improvement in the quality of self review, further work is required. A comprehensive annual quality assurance review would enable trustees to be confident that they meet the requirements of the Code.

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.

ERO identified several areas of non-compliance that must be addressed. The board must ensure that:

  • the principal has a signed annual performance agreement[State Sector Act 1988, 77C]
  • fees to cover the cost of materials used in the provision of the curriculum are not expected or demanded of parents[Education Act 1989, Ministry of Education Circular 1998/25].

As noted in ERO’s 2009 review, in order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review its provision for emotional safety to ensure that all students have access to appropriate counselling if required
  • approve overnight trips
  • ensure effective systems are in place to monitor current and new police vetting for all non-teaching staff.

In addition, the board of trustees should:

  • further strengthen teacher registration procedures and reporting on outcomes to the board
  • ensure that a high quality annual appraisal of all staff is completed and reported to the board
  • ensure that the school consistently uses the recently developed system for documenting and responding to complaints reported to the school.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Violet Tu'uga Stevenson

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

7 November 2012

About the School


New Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

100% boys

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā






Cook Island Māori


other Pacific













Special Features

Deaf unit

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

7 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2009

June 2006

June 2002