Liston College - 25/05/2015


The school provides a broad, effective curriculum with students maintaining high levels of achievement in NCEA. Students appreciate the sporting, cultural, pastoral and academic learning experiences that are offered to them. The school charism of service and care, well embedded restorative practices and students’ strong sense of belonging, promotes a positive school tone.

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

1 Context

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

Liston College is a state-integrated Catholic school for Year 7 to 13 boys in Henderson, West Auckland. The school will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. The school’s special character is well reflected throughout the school. Students express pride in their school.

Students come from various ethnic backgrounds and nine percent are Māori. Many of the staff reflect the cultural backgrounds and languages of the students.

School events and co-curricular activities continue to be well supported by students, their families and the wider community. Parents welcome hui and fono to share aspirations for their son’s future. Anticipated roll growth and outdated classrooms continue to be challenges for managers and the board.

The 2012 ERO report noted the school’s strong commitment to student wellbeing and high expectations for behaviour and academic success. These positive features continue to be evident in the school. The 2012 report also recommended that teachers could further promote students’ thinking skills and offer more relevant learning contexts. The school is still developing these areas.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well. The school is justifiably proud of high levels of student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Well-presented data collation informs the board of progress relating to school targets to raise achievement. Teachers’ commitment to supporting students to succeed, results in the school continuing to achieve better than other schools, both locally and nationally.

Most students engage, progress and achieve well. Respectful relationships contribute to the positive and purposeful school tone. Boys talk proudly of the care and support they get from their teachers and the past and present brotherhood of boys. Parents told ERO that teachers regularly share information with them about their son’s progress through the year.

Over the past three years, there has been significant improvement in the achievement of Pacific boys at all NCEA levels. This good progress has been supported by the school’s regular review of the effectiveness of initiatives to support student achievement. As part of this review, senior leaders could evaluate the progress of other student groups, particularly European boys.

Students at risk of not achieving receive good support for their learning, especially in literacy. This has had a positive impact on their achievement. School leaders could now investigate how to include these effective strategies in everyday classroom practice.

Senior leaders need to develop procedures to ensure that achievement data in Years 7 to 10 are collated and evaluated more clearly and consistently. Clear reporting against departmental targets would help to identify implications for teaching and learning development. Year 7 to 10 teachers could also investigate student achievement in literacy and mathematics across the curriculum.

Senior leaders agreed that other next steps include:

  • further sharing assessment data with students
  • strengthening learning partnerships with parents of Year 7 and 8 boys
  • reporting to parents in plain language about their son’s progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy and numeracy as the foundation for academic success. Students appreciate the sporting, cultural, pastoral and academic learning experiences they are offered to them. They have opportunities to develop their leadership skills at different levels.

Positive, trusting relationships support students to have a sense of connection and belonging in the school. This has improved the retention of students with more boys at school until the end of Year 13 to make good use of learning opportunities. Teachers are developing students’ use of digital devices and to help their learning across the curriculum.

Assistant heads of departments are leading changes in teaching and learning practices. They are using specific, measurable targets to raise the achievement of students at risk of not achieving. They plan to extend these changes to practice in all classrooms and across all learning areas.

Teachers participate in targeted professional learning. They work collaboratively with professionals to improve their teaching skills and subject knowledge. The school’s robust appraisal process links well with professional learning programmes and promotes teachers’ reflective practice. Teachers could include student feedback as part of their evaluation of teaching programmes and practices.

The school curriculum is currently being reviewed. This review should focus on and could include:

  • developing student-centred learning approaches
  • aligning the Liston values with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) principles, key competencies and values
  • determining how well the NZC principles ‘coherence’ and ‘learning to learn’ are integrated in each learning area
  • valuing the languages, cultures and identities of Māori and Pacific students
  • promoting additional vocational pathways.

Improved consistency in learning approaches throughout the school, especially across Years 7 to 10, would help to engage all students in active learning. This could also help to develop students’ ownership of learning.

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

The school is still at a developmental stage of promoting educational success for Māori as Māori. Senior leaders are responsive to the principles of the Ministry of Education (MoE) Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017. Together with staff they have participated in professional learning to gain deeper understanding about Māori student’s educational success as Māori.

Students are keen to grow their knowledge of tikanga Māori. They participate in waiata, himene and karakia and follow tikanga to welcome manuhiri. The school has combined with St Dominic’s to use an external provider to prepare the boys to enter a kapa haka into the Auckland Secondary School’s annual Festival. Te reo Māori is taught at Year 7 and 8.

Leaders are developing an action plan to promote improved educational outcomes for Māori students. Significant in this plan, is the ongoing engagement with the wider Māori community, particularly with kaumātua who have links to the Catholic faith.

Leaders and teachers could also make further use of the MoE resource Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and maintain its performance.

The principal's leadership is future-focused, collaborative and inclusive. Senior leaders’ commitment to improving outcomes for students is well supported by teaching staff, the board and the community.

The board is representative of the school community. Trustees acknowledge the benefit of accessing training to guide their governance roles and responsibilities. The board has plans to use external expertise to help review the allocation of leadership roles and responsibilities. As part of this review, consideration could be given to evaluating the effectiveness of senior management roles in leading and sustaining school development.

Initiatives introduced over recent years have resulted in improved student achievement. Senior leaders recognise the need to sustain improvements and carefully manage further required changes. Senior leaders agree that development priorities could include:

  • developing a new strategic plan in consultation with the school’s community
  • reviewing the effectiveness of teaching and learning practices to promote student engagement and achievement
  • comprehensive review of policies, processes and procedures
  • evaluative reporting to the board in relation to the school’s strategic goals.

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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 34 international students attending the school with no exchange students.

International students at Liston College are well supported in their learning and pastoral care. There are comprehensive systems to track, monitor and support students. Learning programmes are adapted to students’ needs and to help them achieve their personal goals. Students are involved in the co-curricular life of the school and are well-integrated into the wider school community.

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.

The board must ensure all non-teaching employees are Police vetted every three years.[Education Act 1989, s78CC]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • every two years consult with the school’s community about learning programmes in the health curriculum
  • review stand-down and suspension policies and procedures.


The school provides a broad, effective curriculum with students maintaining high levels of achievement in NCEA. Students appreciate the sporting, cultural, pastoral and academic learning experiences that are offered to them. The school charism of service and care, well embedded restorative practices and students’ strong sense of belonging, promotes a positive school tone.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 May 2015

School Statistics


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākeha









other European














Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

September 2008

November 2005