Palmerston North Boys' High School

Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Boys School)
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:

Featherston Street, Palmerston North

View on map

Palmerston North Boys' High School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within six months of the Education Review Office and Palmerston North Boys’ High School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website


Palmerston North Boys’ High School, located in central Palmerston North provides education for boys from years 9 to year 13. The school’s mission is “to educate young men by challenging and extending them in academic, sporting, and cultural activities to develop the required knowledge, skills, values and character they need to succeed in their lives”. The school has an on-site hostel, College House, housing up to 180 students.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners include to:

  • ensure the academic ethos of the school is retained. Continually achieve better NCEA results. Challenge pupils to earn merit and excellence grades
  • develop and extend opportunities for pupils at years 12 and 13 to pursue on site and tertiary-based extension academic courses and vocationally oriented courses 
  • focus on the development of literacy and numeracy skills within the core curriculum.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Palmerston North Boys’ High School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate the effectiveness a range of curriculum opportunities has on improving literacy and numeracy outcomes and the development of tertiary based partnerships.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is to: 

  • enable all students to leave Palmerston North Boys’ High School having benefitted from the opportunities to participate in a wide range of experiences, finding their individual strengths, and attaining the best qualification they can
  • build on raising achievement through providing opportunities for pupils at Years 12 and 13 to pursue university and vocationally oriented courses and qualifications
  • deepen leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of factors influencing progress and achievement in literacy and numeracy across the curriculum
  • proactively identify gaps in learning and understand how well the school is responding to learner needs.

The school expects to see progress in the areas of:

  • students leaving school having identified and gained qualifications enabling them to meet their aspirations for future success
  • gathering evidence to inform which aspects of learning in literacy and numeracy are working well for learners and which are not effective
  • an increased capability in identifying and responding to literacy and numeracy needs for individual learners leading to students demonstrating increased confidence and achievement in literacy and numeracy.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to integrate effective cross curricular practices for the teaching of literacy and numeracy and raise achievement:

  • well established teaching and learning practices strongly based on the principles of inquiry, individual thinking, deep-learning, personal excellence, and relationships of care and connectedness
  • new curriculum pathways such as the Trades Building Program and a Gateway work-based learning program leading to valuable qualifications and employment 
  • a well-considered framework developed for observing teaching and learning to inform potential improvements in practice 
  • effective processes are in place for evaluating achievement information, using evidence-based inquiry, to improve learner outcomes.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • consolidating quality university, tertiary-based and vocational opportunities which make students highly sought after by industry providers and well placed for achieving their best qualifications during and after leaving school
  • leaders mapping understanding of learner strengths and needs against the new literacy and numeracy matrices to establish priority areas for development across the curriculum
  • continuing to develop and integrate explicit teaching and learning practices across the curriculum that reflect integrated literacy and numeracy and support success at all levels of NCEA
  • use of Professional Growth Cycle inquiry, targeted professional development, observations and learning conversations to support teachers in meeting to the needs of diverse learners.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years. 

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

25 January 2024  

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

This school has a hostel, College House on site.

The school also manages Manawatu Community High School Activity Centre

Palmerston North Boys' High School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of August 2023, the Palmerston North Boys’ High School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Actions for Compliance

ERO and the board have identified the following areas of non-compliance during the board assurance process:

  • Complied with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the Health Curriculum, at least once every two years after consultation with the school community. 

[Section 91 Education and Training Act 2020]

The board has since taken steps to address the areas of non-compliance identified.

Further Information

For further information please contact Palmerston North Boys’ High School, School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

25 January 2024  

About the School 

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Palmerston North Boys' High School

Provision for International Students Report


The Education Review Office reviews schools that are signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020.


The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual self-review of its implementation of the Code. 

At the time of this review there were twenty-nine international students attending the school. 

The school has in place robust self-review processes to maintain a positive experience for international students. Effective procedures and experienced personnel ensure that the pastoral care and needs of international students are met. Thorough pre-enrolment and induction processes support students to transition into the school.  

The school seeks opportunities for enrichment and actively engages with each student to enable them to pursue their individualised goals. These include academic, sport, culture, and English language development. Students are encouraged and supported to engage in a range of school events.  

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

25 January 2024 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. 

Palmerston North Boys' High School

Hostel Report


The Chief Review Officer has the authority to carry out reviews (which may be general or in relation to particular matters) of the provision of a safe physical and emotional environment that supports learning for students accommodated in hostels under section 470 of the Education and Training Act 2020. This function is delegated to review officers who have the powers to enter and carry out review of hostels under section 472 of the Act.


The hostel manager and the hostel owner has attested in the Hostel Assurance Statement that they meet the requirements of the Hostel Regulations 2005.

Boys boarding in College House experience a positive living and learning environment. Boys are encouraged to participate fully in all aspects of the academic, cultural, and sporting life of the college. The Rector, Hostel Manager and hostel staff work with the boarders to promote a culture and climate that reflects the traditions and values of the school. 

Boarders’ physical and emotional safety is well-supported. There are well-known systems and processes to manage safety and wellbeing. The hostel manager and housemasters are all teaching staff and work effectively with other hostel staff to provide an environment in which pastoral care procedures are consistent, clear, and well understood. 

The proximity of the hostel to the school enables boarders to make the most of a wide range school activities in addition to facilities provided on site as part of normal hostel life, including new gym facilities. Boarders’ learning at the school is supported through structured study time and effective communication between school and hostel.

The hostel is well managed by an experienced manager who maintains a culture of regular review and reflection to improve the experience of learners. Boarders spoke of a caring and supportive environment with “great food”.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

25 January 2024 

About the School 

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Palmerston North Boys' High School - 29/06/2017


The school achieves very positive outcomes for learners, including Māori and Pacific. Shared values and traditions are embedded among the learners, staff and community. Curriculum developments reflect a well-considered response to meeting learners' interests and aspirations. Improving evaluation practice should strengthen the school's knowledge of the effectiveness of actions to achieve its identified priorities.

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?

Palmerston North Boys’ High School is located in Palmerston North City. Of the 1836 learners enrolled, 19% are Māori, 5% Pacific and 10% Asian. International student numbers have increased since the March 2014 ERO report. The board operates a school hostel with boarding facilities for 175 students. An enrolment scheme maintains roll numbers at a consistent level.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School vision is ‘to develop educated men of outstanding character’. The school mission aspires to challenge and extend students in academic, sporting and cultural activities. Co-curricular involvement and participation of boys in sport, cultural and creative pursuits are highly valued and embedded as a key part of the school’s curriculum.

Shared values of integrity, courage, pride, respect, industry and humility are fostered through delivery of the school curriculum. Students demonstrate pride in their school. Well-understood and reinforced expectations for positive behaviour and involvement at school promote a climate of mutual respect.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The school recently joined a Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL) with other local schools.

2 Learning

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

Assessment information is used successfully to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement. Aligning school and department targets to learners requiring their achievement accelerated is likely to support better evaluation.

Most learners achieve well. Student leaver data reported at the end of 2016 showed overall National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) above boys nationally at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Nearly all learners achieve Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements. In 2016, qualifications endorsed with merit at Level 1, were above national figures. Raising endorsed qualifications, especially with excellence, is recognised as an achievement target for 2017. Thirtyeight New Zealand Scholarships were gained in 2016, slightly above 2015 figures. Undertaking Massey University papers is an option for some students in Year 13.

The school has increased the achievement of Māori students gaining NCEA at Level 2, since the previous ERO report. Qualifications gained by Māori students at NCEA Level 1 and 2 are well above national data for all boys. In 2016, all Pacific leavers achieved Level 2, showing a significant increase from 2015.

Student retention is positive. Māori student retention has increased significantly over the last three years with over 95% staying at school to a minimum of 17 years of age.

The percentage of students leaving with NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance represents a declining trend since the previous ERO report. School leaders believe increased options are promoting greater numbers of students choosing alternative pathways to University Entrance. Evidence is being gathered to inquire into this achievement trend. An initiative aimed at strengthening literacy practice across departments has also been implemented to increase achievement at Level 3.

Student transition into Year 9 is well considered. Achievement information gathered on entry and at key points during Years 9 and 10 shows most learners make good progress, with some accelerating their achievement. Tracking and reporting processes have improved at Years 9 and 10 to provide learners and parents with regularly updated achievement information and better identify individuals requiring additional support.

Clear processes support department reporting. Maximising this process by strengthening targets is likely to support better evaluation.

Learners are well informed about their progress and achievement. Information is accessible digitally and for some students through regular mentoring. Individual achievement is well tracked and monitored.

Parents and families receive useful information to support their knowledge of their child’s achievement. Written reports, access to digital information and parent/teacher interviews during the year provide opportunities to share information.

3 Curriculum

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

Well-considered curriculum developments have extended options and pathways promoting positive achievement and increasing rates of student retention.

In 2016, leaders and trustees collaboratively reviewed their strategic vision with their community. This provided a valuable opportunity to gather information aligned to the valued outcomes desired by parents, families and staff. An opportunity exists to revisit the schools’ annual planning format and goals as a result of the strategic realignment. Leaders and trustees should consider aligning the objectives contained in the strategic focus as the basis to guide their evaluation.

Well-considered options and pathways meet the diverse needs and interests of learners. An extended range of options for learners in Years 9 and 10 provides greater choice in meeting their interests. Flexibility in course structures in the senior curriculum provides more responsive learning pathways that better suit individual student abilities, interests and aspirations.

School systems and practices are responsive to learners identified with additional learning needs. Academic mentoring, introduced in 2015, has impacted significantly on individuals in Year 13 achieving a Level 2 qualification. Learning support initiatives including, the Achievement Support Programme and Mana Potential provide relevant academic and pastoral support.

Provision for careers education and support valuably guide learners to choose suitable pathways and options that respond to their strengths, interests and future employment and training. Targeted programmes for Māori learners have contributed to increased engagement, retention and success.

Sound systems and processes are used effectively to support, track and monitor the wellbeing of learners. Communication between the many branches of the pastoral team, including between the school and hostel, ensures close monitoring of individuals.

Digital technologies are well used to support teaching and learning. Students from Year 10 up can bring their own laptop to support their learning. Professional learning and development (PLD) is building the capability of teachers with some digital assessments introduced.

The school continues to build practices promoting the recognition and integration of Pacific learners' culture, language and identity. Involvement of Pacific learners in performing arts and opportunities to learn and share culture through relevant contexts supports and values their unique heritage.

Learners develop positive relationships that are meaningfully fostered by Pacific leaders providing guidance and mentoring to individuals. In 2017, a mentoring programme is planned in partnership with the MidCentral District Health Board aimed at supporting the pastoral and academic needs of Pacific students.

The Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 is guiding development of a school Pacific achievement plan. There is further opportunity for the school to work in conjunction with Pacific families to develop shared goals to further promote the place of Pacific students in the school.

School leaders have a clear understanding about the quality of teacher practice. Examples of effective practice, observed by ERO, generally reflect the schools’ shared expectations for teaching and learning. In these classes, student engagement in learning is well supported by teaching strategies that meet the needs of learners.

Environments and relationships between students and staff are respectful, supporting a positive climate and tone.

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

Māori student culture is an integral part of the school. The curriculum offers optional te reo Māori from Years 9 to 13 with Māori performing arts recently introduced for senior students.

The Pūhoro Science Academy, in partnership with Massey University, has been implemented to advance Māori student engagement and achievement in science and technology. The positive achievement of learners in 2016, has resulted in extending the programme to Year 12 Māori students in 2017.

The Māori Achievement Komiti is an inclusive and knowledgeable leadership group facilitating Māori success across the school. They lead teacher PLD and facilitate valuable connections with iwi, hapū and whānau through the recently developed Māori Advisory Group.

Under guidance from the Komiti the school has begun exploring and contextualising the Māori concepts contained in Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. External PLD is also planned to further this work. This is likely to strengthen the collective understanding of staff in reflecting and relating these in their teaching. They should also provide a shared basis to further build the confidence and cultural competencies of leaders and teachers.

In 2016, the Komiti began development of the Māori and Pacific achievement plan. Continued development in this area should provide a clear structure to further develop culturally responsive practices and provide a basis for evaluation.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain current practice and continue to improve its performance through strengthening evaluation practice.

Experienced trustees provide a range of valuable skills to facilitate their stewardship of the school. Regular policy review ensures they meet their legislative requirements. They work effectively with the rector, leaders and teachers to resource the school to meet their identified priorities.

The rector and senior leaders demonstrate a unified commitment to sustaining the traditional values of the school and promoting curriculum change to reflect the changing nature, aspirations and diversity of their learners. Distributed leadership allows staff to use their strengths and contribute to ongoing improvement.

The school’s appraisal processes, system and structure meets the requirement for endorsing teachers' practising certificates. Alignment to the teaching inquiry process supports collaborative engagement of staff in professional learning groups. Continuing to promote consistency in the effective use of the appraisal and inquiry process should further enhance individual and collective practice.

Extensive partnerships with other educational institutions and community networks fosters student learning, health initiatives, wellbeing and guidance. Recent involvement in a Kāhui Ako|COL is a further opportunity to work with local schools and develop their shared achievement priorities.

Regular review and reflection is a valuable part of leaders' and teachers' practice to promote ongoing improvement. Leaders should continue to build internal evaluation, particularly in relation to understanding the added value of changed practice aligned to their achievement priorities.

Provision for international students

The school 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 this review there were 49 international students attending the school, including one exchange student.

ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. Systems and processes that guide provision for international students are comprehensive and clear.

Students have access to very good quality learning experiences, enjoy participation in co-curricular activities and are well supported by effective pastoral care systems. Student wellbeing, academic progress and achievement are appropriately monitored and reported regularly to the board of trustees.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, College House, accommodates 175 students, 10% of the school roll.  It is owned by the Palmerston North Boys’ High School board of trustees. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

There is a sound orientation process for new students. Meaningful opportunities are provided for boys to take on leadership roles and responsibility. Ready access to recreation activities and facilities is valued. Feedback from boarders about hostel systems and relationships through the student council is regularly sought and responded to.

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 traditions of College House and the supportive family like atmosphere. There is an appropriate focus on academic progress and achievement.

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 achieves very positive outcomes for learners, including Māori and Pacific. Shared values and traditions are embedded among the learners, staff and community. Curriculum developments reflect a well-considered response to meeting learners' interests and aspirations. Improving evaluation practice should strengthen the school's knowledge of the effectiveness of actions to achieve its identified priorities.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

29 June 2017

About the School

LocationPalmerston North
Ministry of Education profile number202
School typeSecondary (Years 9 to 15)
School roll1836
Number of international students47
Gender compositionMale 100%
Ethnic compositionMāori 
Other ethnic groups
Special featuresBoarding hostel
Review team on siteMay 2017
Date of this report29 June 2017
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review
Education Review
Education Review
March 2014 
November 2010
May 2007