Albany Senior High School - 05/12/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Albany Senior High School is a high performing and innovative school for students in Years 11 to 13. High levels of student engagement, achievement and success are evident. The school is well led and ongoing improvements continue to contribute to the school’s inclusive and personalised approach to promoting student learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Albany Senior High school caters for students in Years 11 to 15. The school opened six years ago and aims to remain a new school through continual development based on high quality and current educational research.

The school nurtures, inspires and empowers students. It has a highly innovative curriculum designed for students and with students. The well designed, purpose-built facilities and open spaces encourage learning that is co-operative and collaborative.

High expectations for student achievement and success underpin a strong school culture of inclusion and respect. Bicultural practices and values are interwoven with the school’s philosophy. Partnerships with other culturally diverse schools enhance students’ bicultural understanding.

The school is regularly visited by a wide variety of educational leaders and organisations. School leaders are prominent in educational communities, both locally and internationally. Staff are regularly engaged in high quality and meaningful professional development based on current educational research and change management theory.

The school's professional inquiry model supports teachers to reflect on the quality of their teaching and developing learning partnerships with students. Student input is highly valued and responded to by educators who are focussed on having meaningful conversations with students.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school continues to review and develop the use of achievement information and is continuing to review and develop its systems to make positive changes to student learning. Achievement information is robust and reliable. School leaders have effective and sustainable systems to monitor and support student achievement.

Students are highly engaged as leaders of their own learning and collaborate effectively with other students. Achievement information is thoughtfully shared with families to promote a sense of partnership in learning. In depth three-way conferences offer students meaningful opportunities to talk with families about their learning and next steps.

In National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), high achievement is very evident and has increased over time. Many students achieve well above local, regional and national levels. The increase in the quality of achievement at merit and excellence levels is also to be commended.

Māori students achieve well and some reach high levels of success. The school’s focus on knowing the learner, using student input, and working in partnership with whānau provides a useful foundation for further extending the success of Māori students.

While the school has small number of Pacific students, they are well supported to experience very positive outcomes. They achieve high levels of achievement and are closely monitored in school tracking processes.

The school continues to attract students with additional learning requirements or preferences. The school effectively supports these students and those who have higher learning needs. Individualised approaches are evident and provided by dedicated and skilled teachers.

To sustain school success, the board could further develop their self review and also receive more regular, evaluative reports on:

  • the success of interventions and resourcing for students with additional learning requirements
  • patterns and trends of student achievement, for specific groups over time.

3. Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum is well aligned to the vision, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It is original and flexible, successfully meeting individual student learning needs.

The well considered curriculum design includes tutorials, specialist subjects and impact projects. An innovative timetable allows students to be mentored by skilled teachers. Teachers work respectfully and collaboratively with students. They support individualised and personalised learning pathways very well. Positive relationships and a future focus are evident in student-teacher interactions.

High quality teaching in a wide range of specialist subjects thoughtfully engages students. Specialised programmes and career education is high quality and responsive to students needs.

Impact projects are personalised and based on student choice. Students report that impact projects offer a way to succeed and allow them to be assertive while managing a wide range of ideas and perspectives. Students also value projects because they encourage deep thinking in a creative and relevant context. Many projects demonstrate a strong sense of community service and social good.

Refinements to tutorial processes have clearly strengthened students’ self management and thinking skills. Students are confident and capable learners who demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the school and motivation in their learning.

Effective business, community and educational partnerships are highly evident. Transition to the school is strengthening through building partnerships with local schools.

A significant area of success is the school’s approach to promoting teachers’ self review. Teachers thoughtfully evaluate the impact of their decision making and the quality of student learning. School leaders recognise that annual performance management processes must include the teaching professional standards.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school has a strong commitment to improving educational outcomes for Māori students. The school’s physical design and its culture are clearly aligned to the values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. As part of the charter review, these values could be made more explicit to all students so that they deepen their understanding of biculturalism.

Individual Māori students are well known and supported by leaders and teachers. Impact projects offer authentic opportunities for Māori students to better connect their learning with their cultural heritage.

The school is developing useful relationships with a variety of schools where there are higher numbers of Māori students. Information gathered from Māori students’ about their ideas and aspirations should provide further insights into ways that their sense of identity and belonging.

Leaders are increasing teachers’ understanding of te ao Māori through regular and purposeful professional development. Teachers are beginning to use Ministry of Education self review tools to evaluate how well they promote Māori success. These tools are likely to contribute positively to the bicultural perspectives teachers bring to their practice.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is a high performing student-centred learning organisation that is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is used effectively to increase the quality of outcomes for students and to ensure continual improvement for those traditionally underserved in education.

The school is well led by an effective leadership team. Several new team members, promoted from within the school, are developing their leadership and personnel management skills. New leaders are mentored by highly skilled senior leaders. The school continues to make very good use of research and educational networks to inform school development.

Since ERO’s 2011 review, several trustees are new to the board. Trustees demonstrate a high level of commitment to the school’s mission and vision. They are continuing to develop an understanding of their roles and responsibilities and have made good use of training.

The board has identified and begun to plan for a charter and strategic plan review. This review should help to sustain the school’s vision and high levels of success. Increasing consultation with the community is appropriate and has been planned for.

ERO recommends that the school now seek to further develop the quality of documented evaluative reporting to promote ongoing and sustainable improvements. This development could include more frequent reports to provide assurance on the quality of student and staff wellbeing.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 11 international students attending the school.

The school continues to offer very good quality care and education for international students. Students are well integrated into the life of the school. Ongoing review is used to improve social, academic and wellbeing outcomes for these students. It would be useful for an evaluation of these outcomes to be better documented and reported to the board.

Board assurance on legal requirements

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.

To improve and strengthen current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure all senior leaders are appraised annually and performance management for teachers includes the professional standards
  • receive regular reports on student wellbeing and transitioning processes, trends and patterns in student attendance data, and staff wellbeing.

Conclusion

Albany Senior High School is a high performing and innovative school for students in Years 11 to 13. High levels of student engagement, achievement and success are evident. The school is well led and ongoing improvements continue to contribute to the school’s inclusive and personalised approach to promoting student learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

5 December 2014

About the School

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

563

School type

Secondary (Years 11 to 15)

School roll

718

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/ Pākehā

South African

Korean

Chinese

Indian

other European

other

8%

55%

7%

6%

5%

2%

10%

7%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

5 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review 

August 2011