Findings

The information for this evaluation was gathered during regular ERO reviews of 93 schools. All these schools were signatories to the Code. The findings are not separated into primary and secondary, as there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups.[6]

School reviewing

ERO evaluated how effectively schools undertook self review of their provision for international students. Figure 1 shows that half of the schools were highly effective and just over a third were generally effective. In 15 percent of schools, self review was limited or not effective.

Figure 1: School reviewing

figure 1 is a bar graph called School reviewing. The y-axis called percent of schools and is ranged from 0-100 at interval of 20. The x-axis has four labels they are Highly effective 50%, Generally effective 35%, Limited effectiveness 9% and Not effective 6%.

School self review in 85 percent of schools was generally or highly effective. These schools regularly reviewed their teaching practice, learning programmes, achievement, progress, and outcomes for international students. Policies, procedures, and practices related to pastoral care were also reviewed to ensure Code requirements were met. These schools implemented subsequent changes or improvements highlighted by self review. Schools that were highly effective regularly reported self‑review findings to the board. In these schools, self review was well documented and involved the senior management team, rather than the responsibility falling to one or two people.

Self review in the remaining 15 percent of schools was limited or very poor. The least effective schools had no evaluation of policies or practices for the provision of care or education, and little or no review of student achievement. When self review was undertaken, it was not based on reliable or valid data. In schools with limited self review, there was no differentiation for reviewing the provisions for international students, and reporting was often limited to reporting to the Ministry of Education as required by the Code. However, this reporting was based on questionable data that was not comprehensively analysed.

ERO found statistical relationships between poor school self review and poor pastoral care, and also with the quality of education for international students.[7] These relationships were statistically significant.

Pastoral care

ERO evaluated the quality of pastoral care for international students. Figure 2 shows that 78 percent of schools were highly effective and 19 percent were generally effective. Only three percent of schools provided limited or ineffective pastoral care.

Figure 2: Pastoral care

figure 2 is a bar graph called Pastoral care. The y-axis called percent of schools and is ranged from 0-100 at interval of 20. The x-axis has four labels they are Highly effective 78%, Generally effective 19%, Limited effectiveness 92% and Not effective 1%.

Almost all schools (97 percent) had effective pastoral care for international students. These schools followed well-documented pastoral care processes. Students knew who to approach with concerns, and both formal and informal meetings were recorded. Where pastoral care was highly effective, schools had practices in place that exceeded the requirements of the Code. These included:

  • an extensive network of proactive staff, including both male and female staff members, for students to approach
  • trained counsellors whose culture reflected that of international students in the school
  • good relationships with parents and homestay providers
  • an international students “form group” that met each day, with a negotiated move to a mainstream “form group”
  • international students keeping a “Care Diary” where staff also recorded any actions taken
  • developing handbooks about various aspects of school life, for example “How NCEA works”.

In two primary schools pastoral care systems were limited, and in one secondary school pastoral care was not effective. These schools had poor or non-existent systems for reviewing and reporting pastoral care. Staff did not meet regularly with international students to discuss their wellbeing and accommodation. In one primary school, the students were unsure of whom to approach with any concerns.

Quality of education

ERO evaluated the quality of education received by international students. Figure 3 shows that just over half of schools provided a highly effective education programme, while another 40 percent were generally effective. Six percent of schools offered an education programme that was limited or not effective.

Figure 3: Quality of education

figure 3 is a bar graph called Quality of education. The y-axis called percent of schools and is ranged from 0-100 at interval of 20. The x-axis has four labels they are Highly effective 54%, Generally effective 40%, Limited effectiveness 5% and Not effective 1%.

The quality of education received by international students was effective in 94 percent of schools. Staff at these schools undertook diagnostic assessment to determine international students’ abilities and needs before preparing learning programmes. Achievement and progress was monitored on an ongoing basis through regular testing and evaluation of results. Learning programmes included appropriate ESOL[8] instruction, including scheduled and voluntary before school sessions. ESOL and mainstream classroom teachers liaised to support programme continuity.

Some schools with high quality education for international students had Personal Development Plans for these students, and provided first language classes at the school outside of school hours. In secondary schools, ESOL classes were provided from Foundation level to NCEA [9] Level 2, with an emphasis on international students gaining NCEA credits, particularly in literacy.

Teachers in some schools needed cross-cultural training to help them adapt their teaching strategies. However, in other schools, senior management teams worked with teachers to thoroughly plan and implement a teaching pedagogy suited to the predominant Asian cultures of their international students.

Parents of international students at these schools were well informed about their child’s achievement and progress through email and e‑portfolios. Parents living with their children in New Zealand had regular contact with school staff about achievement and progress through formal and informal conversations.

The quality of education in five percent of schools was limited. Either there was little or no diagnostic assessment to determine the level and type of support needed, or the use of the assessment data was poor as it was not collated or analysed. In some schools, students’ progress was assessed using regular classroom assessment which was not always appropriate.

Some primary schools placed international students in mainstream classes with little or no ESOL support. One secondary school had a poor rationale for course placements for international students. NCEA credits for ESOL programmes were unit standard based, meaning students could not reach the literacy requirements needed for tertiary study.

Teachers in mainstream classes at these schools had not received cross-cultural training to support the international students in their class. ERO also found that ESOL resources were not readily available to international students in mainstream classes, or the available resources were out of date.

In one school, the quality of education for international students was not effective. This school had no collated documents to show how well international students were achieving. The school did not seek any feedback from parents of international students to see if they understood reports and were satisfied with their child’s progress.

Social integration

ERO evaluated how well international students were involved in and integrated into the school community. Figure 4 shows that two-thirds of schools were highly effective, and a further 31 percent were generally effective. Two percent of schools had limited effectiveness and none were rated as not effective.

Figure 4: Social integration

figure 4 is a bar graph called Quality of education. The y-axis called percent of schools and is ranged from 0-100 at interval of 20. The x-axis has four labels they are Highly effective 67%, Generally effective 31%, Limited effectiveness 2% and Not effective 0%.

At the two-thirds of schools where the social integration of international students was effective, schools had developed a range of strategies to integrate international students. These were most commonly through sport, performing arts, EOTC[10] including school camps, cultural activities such as sharing food, music and dance, buddying with New Zealand students, international students’ assemblies, leadership opportunities, and celebrating success. Many primary schools reported that students’ integration also depended on their parents’ proficiency in English.

ERO also found other high quality practices that enhanced international students’ social integration. These included:

  • developing specific links between the school and community groups
  • using church activities at church-based schools
  • establishing an international student committee to contribute to decisions in the school and organise special events and assemblies
  • using whānau house systems
  • emphasising a service component in the school curriculum
  • celebrating diversity and difference amongst the school community.

In two secondary schools, social integration of international students was limited. There were no policies or practices relating to transitions, and international students at these schools reported that they had few New Zealand friends. ERO observed that the students were socially isolated in class.

Non-compliance with the Code

ERO found that at the time of their review four schools did not comply with the Code.[11] These schools were all from main urban areas. While their non-compliance did not necessarily make them less effective in the four key evaluative aspects that ERO reviewed, three of the four schools needed to improve their self review.

One school, a medium decile, contributing primary had only one non‑compliance relating to the information and documentation (such as visas and passports) they must hold about international students. However, overall this school was generally effective in their self review, and highly effective in the three other aspects of the evaluation.

Another contributing primary (medium decile) had seven non‑compliances. These were related to the provision of support services, the information and documentation they must hold about international students, pastoral care for students in Years 1 to 6, and student access to, documentation, implementation, and display of grievance procedures. While this school was generally effective in the social integration of their international students, they had limited effectiveness in the other three aspects of the evaluation.

The remaining primary (full) school (high decile) had four non‑compliances. These were with certain aspects of their pastoral care for students in Years 1 to 6 (provision of first language counselling for international students and cross-cultural training for staff), accommodation for Years 7 and 8 students, homestay selection, and police vetting of accommodation providers. This school was also generally effective in the social integration of their international students, but had limited effectiveness in the other three aspects of the evaluation.

The fourth school was a low decile Year 9 to 13 secondary school. This school had 14 non‑compliances. Four of these were to do with student welfare: tailored support services, the information and documentation they must hold about international students, communication arrangements with parents, and support for students with additional needs. Eight of the non‑compliances were to do with accommodation provision: accommodation provision for students aged under 18 years and over 18 years, regularly meeting with homestay students, visiting homestay accommodation, ensuring indemnity documents for designated caregivers and regularly visiting, ensuring boarding establishments are suitable as designated caregivers, approving designated caregivers for students aged 13 years and under. The school was also not displaying grievance procedures. The final non‑compliance related to monitoring and reporting: the school was not reviewing and recording their compliance with the Code. This school had limited effectiveness in the social integration of their international students, and was not effective in the three other aspects of the evaluation.