Horowhenua College - 21/04/2017

Findings

Leaders and trustees have responded positively to areas for development identified in the 2014 ERO report. They have been effective in developing the curriculum and strengthening the use of achievement information to track progress and raise achievement. The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Horowhenua College caters for students in Years 9 to 13 from Levin and surrounding areas. There are 608 students attending the school, 36% of whom identify as Māori and 9% as Pacific.

Leaders and trustees have responded positively to areas for development identified in the 2014 ERO report. The new principal, appointed from the end of 2014, and senior leaders are developing a reflective, responsive organisational culture that supports developing practice and ongoing improvement.

There have been a number of schoolwide professional development programmes over the last two years. These include Ministry of Education initiatives, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2014 ERO report identified a number of key areas for ongoing development. These were for trustees and leaders to: 

  • develop a comprehensive curriculum overview including expectations for teaching and teacher appraisal
  • introduce consistent schoolwide assessment processes to better monitor student progress and achievement
  • establish an overarching framework to guide a common approach to review. 

Progress

The principal and senior leaders have effectively led teachers in the development of a thoroughly documented curriculum based on theNew Zealand Curriculum. It includes unique features that reflect the college’s history, values and local aspirations. The NUA Way underpins all aspects of the curriculum and is strongly reflected in every-day school life. Clear guidelines and expectations for teaching, student learning and development exist. The 2017 professional development is appropriately focused on strengthening culturally responsive teaching practice.

Classes are well settled with students on task and engaged in their work. There are positive relationships among students and teachers. Digital technology is used as an effective tool to support student engagement and learning.

Senior student progress is actively monitored through the year to promote positive outcomes for students in achieving National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and other qualifications. NCEA Level 2 and 3 results in 2016 showed significant improvement. Māori students’ achievement in Level 2 and 3 is on par with or above that of their peers in the school. Leaders recognise there is still work to do to achieve equity for Māori learners in NCEA Level 1.

Appropriate nationally referenced assessments are now used in Years 9 and 10 to identify students at risk of not achieving. This information is increasingly used to inform planning and support literacy development across the curriculum. All learning areas now report junior student achievement against curriculum levels. Information about reading, writing and mathematics achievement in Years 9 and 10, together with senior school progress, has been collated and regularly reported to the board.

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, the need to continue to strengthen teacher capability in the diagnostic use of assessment information. This should better inform planning and teaching, and assist teachers to evaluate lesson and programme effectiveness.

Trustees have introduced a suitable framework to guide operational and strategic review. There is a formal review process in place to regularly reflect on their performance as a board. School-wide self review is appropriately linked to strategic and annual planning and is informed by:

  • student achievement data
  • staff, student, parent and community voice and surveys
  • research and theory.

Leaders recognise the importance of extending this model to all aspects and levels of school operations. Using evaluation to review the impact of programmes and initiatives on student outcomes should support ongoing improvement. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to sustain its performance and continue to build student success.

The board of trustees is future focused. New members bring a useful range of experience and knowledge. Trustees are better informed and receive a range of information about student achievement, activities and school operations to support resourcing decisions. The board is looking to continue strengthening the school’s engagement with parents and whānau.

The principal and senior leaders have a shared vision for school development. They focus on student outcomes and work collaboratively to plan and lead ongoing school development. The refined appraisal system supports continued growth of teachers’ professional practice.

A well-considered pastoral care system has been introduced to better promote student wellbeing and sense of belonging. There are effective links with a range of external agencies to further support students and their families. Student voice provides important feedback on many aspects of school operations.

Sound systems are developing to transition students into the school at Year 9. School leaders are working with contributing schools to enhance the quality and relevance of achievement information shared during transitions. The evolving Community of Learning involving the college and many contributing schools should assist to strengthen these transition processes.

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

Leaders and trustees have responded positively to areas for development identified in the 2014 ERO report. They have been effective in developing the curriculum and strengthening the use of achievement information to track progress and raise achievement. The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 April 2017

About the School

Location

Levin

Ministry of Education profile number

236

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

608

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Chinese

Asian

Other Pacific

Other ethnic groups

46%

36%

5%

3%

5%

4%

1%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

21 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2014

June 2011

January 2008