Avonside Girls' High School

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

209 Travis Road, North New Brighton, Christchurch

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Avonside Girls' High School - 28/02/2018


Avonside Girls’ High School has a roll of 846 students, 169 of whom identify as Māori and 49 as Pasifika. The school’s sustained focus is on consolidating its vision for learning and wellbeing to improve outcomes for learners and to position the school well for re-location in 2019.

ERO recognises that the school has faced extreme challenges, some of which are ongoing, since the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. These challenges have been managed by the board, leaders and teachers in ways that have prioritised minimising any negative impact for students.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has had a number of staff changes, some in key positions. In regard to the school’s relocation in 2019, an ongoing focus for the board, leaders and teachers is the planning and preparation for a unique new school, co-located with Shirley Boys’ High School, while also continuing to provide teaching and learning for current students.

International students attend the school mainly from Japan and Thailand. The school has a richly diverse student population and is a member of the Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL). Leaders and teachers have established a reciprocal relationship with local iwi.

Since the last review the school has made progress in establishing a more responsive curriculum and in developing ways to seek and value student voice.

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

The school is making progress to achieve equitable outcomes for all learners. Interventions aimed at raising the achievement of learners at risk of not achieving in the senior school have been successful. The school has strengthened its monitoring and support for students identified as requiring learning support.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori students have been making positive progress over time. This data also shows that ongoing disparity within the school for these students remains.

Teachers are in the early stages of working collaboratively and promoting practices that enable greater personalisation of learning, particularly at the senior level. The school needs to continue to develop and evaluate processes and practices that effectively support the engagement, achievement and progress of all learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in 3 years.

Equity and excellence

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

Over the past three years the school has not consistently ensured that the learning needs of all priority groups of students have been well met. Recent initiatives have been implemented to more effectively improve outcomes for these learners.

During this time, school achievement reports show that Equitable outcomes for Māori and Pasifika learners at other levels of NCEA remains a school priority.the school raised the proportion of Māori and Pasifika learners achieving NCEA Level 1 in 2016.

High numbers of Pākehā learners made sufficient progress to achieve NCEA Level 2, and the number of NCEA endorsements for both Māori and Pākehā students has increased.

The school is developing systems to respond to students in Years 9 and 10 whose learning and achievement need acceleration. As yet, leaders cannot be assured of the reliability of its data to show the amount of progress these learners have made.

In 2016, most learners who were supported through the provision of specialist services made appropriate progress.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school is developing some effective processes and practices that enable equity and excellence. Leaders now need to put robust processes in place to promote consistency and to ensure the regular evaluation of these processes and practices.

School targets and intentional actions by leaders have led to improved attendance and achievement. NCEA endorsements at Levels 1, 2 and 3 have shown continued improvement over the last five years. At NCEA Level 2, a range of targeted interventions in 2015 and 2016 were successful in achieving positive outcomes for many students whose achievement was identified as being at risk.

The board and senior management have developed and are implementing a clear Vision for Learning for the school. This incorporates a comprehensive and responsive school-wide wellbeing initiative that now needs to be embedded and evaluated. At the onsite stage of ERO’s evaluation, it was too early for ERO to evaluate the impact of these changes on outcomes for learners.

As part of the school’s Vision for Learning, leaders and teachers are building their capacity to incorporate collaborative and personalised approaches to teaching and learning. Senior students now have more ownership of their learning through increased choice in both how and what they learn. The school provides a range of programmes in response to student needs, aspirations and wellbeing. Students benefit from opportunities to access outside agencies and organisations who work with the school to support learning and wellbeing.

Learners with additional or high learning needs are well provided for and benefit from a comprehensive transition process into the school. The school has strengthened its learning support resourcing and practices and can show progress for some of the students who receive this additional support. This information needs to be regularly reported to the board.

The school has some systems to monitor sufficiency of progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10. Leaders and teachers have begun to analyse data and learning information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes. The school needs to ensure that there are robust processes that contribute to data reliability and that monitoring processes are consistently effective.

Since the last ERO review the school has successfully introduced several initiatives to encourage a greater sense of identity within the school for both Māori and Pasifika students and their families. These positive initiatives include regular hui with whānau, a designated vertical whānau form group, employment of a kaiawhina, and a Pasifika liaison teacher.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

The range of initiatives aimed at achieving equity and excellence are in the early stages of implementation. The school now needs to further strengthen processes that effectively support the engagement, achievement and progress of all learners.

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

School leaders acknowledge the need to continue to strengthen internal evaluation across all aspects of its organisation. To do this, the board, leaders and teachers should:

  • adopt a more systematic approach to internal evaluation at all levels of the school

  • evaluate the effectiveness of Year 9 and 10 monitoring, assessment and interventions to ensure that systems are robust and coherent and that all learners are making sufficient learning progress

  • evaluate the impact of initiatives on learning and wellbeing outcomes for learners.

To ensure positive outcomes for all learners the school should continue to strengthen consistent and cohesive systems and practices relating to:

  • reliable, timely and evaluative reporting against targets, progress and achievement

  • embedding accurate tracking of progress within and across Years 9 and 10

  • the ongoing promotion and embedding of high quality teaching practices, and monitoring the goal setting, wellbeing and engagement of all 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.

Appraisal audit

At the time of this review the school had recently introduced a new appraisal system to meet Education Council requirements. Appraisals audited by ERO during the current review were part of the previous system and did not meet requirements.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (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 24 international students attending the school, including 2 exchange students.

The school is effective in providing pastoral care and education for its international students. Students are well supported to integrate into the school and their progress is closely monitored. The board of trustees receives quarterly reports on the international students.

Going forward

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

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. Disparity in achievement for Māori and other learners remains.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to build and embed:

  • consistent approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner

  • processes that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement

  • teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement

In order to continue to extend the current capacity and capability in the school to accelerate learning for all students, leaders and teachers also need to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate progress for learners

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and learners’ progress.

ERO will work with the school regarding reporting about progress against agreed outcomes.

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


Current planning for the re-location of Avonside Girls’ High School in Term 2, 2019 involves major environmental and teaching and learning changes. The board and leaders are committed to continuing to manage this change in a considered, consultative and transparent manner that promotes the learning and wellbeing of all students and staff. They acknowledge the support provided by the Ministry of Education to date.

In order to ensure full support for the school during this time, ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education, in consultation with the school, considers providing:

  • increased support for the board and leaders in managing school re-location, in ways that are determined by the school, and that reflect key priorities and needs as they emerge during this process.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

28 February 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type


School roll


Gender composition


Ethnic composition

Pākehā 64%

Māori 20%

Pacific 6%

Asian 5%

Other 5%

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

28 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

November 2013

September 2009

November 2005

Avonside Girls' High School - 22/11/2013

1 Context

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

Avonside Girls’ High School has a well-established history, longstanding traditions and a sense of pride about girls’ state education in Christchurch. The board, senior leaders and staff are strongly committed to providing high quality pastoral support for girls that promotes learning and achievement. A wide range of sporting and cultural opportunities within and beyond the school encourages increased engagement and extends learning and enjoyment for students.

Major damage from the Canterbury earthquakes resulted in the loss of historic buildings and most classrooms and school resources, relocation to Burnside High School for 2011, a fall in the school roll and considerable hardship for students, staff and the neighbouring community. Students told ERO that the strong support from staff enabled them to maintain their focus on learning and achievement during a time of major disruption.

After a complete redevelopment of buildings and grounds that included extensive staff involvement, the school returned to its original site at the beginning of 2012. The attractive and welcoming site is contributing to a calm and settled learning environment.

Since the September 2009 ERO review, changes have included a new principal and a number of new staff members. The school community is becoming increasingly multicultural. Significant improvements to information and communication technologies (ICT) are benefiting classroom learning, school systems and communication.

The school has successfully addressed all recommendations from the 2009 ERO review. Since the onsite stage of this review, the Ministry of Education has advised the school that, along with Shirley Boys' High School, it will be rebuilt on a new site in eastern Christchurch. The two schools will remain as separate schools but will share some facilities.

2 Learning

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

The school is making progress in the use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. This is helping teachers to improve:

  • the way the needs of students are identified and monitored
  • priorities and planning for programmes and teaching strategies
  • targeted support for some specific learning needs
  • teaching as inquiry processes.

Overall since the last review, the percentage of students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 or above has steadily increased.

During this time, Māori leavers have also improved their rates of gaining qualifications at similar levels of improvement. The school addressed a recent decline in some achievement at Level 1 by implementing targeted strategies to improve success for these students.

Pasifika students generally achieve qualifications at rates above the national norms and have good rates of retention.

Next steps

The school does not yet have a cohesive approach to identifying, monitoring and evaluating programmes and progress for some groups of priority learners across the school.

An external review of learning support took place in the latter part of 2012. An action plan has been developed to address recommendations identified as priorities for improvement. It is now important for leaders to ensure that all recommendations are followed so that:

  • the progress and achievement of all girls receiving learning support is effectively monitored, evaluated and regularly reported to the board to show the impact of learning interventions and outcomes over time
  • the systems and practices in place are effectively supporting and meeting the needs of all priority learners across the school
  • programmes for priority learners are appropriately coordinated and managed.

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 definition for gifted and talented students across academic, cultural and sporting codes that can form the basis for appropriate programme planning and review
  • establish a register that identifies gifted and talented students and includes the ways their learning will be further extended.

Senior leaders and teachers should ensure that the school management system is being used more effectively to record, monitor and track the progress of all students over time.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is increasingly effective in the way student learning is promoted and supported.

Senior leaders have reviewed the junior curriculum and changes have been made to ensure there is balanced curriculum coverage across all learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s curriculum is becoming more responsive to the needs of students. ERO affirms senior leaders’ plans to further extend learning pathways across the senior school.

Changes to curriculum leadership are helping to strengthen curriculum programmes and practices.

During the review, ERO observed purposeful learning environments, very good levels of student engagement and positive relationships that are promoting learning.

The improved ICT infrastructure and targeted professional learning and development are helping to build teachers’ understanding and use of digital technology to enhance and extend student learning.

Next step

The next step for school-wide curriculum development is to:

  • show how programmes meet the distinctive needs of girls at this school
  • embed school-wide key competencies and appropriate thinking and inquiry strategies across curriculum areas
  • further develop the vision and expectations for what high quality leadership of teaching and learning looks like at this school.

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

The school has made some progress in promoting educational success for Māori students as Māori. A positive feature of this progress is the mentoring programme that provides individual support to Māori students. The high quality leadership of this programme is contributing to a strong sense of belonging and self confidence for these students.

Next step

The action plan developed by the school identifies goals to increase Māori presence, engagement and achievement, and provides the school with clear next steps. This action plan should also identify:

  • responsibilities and timeframes
  • an annual review of progress that is reported to the board and community.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pasifika Island students, as Pasifika?

Since the last ERO review school leaders have effectively met all of the recommendations related to promoting educational success for Pasifika students. These include the:

  • development of a school-wide policy that identifies good practices for supporting Pasifika students
  • increased engagement with parents and the Pasifika community to share and celebrate student achievement
  • delegation of responsibility to a senior leader for the oversight of these students, and appointment of a teacher to monitor and track their progress and achievement
  • employment of a Pasifika liaison tutor who is highly regarded by students.

Next step

ERO affirms senior leaders' plans to review the progress to date in this area and identify further steps for ongoing improvement.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

ERO is confident that the board and senior leaders have an ongoing focus on improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for students. A useful discussion document about the vision and future of the school has been completed recently.

The board, principal, senior leaders and staff have successfully managed severe earthquake-related disruption and dislocation. They are strongly committed to, and have begun planning for, using the school’s rich history as the context for building a 21st century learning environment for girls.

The board has clearly-defined roles and responsibilities. Trustees bring a wide range of expertise to their roles including previous governance experience. Teachers told ERO that the board is very supportive and that the board chairperson, in particular, was highly visible during the earthquake-related upheaval.

The principal ensures that board members receive a wide range of information necessary for effective planning and decision-making processes. Together with senior leaders, she has made improvements to the guidelines and expectations for performance management and the use of achievement information to improve student learning. Teaching as inquiry has been introduced to further strengthen understanding about practices that contribute to more effective teaching and learning.

Self-review practices are contributing to improvements in a good range of school programmes and practices. Senior leaders should continue to extend and develop self-review approaches that clearly show the impact and outcomes of interventions.

Next steps

The principal and senior leaders have identified the need to update job descriptions across the school. ERO agrees that this is a significant next step.

There is a need to extend opportunities for junior students to develop their leadership knowledge and skills, and continue to develop ways that student ideas and feedback can further contribute to learning and school improvement.

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. Four international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

The principal has met the annual review requirements and this has been acknowledged formally by the Ministry of Education.

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

22 November 2013

About the School


Avonside, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other European


Middle Eastern

Other Ethnicities









Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

22 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2009
November 2005
November 2002