Liston College - 14/05/2018

School Context

Liston College is a Catholic boys’ school located in Henderson, West Auckland. The school roll reflects the multi-cultural community, with the majority of students being Pākehā or of Pacific and South East Asian descent. Twelve percent of students have Māori heritage.

The school was founded by the Christian Brothers using the principles of Edmund Rice, which challenges staff and students to ‘act justly, love tenderly and to walk humbly with their God’. The school’s vision is ‘to educate, inspire and empower learners to become young men of Catholic character who will influence and contribute positively to their families, their communities and their nation’. The valued outcomes for students in developing the ‘Liston Man’ are to build men of respect, dignity, compassion, faith, excellence and social justice.

The school’s strategic goals for improving student outcomes focus on the following key areas:

  • nurturing and upholding the gospel values in the Catholic tradition and the Edmund Rice Charism
  • sustaining effective teaching and learning practices, particularly in literacy and mathematics, to raise student achievement
  • promoting innovation in teaching and learning, including the provision of an effective digital infrastructure to enhance students’ learning
  • building learning-focused partnerships with parents, whānau and local and global communities
  • enhancing student safety and wellbeing to support a positive learning environment.

The school targets for improving student achievement are focused on:

  • learning outcomes for literacy, mathematics, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance (UE)
  • success for Māori and Pacific students.

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

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications framework and in literacy and mathematics for Year 7 to 10 students

  • pathway outcomes for senior students

  • achievement progress for Māori and Pacific students

  • programmes and interventions designed to support students with additional learning needs

  • student engagement, wellbeing and attendance

  • student learning in the school’s departments.

The senior leadership team has been restructured and expanded to distribute leadership and develop capacity. High expectations for student achievement, engagement and valued outcomes, noted in previous ERO reports, continue to be evident.

Extensive and meaningful consultation with parents, community, students and staff has helped to build a shared understanding and ownership of the school’s vision and values. The school’s values of respect, faith, and compassion are highly evident in classrooms and the wider school environment.

The school is a member of the Waitakere Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (COL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Achievement information from 2015 to 2017 shows that the high proportion of students achieving NCEA has been sustained at all levels. In 2017, data show that students achieved well above national and similar type school averages in NCEA. Almost all students achieved NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3. The majority of students gained UE.

Data over time show that Māori student achievement in NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 is similar to that of other students in the school. Pacific students achieve at similar levels to other students in the school in Level 1 and 2, with the majority achieving Level 3. One of the key charter targets is to consistently increase the numbers of Māori and Pacific students who achieve UE. Currently, there is some disparity between Māori and Pacific achievement and other students in UE results.

Year 7 to 10 data in 2017 show that the majority of students achieve at expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Year 7 and 8 Māori students achieved well in mathematics, as do Year 7 Pacific students. There is disparity for Māori achievement in reading comprehension, writing, and Year 9 and 10 mathematics results. Disparity is also evident for Pacific students in reading comprehension, writing and Year 8 to 10 mathematics.

Data show also that while there is some disparity in achievement outcomes for Māori and Pacific students in Years 7 to 10, most make sufficient progress to achieve at least NCEA Level 2. They are able to determine and participate in coherent pathways to further education, training and employment. A newly appointed careers advisor will contribute to support for students’ future focus.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly responsive to Māori, Pacific and other students whose learning needs acceleration.

School leaders have improved systems for monitoring student achievement and progress in Year 7 to 10. Students who enter the school and are below expected levels of achievement are supported with initiatives to build their confidence and capabilities to make progress.

Junior and senior school assessment information is used to track student progress, and to respond effectively to at risk learners. Students’ progress is celebrated and rewarded.

Those Māori and Pacific students requiring additional support are quickly identified, and their learning requirements are well catered for in classroom programmes. Mentoring support and supplementary programmes also help these learners. Leaders are now collating long-term information to inform strategic goals and achievement targets for Māori and Pacific students.

Strategies to support acceleration include:

  • individualised learning support for all students who need to make accelerated progress
  • positive learning partnerships developed with each student and their families
  • culturally responsive practices that focus on what works well for Māori and Pacific students
  • processes evaluating the achievement and progress of Year 7 to 10 students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

School leadership, a responsive curriculum, building professional capacity and internal evaluation are highly effective school conditions that enable achievement of equity and excellence.

Leaders have a deliberate focus on equity and excellence through personalised learning approaches. Providing individualised curriculum opportunities, particularly for students with additional learning needs or abilities, is a key objective in the school’s strategic plan. Leaders at all levels promote a positive learning culture that is characterised by respect and collaboration. Students participate in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning community that supports holistic success.

Recent evaluation of the school’s curriculum has resulted in more student-centred approaches to curriculum design, and teaching and learning. Increasingly adaptable learning programmes and assessment opportunities respond well to students’ individual interests, strengths and needs. Culturally responsive and relational teaching practices are increasingly evident across the school. Students are provided with a range of sporting, cultural and outdoor education learning opportunities to cater for their diverse interests and capabilities.

The school has a strategic and coherent approach to building professional capability and collective capacity. Teachers are supported by professional learning that meets their individual needs. Teachers have a shared set of high expectations for student achievement and wellbeing. They access relevant expertise that builds capability for ongoing reflection, and improvement and innovation.

The school has well-established internal evaluation. At the strategic level, leaders and trustees evaluate the school’s progress towards realising the vision, goals and targets. Together with teachers, they recognise the value of student and community voice, and include these perspectives when deciding on school improvement priorities. Comprehensive evaluation of the curriculum, Year 7 to 10 assessment systems, and Māori and Pacific student success promote improvement outcomes and innovation.

School goals are well aligned to those of the COL. Leaders and teachers appreciate the mutual trust that has been established between the schools and are positive about the overall COL direction to benefit students’ learning and pathways.

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

To sustain and further support equity and excellence, the school plans to adapt and refine:

  • systems to monitor students’ progress over time
  • internal evaluation to support decision making for improved outcomes for students who have additional needs or are at risk of not achieving
  • effective teaching and learning practices across the school
  • student-led learning and agency in determining their educational pathways.

3 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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 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 24 international students attending the school. Students are provided with a very good standard of pastoral care and education that includes English language support and wide-ranging opportunities to participate in school activities. The school has thorough review processes for determining the quality of education and wellbeing for international students. The board receives useful reports about their achievement and pastoral care.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • effective leadership with an unrelenting focus on equitable outcomes for all students

  • a culture of high expectations, positive relationships and shared values of the ‘Liston Man’

  • the strategic approach to building professional capability and collective capacity

  • the flexible and responsive curriculum that is increasingly individualised

  • holistic achievement approaches that promote student wellbeing and learning success.

Next steps

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

  • refining the use of data from a range of sources, for internal evaluation that better identifies what is working well for students’ learning and where improvement is needed

  • seeking relevant advice and resources to maximise the board’s effectiveness.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 May 2018

About the school


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Year 7 to 13

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%
Pākehā 31%
Samoan 11%
Indian 10%
Tongan 4%
African 4%
South East Asian 13%
other 18%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

14 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, May 2015
Education Review, May 2012
Education Review, September 2008