Akina Activity Centre - 20/11/2017

Background

Introduction

Akina Activity Centre is one of 14 Activity Centres in New Zealand that cater for secondary school students (Years 9-13) who are at risk of disengaging from mainstream schooling and at risk of low educational, social and vocational outcomes.

Activity Centres provide a specialised learning programme that will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school, social outcomes and successful transition rates. Registered teachers support students to increase their achievement and engagement in education guided by an Individual Learning Programme (ILP) that is responsive to the needs of each student. The ILP details the student’s learning goals and is developed in partnership with the student, teacher, parents/whānau and enrolling school.

A key component of the programme for activity centre students is to successfully transition back into the enrolling school, or move on to further education or employment.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Akina Activity Centre,in relation to the terms of reference developed with the Ministry of Education. The terms of reference are:

  • management and governance practices including planning, internal evaluation and professional capacity building
  • the use of information to plan and implement individual programmes for, and with, students, and to monitor their progress
  • support for students to achieve improved social and educational outcomes
  • educational and social outcomes for students, including the extent to which students’ learning has been accelerated
  • students’ experience of interagency support for them and their families
  • transitions in and out of the Activity Centre.

The key evaluative question is:

How effective is this Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

Context

Akina Activity Centre provides education for up to twenty students, who require a specialised learning programme that will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school. Support continues until they, their families and whānau, centre staff and their enrolling school decide that they are sufficiently well equipped to return to mainstream schooling, or move on to further education and training.

Hastings Boys’ High School is the managing school for this activity centre and receives funding to resource the centre. The school Board of Trustees holds governance responsibility and for providing high quality educational service, in a physically and emotionally safe learning environment.

Currently there are five local enrolled schools, including Hastings Intermediate, and four of which have at least one student attending.

Students are supported by the head teacher, a newly appointed teacher and a teacher aide. Staff are guided by a committee that comprises of deputy principals from each enrolling school.

Most students are Years 9 and 10. The roll numbers vary throughout the year, usually fewer at the beginning of the year when schools are identifying the needs of their students. At the time of the review there were 15 students on the roll, ten male and five female. Six of these students were Māori, six Pākehā and three of Pacific heritage.

The morning programme focuses on literacy and numeracy and the afternoon programme consists of health, physical education, art and technology.

Findings

How effective is the Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

The activity centre achieves good outcomes for most students. Attendance is usually improved. Most students make academic progress at the centre, in particular in mathematics and literacy. Some Year 11 students study and gain credits towards National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications. The. The students are monitored and supported by the teacher aide.These lessons use resources fromTe Aho o Te Kura Pounamu -Correspondence School

The centre should record and report more analysed student achievement information. This should celebrate progress and identify more specific areas for development of teaching and learning.

What is the quality of governance and leadership of the Activity Centre?

Leaders establish clear and consistent expectations for students’ behaviour and academic success.

The Hastings Boys’ High School headmaster professionally engages with the head teacher. Contact is regular and the headmaster has oversight of performance management, using a process that is consistent with the managing school. Teachers meet the Practising Teaching Criteria. Documenting how they inquire into their own practice is an area to improve. Appraisal and professional development helps build teachers’ professional capability to meet the students’ needs.

The managing school resources the centre appropriately. Students access the school facilities such as the gymnasium on a regular basis.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the activity centre and each enrolling school outlines the criteria for enrolled schools and the responsibilities of the centre, the enrolled school and the student. The criteria clearly state that the centre caters for students in Years 9 to 11 who are at risk of disengaging from mainstream schooling. With consent from the Ministry of Education (MoE), a student in Year 8, from a local intermediate school, is enrolled. In relation to the written memorandum, this arrangement needs some clarity.

The board of trustees receive regular, general reports on student progress. There is no formal internal evaluation to scrutinise and report the degree to which the centre is meeting the obligations of the MoU.

The head teacher has made progress in resolving issues identified in the January 2013 ERO report. Whānau involvement and transition planning are now evident. Areas that remain to be strengthened include data that clearly shows academic progress and career education.

How effective are the selection and transition processes?

Through a well-established selection process, students who are enrolled are most likely to succeed and transition smoothly back to the referring school. The headmaster of the managing school meets with the student, parents, head teacher and a representative of the enrolling school. Expectations are set and agreed to at this interview. Almost every student who has attended this interview has been accepted.

Following the selection and interview process, the students and whānau meet with the head teacher and an ILP is established. This programme forms the basis of assessing the student’s progress over his or her time in the centre. These plans include personal information, agreed priority focus areas and a set of key competencies. Progress is monitored and recorded on these sheets. The plans would be more useful if those attending the meetings are listed and a wellbeing focus is more evident. Some priority goals are generic and should be more personalised for each student’s needs.

Reports on progress are sent home three times a term and the managing school receives regular, generic information on student outcomes. More specific information on progress and next steps would make the reports more useful and contribute to ongoing improvement.

Transitions are well managed. Students settle well and quickly adjust to established routines and centre culture. They are positive about their education at the centre and describe their interrelationships in terms of whanaungatanga. Students tend to stay about ten weeks, but this is flexible and their return is well considered. The return involves discussions with whānau and enrolling school before a formal process begins. Over a two to three week period, the student returns for a day or two a week, before returning full time. Most enrolling schools report very positive transitions back.

A feature of the centre is that all students retain their school uniform while at the centre. This physically demonstrates they are still part of the enrolling school and will transition back.

How well does the Activity Centre identify the social, emotional and academic needs of each student?

All students’ needs are well understood as a result of the careful referral and enrolment processes. Documentation from enrolling schools is variable and social, emotional and academic needs are not well recorded in the ILPs. The head teacher recognises this is an area for development.

Students spoken to are confident and state that their needs and those of their peers are well met at the centre. They are learning social skills, particularly at formal meal times. Students demonstrate respect for each other and the staff.

Some of the students have been referred to the centre because of truancy. This continues to be an issue, despite the efforts of teachers and external support.

The enrolled school has a role in supporting their students. An agreement in the MoU is that the enrolled school will “have a contact person who will make regular contact with the Activity Centre to provide support for the student.” This does not always happen.

The social and emotional wellbeing of some girls are insufficiently catered for. The committee acknowledges this and will put processes in place to better support girls.

How well do the specialised learning programmes meet the needs of each student?

Some students have very low levels of literacy and numeracy, usually the consequence of poor school attendance. Teacher support in helping these students gain basic foundations is a focus. Most students’ literacy and numeracy skills are improved. Most transition back to school, go on to further education or employment. Students gain from studying health and wellbeing units such as time management, communication skills and how to overcome anger.

The managing school headmaster and the head teacher are considering offering Year 10 students opportunities to gain credits towards NCEA qualifications. They are exploring appropriate subjects to add to the centre curriculum.

How effectively are students prepared for their future pathways?

The centre effectively prepares students to return to their enrolling school. Most students return to their schools with a renewed sense of purpose. The committee members endorse the positive outcomes for students who attend the centre.

Career topics are introduced, but not in a structured manner. The centre should develop a career education programme to help students establish long-term goals.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the board of trustees of the managing school:

  • complies with the MoU, or seeks a revision of this document, in relation to the attendance of the Year 8 student

  • reviews and improves the provision of support for the wellbeing of girls at the centre.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

20 November 2017

About the Activity Centre

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

6119

Activity Centre roll

15

Gender composition

Male 10, Female 5

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific

6
6
3

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

20 November 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Special Review
Special Review
Special Review

January 2013
December 2009
June 2005