Cashmere High School - 24/08/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Cashmere High School is a large co-educational secondary school in Christchurch. The board appointed a new principal during 2009. It has continued to improve the school’s resources and facilities. A second full sized gymnasium is currently under construction and many classrooms have been renovated. A strategic plan for the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) resources has been completed and is being actioned.

Students learn in a positive, supportive and inclusive environment. ERO observed respectful and affirming relationships throughout the school. Students spoken with by ERO, including Māori and Pacific students said they felt safe, valued and proud of their school. Students benefit from a broad curriculum and the extensive cultural, sporting and leadership opportunities offered.

Students achieve very well overall in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) compared to those in similar schools in their attainment of merit and excellence endorsements and subject scholarships. However, their achievement of NCEA certificates at Levels 1, 2 and 3, and of the literacy and numeracy qualification, is a little below that of similar schools. Māori and Pacific students’ achievement is generally below that of other students in the school. The board and teachers recognise this and have plans to lift the achievement of these students.

Teachers are now more focused on improving classroom practices to meet the needs, interests and abilities of their students. Since the 2007 ERO review, a comprehensive, school-wide professional development programme has been introduced to improve teaching practice. This approach has helped teachers to develop an increasingly reflective and collaborative culture. In the majority of classes observed by ERO, teachers used a range of good practices to engage students in learning.

The principal has introduced a more focused and strategic approach to school improvement and review. Together with senior leaders he sets clear expectations for staff and students and supports them to achieve these. School leaders foster staff teamwork and promote self review and reflection. They model school values and expectations.

The school is well governed and the board is focused on improving student achievement and wellbeing.

The board, principal, senior leaders and ERO agree that areas for further development and review include:

  • revisiting the New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies to develop common understandings and align with the school values;
  • extending the use of student achievement information to improve outcomes for students;
  • developing a more coherent programme of self review; and
  • developing ways to further ensure that high quality teaching practices are used more consistently across the school.

Future Action

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

2. Cashmere High School’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of Cashmere High School promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas of strength

Relationships.

Students learn in a positive and supportive environment. ERO observed that students and staff were respectful and affirming in their relationships with each other. They are inclusive of home cultures, especially Māori and Pacific. Māori concepts such as ako (everyone is a teacher) and tuakana teina (older students helping younger students) are increasingly being integrated into class programmes and school activities. Students told ERO that they have many opportunities for leadership at all levels and the house system helps them to develop a sense of belonging. They feel safe, valued and proud of their school.

Student support.

Students’ needs and strengths are catered for effectively through a range of programmes and support. Teachers use achievement information to identify needs and to provide well organised learning support programmes for students. An effective pastoral care network promotes students’ wellbeing and focuses on learning. Senior leaders, Māori staff and the Pasifika dean provide additional support for Pacific and Māori students. International students are well supported by a pastoral care dean, an academic dean and a home stay coordinator.

Teaching practices.

Teachers use a wide range of practices to engage students in learning. Where high quality practice was observed by ERO, teachers had high expectations and used clearly understood routines and behaviour management practices. They shared the purpose of the learning and used effective questioning to help students develop and apply their knowledge and understandings. In these classes, students were active participants in a variety of activities that included practical work and the use of ICT.

Use of student achievement information. School leaders and teachers are increasing their use of achievement information to improve teaching and learning and student achievement. Achievement information is being used by:

  • senior leaders to identify trends and patterns in school-wide senior student achievement, including Māori and Pacific students;
  • senior leaders to set and evaluate student achievement targets, including those for Māori;
  • heads of subject departments to identify changes to programmes, and, to a lesser degree, teaching practices to improve outcomes for students;
  • teachers to report to parents on how well students are achieving against expected levels; and
  • many teachers to better meet student learning needs.

Professional development.

The professional development programme is helping teachers to reflect upon and improve teaching practices. The programme is carefully planned, ongoing and school wide. It includes regular sessions, the use of professional learning groups and observations of colleagues’ teaching practice. Teachers told ERO that professional development is contributing to a collaborative staff culture within and across curriculum areas.

Leadership.

The principal and senior leaders provide effective leadership. They are focused on making ongoing improvements to programmes and practices. They have clear expectations of staff and students and provide support for these expectations to be met. They foster staff teamwork and promote self review. Curriculum leaders provide good leadership in their subject areas. The leadership team makes regular contributions to all aspects of school life. School leaders model the school values for students and staff.

Strategic focus.

The board, principal and senior leaders have established a coherent strategic direction for the school. The focus is on improving student achievement, in particular for Māori and Pacific students and students with the potential to perform better. There are relevant links between the school’s strategic goals, annual operational plans, student achievement targets, the professional development plan, curriculum delivery and teacher appraisal. The principal’s reports to the board outline progress being made against the school’s strategic and annual plan goals. School systems are reviewed to ensure they support the attainment of these goals.

Areas for development and review

Extending high quality teaching practices. The principal and senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that high quality teaching practices could be used more consistently across the school. School leaders need to continue to develop ways to ensure this occurs. For example, they could establish clearer expectations for high quality teaching practice and make better use of appraisal information.

Extending the use of achievement information. School leaders and teachers could make better use of student achievement information. This could include:

  • using nationally benchmarked assessments in literacy and numeracy to help them better meet the needs of students, particularly in junior classes;
  • teachers being more specific in reflecting on and making changes in their practice to improve outcomes for students;
  • senior leaders tracking the trends and patterns of student achievement at school-wide level in Years 9 and 10; and
  • learning support personnel and the international academic dean evaluating the success of their programmes and interventions at a school-wide level.

Curriculum development. The principal and senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that aspects of recent school curriculum development could be improved. These aspects include better integration of the New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies into the school’s curriculum. This should help staff to promote and embed these into the school’s culture and learning programmes.

Self review. The board, principal and teachers undertake a significant amount of self review to bring about school improvement. However, some aspects of self review could be improved. There is a need to develop an overall programme of self review that is coherent and covers all significant areas of the school’s operations. More use could be made of regular anonymous surveys of staff, students and parents in review processes. School leaders should ensure that all curriculum leaders use self review as an ongoing process, linking one year to the next.

3. Provision for International Students

Cashmere High School is providing its international students with good quality pastoral care and support and appropriate English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and mainstream learning programmes. Students’ achievement, progress, wellbeing and involvement in school life are closely monitored.

Compliance with the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and the Provision of English Language Support

Cashmere High 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.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is robust and the school complies with all sections of the Code.

4. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Cashmere High 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 legal obligations related to:

  • board administration;
  • curriculum;
  • management of health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management;
  • financial management; and
  • 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; and
  • attendance.

During the review, ERO did not identify any areas of non-compliance.

There are three areas where current practice could be improved:

  • the child abuse policy requires those who suspect abuse to report to the guidance counsellor or nurse. No allowance is made for staff to report to other staff or to directly report suspected abuse to an appropriate outside agency such as the police.
  • the complaints policy is unclear on some aspects of the process the school will follow for addressing complaints.
  • the school has a system for identifying, recording and addressing or minimising hazards. This is not always effective in identifying and addressing some hazards.

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

4.1 review the child abuse and complaints policies; and

4.2 review the hazards identification and monitoring process to ensure that all practical steps are taken to ensure the safety of staff and students.

5. Future Action

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

24 August 2010

About The School

School type

Secondary (Year 9-15)

Decile1

8

School roll

1674

Number of international students

51

Gender composition

Male 54%; Female 46%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 78%;

Other 10%;

Māori 6%;

Asian 4%;

Pacific 2%

Special features

Conductive Education Unit

Managing school for Alternative Education in Christchurch

Review team on site

June 2010

Date of this report

24 August 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2007

Supplementary Review June 2004

Education Review April 2003

24 August 2010

To the Parents and Community of Cashmere High School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Cashmere High School.

Cashmere High School is a large co-educational secondary school in Christchurch. The board appointed a new principal during 2009. It has continued to improve the school’s resources and facilities. A second full sized gymnasium is currently under construction and many classrooms have been renovated. A strategic plan for the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) resources has been completed and is being actioned.

Students learn in a positive, supportive and inclusive environment. ERO observed respectful and affirming relationships throughout the school. Students spoken with by ERO, including Māori and Pacific students said they felt safe, valued and proud of their school. Students benefit from a broad curriculum and the extensive cultural, sporting and leadership opportunities offered.

Students achieve very well overall in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) compared to those in similar schools in their attainment of merit and excellence endorsements and subject scholarships. However, their achievement of NCEA certificates at Levels 1, 2 and 3, and of the literacy and numeracy qualification, is a little below that of similar schools. Māori and Pacific students’ achievement is generally below that of other students in the school. The board and teachers recognise this and have plans to lift the achievement of these students.

Teachers are now more focused on improving classroom practices to meet the needs, interests and abilities of their students. Since the 2007 ERO review, a comprehensive, school-wide professional development programme has been introduced to improve teaching practice. This approach has helped teachers to develop an increasingly reflective and collaborative culture. In the majority of classes observed by ERO, teachers used a range of good practices to engage students in learning.

The principal has introduced a more focused and strategic approach to school improvement and review. Together with senior leaders he sets clear expectations for staff and students and supports them to achieve these. School leaders foster staff teamwork and promote self review and reflection. They model school values and expectations.

The school is well governed and the board is focused on improving student achievement and wellbeing.

The board, principal, senior leaders and ERO agree that areas for further development and review include:

  • revisiting the New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies to develop common understandings and align with the school values;
  • extending the use of student achievement information to improve outcomes for students;
  • developing a more coherent programme of self review; and
  • developing ways to further ensure that high quality teaching practices are used more consistently across the school.

Future Action

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

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and self-review information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

General Information about Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following:

  • school curriculum;
  • national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and
  • Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

ERO’s review is responsive to the school’s context. When ERO reviews a school, it takes into account the characteristics of the community from which it draws its students, its aspirations for its young people, and other relevant local factors.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

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

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the school will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.

1 School deciles range from one to ten. Decile one schools  draw their students from low socioeconomic 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 integrated 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.