New Plymouth Boys' High School - 06/06/2014

1 Context

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

New Plymouth Boys’ High School is a large secondary school catering for boys in Years 9 to 13. At the time of the review there were 1220 boys enrolled of whom 19% identified as Māori. The school roll has increased since ERO's 2010 review.

The hostel, located centrally on the school grounds, caters for 167 boys including a number of international students. A recently developed strategic plan is guiding planned hostel upgrades and developments.

The school’s mission statement is: ‘In an environment of integrity and respect NPBHS engages and prepares confident, well-educated young men’. This together with the P.R.I.D.E values -Pride in the school, Respect for self and others, Integrity, Determination to succeed and Engagement - underpins all aspects of school life.

2 Learning

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

Improving student achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 is an ongoing focus. A strategic approach to achieving this includes:

  • identifying a target group of students
  • establishing specific support groups for Māori students
  • mentoring and regular monitoring by deans and group teachers
  • regularly reporting progress to the board.

Roll-based information shows that 2013 NCEA Level 1 results overall have improved with Māori student outcomes improving significantly. Close tracking, monitoring and guidance are having a positive impact on achievement. This has been extended further in 2014. While results at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 have yet to show similar improvement, student retention has increased. Many students achieve merit and excellence endorsements and, success in scholarship examinations.

Pacific students' achievement has a similar profile to others across the school, although the small numbers at each year level make cohort comparisons of limited value.

The fortnightly, schoolwide student engagement report enables clear tracking of student performance. It allows early identification and response to emerging trends. Regular communication with families, integral to this approach, is supporting a growing partnership with parents.

School leaders are using a range of assessment tools to establish baseline data on student entry at Year 9 and show progress through to Year 10. The information gathered is used schoolwide to identify trends and patterns and to identify students in need of specific support.

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees with, the need to continue strengthening teacher capability in the analysis and use of assessment information. This should help:

  • inform planning and teaching within departments and classrooms
  • assist teachers to evaluate lesson and programme effectiveness
  • support students who are at risk of underachievement to fully access the curriculum and make accelerated progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school offers a broad-based curriculum that provides students with a range of options and courses in core subjects and vocationally-based alternatives. These include the Gateway programme and opportunities through the local institute of technology. There is a clear schoolwide focus on subject specific vocabulary to improve literacy skills. Students receive sound careers advice to support their subject and future pathway choices.

Students have many opportunities to participate and enjoy success in an extensive range of academic, sporting, cultural, service and leadership activities.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to support students' learning. Classroom environments are settled with students on task and engaged in their work. Positive relationships are evident among students and teachers. Computer technology is used as an effective tool to support student engagement and learning,

School leaders are working to develop a shared understanding of effective teaching practice to further improve outcomes for students. ERO affirms this direction and recommends that key aspects include:

  • the full implementation of the recently introduced appraisal system to extend teacher effectiveness
  • enhancing teacher capability in the use of student achievement information to inquire into and improve teaching practice
  • reviewing the effectiveness of the Year 9 and 10 curriculum content and structure in meeting the diverse learning needs of students.

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

The school has introduced a range of strategies to improve Māori student success and more closely involving family and wider whānau. These include:

  • the recent re-establishment of the whānau waiora group to enable parents and whānau to share their aspirations and contribute to school development
  • more effectively mentoring individual students and increasing partnership with whānau
  • developing a planned approach to realising Māori student potential
  • giving increasing prominence and support to te ao Māori through kapa haka
  • teachers undertaking regular upskilling in te reo and tikanga Māori

The next step is for school leaders to fully implement the planned approach to realising Māori student potential. This should include focusing on the development of a culturally responsive curriculum and associated teaching practices.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees provide sound governance. They are well informed, ask appropriate questions and make evidence-based resourcing decisions.

There is a positive tone and learning culture throughout the school. Relationships are respectful and reciprocal. Students and staff in the hostel value the family atmosphere. Student wellbeing is supported by a well-considered pastoral and guidance network.

Strong links exist with the wider community. There is a large Parent Teacher Association and an extensive Old Boys' network which contribute effectively to discussion about school direction and operations. The whānau waiora group is working to give whānau similar opportunities. Parent partnership is growing and purposeful.

Leadership is reflective. Senior leaders have specific areas of responsibility aimed at improving student outcomes. They are actively promoting middle managers' abilities to coach and mentor staff development using a range of internal expertise and external support.

The hostel has strong systems for gathering and responding to student ideas, issues and concerns. It is important to extend these systems schoolwide. This should enable all students to have input to aspects of review, ongoing monitoring and improvement.

School leaders and trustees have recognised the need to continue developing a consistent, schoolwide approach to evaluative self review. Review that is data based against agreed indicators will enable leaders to:

  • refine target setting
  • effectively measure the impact of curriculum, teaching, programmes and initiatives
  • lead to continual improvement.

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. At the time of this review there were 20 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Effective policies and practices support the social integration and academic learning programmes of the school’s international students.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel accommodates 167 students, 14% of the school roll. It is owned by the New Plymouth Boys’ High School Board of Trustees. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

Since ERO's 2010 review a strategic plan for the hostel has been developed to guide future decisionmaking.

Relationships within the hostel and between the hostel and the school promote a safe environment that supports students' learning. Boarders spoken with by ERO valued and appreciated the supportive family-like atmosphere. There is an appropriate focus on academic progress and achievement. Boarders appreciate the opportunity to access teaching staff as part of prep.

There is a comprehensive orientation process for Year 9 boys. Meaningful opportunities are provided for boys to assume leadership roles and take responsibility. Ready access to recreation activities and facilities is valued. Feedback from boarders about hostel systems and relationships is regularly sought and responded to.

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 school has a range of fees and charges associated with the curriculum from Years 9 to 13. Trustees and school leaders have undertaken to review this practice against the Ministry of Education guidelines ‘Financial Governance 2013/06’ and Section 3 of the Education Act 1989

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

6 June 2014

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Special Features

RTLB Cluster host school

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

6 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

October 2007

June 2004