Golden Bay High School - 19/06/2017

Findings

Golden Bay High School continues to maintain an overall trend of positive NCEA achievement. Junior achievement is more variable. Student wellbeing and support for learning are prioritised. Curriculum choices and pathways are being expanded and students also have rich learning opportunities beyond the school. Many changes have occurred at board, leadership and staff levels since the 2014 ERO review. This report identifies a number of serious issues at the school that require immediate attention.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Golden Bay High School has a long history of providing education for generations of its rural families. This contributes to the important role the school plays in the local community. School leaders and teachers make good use of community expertise and the local environment to extend learning opportunities and enjoyment for students. Some school facilities are shared with the community.

Since the 2014 ERO review, changes have included a new principal, senior leadership team, board chair and trustees, and a number of new staff members. During this time, the roll has continued to grow. The school has been advised by the Ministry of Education that a range of property developments and improvements will commence in the middle of 2017.

The 2014 ERO review identified a number of strengths that have been maintained or further improved. These include a calm and inclusive school culture, responsiveness to students’ interests and needs, effective pastoral care and a positive trend in senior achievement.

As indicated in this current report, ERO found that some areas for improvement identified in the last report have not been addressed. ERO also found issues of serious concern at some governance, professional leadership and compliance levels that need urgent attention.

Since the onsite stage of the review, the Board has requested intervention from the Ministry of Education to help improve identified issues at the school.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers have been making improved progress over the last year with the way student information is used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. They recognise that this remains an area for ongoing improvement.

The improving use of achievement information includes:

  • better tracking and monitoring of individual student progress over time
  • earlier identification and support for students whose learning is most at risk of underachievement.

Roll-based National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) information for 2016 shows that:

  • students achieve highly in Level 1 literacy and numeracy
  • achievement at NCEA Level 1 is very good
  • progress needs to be made at NCEA Level 2 to meet the 2017 national target.

Information provided by the school indicates that:

  • at Years 7 and 8, achievement is better in reading and writing and lowest in mathematics against the National Standards
  • leaders and teachers have not yet developed effective strategies for raising the achievement of Māori students at junior levels.

Areas for review and development

School leaders and teachers should:

  • develop clear guidelines and expectations that promote high quality assessment, moderation and reporting practices for Years 7 to 10 students
  • regularly report to the board about student progress and achievement within and across Years 7 to 10
  • ensure that reports to parents clearly identify progress against year-level reporting requirements
  • continue to develop ways of increasing the number of students achieving at excellence levels across the school, especially in NCEA.

The progress of Year 9 and 10 students, who need additional literacy and numeracy support to eventually access NCEA Level 1, should be regularly reported to the board.

ERO also recommends that school leaders and teachers evaluate how well student progress and achievement information is being used at classroom, curriculum leadership, senior leadership and board levels. Effective responses to this will help strengthen and sustain ongoing improvements.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is becoming increasingly responsive and effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting learning programmes and experiences within and beyond the school. Leaders and teachers make extensive use of the rich opportunities in the local environment to build students’ motivation and engagement in their learning. 

There is a strong focus in the school on positive outcomes for students. Teachers know students well and provide a wide range of extra support for their learning. Student learning is being increasingly personalised and differentiated through multi-level classes and specifically tailored courses.

Students benefit from leadership opportunities to be involved in the organisation of the school, lead some initiatives and contribute their ideas to school improvement.      

The school’s pastoral care system is strongly focused on supporting students’ wellbeing to enable them to achieve positive educational outcomes.

Students would benefit from having a stronger voice and active participation in the leadership and direction of their own learning. 

Areas for review and development

In order to further improve the curriculum, the next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • clearly link the curriculum to the school’s vision and values, and to the key competencies, values and principles of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • identify and document the desired characteristics of high quality teaching and learning, including culturally responsive practices
  • identify expected progressions for learning across Years 7 to 10
  • regularly evaluate the impact of curriculum programmes and practices on student learning, engagement and progress. 

Senior and curriculum leaders should also evaluate and effectively respond to how well the curriculum is meeting the needs of students whose learning is most at risk.

The purpose, role and responsibilities of the curriculum leadership group should be clarified. Strategically supporting and further strengthening curriculum leadership and collaboration across all learning areas are key next steps.

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

The school is making gradual progress with the way it is promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Very good links with the local iwi, Māori representation at the board level, and the leadership of Māori within the school by the teacher in charge of Māori are helping to increase awareness of bicultural needs, perspectives and understandings.

There has been an increasing awareness of te ao Māori in the school over time. Students have a range of opportunities to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori and to be involved in other cultural experiences. The school’s kapa haka is a noticeable strength and reflects the pride students have in their school.

Area for review and development:

In consultation with whānau and Māori students, the board, school leaders and teachers should develop a more formalised approach to promoting positive educational outcomes for Māori, as Māori. This could include:

  • using the school’s useful taha Māori policy as a foundation for development and review
  • identifying and enacting goals and priorities for development and improvement
  • regularly evaluating and reporting progress against these goals to the board and school community. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

ERO’s evaluation found that, while there are many strengths, the school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Strengths at board and senior leadership levels include:

  • a committed board of trustees who bring a range of expertise to their new roles
  • a board and staff who are clearly focused on improving outcomes for learners
  • senior leaders who are beginning to address priorities for improvement and implement appropriate strategies
  • considerable potential across the school to use external support to address and improve current issues and move the school forward positively.

ERO’s onsite investigations identified areas of serious concern:

  • relationships and communication at governance and professional leadership levels are a serious barrier to the effective strategic management and direction of the school
  • reporting to the board about matters of greatest importance for strategic decision making, target setting and monitoring of students’ learning progress is insufficient
  • some board processes are not understood by staff or are not followed in ways that contribute to positive outcomes for the school
  • the wellbeing needs of all staff should be effectively addressed, including ensuring that communication and the management of change promotes shared understandings and positive relationships.

Areas for review and development

The board and the school’s professional leadership should use external support to resolve current challenging issues at these levels.

The board must ensure that:

  • all reporting requirements are clearly identified, documented, and followed
  • board processes and expectations, including the distinctions between governance and management, are clarified and annually evaluated
  • a robust system is in place, including anonymous staff surveys, to assure the board about the safety and wellbeing of all staff
  • there is regular evaluation of the effectiveness of the governance and professional leadership of the school so that the learning and wellbeing of all students benefit.

The board, principal and senior leaders should ensure that internal evaluation is understood and used effectively across all of the school’s operations.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

ERO’s onsite audit of the school’s adherence to the Code identified that it has not been updated as required in 2016 to reflect current legislation. The board and school leaders have attested that necessary actions are being taken to ensure code of compliance.   

At the time of this review, there were five international students attending the school.

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.

During the onsite stage of the review, ERO found a number of areas of non-compliance relating to:

  • reporting to parents and students against the National Standards
  • appraisal
  • health and safety
  • the International Code of Pastoral Care.

Actions

  1. As previously identified in the 2014 ERO review, reports to parents of Years 7 and 8 students do not consistently report progress against the National Standards. In order to address this, the board of trustees, through the principal and teachers, must:
    - report to parents and students in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics, in writing and in plain language at least twice a year.
    [National Administrative Guidelines 2A (a)] 
  2. Appraisal does not currently meet Education Council requirements. To meet legal obligations, the board and principal must:
    - ensure that all staff are appraised annually.
    [National Administration Guideline 3]
  3. Some health and safety practices are not compliant. To address this, the board and senior leaders must:
    - make sure that the school follows its policies and procedures regarding all practices related to health and safety.
  4. The International Code of Pastoral Care. The board must:
    - ensure that the International Code of Pastoral Care is updated in accordance with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority requirements.

Recommendations to other agencies

The board has requested Ministry of Education intervention to improve issues at governance and leadership levels.

ERO also recommends that the Ministry of Education, through the Student Achievement Function (SAF), supports the board, school leaders and teachers to:

  • build high quality internal evaluation systems and practices so that all students benefit
  • strengthen and embed recent improvements to promote high quality teaching and learning practices for all students.

Conclusion

Golden Bay High School continues to maintain an overall trend of positive NCEA achievement. Junior achievement is more variable. Student wellbeing and support for learning are prioritised. Curriculum choices and pathways are being expanded and students also have rich learning opportunities beyond the school. Many changes have occurred at board, leadership and staff levels since the 2014 ERO review. This report identifies a number of serious issues at the school that require immediate attention.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

19 June 2017

About the School

Location

Takaka

Ministry of Education profile number

292

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

359

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Girls 50%; Boys 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Other ethnicities

81%
12%
  3%
  4%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

19 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2014
August 2010
December 2006