Kelston Girls' College - 10/05/2019

School Context

Kelston Girls’ College in New Lynn is a secondary school offering education for girls in Years 9 to 13. Of the 464 students currently enrolled at the school, 16 percent are Māori and 61 percent have Pacific heritages.

The school’s mission statement is student centred, based on empowering, challenging and celebrating young women’s achievement within a culturally responsive context. The school’s key values are; respecting ourselves (Manaaki i a Tātou), respecting others (Manaaki i a Rātou), and respecting the community (Manaaki i te Hāpori). These values underpin the vision of developing students as leaders and confident, lifelong learners. They form the cornerstones of the Kelston Girls’ College tikanga and the basis for student wellbeing.

The school’s strategic goals are framed around curriculum inquiry and development, school culture and wellbeing, and learning partnerships with parents and the wider community.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Authority framework
  • progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics in Years 9 and 10
  • student engagement and wellbeing for success.

Since the 2014 ERO review, a new principal and three senior leaders have been appointed. Schoolwide professional learning and development has focused on culturally responsive teaching and learning.

The school is part of the Te Whānau Mātauranga o Kerehana Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL). It is committed to working with the CoL to raise achievement in Kelston through a culturally responsive curriculum.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable outcomes and raising achievement levels for all students.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data show that overall, high levels of achievement in numeracy and literacy have been sustained over time. The majority of students gain NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. These achievement levels are higher than those of other schools of a similar type.

Achievement in University Entrance (UE) has remained relatively stable. Excellence endorsements in NCEA Levels 2 and 3 have been increasing over the last three years. The number of merit endorsements in NCEA Level 2 is also steadily increasing.

Data show improvements for Māori learners at NCEA Levels 1 and 3, and in UE. Leaders recognise that addressing in-school disparity for Māori students at NCEA Levels 1 to 3 is a priority. The majority of Pacific students achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. However, overall achievement for Pacific students at Levels 1 and 3 is declining.

Year 9 and 10 students have their literacy and mathematical knowledge and skills tested on entry. Longitudinal tracking shows the school is accelerating student achievement and improving equitable outcomes for most students over these two years.

Other valued outcomes are highly evident in the ways that students:

  • are inclusive, respectful, supportive and accepting of others
  • are able to build good learning relationships with each other and their teachers
  • take leadership roles
  • value their cultural identity. 

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Leaders and teachers are increasingly effective at responding to students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. They have taken positive steps to implement a range of strategies and programmes designed to accelerate learning. Learning teams offer more manageable assessment to support deeper learning. Programmes are adapted to better meet students’ needs, respond to student pathways and increase learning engagement. There is a schoolwide focus on literacy across the curriculum, with targeted teaching developing students’ subject-specific literacy.

Support for students with additional learning needs is well coordinated and enables them to access responsive learning programmes. Teachers, deans and outside agencies work collaboratively to provide programmes and resources for students. Students with additional learning needs are very well supported to progress, participate, and achieve their individual goals. 

The school is implementing programmes that support increased opportunities for Māori and Pacific students to be successful and achieve equitable and excellent outcomes. Staff have a strong focus on developing culturally responsive and relational practices to encourage greater engagement for learning. Māori and Samoan classes are offered for junior students. All junior classes including Māori and Samoan classes are tracked through Mauri Ora Hui that include all staff who regularly interact with them. Kelston Girls’ College is a lead school in the CoL-wide development of a culturally responsive pedagogy.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students benefit from the school’s strong positive and inclusive culture that values them and their hauora (wellbeing). Respectful and affirming relationships between teachers and students promote positive expectations for teaching and learning. Extensive pastoral care systems provide students with high levels of support aimed at reducing barriers and increasing engagement with learning. Staff and students have high expectations for achievement. All of these factors help to create a welcoming, caring environment in which students and adults have a strong sense of belonging.

The school’s increasingly responsive curriculum is generating improved outcomes for students. Students access a broad curriculum that continues to provide good opportunities for individualised pathways. Responsive careers education supports student development. Ongoing regular review of the curricula for each subject has deepened learning opportunities. Bilingual Māori and Samoan classes are helping develop students’ sense of identity and confidence as learners.

The newly established leadership team is strategic, and improvement and future focused. They have an extensive range of complementary skills. Leaders are building trusting relationships and collaboration across the school community. Their professional leadership supports a well-considered process of change management. Leaders promote the development of flexible and adaptable learning programmes. They are establishing a culture of collaborative inquiry into their practice.

Teachers and leaders have a strong commitment to, and a good understanding of culturally responsive practices. Leaders provide ongoing targeted professional learning to build staff cohesion across the school and increase collective capacity. This learning is aligned with the school’s and CoL’s strategic direction. It enables students and families to feel welcomed and valued, and have their culture recognised within the school.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The principal and senior team should continue redesigning the school’s curriculum to provide greater opportunities for students to lead their own learning, enhance their creativity and think critically. Greater cross-curricular opportunities and use of student voice in curriculum design would enhance student learning.

The school’s current internal evaluation practices would be strengthened by:

  • ensuring that they are embedded in all areas of school operations
  • using a cycle of inquiry to ensure continuous improvement
  • using indicators of effective practice to examine and measure the effectiveness of current practices
  • reviewing governance policies and practices to ensure they meet current obligations.

Leaders, teachers and trustees recognise the positive impact that their partnerships with parents and whānau, and strong community engagement, have on student success. The school should continue to seek ways to strengthen connections and relationships with the local community.

3 Other Matters

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 16 international students attending the school.

Kelston Girls’ College has good systems to provide education and pastoral care for international students. Their progress and achievement are monitored, and student course selections are well considered and personalised. Students integrate well into the school community and have the opportunity to join in all school activities. The Board of Trustees receives reports on the wellbeing, engagement and achievement of international students.

4 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
  • finance
  • 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. 

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Kelston Girls’ College performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a positive school culture that responds to students’ needs, promotes their wellbeing and supports their learning success
  • an increasingly broad, responsive and relevant curriculum that allows for students to access meaningful pathways
  • culturally responsive practices that help develop identity and encourage greater student engagement in learning
  • the capability of its leadership to support a well-considered process of change management.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • reviewing the school’s curriculum to increase learning opportunities and pathways for students, including groups of students
  • enhancing internal evaluation to inform decisions that focus on improving student learning outcomes
  • seeking ways to further develop community connections and partnerships to enhance student engagement and achievement
  • seeking external support to build governance capability. 

Areas for improved compliance practice

Many of the school’s classrooms are deteriorating. To improve current practice, the board of trustees should work with the Ministry of Education to ensure property is maintained at a suitable standard.

Steve Tanner
Director Review and Improvement Services Northern
Northern Region
10 May 2019  

 About the school 


New Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary School (Years 9 – 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       100%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                    16%
Samoan                                32%
Asian                                     12%
Tongan                                 11%
Niuean                                   5%
Indian                                     5%
other Pacific                          13%
other ethnic groups                6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report


Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review            May 2014
Education Review            January 2011
Education Review            December 2007