Feilding High School - 31/05/2017

Findings

Feilding High School continues to strengthen how well it supports student engagement, learning and achievement. Many students achieve success across academic, sporting and cultural areas, within a positive, supportive learning environment. Developing evaluative capability for knowledge building should promote further improvements and help the school achieve equity and excellence for all learners.

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?

Feilding High School is the sole secondary school in the town of Feilding, Manawatu. The roll of 1375 includes 25% who identify as Māori. Learners are drawn from the town and the surrounding rural areas.

The motto "Kia Toa Kia Ngakaunui" (Have Courage, Desire Greatly) has been retained since the school’s foundation. The hostel, L J Wild House, is in the centre of the school grounds and can accommodate 180 students. The school owns and manages two farms, Ngakaunui and Manawanui, which provide students with a context for practical learning.

Feilding High School is a member of the Feilding Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL) that includes the intermediate and most of the contributing primary schools within and surrounding the town. The Kāhui Ako | CoL is currently in the establishment phase.

The principal began at the school in Term 1, 2016, joining a long serving leadership team. Staffing at the school continues to be stable.

Most areas for improvement outlined in the June 2014 ERO report are areas that continue to be a focus for development. 

2 Learning

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

The school is strengthening its use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Many learners experience success in gaining National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEA). In 2016, results at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 show achievement rates similar to national figures for all learners. Whole school outcomes in NCEA have fluctuated since the previous ERO review. In 2016 there was an improvement at Level 2 but a slight decline for Level 1 and 3. Most learners leave the school having achieved Level 2 NCEA or above. A small group are successful at scholarship level.

There is disparity of outcomes for Māori learners when compared to their peers. This inequity widens as they progress through the school to Year 13. School leaders are aware that achieving equity for Māori learners is an urgent priority. A small number of Pacific learners attend the school. Raising achievement for this group of learners should also be a goal.

Leaders are collecting a wide range of useful student information about achievement and wellbeing when learners transition from their contributing schools. This is used to inform class placements and ability groupings. Learners identified as having additional and higher needs are provided with suitable support.

Teachers and leaders have improved how well they use assessment data in Years 9 and 10 to track and monitor achievement levels. School information shows that overall, year level groups are increasing progress in Years 9 and 10. More strategies are being used to improve literacy and numeracy and these result in accelerated progress for some.

To further strengthen how the school uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement it should:

  • establish a shared understanding and expectation for accelerated progress,
  • particularly in Years 9 and 10, and continue to develop strategies that promote it
  • use literacy and numeracy data more effectively to inform planning for teaching and learning
  • continue to develop tracking and monitoring systems to show achievement and progress in NCEA subjects.

Evaluation to find out which learners made the most progress, where they made it and why progress was made, will assist leaders to know about and transfer the strategies and teaching practices making the biggest difference for learners at risk of not achieving. 

3 Curriculum

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

The school is continuing to strengthen how well its curriculum promotes and supports student engagement, learning and achievement.

Most learners are gaining success through the provision of a broad curriculum that appropriately reflects the New Zealand Curriculum. The school has increased the number of programmes and pathways that support learners to transition smoothly to further study and potential employment.

There is a positive tone and climate in the school. Good relationships are clearly evident and teachers know learners well. Classrooms visited by ERO were calm and purposeful with learners generally well engaged in their learning. Students have good opportunities to participate in a range of extracurricular activities and sports, with a significant number successful at national level. The school provides opportunities for learners to experience leadership.

Programmes are provided that support learners to make informed choices about subject options, pathways into employment and careers related to their strengths and interests. Useful links to workplaces and tertiary institutions support smooth transition from the school to further study or employment.

Learners benefit from academic coaching and mentoring that guides them through pathways and promotes perseverance and resilience. Group teachers are building their role in supporting students at all levels to increase their success as learners.

The school has sustained and further developed an ongoing focus on promoting student wellbeing. An effective pastoral care network and the use of external agencies, support student welfare, safety and health. Students' ideas and feedback are increasingly valued and responded to. Leaders identify the need to gather and analyse a wider range of pastoral information and data to show the impact and effectiveness of strategies on students’ wellbeing and learning.

Learners with significant needs are well catered for in the special needs unit. Their care and wellbeing are strongly promoted through a holistic approach. Programmes are guided by individual education plans developed in consultation with specialist agencies, parents and whānau. Some learners are successfully mainstreamed for adapted activities. Older students' future pathways are well planned to support smooth transition from the school.

The school has improved its communication with parents and community. Good use of digital portals has increased parent access to regularly updated information about activities and achievement. Continuing to strengthen partnerships with parents and the community, that support student learning, is an ongoing priority. 

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

Steps have been taken to improve opportunities for Māori learners to achieve success as Māori.

The school kapa haka group has been expanded and there are more opportunities for learners to experience leadership. A strong emphasis has been placed on celebrating achievement and providing specific programmes that respond to Māori learners' needs. Mentoring is in place for those at risk of not achieving, through the Tū Manukura programme and the Pūhoro Academy. This is beginning to show an impact and improve outcomes. Teachers are continuing to develop their awareness and use of te reo Māori in the classroom. Relationships with whānau and iwi have been strengthened.

The next steps for leaders to further promote educational success for Māori as Māori are to:

  • to develop clear annual schoolwide targets and strategies to achieve equity for Māori learners and promote their success as Māori
  • continue to build teachers’ capacity to respond more effectively to learners’ culture, language and strengths.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school has the capacity and capability to sustain and improve its performance. It has established a strong platform from which to move forward and promote equity and excellence for all learners.

Strategic planning provides a clear direction for the school and establishes priorities and actions for development. However, the annual plan is broad and covers a variety of areas identified for improvement aligned with strategic goals. Strengthening how targets are framed and planning specific actions for selected learners at risk of not achieving, particularly in Years 9 and 10, should better support the school to close the achievement gap between them and other learners. Specifying expected outcomes for these learners, should assist the school in monitoring its effectiveness in meeting goals and targets.

Leaders establish and ensure an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to learning. Leaders build trust and collaboration across the school and its community. The new principal, and leadership group, continue to build their effectiveness as a team. The principal has recognised the need to further strengthen middle leadership capability and has put in place professional learning, targeted at improving effectiveness. Establishing greater clarity and focus around roles and responsibilities to support the schools direction and vision is a next step.

A performance management system is in place and progress has been made in effecting improvement to teaching practice and accountability. Senior leaders recognise that appraisal for the management team and teachers continues to need improvement. Linking teachers’ goals more specifically to improving outcomes for priority learners and increasing the quality of feedback for teachers are next steps.

Teachers are encouraged to participate in a process to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. However there is variability in how well this is understood and implemented. Strengthening the use of evidence should improve how well teachers are able to show the impact of changes in their practice on outcomes for targeted learners.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers know the students whose learning, progress and achievement need improvement when they enter Year 9. In order to improve and strengthen the conditions that promote equity and excellence, leaders teachers and trustees need to:

  • strengthen inquiry, evaluation and knowledge building
  • increase the use of evidence based evaluation for improvement
  • build teacher capability to accelerate student learning and achievement, especially in Years 9 to 11
  • support the acceleration of student learning and achievement, especially for priority and Māori learners.

Strengthening evaluative capability schoolwide should support knowledge building and understanding of the impact curriculum changes have made on further strengthening learner engagement, achievement and progress.

School leaders and trustees have identified a desire to raise levels of attendance and lower rates of stand-downs and suspensions. To improve engagement the school could consider:

  • a review of behaviour management strategies
  • continuing to unpack and articulate the values and expectations across the school
  • increasing the use of restorative practices.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the code) .The school has attested that it complies with and meets all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school from Japan and the Philippines.

Processes for orientation into the school are well considered, providing learners and their families with detailed information. Programmes that respond to family aspirations, students' learning needs and interests are planned. English language learners receive appropriate tuition to build their confidence and fluency.

The small group of international students receive good quality pastoral care, and the promotion of wellbeing is a strong focus. Close tracking of their achievement enables leaders to monitor their progress towards realising their goals.

Teachers and homestays promote integration both within school and the wider community. Involvement in extracurricular activities is encouraged. There are opportunities for students’ culture to be recognised and celebrated across the school.

The introduction of the new code in 2016 has prompted further review. The school plans to make positive changes in response to its findings that further strengthen the provision for international students. 

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, L J Wild House, is owned by Feilding High School and accommodates 180 boarders. The board of trustees is responsible for the management of the hostel. The hostel owner and manager have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

The management structure at the hostel has changed since the previous ERO report.  A head and assistant head of girls’ boarding, together with a head and assistant head of boys’ boarding are responsible for the day-to-day management. They are supported by a number of staff who assist with supervision and tutoring. Hostel managers, the matron and supervisory staff live onsite and are readily accessible to the students.

Girls and boys are accommodated in separate hostels. They enjoy hostel life and have access to study and recreation facilities, including a gymnasium and the school swimming pool. Meals are provided in the communal dining room. The hostel prefects take a leading role in supporting hostel staff maintain a positive climate and tone.

Student wellbeing is a priority. Transition into the hostel family is well managed and parents are provided with good information about the hostel operations. Relationships between students and with staff, are positive and supportive. Students’ academic, sporting and other successes are celebrated.

The hostel owner and manager have identified the need to:

  • continue developing policies and procedures to better guide practices that support students’ emotional and physical safety, that are ratified and regularly reviewed by the board
  • review and develop a programme for the maintenance and upgrading of hostel buildings.

ERO's evaluation affirms these next steps and suggests that:

  • strategic goals and annual objectives, related to the management of the hostel, be included in board planning
  • an appraisal process is introduced for hostel staff, with opportunities for training and professional development.

This should assist the board and managers to evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing development and ensure students’ emotional and physical safety continue to be well monitored.

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

Feilding High School continues to strengthen how well it supports student engagement, learning and achievement. Many students achieve success across academic, sporting and cultural areas, within a positive, supportive learning environment. Developing evaluative capability for knowledge building should promote further improvements and help the school achieve equity and excellence for all learners.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

31 May 2017

About the School

Location

Feilding

Ministry of Education profile number

197

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1375

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Male 50%, Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

26%

68%

4%

2%

Special features

Hostel Special Education Unit

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

31 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2014

December 2010

October 2007