Hastings Girls' High School

Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Girls School)
Not Applicable
Total roll:

508 Pakowhai Road, Stortford Lodge, Hastings

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Hastings Girls' High School - 02/11/2017


Hastings Girls’ High School caters for girls in Years 9 to 13. It has 767 girls on the roll, with 41% Māori. Pacific students comprise 16%, Pākehā 33% and other ethnicities make up 10% of enrolments.

The school is welcoming and inclusive. The motto of ‘Akina’ promotes girls advancing in all aspects of learning and life. Shared values to be respectful, strive to succeed, show resilience and be honest’, have been developed through the Ministry of Education’s, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative.

The principal joined the school at the beginning of Term 2, 2017. The school has made improvements to several buildings since the September 2014 ERO report. Steps have been taken to increase connectivity to high speed internet to provide a digital platform for students’ learning.

The school is a member of the Hastings West Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Progress has been made towards addressing the areas for development outlined in the 2014 ERO report. Most of these continue to be priorities for improvement.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Overall results show that many students experience success in National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA). However, the school is yet to successfully achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

In 2016, achievement was above the national figures overall. Nearly all students gain Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements. Most girls leave the school having gained at least NCEA Level 2. However, there is a gap between the overall achievement of Māori students and their New Zealand European (NZE) peers in all Levels of NCEA. This disparity is greater at Level 3 and for University Entrance (UE). Pacific students’ overall achievement is lower than both Māori and NZE at all levels, with a significant gap at NCEA Level 3 and UE.

Students needing improved achievement are identified and become a school priority. Reported information shows increased progress for some students. The proportion of Māori and Pacific students experiencing accelerated progress is less than their peers. Leaders recognise that achievement for Māori and Pacific girls needs improvement, particularly increasing the numbers leaving the school with NCEA Level 3 and UE.

In response to an external evaluation, the new principal and trustees recently revised the strategic direction of the school. Newly developed plans suitably prioritise the improvement of relationships, student mentoring, curriculum and increasing outcomes in literacy and numeracy. The school will discuss progress against its change action plan with ERO.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Improving the effectiveness of the school’s response to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration is a focus for the new leadership team. Leaders are currently developing and introducing a range of different strategies and actions to address this disparity.

A range of data and pastoral information is gathered at the time of students’ transition into the school. Reported data shows that around half of students beginning Year 9 are achieving below expectations in literacy and mathematics and require accelerated progress to meet curriculum expectations. Māori and Pacific students are overrepresented in this group. Some students entering the school have English as a second language learning needs. Data is used to group students, particularly those at risk of underachievement.

Teachers are using a range of assessments to measure students’ achievement and progress. Analysed data identifies a pattern of underachievement and limited progress through Years 9 and 10 in literacy and mathematics. Only a small proportion of students who require acceleration experience increased progress. Māori and Pacific students, in particular, are not making sufficient gains to put them on a positive trajectory towards success in the NCEAs.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School leaders are strengthening processes to better support students to achieve success and provide meaningful pathways through and beyond the school.

Good communication with contributing schools provides useful achievement data and range of pastoral information to group students for teaching and learning. Future involvement in the Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning has the potential to strengthen transition.

Curriculum leaders have extended the range of courses available to cater for the increasingly diverse needs of students. More subjects have been added and teachers are developing areas that respond more effectively to students’ cultural needs. Students are involved in a range of co-curricular academic, cultural and sporting groups.

Groups of teachers are becoming more collaborative and collegial in meeting the challenge of raising achievement. An increased range of information has been more usefully analysed by some teachers and programmes modified. These teachers focus on developing an individualised approach to teaching and learning. These practices need to be extended for all teachers. Integrating contexts for learning that better reflect the culture and history of the local area is supporting improved engagement.

A collaborative response and wraparound support system effectively promotes the priority on student wellbeing. Pastoral deans are successfully identifying, tracking and monitoring students who are at risk. Suitable individual support is put in place and students are setting goals for success. Adapted programmes are promoting increased engagement. Students are involved in leadership and mentoring aligned to the school priorities for promoting wellbeing and a sense of community.

The school caters well for students identified with high or complex needs. A range of individualised plans and strategies are developed and regular meetings monitor and review the effectiveness of support. External agencies are used appropriately when required.

Increasingly reflective teachers and leaders are beginning to value and use student voice to consider how to improve teaching practices.

The principal promotes a collaborative and distributed approach to leadership across the school. Leaders successfully establish an orderly and supportive teaching and learning environment.

Trustees bring a range of capabilities to their stewardship roles. They are increasingly well informed and focus on promoting the school’s vision and values. Continuing to strengthen their understanding of their roles and responsibilities will assist them in this aim.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Recently introduced changes to school practices and processes should improve achievement of equity and excellence.

The school is planning a comprehensive review of the curriculum through consultation with students, parents and the community in order to better align to the strategic aim of developing successful lifelong learners. The review should consider how well the curriculum promotes:

  • improved achievement and progress for priority learners
  • a shared understanding of effective teaching
  • meaningful and relevant pathways through and beyond school.

School leaders acknowledge the need to continue to review the choice and purpose of assessment tools to provide a clearer picture of students’ achievement and progress, particularly for priority learners in literacy and numeracy. Improving how well achievement information is used to plan actions that respond to learning needs, particularly in Years 9 and 10, should assist in improving outcomes for students as they move through the school.

Good relationships between teachers and families are evident. Strengthening these to develop partnerships that promote learning is an ongoing focus. There is an increased focus on developing students’ sense of belonging to the school. Supporting teachers to develop their capability as mentors and promote high expectations for achievement and success are identified next steps.

The school identified that the previous performance management system lacked rigour and consistency. A new appraisal framework and process was implemented during 2017. Further development and full implementation is required to support the school’s aim to strengthen teacher effectiveness.

Leaders have identified the need to develop a shared understanding of evidence-based evaluation across the school. Determining the impact of planned actions on improving achievement and progress to decide what is making the biggest difference to improving equity and excellence, is a next step.

Strategic aims clearly emphasise raising achievement across the school. Refocusing targets to be more explicit for those learners who need acceleration, particularly in Years 9 and 10, is needed.

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.

Provision for international students

The college 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 and meets all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 11 international students, drawn from across Asia and Europe.

Processes for orientation to the school are well considered. Systems for identifying and responding to individual needs and interests are effective. Care is taken to provide suitable, relevant courses that reflect the interests, needs and aspirations of students and their families. Students who set goals for academic achievement experience success at NCEAs that supports transition to higher education.

International students’ welfare needs are well supported and they benefit from the inclusive environment. They participate in a range of cultural and sporting activities at the school and in the wider community. Students have opportunities to share their cultures with other students.

Strengthening the self-review process will support the school to continue to make positive changes that further benefit international students.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Hastings Girls’ High School is reviewing and developing the conditions needed to promote improved learning, engagement and progress for all students. Disparity in achievement for Māori and other students remains.

The key development priorities for the school are to:

  • review the curriculum to strengthen meaningful pathways

  • improve the rate of progress in literacy and numeracy, particularly in years 9 and 10

  • address the disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific

  • strengthen evidence-based evaluation for improvement at all levels.

The school has developed a Change Action Plan to respond to the areas. The school should discuss its progress with ERO.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

2 November 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 41%
Pākehā 33%
Pacific 16%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

2 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review August 2011
Education Review September 2008

Hastings Girls' High School - 25/09/2014


Students achieve National Certificates of Educational Achievement at higher levels than students nationally. The curriculum effectively supports student learning, wellbeing and a wide range of extra‑curricular activities. It is responsive to students’ various interests and needs. A focus on considering the impact of junior school programmes would be a valuable next step.

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

1 Context

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

Hastings Girls’ High School caters for over 800 girls from Hastings and the surrounding area. Thirtyeight percent of current students are Māori and most of these have whānau links to Ngāti Kahungunu. Pacific students make up 12% of the roll.

Close links with the Hastings community are a feature of the school and include students supporting local service organisations.

Knowing students well, as a basis for promoting learning, is a focus. Caring and respectful relationships positively contribute to creating a strong sense of belonging amongst the girls.

Students participate in a variety of cultural, service and sporting activities, both within Hawkes Bay and further afield. The many successes they gain in these areas are enthusiastically celebrated, along with academic success. Current and past students are regularly promoted as role models.

The long-serving senior leadership team and experienced trustees continue to be focused on gaining quality outcomes in all areas of learning. Their current priority is further improving the academic achievement of Māori students.

2 Learning

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

Comprehensive monitoring of individual achievement enables the school to respond effectively to issues that may impact on student progress and achievement.

Assessment information assists with placing students in banded junior classes, identifying students at risk of not achieving and those suitable for extension. It also assists teachers of Year 9 and 10 classes to signal individual progress relative to expected achievement.

The school's Junior Diploma is valued by Year 10 students. It rewards a positive attitude, academic achievement and participation in extra-curricular activities.

A number of students enter Year 9 with low rates of literacy and numeracy. Māori and Pacific students are over represented in this group. Class programmes across the curriculum use a range of strategies to build literacy capability.

Increased collection and analysis of a range of assessment information at Year 9 and 10 should assist the consideration of progress and the impact of the curriculum for individuals and groups of students. A priority should be to consider the impact of school wide literacy practices on accelerating learning for those who enter the school below expectation. It is now timely to consider board targets in relation to achievement and progress in the junior school, particularly in literacy and mathematics.

The school’s focus in the past three years has been on raising the levels of senior achievement, particularly for Māori and Pacific. There is a strong drive to meet the national target for at least 85% of students in all ethnic groups to leave school with the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2. Annual board and department targets are based on this priority.

Close monitoring towards qualifications assists students to be successful. Senior students at risk of not achieving are identified and support is put in place to assist them. Increased engagement with families, particularly in Year 11, is a key strategy.

Attainment of leaver qualifications is at rates higher than for schools of similar type and also for schools overall nationally. In 2013, 86% of leavers gained at least NCEA Level 2.

In the past three years there has been a significant increase in the retention of Māori students. Numbers of Māori leavers with NCEA Level 2 improved significantly in 2013, to 73%. The percentage of all leavers with University Entrance is higher than the national figure. Continuing to increase the level of leaver qualifications for Māori students is a current focus.

Students achieve NCEA qualifications at levels above schools nationally. A 2014 board target, to increase the percentage of Year 11 students gaining NCEA Level

  1. reflects commitment to ensuring students have the necessary background to be able to access a variety of curriculum pathways, further into the senior school.

The number of students gaining NCEA endorsements for merit and excellence has continued to increase and is well above rates for comparable schools. High involvement in external assessments reflects the demanding expectations of both students and their teachers.

Department annual reviews include well-considered analysis of NCEA performance. Useful commentary includes identifying senior student success and how this will be further improved.

Attendance is identified by the school as a significant barrier to achievement. Comprehensive systems are in place to record and monitor student absences. Individual students are followed up and supported to increase their presence at school. Support includes close liaison with home. The collation and analysis of student attendance data (including the success or otherwise of interventions) should be regularly shared with the board. This will assist trustees to be assured of the effectiveness of student attendance management.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum strongly reflects The New Zealand Curriculum guidelines for developing skills and attitudes for successful learner outcomes. It supports students' learning effectively and is responsive to their interests and needs. Students benefit from the emphasis on providing individual attention to support learning.

Akina concepts (be respectful, strive to succeed, show resilience, be honest) restate the key school values of building relationships supportive of learning and personal development. Classroom activities deliberately reinforce the desired values. Akina Awards acknowledge student demonstration of them.

Students with special education needs are welcomed and their specific needs are well catered for. The school has implemented a range of appropriate interventions to support their progress, achievement and pastoral needs. Strong partnerships are formed with students, their families and external agencies. Special needs students learn alongside their peers and participate fully in school life.

Access to a broad range of curriculum opportunities is provided in the junior programme. It assists students to make informed subject choices as they move through the school.

Extended subject choices available in the senior school provides for a range of abilities and aspirations. Students choose from a variety of pathways to successfully gain qualifications and prepare for life outside school. A number of students are involved in individual programmes that support their specific interests. Links with a range of local tertiary providers and employers facilitate a wider range of pathways and smoother transition as students leave school.

Classroom practice emphasises building and maintaining relationships that support positive outcomes. Interactions are respectful. Classroom environments are purposeful and focused on learning.

Teachers use a range of strategies to successfully support positive engagement. Lessons are well paced and include regular reference to contexts well known by students. There is an emphasis on ensuring students are well prepared to involve themselves in activities and learning. Independent tasks are often supported by peer discussions. Te ao Māori concepts and perspectives are valued and regularly integrated into classroom programmes.

Transitions into and within school are capably managed and responsive to students' needs. In recent years, stronger relationships have been built with contributing schools. Getting to know students well is a priority as they begin at the school. Positive and trusting reciprocal relationships create a sense of connection and belonging within the school community. Senior students support juniors and play an important role in promoting positive interactions.

Wellbeing is a shared responsibility across the school. It is effectively promoted in a climate where respect, compassion and concern for others of diverse backgrounds and beliefs are encouraged. Students are provided with many opportunities to build and display leadership skills. To strengthen practice senior students should be provided with greater opportunity to feedback on how effectively the school supports their wellbeing and engagement.

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

The school curriculum is relevant and responsive to Māori students and whānau. A range of strategies support Māori to be successful learners.

Leaders acknowledge responsibility and actively work to build capacity among staff to cater for the strengths, needs and aspirations of Māori students. Over half the teachers have been involved in tertiary level courses to increase their cultural understanding. A kaiawhina has been appointed. She visits classes and has established relationships that support learning with students and whānau.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are an integral part of school life. Te Roopu Manuhuia, the kapa haka group, takes a significant role in school events and is well supported by staff and whānau.

Positive reciprocal relationships exist between adults in the school, Māori students, whānau and iwi. A special relationship exists with Mihiroa Marae. Building on the partnership with Ngāti Kahungunu to share educational goals for girls that are in common is a current priority.

The importance of meaningful partnership with whānau and iwi is acknowledged by the board and staff. These links should continue to be extended.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific?

Pacific students are successful learners and enthusiastically involved in many extra-curricular activities. They are active in a number of leadership roles.

The student-organised Pacific Pride group actively participates in a variety of performance events. Pacific cultural values are increasingly shared through art and design.

Reciprocal links between parents and the school are increased by the relationship developed with the Pasifika Ministers’ Association. Continuing to build partnerships with Pacific families is a school identified priority. ERO's evaluation supports this future direction.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A focus on improving learning outcomes is evident and enables the school to be well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Self review is inclusive, involving teachers, students, parents and trustees. A clear purpose guides self review. There is a focus on teaching and learning practice and outcomes for learners. Self review provides guidance for future planning.

Appraisal is linked to the board’s strategic priorities and the appropriate professional competencies. As implemented, however, it is not an effective process to support ongoing teacher development.

Professional learning in 2014 has increased the extent to which teachers critically inquire into the impact of their teaching on raising student achievement. Continuing to increase the use of evidence and more improvement-focused observations of teaching should increase the robustness of current practice.

A more robust appraisal system for senior leaders should be implemented.

The board should review the principal’s appraisal process to ensure it meets good practice guidelines.

Teachers are involved in a range of professional learning opportunities, including in-school activities, local cluster initiatives and subject associations. They collaboratively share practice, particularly within curriculum areas. Teachers are reflective and active learners.

Senior leaders are very experienced, with specialist skills and strengths that complement each other. They know students, their families and the community well. The principal has a consultative approach. She actively maintains a climate of high expectations and, in association with the board, ensures resources are readily available to promote learning and extra-curricular involvement.

An experienced board of trustees clearly articulates the values and direction of the school. Trustees continue to build their own capability by participating in training opportunities. The board receives appropriate information on a range of operational areas. NCEA achievement and extra-curricular successes are fully shared. To improve the board’s ability to further develop its strategic role, reporting to the board should also include:

  • more detailed information on Year 9 and 10 achievement and progress, including in departmental annual review reports, particularly in relation to those students achieving below expectations whose learning needs to be accelerated
  • monitoring of progress towards achieving annual targets to assist the board to determine whether anticipated targets are being met, and to look to make adjustments when it is not on track.

Provision for international students

Hastings Girls’ High 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 there were 14 international students attending the school, including four exchange students.

The director and home stay coordinator follow effective processes to support the education and wellbeing of students. Home stay placements and student orientation to the school are well managed. Teachers receive useful information about new students that includes their interests, educational goals and English language level. Regular reports on progress go to agents and overseas families. Student participation in a wide range of school and community activities demonstrates full integration into the life 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.


Students achieve National Certificates of Educational Achievement at higher levels than students nationally. The curriculum effectively supports student learning, wellbeing and a wide range of extracurricular activities. It is responsive to students’ various interests and needs. A focus on considering the impact of junior school programmes would be a valuable next step.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

25 September 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

25 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2011
September 2008
August 2005