Bayfield High School - 14/02/2013

1 Context

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

Bayfield High School provides Years 9 to 13 students with a broad range of co-educational learning opportunities. The school is very welcoming and inclusive of its diverse student population. It has a large number of students from other countries.

Students and staff describe their school as putting students first and providing an environment that is caring and family like. Senior students told ERO that they are appreciated and cared about as individuals and as learners by their teachers. They feel well supported. They particularly appreciate the many different sports, cultural and other learning opportunities created by staff to support their interests and needs.

The new principal is adding fresh energy to the school. She is building effective work relationships and communication with staff, students and the board.

2 Learning

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

The school is making increasingly better use of achievement and other information to make positive changes for learners.

Findings

The school is gathering more-useful information about student engagement and achievement to inform its decision making. For example, it is carefully analysing attendance patterns to improve engagement, and other data showing the positive impact of the Year 9 buddy-reading programme.

The school’s achievement information shows that most senior students achieve well in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). It has set appropriate targets to increase the number of students achieving merit and excellence/endorsements, and to improve the literacy and mathematics achievement of junior students.

The progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students’ reading is closely monitored. The school is yet to find a way to show the progress of these students in written language and mathematics.

In most classes visited by ERO students were learning in settled classroom environments.

Areas of strength

The school is developing very good systems for monitoring individual students’ progress and achievement. Examples include a ‘red alert’ system to identify senior students not meeting requirements and regular meetings of junior teachers to discuss concerns about any Year 9 or 10 students.

Senior students and parents are well informed about students’ progress and achievement towards gaining external qualifications. The introduction of mid-year reviews has helped this process. Some students have personalised programmes and their progress against these is carefully monitored.

The school is using very good processes for identifying and supporting students who need additional help with their learning. Specialist teachers plan and teach high-quality individual and small group programmes for medium and high-needs students. An intervention to lift the reading achievement of some Year 9 students led to substantial progress for most students. ERO saw very good examples of teachers adapting programmes and effectively using teacher aides to meet the needs of Year 9 and 10 priority learners.

Students benefit from very good quality pastoral support. The school has effective structures and systems that contribute to its caring culture and help students focus on their learning. These include systems to identify and communicate about students needing support. Students and teachers value the way that older students often help younger students with their learning.

The school can show that it is working closely with parents to improve student attendance, engagement and achievement. It also shares students’ successes with parents.

Areas of review and development

Teachers collect a range of suitable assessment information. The school has plans underway to ensure easier access to and better use of this information. For Years 9 and 10 there is no school-wide written language data or information on the progress these students make in writing and mathematics. In classes where there is a wide range of abilities, achievement information could be better used to inform small group and individual student planning and teaching. Teacher learning teams could place a greater focus on discussing and using specific strategies to assist priority students in their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports students’ learning.

Areas of strength

Many students benefit from authentic, high interest and current contexts for their learning. Some teachers and students are making effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support this. Students also experience a wide range of engaging out of class activities. For example, an art group, cultural and sporting opportunities and outdoor pursuits.

The school is working hard to better meet the interests, needs and abilities of senior students. Initiatives include students having greater choice, more opportunities for multi-level learning, academic conferencing; and catch-up learning and assessment opportunities.

There has been a strong school-wide focus on literacy. Several successful initiatives have been developed to promote literacy across the school. These include:

  • maintaining the daily school-wide reading programme
  • board funding of a literacy coordinator that has led to successful literacy practices, including promoting literacy teaching across the curriculum.

The school curriculum is often adapted to meet students’ interests and needs. Students have opportunities to plan and lead events and aspects of their learning. Senior students can follow a range of individual learning pathways and are well supported by a school-wide career education plan. Some students’ strengths and interests are well used. For example, a senior student designed a digital application and survey for the school.

Areas for review and development

In the sample of classes visited, ERO observed a range of satisfactory to high-quality teaching practice. It is time for the school to review:

  • how well expectations for teaching and learning are followed
  • what teachers know and are doing to help achieve the school’s charter targets for Years 9 and 10 students.

The school and ERO have identified that department reports vary greatly in quality. Some could better show trends and patterns of student achievement over time and include more detail on how future initiatives will be achieved. The reporting format for this is currently being revised.

The school needs to develop and put in place effective review of departments and school-wide initiatives. There needs to be a shared understanding of effective review. Presently there are no useful guidelines or schedule for curriculum review. Some areas that would benefit from review include, how well:

  • classroom environments support learning
  • tutor-group time meets its desired objectives
  • each curriculum area is resourced.

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

Māori students overall said that they are well supported in their learning and that their teachers care about them. Some teachers are especially good at recognising students’ cultural knowledge and experiences and encouraging them to share this with others. There have been some opportunities for students to lead Māori cultural initiatives. The students appreciate that in 2012 there has been a greater valuing of their culture. The principal and the students see this as an area for further development across the school.

It would be timely for staff, Māori students and their families to discuss what ‘Success as Māori’ might look like in this school. The school also needs to keep better records of the outcomes and actions taken as result of meetings held with Māori whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The current board is experienced and increasingly well informed about school initiatives and operations. They follow a useful strategic plan.

The board and senior leadership team will be better placed to lead future school improvement when self-review processes are strengthened.

It is time for the board to review the effectiveness of its governance structure and some of its decision-making and monitoring processes.

Areas of strength

Since her arrival, the new principal has built trusting and collaborative relationships between teachers and with senior leaders. She is leading the shift towards evidence-based decision making. She is developing more useful school-wide systems to improve outcomes for students. Teachers spoke positively about the changes underway. Some key developments include:

  • improved teacher appraisal
  • a more cohesive senior leadership team
  • better management of finances
  • better sharing of information with key stakeholders.

Areas for review and development

The school has yet to develop guidelines and a schedule for the review of all school operations. In particular reviews need to:

  • be more evaluative
  • be informed by information from all relevant sources
  • better show how next steps will be actioned and monitored.

The board should develop clear expectations about the extent and timeliness of reports and other information they should receive. The range and quality of student progress and achievement information should be a focus within these expectations. The 2012 reporting of students’ progress in reading and mid-year NCEA achievement provide good examples.

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 89 international students attending the school.

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.

The school provides well for international students. Students have their learning, pastoral and accommodation needs very well met. Students report they are happy and receive good support from the school.

It is time for the school to review and report how well:

  • the school’s education programmes are meeting each international student’s goals
  • international students are integrated into the school and local community.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

14 February 2013

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

382

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

523

Number of international students

77

Gender composition

Boys: 52%

Girls: 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

81%

8%

1%

10%

Special Features

London House Learning Centre

Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

14 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

December 2005

August 2009