Marlborough Boys' College - 28/04/2020

School Context

Marlborough Boys’ College is a state secondary boys’ school for Years 9 to 13. It is located in Blenheim and serves the surrounding Marlborough area. It has a roll of 892 students, of whom 20% are Māori.

The school’s vision is ‘To inspire and empower our learning community to be the best they can be’. Planning towards future co-location with the school’s sister school is well under way. The co-location vision statement is ‘Embracing opportunities for our community of learners’ (Kia whai hua mō tō tātou hapori ākonga).

The vision statements are supported by values that encourage ‘Young Men of Marlborough (to) strive to be: Respectful, Responsible, Involved, Proud, The best they can be’.

The school states that its strategic priorities are to:

  • provide a safe and positive learning environment for all stakeholders with a focus on the promotion of school values, especially pride and respect

  • raise academic expectations and achievement for all, with a focus on priority learners including Māori, Pasifika and students with special education needs

  • increase opportunities and participation in the arts, sport and leadership/service

  • plan for a seamless transfer to a new site with inspirational learning programmes complementing state of the art facilities that recognise both our long history and bicultural and multicultural facets of our school.

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

  • achievement in relation to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations.

Since the 2016 ERO review there has been significant changes to staffing, leadership and the board of trustees.

Other significant features of the school’s context include:

  • whole school professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives, including Poutama Pounamu (Mauri ora), Digital Fluency and Collaborative teaching

  • student access to an Alternative Education facility

  • the New Zealand School of Wine Growing, as part of the broad, localised curriculum.

The school is part of the Piritahi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 has ongoing work to do in order to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. The school is supporting the majority of students to achieve its valued outcomes. A small majority of students achieve academically at or above expected NZQF levels over time.

School learning information for Years 9 and 10 shows that:

  • over time, a significant number of students are below the expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics, on entry to the school

  • the school is at the stage of gathering data for analysis and there is limited information that shows progress and achievement for these students.

School achievement information for NCEA Levels 1 to 3 shows that for the period from 2015 to 2018:

  • almost all students achieve literacy (Years 11-13), and numeracy (Years 12 and 13)

  • Year 11 numeracy achievement is declining

  • most Level 2 students and the majority of Level 3 students achieve NCEA Levels 2 and 3

  • there is significant disparity for Māori students in relation to other students’ achievement at all levels.

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

Limited available information shows accelerated progress for some of those students who need this. The school has planned, but is yet to fully embed, systems to track and monitor progress and accelerated progress.

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?

Progress-focused leadership within the school is driving a culture of review and improvement. A reflective approach to change management practices promotes strategic use of external expertise and the strengths of staff and teams within the school.

Partnerships with other local education providers underline the school’s genuine appreciation of its increasingly diverse school community. Curriculum and wellbeing initiatives, including the Theory of Change innovation, have been aligned with strategic priorities.

A broad, diverse and responsive local curriculum is increasingly student centred and focused on meeting learner needs and interests. Faculties regularly monitor and assess student achievement, using a variety of assessment tools. Research-based initiatives that are flexible and adaptive are aligned with strategic priorities to achieve valued student outcomes. The wide range of responsive programmes is providing multiple learning pathways for students. There are emerging options for students to be involved in their learning choices. Teachers are empowered to work collaboratively and to develop and implement new learning programmes.

Pastoral leaders and teachers have systems in place to identify, and respond to, the wellbeing of groups and individuals. The school effectively manages student transitions into, within, and out of the school. Students have significant opportunities to experience leadership roles.

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

The school has taken some steps to address identified areas for improvement in the last ERO report in May 2016. The board and school leaders have identified, and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that the school needs to continue to:

  • embed systems to monitor and regularly report on progress of students who require their learning to be accelerated

  • monitor the progress of all Year 9 and 10 students, and evaluate junior achievement data, to know needs and improve student outcomes through informed decision-making

  • initiate established action plans from inquiries and internal evaluation and ensure they are consistently monitored over time

  • focus on improving culturally responsive practices by ongoing consultation with iwi and whānau to strengthen authentic partnerships, increase the visibility of te ao Māori within the school and further develop teachers’ capability to support Māori learners

  • proactively reduce the disparity between Māori and other students’ achievement

  • ensure all students’ cultures, languages and identities are acknowledged and valued within the school

  • build knowledge of, and strengthen, evaluation processes and systems to know how effective programmes are in meeting learner needs. This includes:

  • health and safety practices

  • student wellbeing

  • how well the school is meeting school values and valued outcomes.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

Marlborough Boys’ College 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 the review, the school had 60 international students, 4 of whom were long term and 56 short term.

The international students programme is well organised. Students receive appropriate care and support to successfully participate in the school’s academic and wider curriculum. The international students programme is inclusive and personalised to meet the needs and interests of each student. The school continually reviews its programme to ensure it meets its statutory obligations and the aspirations of students and their families.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Marlborough Boys’ College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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 broad, diverse and responsive curriculum that is increasingly focused on learner needs and interests, and a leadership model that empowers students and teachers to develop and implement new, relevant programmes

  • improvement-focused and reflective leadership across the school that provides targeted PLD and utilises internal and external strengths to meet school priorities

  • a pastoral network that prioritises the wellbeing and other needs of students.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to embed cohesive and transparent systems to monitor, report and evaluate the progress of all Year 9 and 10 students, to improve student achievement

  • continuing to focus on improving the visibility of culturally responsive practices that consolidate authentic partnerships with whānau and iwi, build teachers’ capability to improve Māori student achievement, and acknowledge the cultures, languages and identities of all students

  • actively addressing the disparity for Māori students as compared to other students’ achievement

  • strengthening evaluation processes and systems to know the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives, including health and safety practices, student wellbeing and how well the school is meeting school values and valued outcomes.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

28 April 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9-13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 20%
NZ European/Pākehā 68%
Pacific 5%
Other ethnicities 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

28 April 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016
Supplementary Review November2012
Education Review July 2010