Westlake Girls' High School

Westlake Girls' High School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 18 months of the Education Review Office and Westlake Girls’ 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 www.ero.govt.nz


Westlake Girls’ High School, situated in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore, is a large, multicultural school. The school caters for girls from Years 9 to 13.

Westlake Girls’ High School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • building staff and student engagement with achievement data and effective measurement systems to inform teaching practices and support students’ growth

  • fostering a school community that inspires and challenges all students to develop their personal identity, strengths, academic potential, values and leadership abilities.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Westlake Girls’ High School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how well staff and students engage with achievement data to improve outcomes for students, in particular Māori and Pacific learners.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • academic achievement is high overall, with University Entrance results indicating a slight equity gap for Māori and Pacific students

  • school leaders are determined to further improve equity of outcomes for all learners through teachers improving their understanding of students’ holistic learning needs

  • students having agency and understanding about their own learning and next steps related to the broader NCEA qualification. 

The school expects to see:

  • teachers and departments actively engaged in analysing their data and using it in their planning and teaching

  • increasing staff understanding of risk signals and making connections to the bigger picture for students

  • teachers actively and consciously contributing to the strategic school goals

  • students demonstrate agency and self-belief in their learning and future pathways.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school in its goal to evaluate how well staff and students engage with achievement data to improve learner outcomes:

  • Westlake Girls’ High School continues to sustain high levels of achievement for learners

  • the school has been successful in reducing the gap between the number of students gaining University Entrance and Level 3 while also improving overall results in these areas

  • senior leaders have a good understanding of internal evaluation. They are responsive and focused on continuous improvement with a critical lens on school achievement data and student wellbeing.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • building staff and student evaluation capability and engagement with achievement data

  • increasing student’s knowledge and ability to plan, prioritise and maximise their strengths, to successfully achieve their academic goals and enjoy the confidence that brings.

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.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

21 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Westlake Girls' High School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of October 2022, the Westlake Girls’ High School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Westlake Girls’ High 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.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

21 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Westlake Girls' 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.


Westlake Girls’ High 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 41 international students attending the school.

Westlake Girls’ High School’s review and monitoring of its provision for international students is highly effective and well managed. International students experience a holistic support structure to ensure their academic achievement, wellbeing and wider school experience is of a high standard. They are integrated into the school community where their language, culture and identity are valued and celebrated. International students are well supported to transition successfully to further education.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

21 November 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Westlake Girls' High School - 29/05/2015

1. Context

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

Westlake Girls’ High School, situated on Auckland’s North Shore, is a large, multicultural, secondary school catering for girls from Year 9 to 13. Six percent of the school roll identify as Māori and most have northern iwi affiliations.

Through its vision the school aspires to be a leading educator of young women. It has a culture and legacy of high expectations for academic achievement balanced with a caring focus on student wellbeing. Students report a strong sense of belonging and pride in their school and they appreciate the school’s inclusive and supportive culture.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the board of trustees has a new chairperson and several new board members. The school charter, based on the school’s values and guiding principles, sets out a coherent plan for school direction. Strategic and annual planning is strengthened by purposeful self review.

Since her appointment four years ago, the principal has prioritised well-implemented change. Processes for improvement have been fair and equitable. School leaders make good use of community consultation.

Over recent years a number of major initiatives have been implemented. One is the school's vertical house system with horizontal form classes. A further example is the newly devised group, the Learning Enhancement Team, which works to eliminate any barriers to students’ learning in an individualised way.

ERO’s 2012 report identified recommendations to further improve students’ educational opportunities and outcomes. These included aligning the curriculum more closely with future‑focused approaches, supporting Māori initiatives within the school and refining charter targets to strengthen the progress of groups of students experiencing learning issues. This review finds that trustees and senior leaders have responded positively to these recommendations.

2. Learning

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

Westlake Girls’ High School uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement. The school is already exceeding the 2017 government targets of 85% of students achieving the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Level 2. Achievement in NCEA is very high for most groups across the senior school.

Senior and middle leaders monitor, analyse and evaluate achievement information effectively at Years 11, 12 and 13. This alerts teachers to respond to students’ learning needs throughout the year. Teachers make positive adjustments to course content and curriculum delivery to achieve successful NCEA outcomes. Students with special learning needs are well supported by teachers who have a depth of knowledge about each student’s requirements.

Māori students benefitted from an achievement-based intervention during 2013 to 2014. Monitoring and adjustment processes resulted in very positive shifts in Māori student NCEA achievement. This group now achieves at the same high levels as the rest of the senior school. Currently there is a similar intervention for Pacific students to lift their performance at NCEA level to equal that of other students. Overall, Māori and Pacific student achievement sits well above the national NCEA percentages for the rest of the country.

Scholarship results are on an upward trend and the school is now ranked eighth in New Zealand for Scholarship success. The school is focusing on extending programmes at junior level which may lead to wider success in future scholarship qualifications.

ERO and school leaders agree that an increased range of achievement information, as well as standardised assessment tools, would help Years 9 and 10 teachers to know their learners better. This knowledge would allow teachers to track student progress against curriculum levels more successfully and personalise planning for specific groups within classes. Useful information about Year 8 students is becoming more available for teachers as relationships with the local cluster schools develop.

To facilitate and enhance student learning further, ERO and school leaders discussed the value of:

  • teachers at junior levels becoming more familiar with assessment practices that involve regularly sharing information and next learning steps with students
  • students receiving more support to self direct and self manage their learning
  • charter targets focused on accelerating the progress of specific groups of junior level students.

3. Curriculum

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

The Westlake Girls’ High School’s curriculum promotes student engagement and learning very effectively. It is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and NZC values and key competencies are prioritised in each department’s curriculum plans.

Positive and affirming relationships for learning are evident between teachers and students. Teachers have a strong commitment to meeting student aspirations and responding to their set goals. As a result, many senior students take up successful tertiary study and enter a variety of pathways in life, when they leave school.

Teachers are increasingly focused on engaging students in programmes that encourage creative learning as well as success in qualifications. Often these contextualised approaches reflect students’ interests and strengths. A well-considered e-learning vision is being implemented in stages to develop digital competencies for both staff and students. This vision uses the akonga principle of both adults and young people learning together. Integrated approaches to programmes across learning areas and creative thinking classes are other innovations in the junior curriculum.

The school offers an enriching range of co-curricular activities. There are many opportunities for students to experience success and build their leadership capability and social competencies. A variety of sporting, cultural and academic events celebrate student success and achievement.

To further enhance the school’s curriculum, school leaders could further:

  • include student voice and student co-construction of learning programmes
  • develop inquiry-based learning approaches to promote students’ thinking skills required for success in NCEA scholarship and endorsements
  • include students’ cultural backgrounds, particularly Māori and Pacific contexts, in learning programmes
  • support student wellbeing through the curriculum as well as through student services.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is promoting educational success for Māori students effectively. Success in NCEA Level 1 and 2 continues to be at a high level.

Pastoral care occurs in a supportive whānau environment that reflects understandings of tikanga Māori. Senior Māori students are increasingly involved with the guidance of younger students and other school leadership roles.

Māori students receive mentoring from staff making up the Māori Mentoring Team in addition to the support provided from form teachers and through the house system. A mentoring programme is also available for senior Māori students, facilitated by Auckland University, to develop leadership qualities applicable for selected pathways in the tertiary sector.

Te reo Māori is available for Year 9 to 13 students to study in full options. A Māori Committee promotes such events such as Te Wiki o te reo Māori. Students perform in kapa haka and are tutored regularly with students from Westlake Boys’ High School. They are involved competitively in local and regional events.

The board and school leaders continue to investigate ways to consult and engage with Māori whānau to strengthen family participation and partnership in their daughters’ learning. The board’s commitment to Māori student success is strategically signalled in charter targets as well as a Māori Education Plan. The school’s property plan includes designs for a whare wananga to provide a future focal point for the school’s bicultural development.

ERO and school leaders discussed how bicultural practices could be further developed by:

  • including measurable outcomes for Māori success in senior leaders’ goal setting
  • increasing leaders’ and teachers’ reflection on the quality of their own culturally responsive practices
  • more robust evaluation of the school’s Māori Education Plan.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Westlake Girls’ High School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. A culture of continuous improvement permeates the school. The management of change is well paced and considered. Effective self review has guided relevant and significant school developments.

The board brings a range of skills to the governance of the school. Trustees work well with the principal and school leaders using democratic approaches. They willingly engage in pertinent board training, and are developing processes to review the effectiveness of their governance roles.

The principal provides experienced, insightful and respected leadership. She promotes distributed leadership to strengthen the development and consolidation of school initiatives.

Teacher capability is continuing to be developed through carefully selected professional learning and good quality teacher appraisal processes. Groups of teachers are working collaboratively to find innovative approaches to motivate and challenge student learning.

Students have many leadership opportunities available where they can express their views of how the school can improve and influence young women’s lives.

The board could consider further developing governance by:

  • establishing and promoting a bicultural vision for the school’s unique context
  • exploring ways to be assured of student wellbeing within the school’s culture of high expectations for academic success.

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 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self review processes are thorough.

At the time of this report there were 180 international students attending the school. They receive very good levels of pastoral care and high quality education, including English and first language learning and support. Students participate in a variety of school activities including music, drama, sports and cultural events. They are well integrated into school life and enjoy their involvement in cultural experiences.

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.


Westlake Girls' High School is a high performing school in regard to its academic achievement and its focus on the positive development of young women. The school offers many enriching educational opportunities and experiences. The principal’s recent focus on the development of 21st century learning is being successfully implemented.

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

Dale Bailey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School


Takapuna, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Middle Eastern
other European


Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

29 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2012
August 2009
June 2006