Epsom Girls Grammar School

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

Silver Road, Epsom, Auckland

View on map

Epsom Girls Grammar School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within six months of the Education Review Office and Epsom Girls Grammar 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


Epsom Girls Grammar School - Te Kura Tuarua o Ngā Taitamāhine o Maungawhau is in Central Auckland and provides education for ākonga in Years 9 to 13. The school’s values of courage, compassion, curiosity and community underpin its vision: “enabling ākonga to be confident, resilient and agentic”.

A new principal will commence in Term 1 2024.

Epsom Girls Grammar School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • Excellence in teaching and learning that enables each ākonga to achieve to their highest potential.
  • Embracing change for enhanced outcomes.
  • Engaging purposefully with the future and taking responsibility in shaping it.
  • Fostering a caring, compassionate and diverse wellbeing culture.
  • Strengthening community connection and learning partnerships.

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

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how effectively the school’s culture supports excellence in teaching and learning that enables all ākonga to achieve to their highest potential.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is that the school has been developing a culture of:

  • relational learning that reflects practices that are culturally sustainable, inclusive of all ākonga and based on restorative principles
  • high quality learning that acknowledges the principles of Te Mātaiaho – the NZ Curriculum and the qualification requirements of NCEA. This includes ensuring foundational and critical literacy and numeracy skills are embedded in learning and keeping abreast of future focused aspirations including the impact of new technologies.

The school expects to see:

  • each ākonga achieving to their highest potential in curricular and co-curricular learning 
  • staff understanding and embedding practices of cultural sustainability, inclusive learning pedagogies and restorative practices
  • a sustainable culture of wellbeing which supports inclusive learning.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to evaluate how effectively its culture ensures excellence in teaching and learning:

  • a strengths-based approach to ensure excellence and equity in learner progress and achievement outcomes for all ākonga
  • a responsive curriculum that aims to increase learner access and opportunities for meaningful educational experiences and pathways
  • leadership which consistently prioritises and plans for school improvement. 

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • professional learning to support systematic and embedded practices of cultural sustainability, restorative principles and inclusive learning pedagogies
  • implementing Te Mātaiaho, Mana ōrite mō te Mātauranga Māori and the NCEA change package.

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

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

20 February 2024 

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

This school has a boarding hostel: Epsom House.

Epsom Girls Grammar School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of September 2023, the Epsom Girls Grammar 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 the Epsom Girls Grammar School Board.

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

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

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

20 February 2024 

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

Epsom Girls Grammar 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.


Epsom Girls Grammar School is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual self-review of its implementation of the Code. At the time of this review there were 72 international students attending the school, and no exchange students.

Epsom Girls Grammar School provides a welcoming, inclusive environment for international students. Thorough policies and processes for monitoring and responding to student wellbeing, academic progress and achievement are in place. Students are well supported to integrate into the school’s community. They receive good English language support to complement classroom teaching and learning programmes.

The school’s processes for self-review are highly effective and responsive, informing ongoing improvement of processes, practices and systems to enhance international students’ experiences. The International Director liaises regularly with the principal. As a result, school governance and leadership has informed oversight of international students’ wellbeing, learning, and engagement.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

20 February 2024 

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 

Epsom Girls Grammar School

Hostel Report


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


Epsom House accommodates up to 130 full-time boarders. Epsom House comprises junior (years 9 to 11) and senior (years 12 and 13) boarding accommodation. The Ministry of Education re-licenced the hostel in 2022. A new director with hostel expertise has been appointed to start in 2024. 

At the beginning of 2023, weather events affected the roofing of Epsom House and caused major damage. The Ministry of Education closed the school and the hostel for short periods during this time. The school board responded by developing a safety plan to guide operations during Cyclone Gabrielle. In February, parents requested an external review of the hostel.

The board commissioned the New Zealand Boarding Schools’ Association to undertake an external review in April. By mid-2023 the review was completed. In September the findings were made available to the board. Soon after key findings were shared with parents/whānau. The board has provided ERO with a copy of the report.

The board has assured and discussed with ERO that in response to the external review they have: 

  • carefully considered the findings and have taken steps to identify how the recommendations will be addressed
  • reviewed policies and procedures
  • reset systems and processes to ensure boarders experience a safe physical and emotional environment that supports their learning.

The board has also identified that it is timely to develop a strategic plan, in 2024, that will prioritise goals and actions to guide the hostel’s future direction. These priorities will include alignment between clear leadership and management structures, a communication strategy, and greater coherence in the operation of Epsom House. Consulting and communicating with parents and students are key components of this process.

ERO started engaging with the school in June 2023. ERO completed a review of the hostel in September and November 2023. The verification process included talking to students, staff and reviewing hostel documentation. Reviewers did a tour of the hostel facilities and shared their findings with school leaders. 

Boarders who spoke to ERO commented that they felt supported to participate in all aspects of the academic, cultural, and sporting life of the school. Boarders also spoke about valuing the opportunities to develop strong friendships, independence, and life skills.

The hostel manager and the hostel owner attested using ERO’s Hostel Assurance Statement that they met the requirements of the Hostel Regulations 2005. ERO did not find any areas of non-compliance. 

To support ongoing improvement, ERO recommends continuing to develop a culture of evaluation to build professional capability and collective capacity at the board, management and operational levels of Epsom House. This should enable greater scrutiny of the hostel’s performance and improve engagement with key stakeholders, including whānau

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

20 February 2024 

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

Epsom Girls Grammar School - 13/11/2018

School Context

Epsom Girls Grammar School is a large, urban school catering for students from Year 9 to 13. Nine percent of students are Māori and ten percent have Pacific heritage. Over a third of students are Chinese or Asian. The school offers students a broad curriculum, centred on the 21st Century learner. School development is innovative and future focused.

The school’s vision is to develop young women as confident and resilient learners, actively contributing to their communities. The school fosters courage, compassion, curiosity and community. It aims to build students’ agency and critical engagement in learning.

The board’s strategic priorities emphasise:

  • a school culture with positive relationships and high expectations
  • personalising student learning and achievement pathways
  • effective and inclusive teaching practices
  • learning partnerships that support student learning
  • strong community engagement
  • developing sustainable leadership capacity.

The school sets high targets for achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance (UE) for all students.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  • pathway outcomes and destination data
  • achievement data for Years 9 and 10
  • learners with additional needs
  • progress and achievement in relation to school goals and targets
  • pastoral and wellbeing information for groups of students
  • participation, contribution and engagement information across a number of sporting, arts and cultural areas.

Other valued outcomes include student confidence, leadership, a strong sense of belonging and agency, and service to others and the community. High expectations for student achievement and attainment noted in previous ERO reports continue to be evident.

Since the 2014 ERO review, a new principal and several new senior leaders have been appointed. Most trustees have been newly elected or co-opted to the board. The school is an active member of the Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCOS).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school successfully supports its students to achieve equitable outcomes. Students continue to achieve high levels of success in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Most students stay at school until Year 13.

The school’s roll-based data show that most students achieve well in NCEA and UE. Approximately 89 percent of students achieve well in NCEA Level 3. Most students, including Māori and Pacific students, leave school with NCEA Level 2 or above.Rates of merit and excellence endorsements continue to be well above national averages and those of similar type schools.

The school has small percentages of Māori and Pacific students. Māori students achieve very well at NCEA Levels 1 and 2 and there is increasing parity of achievement for Māori at Level 2. Pacific students achieve well, particularly at NCEA Level 2 and there is increasing achievement and parity for Pacific students at all levels. A school priority is continuing to address remaining disparities.

Leaders and teachers use nationally-normed assessment tools to gauge the achievement of students as they enter Years 9 and 10. These students are regularly assessed in their literacy and mathematics achievement. There are effective systems for tracking and monitoring students’ rates of progress. Leaders and teachers use the information gathered to inform planning and teaching strategies.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school has very good systems to identify and support Māori, Pacific and other students whose learning needs acceleration.

Those students benefit from effective strategies that help to improve learning outcomes, such as student leadership initiatives, academic mentoring and tutoring, culturally responsive practices and cultural groups.

Students who require additional support in reading, writing and mathematics participate in targeted, individualised programmes that focus on addressing their particular learning needs. School data show that these students make good progress over time, with some achieving accelerated progress.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There are good processes in place for liaison between classroom teachers, deans and specialist agencies. Learning programmes, including those for English language learning, are tailored to individual students’ requirements. These students achieve very well in their studies for NCEA and participate widely across all aspects of school life.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

School conditions that enable learners to achieve equity and excellence include: highly effective leadership and stewardship, a collaborative school culture, meaningful learning partnerships, a responsive curriculum and a shared commitment among staff to enhancing their professional practice.

The board of trustees is strategically focused on promoting equity and excellence. The school’s vision has a focus on improving student outcomes and fostering wellbeing. Trustees are well informed about student achievement and progress, and school priorities. Information is used purposefully to give trustees assurance about the extent to which the school is tracking towards strategic goals and to inform their decision making.

The deliberate development of leadership contributes to an increasingly student-centered curriculum. Relational trust at all levels of the school community and a receptiveness to change and improvement support this development. Evidence based decision making guides changes to school structures and processes, and supports well-aligned, coherent practices across the school.

A broad view of student success and wellbeing is at the heart of the school’s curriculum. The school’s responsive curriculum enables students’ individual strengths and talents to flourish, and helps them to excel in a range of learning areas. Collaborative learning is promoted through problem solving and critical thinking opportunities in real-life contexts.

The school’s inclusive learning culture supports all students to participate confidently in a wide variety of learning experiences. A holistic, wrap-around approach to pastoral care successfully supports student wellbeing and achievement. Effective coordination between pastoral and curriculum leaders and teachers, parents and outside agencies contributes significantly to this positive feature of the school.

The principal and teachers actively foster learning-focused partnerships with parents and prioritise close relationships with families. Support for tuakana/teina relationships among students helps to enhance their learning and wellbeing. Well-planned, multi-layered learning support approaches enable students to access personalised and flexible learning opportunities and pathways.

Māori students benefit from the deliberate focus on, and commitment to developing bicultural practices at all levels of the school. Trustees and staff are committed to providing opportunities for Māori learners to succeed as Māori, and for all students to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A professional learning environment promotes and supports effective teaching practices. It includes flexibility and openness to new learning and blended e-learning approaches. Teachers’ participation in professional learning groups contributes to enhanced practices through collaborative action and research. Teachers and leaders have a positive influence in the local and wider education community, including the ACCOS Kāhui Ako.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Senior leaders have identified that a next step is to continue embedding strategies that support accelerated and meaningful learning in the current climate of change in secondary school education.

The school should continue to build its longitudinal understanding of achievement and progress for individuals and groups of students. This information could include year-level cohorts, Māori and Pacific students, Year 9 and 10 students who require learning support, and students with additional learning needs.

3 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 students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Epsom House, is owned and operated by Epsom Girls Grammar School. It accommodates 125 students.

ERO’s findings confirm that:

  • the assistant principal with hostel responsibility, the school counsellor, the hostel board sub-committee and experienced hostel staff regularly review and improve the hostel’s systems and operations
  • hostel management is efficient and effective in providing a supportive living and learning environment for students attending the school
  • the culture and climate of the hostel and relationships between hostel staff, parents and boarders reflect the school’s positive values.

Students who spoke with ERO during the review talked about the high quality of pastoral care, the choices available and responsibilities expected of them, and the long-term friendships that they make. Younger students appreciated the support of their older peers.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 139 international students attending the school. Robust monitoring systems and internal evaluation processes ensure that the school continues to meet its obligations under the Code.

International students are provided with high quality support for their education and wellbeing from an experienced team of staff within the school’s international student department. Learning programmes, including those for English language learning, are tailored to their individual needs. International students achieve very well in their studies for NCEA and participate widely across all aspects of school life.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a student centred curriculum that personalises learning
  • the strategic focus on building professional capability and capacity that promotes innovation across the curriculum to address disparity
  • comprehensive internal evaluation that promotes ongoing improvement in outcomes for all students
  • an inclusive, collaborative culture that values students’ wellbeing and agency.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to promote effective acceleration approaches that support all learners to be successful
  • continuing to respond to emerging shifts and trends in 21st Century secondary education.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 November 2018

About the school

Ministry of Education profile number64
School typeSecondary School
School roll2225
Gender compositionGirls 100%
Ethnic compositionMāori
South East Asian
other Asian 
other Pacific
other ethnic groups
Review team on siteAugust 2018
Date of this report13 November 2018
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review 
Education Review 
Education Review
June 2014
May 2009
February 2006