Papanui High School - 08/10/2014


How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

The school highly values and promotes sustained improvement through ongoing reflection, review and innovation. Positive relationships and an ethos of caring contribute to a culture of inclusion and high expectations. Students experience a broad curriculum within and beyond the school. Over time, student achievement is continuing to improve. The wellbeing, engagement and learning progress of students remain high priorities for the board, leaders and staff.

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

1. Context

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

The school culture and values are most clearly evident in the way students from a range of cultures and backgrounds are included and supported. Student wellbeing is promoted by well-developed pastoral care processes.

School programmes effectively support students with a range of learning needs. The specialist unit for students with high needs remains in strong demand. The school hosts international students. The student roll and staffing levels remain stable.

Very strong relationships are established with the local community through links with local businesses, shared community facilities and adult education programmes. Parents are well informed and included in school programmes and activities. Leaders and staff use local amenities very well to extend learning opportunities for students.

The board and staff have responded well to the recommendations in the 2009 ERO report, with improvements made to teaching approaches and increasing opportunities provided for students to be involved in school initiatives. The school is waiting for confirmation of building developments needed to further support the delivery of its well-developed curriculum.

2. Learning

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

The board, leaders and teachers use achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Leaders and teachers have given high priority to implementing a number of school-wide initiatives that focus on identifying and meeting students’ learning needs. There is a strong emphasis on working with each student to identify their learning pathways and appropriate ways to meet them. Students receive effective mentoring to plan for their learning progression within and beyond the school.

Positive relationships between teachers and students help to foster attitudes and skills that enhance engagement in learning. Teachers help students to set high expectations for their learning. Teachers use achievement information well to:

  • adapt programmes to meet individual learning needs
  • identify students who need extra support
  • monitor and report on student progress over time.

Students spoken with by ERO said that teachers consistently go the extra mile outside class hours to support their learning.

Students who require specialist learning support receive high-quality programmes to meet their specific needs. Their progress is closely monitored and changes are made as appropriate. Students’ learning and wellbeing are supported by an experienced teaching team.

Regular reporting of useful engagement and participation information is used effectively to monitor individual student progress. Reports to parents allow them to be more involved in a learning partnership with their children.

Teachers gather a range of learning and wellbeing information from contributing schools and parents when students begin in Year 9. This information is used by teachers to:

  • understand learning needs and provide extra support where necessary
  • set learning programmes at appropriate levels
  • help students to develop their particular interests through the wide range of subject options available in Years 9 and 10.

Achievement information for National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 in 2013 shows significant improvement. At this level, results for literacy and numeracy are high. Over recent years, there is a continuing trend of improving academic results across NCEA Levels 2 and 3. The number of NCEA merit and excellence endorsements is increasing.

Leaders are aware of the need to improve the range and use of achievement information gathered for Years 9 and 10 students.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in supporting and extending students’ learning and engagement.

The design of the curriculum and how it is timetabled across year levels allows for considerable flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of individual learners. Pathways to further learning and employment are very well supported through the high-quality academic counselling, careers advice and guidance programme. Students in Years 9 and 10 have a wide range of subject options to choose from. Senior students have many choices and opportunities for learning through internal courses, links with tertiary providers, contact with local employers, and the school’s effective work experience programme.

Departments have increased their focus on developing a shared understanding of student learning needs and how courses can be more flexibly delivered to increase student choice. There has been good progress with integrating technologies into classrooms to better support students' learning, and to help senior students track their own progress.

The breadth of learning is substantially increased through the school’s extra-curricular programmes. Students can choose from well-developed programmes in music, the arts, cultural pursuits, sport and outdoor education. These programmes are further enhanced by the access students have to high-quality on-site facilities that have been developed in partnership with the local community. The school is proud of the many local and national awards that students have received through their involvement in these activities.

Teachers are well supported through targeted professional development that focuses on student learning and wellbeing, and how each student can be best supported to succeed. There is an increased focus on improving teachers’ understanding of learning approaches that span all subject areas. The next steps to support this initiative include:

  • continuing to improve teachers’ shared understanding of how thinking, inquiry and key competency skills develop from Year 9 through to Year 13, and how these can be best taught across subject areas
  • developing ways to gather, analyse and report information about thinking, inquiry and key competency skills.

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

The recent appointment of a new head of Māori builds on a tradition of respect and strong support for te ao Māori in the school. Relationships between whānau, staff and Māori students have helped to sustain positive support and guidance that is contributing to some notable successes. These include:

  • a growing number of students in the whānau class
  • some high levels of success in regional and national cultural competitions that demonstrate the depth of connection and pride that Māori students have in their culture and language
  • well-attended events for whānau and students to acknowledge and celebrate success
  • a trend of improvement in Māori achievement over time.

After a period of significant change, the school is now in a position to:

  • formalise strategic and annual planning to further promote success for Māori, as Māori
  • extend the use of te reo Māori to all classes.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

A strength of the school’s culture is the shared vision and commitment to supporting student learning, progress, achievement and wellbeing. Collaborative practices are evident among trustees, leaders and staff. Students ERO spoke with confirmed that this culture is effective in supporting their learning, wellbeing and opportunities to follow their personal interests.

Trustees bring a range of expertise and skills to the board. They have a good understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities and work collaboratively with leaders to support high-quality learning and teaching. Strategic and annual planning is strong. School goals and achievement targets give clear guidance to leaders and staff.

The quality of senior leadership is professional, well informed and effective in achieving a deliberate focus on the individual learner. The principal has developed a leadership team with individual roles and responsibilities that are clearly defined and well supported. This approach to distributed leadership effectively supports the managing of change, succession planning and sustainability.

Senior leaders work closely with heads of department and other curriculum leaders to encourage and support innovation in learning and teaching. Teachers are given opportunities to use their strengths and interests and to grow their leadership skills. A number of innovative school developments have been willingly shared with other schools.

There is a strong reflective culture school wide. Self-review processes are well established and the outcomes of review are effectively used to improve learning, teaching and the management of school processes. Pilot studies are used purposefully to explore new options and review practices are well informed by research. Head of department reports to the board are detailed and well-considered by trustees. There is a collaborative approach to the analysis and use of achievement information to inform self review.

Parents are kept well informed about school activities and events through regular newsletters. Fortnightly reporting gives parents very good opportunities to become part of the learning partnership with their children. The Parent Teacher Association works closely with leaders and the board to support school developments.

The board and principal have successfully promoted extensive relationships within the local community. Links with local businesses, tertiary providers and community groups have significantly increased opportunities for students to explore pathways for their learning, further study and employment options.

The school and ERO have identified next steps to further strengthen the sustainability of practices. These include:

  • completing the teacher appraisal pilot study and implementing appropriate new procedures to further support reflection and review
  • ensuring all support staff are appraised annually
  • further aligning board goals and targets with department and teacher appraisal 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. ERO verified that these processes had been completed annually.

At the time of this review, there were 42 international students attending the school.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school has thorough systems and practices to support and review the quality of students’ wellbeing and education. Students are actively included and involved in all aspects of the school.

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 highly values and promotes sustained improvement through ongoing reflection, review and innovation. Positive relationships and an ethos of caring contribute to a culture of inclusion and high expectations. Students experience a broad curriculum within and beyond the school. Over time, student achievement is continuing to improve. The wellbeing, engagement and learning progress of students remain high priorities for the board, leaders and staff.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

8 October 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other ethnicities






Special Features

Special Needs Unit

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

8 October 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2009

October 2005

October 2003