Shirley Boys' High School - 02/11/2015

1. Context

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

There is a strong school culture that focuses on positive relationships at all levels. This has enabled the school to confidently respond to challenges from the past, and build sound learning opportunities for the future.

Boys benefit from a strong sense of belonging to their school, confidence in their identity as a member of the school community, and pride in their own school-wide achievements. There is a well developed philosophy for boys’ education.

Consequences from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and historic building problems are still causing challenges for the school. The school is currently planning to relocate to a purpose-built facility in 2018. Planning to achieve this move can be more focussed when the school has certainty about future developments.

2. Learning

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

The school is making good use of learning information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students achieve well in NCEA, particularly at Levels 1 and 2. Achievement levels in literacy and numeracy at Level 1 are significantly higher than national comparisons. Māori achievement levels for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 are better than national levels for Māori. Pacific students achieve well in Levels 1 and 2 as do Asian students at all levels.

A useful range of learning information is gathered for students when they enter at Year 9. This helps teachers to identify learning needs and to group students within class programmes to better meet their learning needs. Students with additional learning needs receive extra support within class programmes. Senior students identified as not having quite enough credits to complete a certificate by the end of the year benefit from a targeted approach to help them achieve the credits they need. High performing students are also supported to excel.

Teachers are engaging more in learning conversations with students so they can improve their teaching practices that help raise achievement levels. Some teacher initiatives are also focusing on developing teaching approaches that strengthen students’ literacy levels.

The school is giving priority to engaging parents more in their sons' learning. Student achievement information is regularly reported to parents and they can have access to this information electronically.

Areas for review and development

The school has made improvements in the areas identified below. Leaders agree with ERO that to further strengthen the use of learning information they should:

  • continue to improve merit and excellence levels for NCEA, and to increase numbers of students achieving UE
  • extend the use of achievement information to identify the impact of school-wide programmes and initiatives on Years 9 and 10 students
  • ensure learning support initiatives are monitored and evaluated.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

The concept of the ‘Shirley Man’ encompasses the values the school uses to underpin learning and wellbeing for students. There are deliberate ways the school links classroom learning to learning beyond the classroom. Sporting, creative, environmental and service activities extend the ways boys' interests and needs are used to educate the ‘whole’ boy. There is regular celebration of success of the ‘Shirley Man’.

Student feedback about their learning is valued and regularly sought. Students’ ideas and opinions are gathered and responded to within the classroom and in the wider life of the school. This is leading to teachers improving their teaching approaches to better support boys’ various learning needs.

Current initiatives by some heads of department and teachers are effectively investigating how the curriculum can be more responsive to student learning needs within a modern learning environment. Improved use of digital technologies is helping students and teachers to effectively use and integrate these as learning tools.

Students at risk of not succeeding in the senior school are well supported from Year 10. The school supports those boys in the senior school who would benefit from strong links between their course choices and their likely career pathway beyond school. Each student is closely monitored by his form tutor teacher. Parents are included in decision making about course choices and, there is guidance to help students make a successful transition beyond school.

Students are very well supported by high quality pastoral care and mentoring. There are effective links to community organisations and support agencies. Senior boys mentor junior boys to help them integrate and participate fully in the life of the school. This approach closely reflects the school’s vision for tuakana-teina relationships.

Areas for review and development

The board and headmaster have identified the need for a full review of the school’s curriculum as the school plans to move to a new purpose-built facility. ERO and school leaders have agreed that steps can be taken to:

  • develop a plan for the review of the school-wide curriculum
  • clarify and extend understanding of what a successful 21st century learner looks like and can do
  • further develop ways the school’s curriculum can help each student to plan purposefully towards work, or further education
  • develop guidelines for appropriate teaching and learning approaches, and the contexts needed to achieve the desired outcomes for boys
  • improve the consistency and quality of evaluation and reporting by departments
  • implement an effective school-wide professional learning programme that gives opportunities for all leaders and teachers to develop a shared understanding for learning and teaching in the new context.

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

The school provides very good opportunities for Māori students to achieve educational success as Māori. The school successfully incorporates Māori concepts into its vision. Teachers and trustees participate in professional learning conducted by Māori experts in authentic contexts such as the marae. Teachers are supported to do post graduate study and attend conferences relating to Māori education. Whānau, past students and members from the community are encouraged to contribute to and support school initiatives.

The school has established a Māori and Pacific leadership team, and school-wide systems to support students’ education.

Benefits for students include the:

  • celebration of their language, culture and identity
  • celebration of academic, cultural and sporting successes.

To further support Māori students to achieve as Māori the board should:

  • document strategic goals and planning for Māori education
  • monitor the effectiveness of actions to implement this planning
  • continue to report fully to the Māori community.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific students as Pacific?

Pacific students are well supported in their language and culture. There are strong links between the school and the Pacific communities. Pacific students achieve well when compared with other students in the school.

To further support Pacific students to achieve, the board should:

  • document strategic goals and planning for Pacific education
  • monitor the effectiveness of actions to implement this planning
  • continue to report fully to the Pacific communities.

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.

The board and school leaders have provided strong leadership in response to the challenges of earthquake damage and the redevelopment and redirection of the school. They have strongly committed themselves to see the school through major challenges in recent years.

The headmaster provides confident leadership with a strong vision for the future. He works collaboratively with the board, leaders and staff to maintain a firm focus on boys’ learning. The senior leadership team works collaboratively in response to well-developed expectations for their leadership responsibilities.

Students confidently take on various leadership roles in the school. This is enabling boys to more fully participate in the life of the school, and to fulfil the school’s vision for the ‘Shirley Man” as an active all-round participant and leader.

There is a reflective culture at leadership and teacher levels. Many teachers are involved and well supported to improve outcomes for students’ learning and wellbeing. Teachers participate in a sound school-wide appraisal programme that is helping them to build their capacity to improve teaching and learning.

The board has consulted regularly with parents. Trustees are well poised to gather ideas from all stakeholders, including students, about the future direction relating to 21st century learning and teaching. Parents are provided with good information about school activities that support them and their sons. They have many opportunities to participate in a range of school activities and to engage in parent education.

Areas for review and development

The board and headmaster are working closely with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to achieve a successful relocation to a new school site in 2018. The board and leaders are very aware of the need to plan for this move and to ensure teachers are prepared to teach in a modern learning environment. To achieve this successfully there needs to be:

  • clear expectations between the school and MOE
  • a shared understanding and commitment by all staff to the vision for the ‘new’ school
  • an extensive, coherent and well-resourced approach to planning.

Planning should include:

  • finalising with the MOE the framework within which planning and school development can take place
  • further development of the board strategic and annual planning, and the evaluation of the impact of their work
  • succession planning for board membership and ongoing training and support for trustees in their stewardship role for the school
  • completion of the senior leadership team restructure and their performance management programme.

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, the school was reintroducing its programme for international students. The school has maintained processes that allow it to meet the Code. There is currently one international student enrolled at 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.


Effective leadership and commitment from staff have enabled the school to maintain a strong focus on boys’ wellbeing and achievement. Boys experience a well-balanced curriculum. Their feedback and participation in learning and wider school activities is encouraged, valued and respected. Initiatives to make sure teachers and boys are prepared and able to learn in the school's new context are well supported and valued by leaders and the board.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

2 November 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition





Other ethnicities






Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

2 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

December 2007

June 2005