Lytton High School - 24/06/2016


Lytton High School is continuing to develop curriculum provision for engaging students and fostering success. There is need for urgency in establishing a systematic, coherent approach to accelerating learning and to knowing how well actions impact on achievement. The culture is caring and inclusive.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Lytton High School is located in Gisborne and caters for students in Years 9 to 13. At the time of this ERO review, almost 80% of students on the roll identified as Māori.

The school’s reporting history includes working with ERO during 2011 and 2012 to develop to foster cultural responsiveness and relationships for learning. Leaders and trustees have consulted with the community to guide curriculum review. New structures and processes have been introduced to support learning and engagement. These serve the vision for provision of an inclusive and responsive curriculum.

Student wellbeing is supported by comprehensive structures and systems for managing physical and emotional health and fostering learning. Learning advisories provide opportunity to develop trusting relationships across year levels and with teachers.

Since the December 2012 ERO report, there have been changes of trustees, senior leaders and key support staff. All of these personnel are relatively new to their roles.

2 Learning

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

More development of data analysis, evaluation and strategic use is needed to support the approach being taken to improving learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. This should happen through leadership of:

  • in-depth data analysis of patterns and trends, and inquiry into reasons for these
  • explicit expectations for the progress and achievement of individuals and groups, including clarity about expectations for acceleration of progress over time
  • systematic monitoring and evaluation against clearly defined targets, outcomes and measures. 

These practices should be embedded by leaders, within each department and at individual teacher level, to inform planning for students’ identified needs. Taking these steps is likely to provide a coherent evidence base for knowing how well actions taken are making a positive difference to student attendance, retention, progress and achievement, for supporting the realisation of annual goals and strategic aims.

Student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) has fluctuated since the previous ERO review. Analysis of roll-based data during that time shows that senior students’ achievement levels are below national and similar school attainment rates in NCEA. Results are declining at Levels 2, 3 and for University Entrance. There is disparity between the achievement of males and females and Māori and Pākehā peers. However, data for 2013 and 2014 shows an increase in the percentage of all students, and Māori, leaving with NCEA Level 2.

Many students enter Year 9 performing below curriculum level expectations in literacy and mathematics. Strategies to address this disadvantage are making a difference for some students within one year and for more over three years, particularly in numeracy.

A slower-paced approach is taken to fostering progress for students identified as having specific learning needs or whose learning has been severely delayed. These students learn in their own groups. They transition to mainstream classes when assessments indicate readiness. Progress and achievement are monitored against the aims expressed in individual education plans or goals.

The school recognises the need for urgency in targeting needs and knowing what is working well for students to promote better success at Level 1 NCEA and beyond. This will require having specific knowledge of learning needs and patterns of achievement and progress for students in Years 9 and 10.

3 Curriculum

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

Since 2012, several initiatives have been introduced to foster student wellbeing and learning for success. Some are very recent. As yet there is little in the way of formal evaluation to indicate the extent of curriculum effectiveness overall, or for any year group. As changes become embedded, leaders should continue to seek ways to know what is working well for students, how effectiveness can be extended or enhanced, and what issues need to be addressed.

Some changes implemented are innovative and likely to increase student engagement. The 2015 review of curriculum for Year 9, is designed to help students make connections across the learning areas and contexts, while reinforcing literacy skills and understandings. Numeracy learning is integrated where appropriate. This new approach is being refined in response to survey information from staff, students and parents, and will extend to Year 10 in 2017. The baseline data gathered will be useful for monitoring any difference in student interest. Bringing attendance, behaviour, progress and achievement data to the analysis is likely to provide a more rounded picture of impact.

The senior curriculum is evolving and expanding to be responsive to the local context and students’ needs and aspirations. Good models for promoting student learning and success are evident in the work of some departments, for example, transition, English and science. A number of vocationally linked courses and pathways are designed in partnership with external agencies and providers. These options are tailored to respond to local opportunities for continued learning and training beyond school. A review of student leadership structures has resulted in a wider range of opportunities for seniors to develop these skills and share in the running of the school.

Students learn and participate in a caring, collaborative and inclusive environment, underpinned by Te Kotahitanga values and practices. Survey information indicates that participants feel the school is settled and has a sense of whānau.

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

The language, culture and identity of Māori students is upheld by the board, senior leaders and staff. Students have opportunities to show leadership and learn about their heritage and local history. Pride is fostered through role models within and outside the school.

While there is an increase in the proportion of Māori leavers attaining Level 2, Māori student attendance and achievement need to be raised to promote greater engagement and success at all year levels.

Long-term participation in a programme for making meaningful connections with whānau and communities has raised the level of parent interest in their children’s education and progress. Over two thirds of parents attended learning conferences with their children and teachers. Feedback from surveys conducted in 2015 has provided useful information for reflection and action to enhance what is going well and improve some aspects of operation. A follow-up survey is planned for this year. This is the beginning of establishing systematic data gathering for planning next steps.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Changes introduced by leaders focus on improving conditions for learning and achievement. The principal and leadership team are working with the board to share the vision, values and goals. Management processes are aimed at building leader and teacher capability for making progress.

Staff and community ownership of the vision is encouraged through consultation about school direction. Response to views is considered carefully and communicated. As yet there is insufficient robust information to be confident about quality or effectiveness of actions taken, or to sustain and improve overall performance.

Aspects of operation needing development relate to having clarity about expectations for progress and achievement, ensuring these are sufficiently challenging, and knowing what would count as evidence of impact.

Leaders should continue to develop closer alignment and integration of systems and processes for monitoring and evaluating teacher performance, development goals, and achievement of annual targets and goals. Internal evaluation practice needs to be embedded by teachers, leaders and the board. Teachers should strengthen actions to empower students to be responsible for knowing how they are progressing and what to improve.

The board is committed to the charter vision for the development of well-balanced, responsible adults who are equipped to make a positive contribution to their community. Trustees are responsive to the information they receive. The board needs more regular, analysed information about progress toward expected outcomes, goals and targets to make decisions in students’ best interests. Continuing to take opportunities for governance training is likely to assist trustees in reflecting on and discussing implications of information reported.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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 needs to be assured that it is meeting its obligation to implement the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs). Steps have been taken to work with external support to review policies. However, trustees cannot be confident that all NAG requirements are covered in policies and procedures and that they are adequately met. Systems for managing and reporting compliance are not well developed.

The board of trustees must:

  • comply in full with any legislation currently in force to ensure the health and safety of students and employees
    [National Administration Guideline 5 (c)]
  • maintain an ongoing programme of self review in relation to policies, plans and programmes, including evaluation of student achievement.
    [National Administration Guideline 2 (b)]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • continue to review policy provision with reference to most recent guidelines
  • ensure there are good systems for efficiently managing requirements and reporting how well policies and procedures have been implemented
  • ensure that completion of the annual performance management cycle for teachers is documented in a summary that is signed by both parties, to be assured that due processes have been carried out.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board to establish robust governance and management systems for being assured that obligations to the National Administration Guidelines are met and good practices are implemented.


Lytton High School is continuing to develop curriculum provision for engaging students and fostering success. There is need for urgency in establishing a systematic, coherent approach to accelerating learning and to knowing how well actions impact on achievement. The culture is caring and inclusive.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

24 June 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Special Features

Te Whare Whai Hui – Teen Parent Unit Alternative Education Te Wheako – Attached Unit: Special Needs

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

24 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

May 2011

August 2008