Ellesmere College - 16/01/2018

School Context

Ellesmere College is a co-educational school with a current roll of 578 students. It provides education for students from Years 7 to 13 in the Leeston and the Ellesmere district.

The school states that its mission is: “to fully engage students in their learning, and to enable and equip students with the abilities, skills and knowledge to excel in their school achievements and to be successful citizens”. The school’s current aim is to improve the learning opportunities and academic performance of all students identified as not achieving to their potential.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in relation to the National Standards

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

  • progress towards NCEA

  • school leaver qualifications

  • learning support programmes

  • achievement in relation to school and national targets

  • achievement information for Years 9 and 10 students in most learning areas.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, there has been an increase in the school roll and changes in the leadership structure and team. The school has been part of Ministry of Education initiatives. These include an achievement, retention and transition programme to support identified students in the senior school, and accelerating literacy learning programmes for students in the junior school. All staff have been involved in professional learning and development to increase their confidence and knowledge in te ao Māori.

The school is part of the recently established Ngā Mātāpuna o te Waihora Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving equitable outcomes for most of its senior students. It is not achieving equitable outcomes for some groups of students in Years 7 to 10.

Over the last three years most students have achieved NCEA Levels 1 and 2. In this time there has been an upward trend of Level 3 achievement. Almost all students achieve the literacy and numeracy requirement at all three levels. In the last two years almost all Māori learners have achieved Levels 1 and 2. There is disparity of achievement for boys at Level 3 and University Entrance. The school continues to identify the need to increase its levels of NCEA certificate endorsements, especially at the merit level.

The 2016 reports to the board on Years 9 and 10 achievement against school expectations indicate for:

  • mathematics, most Year 9 students were judged to be at or above school expectations, and the majority of Year 10 achieved at or above expected levels

  • science, the majority of both year levels were reported to be at or above the school’s expectations

  • both of these learning areas, greater proportions of boys and Māori students were underachieving.

Most students in Years 7 and 8 achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. There is disparity of achievement for boys and Māori students in aspects of literacy, including reading, and in mathematics for Asian students.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding effectively to some Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school reports that for the last three years the majority of students in targeted programmes have made accelerated progress. This progress has been particularly effective in enabling students in Years 11, 12 and 13 to gain their NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Students, and Māori students in particular, benefit from culturally responsive schooling. In response to the 2014 ERO report the school is implementing a useful Māori and Pacific strategic plan. There is greater involvement of whānau Māori and the local rūnanga. The concepts of tuakana teina and whakawhanaungatanga are integral to the way school provides for Māori students. Some Māori protocols and te reo Māori have been meaningfully integrated into the life of the school. Full NCEA courses in te reo Māori and Māori performing arts are part of the curriculum offered.

The school is effectively supporting student wellbeing. Over the last two years counsellor hours have been increased to better meet the needs of students in this area. The school is successfully implementing a school-wide programme to develop positive behaviours that support students’ learning.

The responsiveness of the curriculum for students in Years 11 to 13 is benefitting their achievement. Staff in key positions effectively:

  • identify students at risk of poor achievement

  • set targets with relevant and effective support programmes

  • ensure the students’ courses are appropriate, tailoring programmes as appropriate

  • track and monitor student progress throughout the year.

The board of trustees provides a range of support and resourcing to sustain or extend programmes and support in order to achieve equity of achievement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

School leaders need to make in-depth use of school-wide learning information to know:

  • the impact of programmes and interventions throughout and at the end of the year

  • if all students in Years 7 to 10 are making sufficient progress each year

  • about the achievement of the school’s valued outcomes

  • about the progress and achievement of international students and English language learners.

These next steps were identified as areas for development in the 2014 ERO report.

The curriculum for Years 7 to 10 needs development to better respond to the needs and abilities of students in these year levels. Leaders and teachers need to establish clear and consistent learning progressions to know what a year’s worth of progress looks like for each year level. This should also include what meaningful engagement in learning looks like across year levels.

Assessment and moderation practices need to be strengthened to assure the school community of the reliability and consistency of achievement judgements made in Years 7 to 10. Systems need to be more coherent to ensure that those students most at risk of not achieving are identified, included in targeted actions, and that their rates of progress are regularly monitored.

School leadership needs to ensure the school’s appraisal system is consistently implemented to assure the board that all teaching staff are being appropriately appraised.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 eight international students attending the school.

The students receive a high level of pastoral care. The school has effective systems for orientation, homestay arrangements and for individual concerns. The students are assessed on arrival and given good support for improving their English if required. Learning and achievement are monitored with regular reporting to students and parents. Students are placed with buddies on their arrival and are integrated into the school through a carefully-managed whānau system. Students are actively encouraged to, and many do, access sporting and cultural groups. Many students undertake volunteer work in the community.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in the:

  • responsiveness and cohesiveness of its Year 11 to 13 curriculum

  • support given to identified students needing to make accelerated progress.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in:

  • making more in-depth use of learning information to improve internal evaluation that includes knowing about the impact of school programmes

  • implementing a responsive and cohesive curriculum for all students in Years 7 to 10 that embeds high expectations for all.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 January 2018

About the school

Location

Leeston, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

349

School type

Secondary School (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

578

Gender composition

Boys: 50% Girls: 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 14%
Pākehā: 78%
Pacific: 2%
Other: 6%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

16 January 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: October 2014
Education Review: October 2011
Education Review: August 2008