Albany Senior High School - 10/08/2011

1. Context

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

Albany Senior High School has a clear vision of ‘nurturing, inspiring and empowering students to achieve highly and become good citizens’. The vision was developed by the establishment board and foundation staff for this new, technologically advanced school, which opened for Year 11 students in 2009. The school is growing rapidly and has a current roll of 730 students in Years 11 to 13.

Students and student learning are at the heart of the school, both in its architectural design and in the ways in which the school operates. The school acknowledges and cares about the special qualities of each individual student. Student strengths and interests are identified so that each student can succeed in his or her own learning pathway. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders and trustees constantly inquire into how students can learn better and achieve academic and personal excellence.

The school curriculum is contemporary in its design and has its roots in current New Zealand and international educational research, The New Zealand Curriculum and best teaching practice. It offers students relevant and meaningful learning experiences that will help them to experience success in tertiary studies and future workplaces.

The school is effectively governed and well led. It provides an education aimed at enabling its students to develop as flexible, confident and capable learners, valuable employees, and successful citizens.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students at Albany Senior High School are learning very well.

The warm, mutually respectful relationships that characterise the school promote high levels of student engagement in learning. Teachers know their students well. All students are regarded as having strengths and different capabilities. They are supported to succeed in their specialist subjects, impact projects and tutorials. These positive learning relationships and personal student support result in high levels of student interest and motivation.

Students are actively engaged in learning in school and in the local community. They are able to pursue their interests in the context of real life learning, often following individual learning pathways. Involvement in sports and cultural activities is developing strongly with some individual and team success at regional, national and international levels. Students have good opportunities for leadership and to be partners in the on-going review and development of their learning programmes.

Good academic progress is being made. Robust assessment information is used to identify students’ capabilities and to gauge their learning progress. Parents are given many opportunities to view and discuss their child’s progress and achievement. Students have many opportunities to talk about learning with each other and their teachers and to refine their own learning goals.

Students are achieving well academically. National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results for the school are well above national averages. There has been a significant lift in NCEA Level 1 results from 2009 to 2010. Outstanding results are being achieved in NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy. The board and school leaders make good use of data to set achievement targets. In 2011 they are aiming for more students to gain merit and excellence endorsements.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Māori students are encouraged to value their heritage and succeed as Māori. They have authentic opportunities to strengthen their sense of identity and to expand their knowledge and skills in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga through their chosen impact projects, important school occasions, and exchange visits with a Tainui school. The board ensures that the teaching of te reo Māori is well resourced.

The school ethos of learning together in a supportive respectful environment is helping Māori students to engage in learning and to achieve well. In 2010, most of the 45 students that the school identified as Māori achieved their NCEA qualifications. Those who did not achieve are being well supported to achieve their goals. Māori students have a prominent role in the school. High numbers of Māori students undertake leadership roles and are engaged in school sports.

The place of Māori as tangata whenua underpins the school’s charter and operations. School kaumatua and kuia have meaningful roles in the school. The school’s land, indigenous flora and fauna and history are valued and respected. The board, principal, staff and parents of Māori students meet regularly to talk about how successful the school’s programmes are in enabling Māori students to achieve their personal goals. Māori students are well supported to engage in learning, and to progress and achieve.

3. Curriculum

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

Albany Senior High School’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The well designed school curriculum helps students to become well prepared, resilient, self-managing learners ready to enter the workplace and succeed in tertiary study. The school’s curriculum design is derived from:

  • thorough initial and on-going consultation with the Albany community
  • the vision, principles, values of The New Zealand Curriculum and its key competencies for lifelong learning
  • current educational theory and research within New Zealand and overseas about educating young adults in the 21st century
  • creatively designed new school buildings and learning spaces that promote innovative, contemporary teaching
  • continuing review and development in response to feedback from students, teachers, parents and the community.

The school curriculum consists of three related strands - specialist (NCEA) subjects, impact projects, and learning tutorials. Students have considerable lengths of uninterrupted learning time in each of these three strands. As a result, students are empowered to:

  • achieve excellence in their areas of strength
  • set learning goals and succeed in their chosen learning pathways
  • identify and explore their interests in learning
  • pursue their own interests, using authentic learning experiences in individual and group impact projects
  • seek support from other students, teachers and other significant adults within the school community to help with their personal growth and their developing ability to contribute to society.

An effective pedagogy, as outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum and Ministry of Education publications related to current best teaching practice, informs teaching in the school. Thorough self review underpins high levels of student engagement and good quality teaching.

  • Students and teachers are constantly engaged in learning conversations that help students to reach a higher level of success in the next stages of their learning.
  • Student support services are responsive to the diversity of student strengths and assist students to keep themselves safe, to be resilient, and to realise their aspirations.
  • Exemplary use of e-learning (information and communication technology) is opening up new and different ways of learning and teaching that encourage self-directed and collaborative learning.
  • Teachers are valued for their specialist subject knowledge and for their skills in teaching young adults.
  • Relevant professional learning and development programmes support teachers to be effective in this dynamic learning environment.

Continuous school-wide inquiry at all levels is a significant dimension of the school’s curriculum and promotes supports and deepens students’ learning and teachers’ knowledge and skills.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Albany Senior High School is very well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The school has:

  • an enlightened educational vision supported by strategic and annual plans that focus on school improvement and are informed by student achievement results
  • well embedded values that include achieving excellence, learning together, fostering curiosity and creativity, and contributing to local and global communities
  • close relationships, with the nearby university and schools, local employers and community groups, that benefit students and staff and open up student pathways into the wider world
  • an open, inclusive school culture in which students, parents, staff and trustees have positive, mutually respectful relationships focused on student learning outcomes
  • high quality school leadership provided by experienced educators who have the knowledge and foresight to foster and support the creative potential of its students and staff
  • dedicated board members, both past and present, determined to build a new school that offers young adult learners a high quality education and is responsive to social and workplace changes
  • processes for continuous high quality self review.

School leaders are well placed to continue to develop their student outcome reports to the board and school’s communities and to include evaluations of the engagement, progress and achievement of groups of students, including Māori and Pacific students.

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. At the time, of this review there were eight international students attending the school. These students receive high quality pastoral care and education. They are well integrated into the school community, which includes many other Korean students. Their well-being, academic progress and achievements are closely monitored.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

10 August 2011

About the School

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

563

School type

Secondary (Years 11 to 15)

Decile1

10

School roll

730

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other European

Other

60%

6%

15%

2%

8%

9%

Review team on site

June 2011

Date of this report

10 August 2011

No previous ERO reports

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrate schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides