Taranaki Diocesan School (Stratford) - 29/04/2019

School Context

Taranaki Diocesan School for Girls is a state integrated Anglican boarding and day school in Stratford. There are 113 on the roll, 23 of whom identify as Māori. Forty one percent of students stay at the school hostel. The six international students are from Asian countries.

The schools vision is: successful learners, resolute women, courageous leaders.

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

  • curriculum progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10

  • progress towards achieving National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) for Years 11 to 13

  • Māori student progress and achievement across the curriculum

  • progress, achievement and interventions that support priority learners

  • student wellbeing, special character and pastoral care

  • curriculum enrichment opportunities.

Since the December 2015 ERO review, the school has been renamed as Taranaki Diocesan School for Girls. There have been significant changes in board membership and staffing. At the beginning of 2019, key leadership roles were developed, with the appointment of three new assistant principals who have oversight of the curriculum and achievement, and four heads of house with pastoral responsibilities.

Professional learning and development (PLD) has been undertaken in writing, managing data and restorative practices.

The school belongs to the Central Taranaki 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 consistently achieves equitable and excellent outcomes for almost all its students.

By the end of Year 10, all students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics with Māori students achieving particularly well in writing.

Since the previous ERO review, results in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 and for University Entrance (UE) are consistently above national rates and schools of similar type. Data for 2018 indicates similar patterns of achievement with improved outcomes for Years 11 and 12 students evidenced through higher numbers gaining NCEA merit and excellence endorsements.

Leavers’ data for 2018 shows that 100% of students leave the school with at least NCEA level 2.

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

Many students make accelerated progress across a range of curriculum areas over time.

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?

Classrooms are welcoming, inclusive environments and interactions are positive and respectful. The trustees, principal and staff are highly committed to the holistic wellbeing and learning of each learner. Students’ strengths, needs, interests and identities are well known. They are provided with pastoral care that is deliberate and intentional.

Transitions of students into the school are well managed. A broad range of information is systematically gathered and used by leaders and teachers to support learners at risk of not achieving and to inform teaching programmes and interventions. A well-considered visioning programme for Year 9 and 10 students and a mentoring programme for seniors, support and monitor each student’s achievements, wellbeing, skills and competencies. Senior students are well guided and informed when making subject choices and understand the impact these will have on their career pathways.

The school continues to implement effective practices and processes to address the equity of outcomes for all learners. Leaders have identified writing and student wellbeing as key areas for raising overall student achievement across the curriculum. Well-planned opportunities, new initiatives and PLD are in place to support teachers to further grow their knowledge and practice.

Appropriate use of resourcing enables and supports every student’s participation and engagement in learning programmes alongside their peers. Suitable external support is accessed, in consultation with whānau.

A new model of leadership has been recently established to support change and innovation. Continuing to grow leadership practices is an ongoing school priority. Leaders are focused on enabling the school to provide a rich, responsive curriculum that enables all students to learn and succeed. New approaches to delivering the curriculum, have been trialled. The school is developing a coherent cross-curricula approach which engages students and deepens their understandings.

Trustees are committed to and uphold the school’s special character and vision. They are well informed about initiatives and student outcomes, and strongly focused on positive outcomes and the wellbeing of all students. Their resourcing decisions enhance teaching and learning and enable students to experience individual success as learners.

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

Leaders, departments and teachers are reflective. They use a range of evidence to identify areas for improvement. A stronger focus on documenting and measuring the impact of actions and initiatives should further enhance judgements of effectiveness and evaluative capacity across the school.

Better aligning the vision, direction, strategic priorities and actions, initiatives and PLD will support the school’s improvement focus.

There is a need to continue to develop and document curriculum expectations.

Progress in integrating a bicultural perspective in the curriculum is evident. Consultation with Māori whānau and iwi is ongoing. Continuing to integrate te reo me ngā tikanga Māori throughout the school curriculum and environment should support Māori students’ sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Students of other nationalities have their learning needs well considered. They are well supported to integrate into the school community. Further development of culturally responsive practices should support students’ success and wellbeing.

3 Other Matters

Provision for students in the school hostel

Taranaki Diocesan’s hostel reflects the school’s special character and provides a whānau environment for boarders. It is owned by the board of proprietors.

The hostel promotes and supports the girls’ growing independence by providing accommodation for each year level in separate wings or buildings. The hostel handbook provides clear expectations and useful information for students and their families about hostel operations.

Clear procedures and effective communication between the principal and hostel manager contribute to the smooth daily running of the hostel. Suitable staffing ratios, good facilities and caring personnel promote each student’s wellbeing and learning.

Provision for international students

The school is 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 the review there were six international students from Asian countries attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Documentation and interviews show appropriate systems for the provision of accommodation pastoral care, English language learning and learning pathways to suit individual needs and aspirations. Educational experiences include kapa haka, sports, cultural experiences and performing arts.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Taranaki Diocesan school for Girls performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • commitment of trustees, leadership and staff to all students’ learning and wellbeing

  • highly deliberate systems of mentoring and support which provide guidance to students as they move through and out of the school

  • well-considered strategic actions of trustees and leadership to reshape the structure of the school to enable a more responsive model, attuned to the learning and holistic needs of students.

Next steps

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

refining internal evaluation practices to enable trustees, leadership and teachers to more strategically address and target improved student outcomes

  • aligning the vision, strategic planning and all processes so that the school’s chosen direction is supported and clear

  • continuing to document curriculum expectations

  • building on the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into the school’s curriculum and environment to support Māori students’ learning and wellbeing

  • enhancing cultural responsiveness practices to further support students’ wellbeing and success.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the principal’s appraisal.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must ensure that the principal is appraised and the board receives reports at least once a year to confirm the procedures are being implemented. [Part 31 Education Act 1989]

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

29 April 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Integrated secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


International Students


Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

Maōri 21%

NZ European/Pākehā 72%

Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

29 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015

Education Review January 2013