Kelston Boys' High School - 09/10/2015


Kelston Boys' High School’s goals and priorities focus on student achievement and wellbeing. An inclusive and values-based curriculum and robust self review is resulting in a climate of ongoing improvement. Students benefit from the school’s vision and clear expectations for learning. They have pride in the school and their success is enhanced by a shared ethos of whānau and unity.

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

1 Context

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

Kelston Boys' High School is a medium sized secondary school in Waitakere, West Auckland. The school is located near Kelston Girls' College and the Kelston Deaf Education Centre. School leaders are developing collaborative relationships with schools in the local community to better support student transitions and learning.

The school roll is nearly 60 percent Pacific, with 20 percent Māori, and smaller numbers of NZ European/ Pākehā, Asian, Indian, international and refugee students. The cultural composition of the student roll is reflected in the staff. The school embraces the multi-ethnic diversity of its community and responds positively to the interests, abilities and aspirations of all its students.

The principal has led well planned school developments since ERO’s 2012 review. Student achievement and wellbeing are key priorities and both have improved significantly in recent years. Teacher practice has also been a focus of development. School leadership has been restructured in order to sustain and extend these improvements.

The achievement of Māori students is central to the school’s vision and resourcing. Te Whānau o Onewherowhero is a commitment to Māori success and supports the school’s bicultural practices and values. Students are proud of their school and of the traditions and achievements of past pupils.

The board of trustees works collaboratively with the principal. Trustees support the school’s improvement-focused use of self review. Internal and external review findings are well considered and actioned. Property, personnel and finance have also been priority areas for the principal and current board members.

2 Learning

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

Students make good progress and achieve well overall. Achievement information is appropriately used to support student engagement and learning.

Since ERO’s 2012 review student achievement has continued to improve. The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results for 2014 show that students overall are now achieving above national averages, with significant improvements at Levels 2 and 3. NCEA Level 2 results have increased from 68 to 84 percent in four years.

Pacific and Māori students are achieving well above national averages and similar types of schools for both these groups of learners. Pacific student retention is high and in 2014 93 percent of Pacific students achieved NCEA Level 2. Māori student achievement in NCEA has nearly doubled since 2011 to 66 percent at Level 1 and 80 percent at Level 2.

The school has goals to sustain and extend these positive trends, and plans to address differences in achievement, particularly between Māori and Pacific learners. The other key areas for improvement identified by the school relate to raising University Entrance levels, and increasing NCEA Excellence and Merit Endorsements, both of which are below national averages.

Teachers are making very good use of achievement data, including the use of curriculum levels for planning and assessment in Years 9 and 10. Data is collated and progress information is being regularly shared with students. Achievement expectations are more explicit and the use of exemplars is helping students manage their learning.

Learning programmes are being differentiated and Whānau teachers are helping students individually to monitor and track their achievement and progress. More parents are attending report evenings and are being encouraged to support students in their learning. Involvement in the University of Auckland Starpath initiative is assisting teachers make better use of achievement information.

The use of student achievement information is central to Ako, the school’s internal professional learning and development system. Teachers reflect on the impact of their teaching practice and share their inquiry with others. Reflection and coaching strategies are effective components of the school’s high quality teacher appraisal model.

School leaders agree that refining school wide achievement goals as discrete and measurable targets should be the focus of teacher inquiry wherever possible. This next step would more closely align improved teacher practice with the school’s achievement priorities.

3 Curriculum

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

The school‘s curriculum promotes and supports student learning effectively. In recent years the curriculum has diversified and become more responsive to students’ interest and aspirations. Strategies including literacy and reciprocal teaching have been implemented school-wide. These developments are contributing to improved levels of student engagement and achievement.

The curriculum has been strengthened with the inclusion of the school’s Mātau concept, an increased awareness of the school's ethos and culture of ‘being one’. Mātau underpins aspects of physical and emotional wellbeing, reinforces the school’s traditional values of respect, excellence, resilience and whānau, and promotes a culture of working together.

Curriculum leadership has been strengthened and is a key focus of the school’s operational planning. Student engagement is now aligned to teachers’ professional inquiry and classroom practice. Senior leaders are providing increased support for faculty managers and monitoring department planning, evaluating and reporting.

In addition to traditional subjects, the school curriculum continues to include a successful services academy. Sport technology and construction academies have been established and an engineering academy is proposed for 2016. These new qualification pathways are expanding the curriculum and will promote retention and success for a wider range of students.

Students and staff are proud of their diverse cultures and languages. Many students speak and understand several languages, particularly Pacific languages. The school could consider further ways of supporting students’ use of their first language in social and learning contexts. Specialist English language support is available for students new to New Zealand and for those from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The curriculum is inclusive of students with different learning abilities. Students with special learning needs are well supported. Teachers in appropriate home-room programmes carefully track the progress of each student with the goal of successful mainstreaming by Year 11. Two onsite satellite classes for hearing impaired students also provide beneficial specialist and mainstream services.

Curriculum review is focused on improving student transitions into and beyond the school. School leaders work closely with contributing schools in their local and West Auckland communities. They are also doing more to track student leaver destinations and considering possibilities for future vocational pathways. Further consideration could be given to extending the curriculum to include students’ strengths in the performing arts and Pacific languages.

Improved internet access is encouraging better use and understanding of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The school is planning for students to use their own electronic devices in 2016 at Year 9. This development will increase the potential for meaningful learning partnerships with parents but teachers will need continued support to develop an e-learning focus.

An emphasis on goal setting, data analysis, evaluation and reporting is increasingly evident in the work of faculty leaders. This emphasis on robust self review should now become a school-wide expectation of all curriculum managers and service leaders, including those in the academies, careers, vocational pathways and counselling roles.

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

A renewed focus on supporting Maori success is reflected in the school whakatauki: Ma te kotahitanga e whai kaha ai tātou.

The appointment of Māori staff in key management, pastoral and teaching roles, as well as Maori representation on the board of trustees, is evidence of the school’s commitment to improving outcomes for Māori. Strategic and operational planning includes strategies for raising Māori student engagement, retention and achievement.

Onewherowhero is a new programme to raise expectations of success for Māori students. Membership of this class provides incentive to model the best in te reo and tikanga Māori. Students are encouraged to be leaders and achieve high personal standards of learning and engagement. This selected group has a strong voice and is mentored by capable staff.

Māori student achievement in NCEA has improved significantly. Overall, Māori students are achieving above national averages and above schools of a similar type. These trends are supported by the school’s strong focus on cultural responsiveness in teachers’ professional development and appraisal.

Māori students speak positively about the improvements they have experienced and the respect for their culture and language. They are contributing in positive ways to strengthening the school’s bicultural commitments.

The board has set challenging goals to improve Māori student retention and increase consultation with whānau Māori. These goals have been enhanced by recent improvements in the teaching of te reo, the strengthening of tikanga Maori, and strategic staffing appointments.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal is a well-respected professional leader, both in the school and the local and wider educational community. Building on the school’s traditions and successes, he has led a programme of ongoing review in recent years that has lifted the school’s overall performance.

An external review of school leadership in 2013 resulted in the restructuring of the senior management team. The skills and abilities of the new team, which now includes a capable executive officer, have energised leadership across the school, particularly in the key areas of curriculum and student wellbeing. School managers actively support and lead initiatives to improve outcomes for students.

Staff are confident in the school’s directions and have embraced changes in teaching and learning. The close alignment of school-wide teacher development, appraisal and coaching is lifting teacher performance. Policy guidelines for teachers are up to date and additional staffing resources are employed to promote and sustain improvements.

The board of trustees is supporting the school’s progress in meaningful ways. The appointment of new staff, the use of external reviews, and the stronger emphasis on biculturalism are having a positive impact. Trustees should now consider documenting a plan to guide their work and strengthen board succession planning.

Strategic goals and operational planning are well aligned and improvement focused. Action plans are used to manage strategic developments across key areas of the school. The plans are well considered and based on consultation and self review. An increased emphasis on evaluation would lift the quality of analysis and reporting.

The principal and board could also consider more strategic ways of reporting. Progress in relation to annual goals could be a useful reporting framework for informing the board. External training for trustees would strengthen school governance and help to the board to review its own practices.

Provision for international students

Kelston Boys' High 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. The school currently has 27 full time international students, mainly from Fiji and Tonga, with a few from Chile and Japan. Short stay visits are also arranged.

International student numbers have grown in recent years and the school more actively markets in the Pacific. Most international students seek a combined sports and academic learning programme. The international student manager, with support of a part time home-stay coordinator, administers and reviews the Code. They assist students to become involved in co-curricular activities and the wider life of the school.

The expectations of international students are well met. They are supported to improve their English language skills and achieve in other curriculum areas. Participation in rugby teams is clear priority for many of the international students. The international student manager reports regularly to the board about the outcomes of the programme.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed its required annual self review. ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.


Kelston Boys' High School’s goals and priorities focus on student achievement and wellbeing. An inclusive and values-based curriculum and robust self review is resulting in a climate of ongoing improvement. Students benefit from the school’s vision and clear expectations for learning. They have pride in the school and their success is enhanced by a shared ethos of whānau and unity.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 October 2015

About the School 


Kelston, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys      100%

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
Middle Eastern
other Pacific


Special Features

2 Satellite Classes for Kelston Deaf Education Centre

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

9 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2012
July 2009
June 2006