Edgewater College - 30/06/2016

Findings

Edgewater College provides a positive school tone and culture for staff, students and their families. The school’s leadership is strong and promotes ongoing improvements for students. NCEA achievement levels are very good for many students, and the school is now developing a plan to accelerate achievement and successes for Māori students.

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

1 Context

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

Edgewater College in Pakuranga provides secondary education for students from Years 9 to 15. The board recognises the importance of acknowledging biculturalism in an increasingly multi-ethnic community. Te Tahawai marae provides a place for the school to recognise and value local Māori history. Its tukutuku panels, carvings and artwork reflects significant events and people in the local and wider area. The importance of the area’s Māori heritage is also recognised in the school’s motto Whaia Te Ara o Tainui: follow the way of Tainui.

Many staff are long-serving employees of the school, including the principal, teachers and senior leaders. Many staff and parents have strong intergenerational connections to the school and most students travel to the school from a wide geographical area. These aspects, alongside the smaller school size, provide a family-focused environment where students and families are well known to staff and to each other. Students from Somerville Special School who learn in the three satellite classrooms are an important part of the Edgewater College community.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The 2013 ERO report commented on the strong relationships that exist between students, staff and families, and on the positive learning environments throughout the school. The school is an attractive and well maintained facility for students and the community.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school’s cohesive and capable team of wellbeing specialists also use information about student safety and welfare very well to cater for students’ pastoral care needs. The caring and kind ethos that permeates the school is central to the school’s learning model.

School leaders use achievement information to place Years 9 and 10 students into classes that meet their specific learning strengths and needs. Students who require further support to make progress towards expected levels of achievement are deliberately placed in classes with low student numbers and with teachers who understand and cater well to their learning needs. This equitable approach provides this group of priority learners with increased opportunity for individualised support and attention.

Teachers meet regularly to discuss students’ achievement information, reflect on their teaching practices and share useful strategies to support students’ learning. These professional inquiries are appropriately aligned to teachers’ appraisal, professional learning and the school’s strategic goals. Along with other useful professional learning, this process is having a positive impact on improving student engagement and achievement.

Also improving junior students’ motivation and engagement in learning is the school-designed junior diploma, modelled on a credit-based system similar to National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school’s data shows that this assessment approach is contributing to the high levels of achievement at Level 1 NCEA. Ninety-five percent of students achieved this foundation qualification in 2015.

Students with Pacific and Asian heritages continue to achieve very well in NCEA qualifications. Results in NCEA Level 2 are also very good overall, and are similar to or better than students’ results nationally. The school continues to encourage students to achieve merit or excellence endorsed certificates. Leaders identify that one of its achievement challenges is for more students to attain University Entrance. They also recognises that another key challenge is to reduce the disparity between the achievement of Māori students and other students in the school.

Senior leaders and the board of trustees agree that a useful first step would be to work in partnership with Māori staff, trustees and whānau to develop a Māori achievement plan. This plan would ideally identify specific achievement targets that align to teachers’ appraisal and professional learning goals, and that aim to accelerate the learning and achievement of Māori students who are at risk of not achieving. Progress students make towards meeting achievement targets could then be reported regularly to the board.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning effectively.

School leaders and teachers have found effective ways to maintain a curriculum that is broad and interesting. As a result, the school’s curriculum provides students with good course choices, and gives them access to varied experiences and opportunities for success.

Teachers design learning programmes that are increasingly responsive to students’ needs, preferences and interests. These programmes, which include varied co-curricular opportunities and events, promote authentic and relevant learning for students. Many of the senior learning programmes are purposefully aligned to vocational pathways, and the mentoring initiative is having a positive impact on students throughout the school.

The school’s values, based on the concept of caring, support the positive relationships that exist between students and staff. Many teachers throughout the school are enthusiastic and skilled practitioners. Elements of teachers’ best practice that could be shared more widely throughout the school include encouraging students to think critically and to make meaningful use of digital devices, adopting the role of facilitator, and promoting opportunities for students to lead their own learning. In classrooms where these practices are especially evident, students are very well engaged and focused on learning.

Pacific cultures are reflected and respected in many ways through the school’s curriculum. Some teachers are particularly skilled in designing programmes that affirm Māori and Pacific languages, cultures and identities. Pacific students are proud to have represented the school for the first time at the 2016 regional Polyfest competition.

Senior leaders are now considering how they can further enhance the school’s curriculum with key next steps that include:

  • evaluating the extent to which the Treaty of Waitangi principle from The New Zealand Curriculum is understood and enacted throughout the school
  • exploring how the school might offer Pacific languages as part of its curriculum design.

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

The school is promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori, increasingly well.

The school has 136 Māori students making up 21 percent of the school’s total number. Students and their whānau affiliate to numerous iwi throughout the country. Māori students are well represented in the school’s top achievement statistics and in key leadership roles. The new head of te reo Māori is building student numbers in kapa haka and in junior te reo Māori classes.

The board, principal and senior leaders agree that all Year 9 students should access and learn te reo and te ao Māori, and learn within and about Te Tahawai marae. This approach would support Māori students to learn about their own cultural heritage. It would also enhance the mana of Māori language, culture and identity throughout the school and honour the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and further improve its performance.

The principal continues to provide strong, effective leadership. He is supported by a capable leadership team and is building leadership capacity throughout the school. School leaders actively promote the positive school tone and culture that supports staff and students to be innovative in their work and learning. Leaders are reflective and responsive to internal and external evaluation.

The board is well led and many trustees are experienced in their governance role. They access useful training, including exploration of Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, a self-review tool issued by New Zealand School Trustees Association. They receive good information about student outcomes and other aspects of school operations, and work collaboratively with the principal to promote the school’s strategic direction. Trustees scrutinise information they receive and ask good questions as part of their assurance role.

School leaders, staff and the board value Te Tahawai marae as a taonga for the school and the community. The board has a long-standing relationship with Te Tahawai marae committee. This relationship includes involving marae committee members in some decision making, such as the appointment of the current principal, and having committee representation on the school’s board of trustees. Currently, two elected parent trustees also sit on the marae committee.

The board and principal agree that a useful next step would be to construct a strategic policy and/or memorandum of understanding with Te Tahawai marae to formalise the existing partnership. The board understand that consulting with mana whenua is an integral part of this process to ensure the future sustainability of the school-marae partnership.

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 30 international students attending the school, including 9 exchange students. International students come from various Asian countries, European nations and Brazil.

International students are well integrated into the life of the school. They access varied and interesting learning programmes, and have good opportunities to experience and learn about different parts of life in New Zealand. Students particularly appreciate the value placed on New Zealand’s bicultural partnership by the international faculty. They enjoy the rich learning about Māori and Pacific cultures and languages at the school. Staff provide high levels of pastoral support and care for international students, including regular meetings with students and visits to home-stay families.

The international student faculty reports regularly to the principal on all aspects of international student outcomes, including progress and achievement for long-stay students.

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.

Conclusion

Edgewater College provides a positive school tone and culture for staff, students and their families. The school’s leadership is strong and promotes ongoing improvements for students. NCEA achievement levels are very good for many students, and the school is now developing a plan to accelerate achievement and successes for Māori students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 June 2016

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

79

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

640

Number of international students

30

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

Asian

Filipino

Indian

Middle Eastern

other Pacific

other

21%

11%

18%

17%

7%

5%

5%

5%

3%

4%

4%

Special Features

Three Sommerville Special School satellite classes

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

30 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

December 2011

August 2008

December 2005