The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.

Findings

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS) was established in 1990. It is an integrated, multi-denominational school that is affiliated with the Anglican Church. It is situated in Upper Hutt City and provides education from Years 7 to 13. At the time of this ERO review, the roll comprised 653 students, most identifying as New Zealand European. The remaining 25% comprised small groups of students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Māori, Pacific and Asian. Most students transition into Year 7 from schools across the Wellington region. Charter aims are to provide an environment that encourages individuals to achieve personal best within and beyond secondary education. Boards of proprietors and trustees make decisions to support the vision for student success. The property and learning facilities are continually upgraded in response to changes in curriculum provision and teaching approaches. Students are offered a broad curriculum. This incorporates Christian principles, international perspectives and commerce. Self-management and leadership skills are valued alongside honour, integrity, belief in self and serving others. Most staff are long serving. The principal and assistant principal were appointed in 2014. Since the August 2012 ERO report, several beginning teachers have been selected to join the team and work toward their practising certificates. HIBS has maintained a positive reporting history with ERO. Recently implemented changes are contributing significantly to school performance.
How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?
Individual learning needs and wellbeing are paramount. A wide range of information is systematically gathered and used to promote engagement, learning and success for all. Student motivation, progress and achievement are tracked closely to identify those who require additional support to meet expectations. Responses are well considered, prompt and collaboratively managed. Regular follow-up ensures that support is making a positive difference. Data indicates sustained high performance across several dimensions. These include attendance, participation in curriculum activities, senior student retention, achievement and successes within and outside New Zealand. The school reports, and ERO has verified, that
  • over three years, students in Years 7 and 8 have achieved consistently well in relation to the National Standards, with the majority achieving above the Standards in writing and mathematics
  • students receiving learning support improve achievement levels steadily over Years 7 to 10  since 2011, all Years 11 to 13 students have achieved Levels 1, 2 and 3 literacy and numeracy
  • performance in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance is consistently well above national rates and of schools of similar type, with high and increasing percentages achieving Merit and Excellence endorsements
  • in 2014 students gained 25 scholarships across the curriculum, an increase on 2013
  • students continue to be successful in chosen post-school pathways.
There are no significant differences of engagement and achievement between the different ethnic groups. Students with specific learning differences are supported to achieve their personal best, gain qualifications and transition from school confidently. Knowing about and monitoring wellbeing, progress and achievement is a collective responsibility. Leaders, teachers, students, parents and whānau have access to a wide range of relevant and useful information and planned opportunities for discussion. Information in written reports and tracking data is supplemented with individual student portfolios of evidence. Parents appreciate the portal facility for its ease in keeping up to date with their son’s progress and have made suggestions for extending its use. A review of the quality and consistency of written reports has resulted in explicit expectations for quality, rigour of judgements and improved use of systems for reporting. Development of a visual tool to show progress over Years 7 and 8 is underway. Leaders should consider extending this across all years to demonstrate the extent and rate of short and long-term progress
How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
Student success is promoted effectively. School structures and systems provide support for enacting the shared belief that personal best is achievable for all individuals. Positive engagement is valued as the precursor to positive learning experiences and promoted consistently through:
  • reinforcement of the values
  • development of key competencies for effective learners
  • goal setting and monitoring for improvement
  • encouragement to take responsibility for learning, leadership and service to others.
Curriculum design and timetabling are responsive to students’ needs, interests and to parent aspirations. Students and parents have formal opportunities to provide feedback and programmes are modified in response. The curriculum is managed to motivate and challenge students appropriately at their age and year level. With the oversight of the curriculum director, departments provide programmes that progressively support students toward learning pathways and attaining qualifications. A well-designed careers programme for Years 9 and 10 provides good support for students making course choices. Secondary and tertiary partnerships could be explored further for providing vocational pathways opportunities. Specific programmes target the needs of students in selected years. At Year 10, engagement is sustained and self reliance developed through, for example, Duke of Edinburgh challenges, House competitions, father-and-son activities and motivational speakers. Students in Year 13 are introduced to the habits of scholarship through tutoring and application in a range of contexts. Enrichment of teaching practice is managed positively through professional development that is responsive to research and the new learning environments. Staff have embraced change. The revised beliefs about effective teaching practice should now be documented to assist sustainability.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?
Māori students in all year groups enjoy high levels of achievement that are on a par with whole school performance. In 2014, most achieved:
  • at or above the National Standards
  • NCEAs with merit or excellence endorsements.
Of the small group in Year 13, almost all attained University Entrance and three students gained scholarships. Deliberate action to promote success as Māori is an area of recent development. In response to feedback from full and carefully planned consultation, the board now has a comprehensive plan to enact its commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi. Specific actions provide opportunities to celebrate the language, culture and identity of HIBS’ Māori students and to enhance te ao Māori in the curriculum. An overarching aim is that all students and HIBS community members benefit from developments. Establishing the basis for reporting progress and evaluating outcomes is a next step. Leaders and staff have taken first steps in implementation of the plan. These are evident in goal setting, the focus of inquiry and learning groups and shared endeavours to learn te reo Māori. Staff learning is likely to enhance what many teachers are doing to raise the profile of te ao Māori in programme content and the environment.
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
HIBS is very well placed to sustain and better performance. Reflective and self-review processes maintain the momentum of development and improvement. A culture of high expectations, relational trust, individual and collective responsibility is evident. There is coherence across all aspects of operation. Leaders model and promote expectations effectively through building teachers’ capability. A robust performance management process is implemented to provide assurance about the quality of teaching practice and response to development needs. Board policies, goals and financial management support the vision for excellence. The board receives regular and useful information on progress over the year, including the impact of resourcing on the quality of teaching and student success. This information is used by trustees and managers to decide what is best for improving conditions for promoting success. Engagement with the community has been strengthened to promote educationally purposeful relationships. Connections reach beyond HIBS parents and whānau and benefit other community members through shared resources.
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
Hutt International Boys’ School promotes high quality conditions for supporting wellbeing, learning and success. Students are motivated to participate in a range of activities and achieve personal best. Achievement from Years 7 to 13 is high and students make progress over time. Leaders sustain the focus on improvement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.