Fraser High School - 31/08/2017

Findings

Students at Fraser High School benefit from a range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership opportunities. They participate and enjoy success in an affirming school culture. Relationships between teachers, students and their families are positive and support students’ engagement in learning and contributions to the life of the school.

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?

Fraser High School is a large, co-educational secondary school in Hamilton catering for students in Years 9 to 13. The roll of 1448 includes 41% Māori and 7% Pacific students.

Since ERO’s 2014 review, the school’s senior leadership and governance have remained the same. A model of wider and more distributed leadership has been introduced with the intention to build teachers’ capability to inquire into their own practice and promote effective pedagogy across the curriculum. The hub initiative that started in 2014 is designed to promote a more responsive, flexible and integrated approach to teaching and learning for students in Years 9 and 10. Professional learning and development has focused on strengthening teachers’ understanding of key principles and effective teaching approaches from The New Zealand Curriculum. The school has continued to embed Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and LEAD values of learning with purpose, engaging with pride, acting with respect and daring to succeed, to guide improvements in behaviour and learning. This is having a positive impact on students’ wellbeing and engagement.

2 Learning

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

The school is yet to use achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Key areas of development for using achievement information are:

  • setting specific and evidence-based charter targets, with planned actions for raising the achievement of all students at risk
  • addressing the persistent disparity in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) for Māori, boys and Pacific students
  • developing a consistent and school-wide approach to assessment for students in Years 9 and 10, and regularly reporting on the progress and achievement of this cohort of learners
  • evaluating curriculum effectiveness in accelerating the progress and achievement of at-risk learners.

The school uses a range of information, including National Standards data from its contributing schools, to inform class placements and support positive transitions into secondary school for Year 9 students. Data shows that most Year 9 students who were at or above the expected curriculum level on entry to school in 2014, achieved well in NCEA Level 1 in 2016. This data also shows that the significant majority of Year 9 students who entered the school below expected curriculum levels in 2014, made accelerated progress in gaining their literacy and numeracy credits in 2016 with half of students gaining NCEA Level 1.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014 the school’s NCEA results have been below that of schools of a similar profile and schools nationally. This data from 2016 shows that 62% of Year 11 students achieved NCEA Level 1, 65% of Year 12 students achieved Level 2, and 39% of Year 13 students achieved Level 3. The roll based data also shows that overall Māori and Pacific students achieved at lower levels than Pākehā students, and boys achieved at significantly lower levels than girls. A notable success for the school is the high number of Māori students involved in the Hei Taniwha programme who achieved NCEA Level 1 with endorsement in 2016. 

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides a broad curriculum that promotes and supports student learning. The curriculum is well designed to ensure students are able to access a range of academic and vocational learning pathways appropriate to their needs, strengths and interests. The introduction of an integrated and differentiated curriculum at Years 9 and 10 is promoting continuity of learning and relationships with teachers and peers. Students who spoke with ERO expressed appreciation of teachers who have high expectations and support them to have ownership and understanding of their learning. Students also value opportunities to participate in a wide range of sporting, cultural, leadership and extension opportunities. The broad curriculum is contributing to high levels of student engagement in meaningful learning opportunities and pathways.

Students’ pastoral and academic needs are effectively resourced. Established systems and practices include:

  • the student health centre that provides a wide range of services that are responsive to student needs
  • the deans' network
  • the well-established PB4L initiative
  • positive engagement and information sharing with parents and whānau, particularly at transition points
  • designated unit and mainstream options for students with special needs
  • group times, where a specific teacher and students meet regularly to promote positive relationships, a sense of belonging and peer mentoring
  • recent initiatives to acknowledge, celebrate and affirm the languages, cultures and identity of Pacific students in the school, and to engage their families.

These responsive approaches contribute to students’ holistic wellbeing and success.

School leaders acknowledge the need to evaluate the effectiveness of current provision of sexuality education for students in Years 9 and 10. 

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

The school has some initiatives that effectively promote educational success for Māori students. The Hei Taniwha and Tama Tu programmes are underpinned by strong Māori values of manaakitanga, mana motuhake, whakapringatanga, wanganga, ako and kotahitanga. These values provide the foundation for high expectations, self efficacy and strong learning-centred relationships. Notable outcomes from these programmes have been student success in gaining NCEA and vocational pathway qualifications, improved engagement and attendance. A next step for the school is to consider how best to build on the success of these initiatives to benefit other Māori students in the school.

The school has an ongoing commitment to building practices and a curriculum that is responsive to Māori learners. Teachers have engaged in sustained professional learning and development with an emphasis on improving Māori student achievement. The influence of this learning for some teachers is strengthening the presence of Māori perspectives and knowledge in contexts that make learning meaningful and relevant for Māori students. School leaders and the board acknowledge that there remains a need to reduce the disparities in achievement between Māori and other students in the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The following factors contribute to school improvement and sustainability:

  • Trustees are representative of the community. They contribute a range of skills and experience, and have a strong desire to improve educational outcomes for students.
  • The principal and wider professional learning team articulate a clear vision for teaching and learning at Fraser High School.
  • An increasing number of teachers engage in opportunities to inquire into their own practice and engage in professional dialogue about effective teaching and responsive curriculum.
  • Students experience a broad curriculum that provides them with choices and pathways that support their transition on to further education and employment.
  • The school offers a range of opportunities that engage parents and whānau in the life of the school. In addition the school has developed partnerships with the community and tertiary providers to create authentic learning opportunities for students.

The following next steps are required to sustain and improve performance:

  • Review and refine the roles and responsibilities of the senior leadership team, to more specifically focus on leadership of learning. This needs to include an emphasis on learner outcomes, particularly in relation to Māori, Pacific and Year 9 and 10 students.
  • Strengthen internal evaluation by making better use of achievement information to evaluate the effectiveness of school initiatives. This should enable the school to identify and replicate practices that make the biggest difference for at risk learners.
  • Review policies and practices for teacher appraisal. This needs to include increased rigour of appraisal processes and strengthening the quality and consistency of evidence gathered by teachers as the basis for the issue of practicing certificates.

The school needs to develop an action plan to address the next steps identified in this report. In addition, the school would benefit from participating in an ERO internal evaluation workshop to build its capacity to engage in robust internal evaluation and critical inquiry into school programmes and initiatives.

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.

The board of trustees must ensure that:

  • an annual performance agreement with the principal is in place.
    [State Sector Act s77]

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school participates in an ERO internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes that support equity and excellence for all students. 

Conclusion

Students at Fraser High School benefit from a range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership opportunities. They participate and enjoy success in an affirming school culture. Relationships between teachers, students and their families are positive and support students’ engagement in learning and contributions to the life of the school.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

31 August 2017

About the School 

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

135

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1448

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Other Pacific
Samoan
South East Asian
Other

41%
41%
5%
4%
3%
3%
3%

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

31 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Supplementary Review Supplementary Review

December 2014
July 2013
July 2011