John Paul II High School

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

10 Alexander Street, Greymouth

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John Paul ll High School is a Catholic coeducational school with 166 students, 23 of whom identify as Māori. The school currently hosts three international students.

Since the 2014 ERO review, there have been a number of staff changes, including a new deputy principal and some new heads of department. John Paul ll and St Patricks Primary School are located next to each other and share the same board of trustees and some facilities. The high school also has a close association with the adjoining Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

The school is part of the Māwhera Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning.

Some recommendations ERO made for improvement in 2014 have been successfully addressed. These include:

  • embedding a careers programme across the school

  • creating goals specific to raise Māori student achievement

  • the board reviewing its own effectiveness

  • clarifying the roles and responsibilities of senior leaders

  • ensuring that a coherent plan for professional development is in place.

Other recommendations need to be further addressed. These include developing a planned approach to promoting success for Māori, building a shared understanding and approach to the learning needs of very able students, and implementing and embedding teaching as inquiry practices.

The board, senior leaders and teachers also need to build a shared understanding and use of robust internal evaluation practices across the school.

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

The school is responsive to the learning and pastoral needs of students and is making good progress with achieving equitable outcomes for all learners. Student achievement information shows a positive trend over time and reflects evidence of decreasing disparity, especially for Māori learners.

Some of the effective school processes that are contributing to this include:

  • the student-centred board, leadership team and staff

  • the strength and visibility of the school’s special character in relationships, programmes and practices

  • the regular opportunities that students have for one-to-one support from their teachers for their learning

  • close and effective links with local businesses and the wider Catholic community to increase learning opportunities for students

  • well-managed transitions into, through and beyond the school

  • a collaborative approach across the school to pastoral care and student achievement.

The school’s priorities for ongoing improvement include:

  • improving the quality and approach to internal evaluation at all levels of the school

  • developing high quality appraisal processes to further build teacher capability and effectiveness

  • sustaining and further developing bicultural practices and perspectives across the school.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Maori and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectivelyto Māori and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Most students achieve well in Years 9 to 13, particularly in NCEA where there has been a consistent upward trend in achievement over the last 5 years. All Māori students at NCEA levels 1 to 3 achieve above national and cohort levels.

Decreasing disparity in educational outcomes for particular groups of students is also evident. There is an inclusive approach to ensure all students experience success. Students with additional and high needs are well supported.

Students who are at risk are identified and their learning progress is closely monitored. Teachers successfully accelerate the progress of many students who are at risk of not achieving well.Leaders and teachers have adjusted programmes to support these students. There is some evidence to show effective results of progress for these students.

Leaders and teachers are increasingly focussed on improving the quality of NCEA awards through an increased number of endorsements.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has a number of effective processes in place to enable the achievement of equity and excellence for students.

Leaders promote the special character, quality programmes and values that underpin the curriculum and daily life of the school. The identity, language and culture of each student are respected. Increasing emphasis is placed on bicultural perspectives that provide opportunities for all students to understand the bicultural heritage of New Zealand.

The school has developed a process that enables them to monitor and review overall and individual student achievement for Years 9 and 10. This information is closely tracked and regularly reported to the board of trustees. Leaders should also ensure that the board receives information about the sufficiency of students’ progress over time, especially in regard to Year 10 students’ readiness to achieve success in NCEA programmes.

Small class sizes enable teachers and students to develop supportive relationships and opportunities for one-to-one teaching and learning. Student-centred and purposeful partnerships with local businesses and the wider Catholic community are extending learning opportunities for students. This is promoting improved access to appropriate curriculum courses and pathways that better meet students’ interests, aspirations and needs.

Leaders and teachers have maintained a strongly collaborative approach to the pastoral care and academic achievement of students. This is helping to foster students’ spiritual and emotional wellbeing in order to support positive achievement outcomes.

Student transitions from the junior to the senior school and beyond are carefully managed. Career education begins in Years 9 and 10, and leads to a strong focus on career pathways in the senior school. Teachers prioritise literacy improvement across all learning areas. The increasing provision and use of a range of technologies enhances teaching and learning, and supports better monitoring and tracking of student achievement, progress and wellbeing over time.

The board, senior leaders and teachers are strongly student-centred. The very capable board of trustees are active in their stewardship role and serve the school well. They ensure that strategic appointments enrich school programmes and leadership capacity. Leaders build useful, educationally-focused relationships with other educational and community institutions to increase curriculum opportunities for students.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The senior leadership team and board of trustees are committed to further enhancing student achievement. The school has some good systems and processes in place. These should be further strengthened by improving:

  • strategic approaches to sustaining and building on bicultural practices and te ao Māori perspectives in all aspects of school operations

  • evaluative practices at all levels of the school

  • the quality and effectiveness of appraisal processes to better reflect Education Council requirements

  • programmes that specifically provide for the needs of very able students.

School leaders should also make sure that reports to the board about international students include relevant information about the wellbeing, progress and achievement of these students.

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

  • 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 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 3 international students attending the school, all of whom were on a long-term-stay basis. The board receives reports that include information about the international students. An important next step is for the principal to report to the board specifically on the wellbeing, progress and achievement of these students.

International students are very well supported on arrival in New Zealand and made to feel welcome in the school. They are carefully placed in suitable accommodation. Students’ language needs and learning goals are identified so that they can be supported and monitored. Progress towards achieving their individual learning goals is tracked and reports show steady progress towards NCEA qualifications. The students are well integrated into the school and the wider community.

Going forward

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

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates very good progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • improve internal evaluation, appraisal and programmes for very able students

  • continue to improve plans, programmes and practices that promote and embed success for Māori, as Māori.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

16 October 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 83; Boys 73

Ethnic composition

Māori: 23

Pākehā 121

Pacific 5

Other ethnicities: 17

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

16 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2014

Education Review September 2010

Education review August 2007

1 Context

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

John Paul II High School is an integrated co-educational Catholic school for Years 9 to 14 students. The school’s special Catholic character is defined by a well-established history and longstanding traditions related to the Marist and Mercy founding orders. Christian values contribute to a strong ethos of caring for students, consideration for others and a commitment to excellence.

The school uses its unique position of having a primary school adjoining one side and a Polytechnic on the other to extend programmes and opportunities for students. The school’s board also governs the adjoining primary school.

Since the September 2010 ERO review, a new principal, senior leadership team and board chair have been appointed. Changes at trustee and staff levels have also occurred.

The school roll continues to grow and reflect the increasing cultural diversity in the community. More senior students are remaining at the school for longer periods of time. A significant building programme in 2014 will provide a range of new classrooms and facilities for students.

The school has made good progress addressing the recommendations in the previous ERO report and is continuing to strengthen its links with local and wider West Coast education providers.

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 progress in using achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Since the previous ERO review, the principal and senior leaders have:

  • strengthened systems for identifying and monitoring students’ progress across all year levels
  • significantly improved the tracking of student performance at National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) levels
  • introduced a new pastoral system to improve the way the wellbeing and academic needs of all students are being met.

The school’s NCEA achievement information over recent years reflects an increasingly positive trend of academic improvement across senior year levels. The number of merit and excellence endorsements at NCEA subject and course levels continues to increase.

The school has a clearly identified system for gathering the achievement information of students as they enter the school. This information is used to place students in appropriate programmes, provide extra support for students not achieving at expected levels and inform teachers about individual learning needs.

An experienced attendance officer tracks student attendance and uses this information to help support positive changes, where necessary, to students’ presence and engagement.

Teachers know students very well and work together to provide a wide range of support for their learning and achievement. Students told ERO that relationships with teachers are strong and that staff continue to go the extra mile to provide them with such support as extra tutorials and homework clubs out of school hours.

Areas for review and development

The principal and senior leaders are aware of the need to review the effectiveness of provisions for gifted and talented students. Outcomes from this review should help leaders to identify a clear policy, definition and register for gifted and talented education across academic, cultural and sporting codes. This should then form the basis for appropriate programme planning and review.

The principal, senior leaders and teachers should continue to build on professional learning related to inquiry approaches and practices across all learning areas.

Further clarification of responsibilities for the leadership, planning, and review of professional learning and development in the school should strengthen performance and outcomes in these areas.

3 Curriculum

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

Senior leaders advised ERO that they were in the process of reviewing the whole school curriculum. There have been a number of positive developments in the curriculum since the previous ERO review. These include:

  • a broadening of curriculum pathways and choices to meet increasingly diverse learning and career needs, including a trades academy, horticulture and new mathematics and English courses
  • further development of distance learning opportunities to extend curriculum choices
  • a system to support students to take greater ownership over their learning and progress
  • improved access to, and opportunities for, work experience.

Teachers told ERO that the strengthened leadership of assessment and moderation in the school is contributing to improved systems, decision making and practices in this area.

The Year 13 mentoring programme of Year 9 students is making a positive contribution to the engagement and sense of belonging of junior students.

Areas for review and development

The careers department review in early 2013 identified a number of significant areas for improvement. The school has a programme for the development of careers in the school for 2014. Strategic planning to ensure that careers programmes and practices are effectively embedded across the school should also include:

  • an annual action plan that identifies priorities and practices for development, review and reporting
  • clear guidelines and expectations for careers personnel
  • appropriate consultation with students and parents.

The school’s current curriculum review should ensure that New Zealand Curriculum key competencies, thinking and inquiry approaches are further strengthened and integrated into programme delivery and review. This development should extend the guidelines and expectations that the school has already identified regarding ongoing improvement of curriculum design and teaching and learning practices.

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

The school is making progress with promoting success for Māori, as Māori. Examples of this include:

  • professional learning related to te reo and tikanga Māori
  • significant progress, support for and pride in kapa haka from across the school
  • the continuing improvement of Māori student achievement at NCEA levels
  • increased attendance at cultural festivals and events.
Area for review and development

It is now time for the board and senior leaders to develop planning that clearly identifies priorities and goals for development. This plan should include:

  • clarification of the school’s vision, strategic direction and leadership responsibilities in regard to promoting success for Māori, as Māori
  • opportunities for Māori students and their whānau to be actively involved in planning and decision-making processes.

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 has well-defined governance procedures, practices and responsibilities. Trustees bring a wide range of experience to their roles and a number have undertaken governance training. The board receives a good range of useful information that is targeted at raising student achievement. The principal told ERO that he is well supported by the board.

The principal effectively uses the strengths of staff to identify and lead important improvements across the school. His strong focus on succession planning is designed to promote sustainable practices and interventions. Staff told ERO that they are well supported by the principal and senior leaders.

The importance of effectively managing the considerable change occurring at the school, especially regarding building redevelopments, is well understood by the principal and senior leaders. They are well supported in this by the board.

Improved use of self review is contributing to an increasingly reflective culture that is focused on continuous improvement across the school.

Student voice and leadership opportunities have been expanded to include a wider range of responsibilities. Staff told ERO that students had contributed to some important developments at the school.

Areas for review and development

The board has identified the need to review its own effectiveness as a board. This could also include identifying the strengths and next steps involved in its governance of two adjoining schools.

With a new board in place, it is now time for whole board training. This should help to ensure that all trustees have a very good understanding of setting, monitoring and reviewing the strategic direction of the school during its current and next stage of development.

The senior leadership team should:

  • further clarify their roles and responsibilities in order to ensure that workloads are equitable and manageable
  • ensure that effective self-review practices continue to be embedded across all areas of the school’s operations.

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. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

14 May 2014

About the School


Greymouth, West Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 56%

Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other Ethnicities






Special Features

Catholic Integrated School

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

14 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

August 2007

October 2004