EDUCATION REVIEW OFFICE

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Pukekohe High School 08/06/2009

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This is ERO's fourth report on Pukekohe High School since August 2002. Successive reports over this time, while acknowledging good outcomes for many students, have raised ongoing concerns about the quality of school management. This report identifies positive development in the school since 2006, but also identifies aspects of management and student wellbeing that need further review. Some recommendations in ERO's 2007 report, relating to school leadership have not been sufficiently progressed.

Since 2007 the board has made considerable efforts to review school operations. Trustees have sought feedback from focus group meetings, worked with a specialist advisor appointed by the Ministry of Education to assist with the analysis of student achievement data, reviewed the charter, increased the capacity of the management team, and have set goals for student achievement. Trustees demonstrate a strong commitment to improving school performance. Increased alignment between the board's strategic vision, the annual plan, and the principal's performance agreement should help to make the board more effective in its governance role.

Teachers and students relate positively in many classrooms. Teachers are engaged in professional development designed to increase the engagement of Māori students in learning. The school is proud of students' success in gaining national qualifications. Student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has been just above the national average for several years, although in 2008 the percentage of students who achieved NCEA was lower than in previous years. The achievement of boys compared with girls, and of Māori and Pacific students compared with others, was also lower in 2008 than in previous years.

Underachieving and disengaged students remain a concern. Low rates of retention of student to Years 12 and 13 and high absenteeism, particularly of Māori and Pacific students, indicate that the school is not catering adequately for all students. Teachers do not make good use of achievement data to support students or to differentiate learning programmes. Students report that a few teachers are unwelcoming and that some do not encourage them or help them to learn. These issues have been identified previously. The recent appointment of a new senior manager responsible for curriculum is designed to support improvements in the quality of teaching and learning.

The management team does not work in a coordinated or collaborative manner. Quality management systems should be improved. Overall responsibility for managing key areas of school operations, such as pastoral care, learning support and personnel management, should be clarified. Curriculum organisation and timetabling are not well managed, with a resultant loss of students' valuable learning time. Teachers express concern about the sustainability of school-wide initiatives without greater commitment of school managers to the school's strategic objectives.

Effective leadership is needed at this point of school development, particularly in managing and sustaining school improvement. External support and expertise has been provided so that the board could obtain advice on the analysis and use of student achievement data and on the ways in which information on student achievement could be best reported. The principal reports effectively on student achievement targets, but should now take a greater role in informing the board about progress towards the school's strategic goals and long-term vision.

Future Action

ERO is not confident that the board of trustees can bring about the improvements outlined in this report without significant external support. ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervening under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to support the board, principal and senior staff in the management and delivery of the school curriculum, personnel matters, and the provision of a safe environment for students.

ERO intends to carry out another review within 12 months to evaluate the progress made over this time.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Elizabeth Ellis

Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

· improve educational achievement in schools; and

· provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school's self review.

Review Focus

ERO's framework for reviewing and reporting is based on three review strands.

· School Specific Priorities - the quality of education and the impact of school policies and practices on student achievement.

· Areas of National Interest - information about how Government policies are working in schools.

· Compliance with Legal Requirements - assurance that this school has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a school is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this school.

[1] Decile 1 schools draw their students from areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage,
Decile 10 from areas of least socio-economic disadvantage.

Disclaimer

Individual ERO school and early childhood centre reports are public information and may be copied or sent electronically. However, the Education Review Office can guarantee only the authenticity of original documents which have been obtained in hard copy directly from either the local ERO office or ERO Corporate Office in Wellington. Please consult your telephone book, or see the ERO web page, http://www.ero.govt.nz, for ERO office addresses.

This report has been prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

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