Having been re-elected as Presiding Member of the Westlake Girls High School Board by my board colleagues at our first meeting, held on Tuesday 28th February, I’m delighted to provide our first board report for 2023.
I’m privileged to lead a strong Board, which is dedicated to ensuring Westlake Girls continues to offer a dynamic and stimulating learning environment, that engages our students and inspires their personal growth – academically and through our extensive extra-curricular programme (75 extra-curricular clubs and activities and 43 sports codes).
Our Vision: Confident, robust, optimistic, proud citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, equipped for global success. The role our school Board plays in realising this vision is a vital one. We are responsible for the school’s performance and ensuring that all legal requirements are met.
Here are a few of the key agenda topics covered at our meeting.
The Board was presented with WGHS’s 2022 academic results. Our unique position as an all-girls school means we have, with many years of research, developed a deep understanding of how young women learn and interact. This allows us to tailor our teaching to maximise the potential for our students to succeed.
We know parents sometimes compare our teaching methods to the boys school up the road – especially our online learning approach during lockdown. However, building capability in our wāhine is something we are proving to do with an exceptionally high degree of success. Our results speak for themselves – our 2022 NCEA results exceeded the national average for decile 9 schools at all levels. Of particular note was the achievement of our Māori students, aligned with the whole school cohort at Level 3 and particularly Level 2 where the Māori cohort results were higher than the whole Year 12 cohort.
The number of NZQA Scholarships achieved were lower this year and there was discussion around the drop in the number of students who sat these exams and possible reasons why. However, Westlake Girls results were the second highest achieving Girls School and 12th overall out of over 300 secondary schools for 2022. The academic targets for 2023 included the numeracy and Literacy corequisites at Year 10.
52 scholarships awarded to 33 students placed us in the top 12 schools in New Zealand out of over 300 Secondary schools and the second among all Girls Schools. This result was a little lower this year due to a much smaller number of students attempting these exams. We know this is a space our students can increase their achievements in, and it’s important that we work together to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone – in line with their male counterparts. Research shows the difference between male and female risk-taking is marked, and we will continue to strengthen and boost our students’ confidence levels in this area.
We are grateful to our teaching staff for their continued commitment to our school and the resulting successes of our students.
The 2022 Analysis of Variance, discussed at our meeting, addressed our results. The Board monitors and evaluates this student learning and achievement data against the 2022 Annual Plan, in order to set ongoing targets and priorities. These aren’t just numbers on a page – the knowledge of individual students and their learning requirements is impressive. The Board is always looking for ways to support staff and students to achieve to their potential, and school management is tasked to provide the board with good data to achieve this.
Strategic Plan, Annual Plan & Targets
The Strategic Plan 2022-2025, along with the 2023 Annual Plan and goals and targets for 2023 was presented for Board approval prior to submission to the MOE.
NZ curriculum refresh and NCEA changes
The NZ curriculum refresh and NCEA changes taking place 2022-2026 were discussed. Information about these changes for students during the transition process, is currently being provided to those affected.
The Board approved the final budget for 2023, as overseers of the management of staff, property, curriculum and administration; and having responsibility for the finances of the school. The Board ensures that the budget allocates government and local funding appropriately to develop a learning environment that meets the needs of all students. The budget is aligned to the school’s Strategic Plan goals and targets and is monitored at each Board meeting. We are very grateful to those families who have paid their school donation so that we can continue to provide the standard of education that we have come to expect from WGHS. With 31 March approaching, now is the perfect time to make sure you can claim your tax rebate on your 2023 school donation; alternatively you may choose to donate your rebate to the school as well via Supergenerous which has replaced TaxGift.
Principal Jane Stanley reported on the school’s response to the flooding and cylone events, along with updates on aspects such as property, health and safety, cultural wellbeing and International students. As usual, at the start of the year, there were several legislative governance and operational requirements to review and approve.
Westlake Girls has a strong Board of eight actively engaged members providing a valuable and complementary skillset. This includes five elected parent members, the Principal, one elected staff representative; and one elected student representative. However, we are interested in hearing from anyone with legal and quantity surveying expertise that would be willing to assist the board on an ad hoc basis.
Our Board meetings are held in public, and you are welcome to attend. Meeting dates are on the WGHS website, please contact Marie McKerrow, Principal’s PA, for further information.