Hurunui College - 23/08/2016

Findings

Students at Hurunui College benefit from positive relationships across the school. Teachers provide very good support for students’ learning and wellbeing. Achievement at junior and senior levels is generally continuing to improve. The school’s curriculum is becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs and interests. A number of useful initiatives to improve student learning and achievement are helping the school to move ahead positively. The areas identified for improvement in this report are likely to further strengthen the progress being made. 

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?

Hurunui College provides education for Years 1 to 13 students from a wide geographical area in North Canterbury. The school has close relationships with the local and wider community and is an important focal point for the area. The community and school share some resources and facilities.

Most students travel to school by bus. The increasingly-diverse student roll has remained stable over recent years. School values of respect, integrity, service and excellence are well promoted and encouraged. Service to the community and the school’s motto, "Enter to learn. Leave to serve", are given a high priority.

Changes since the last review include a new principal and deputy principal and some new staff. The school is an active member of a rural schools’ cluster and a community of learning.

The school has made significant progress since the 2012 ERO review. Many of the areas identified for improvement in the 2012 report have been addressed. Some areas remain the focus of ongoing improvement.

2 Learning

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

The school is making better progress in the way student achievement information is collected, analysed and used. Leaders are aware that ongoing development in this area must be sustained, embedded and regularly evaluated so that all students benefit.

Achievement information against National Standards in 2015 shows that the majority of students are at or above the standard, with achievement being highest in reading. School leaders are focused on continuing to raise achievement in writing and mathematics.

Achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) reflects that:

  • very good NCEA literacy and numeracy achievement has been sustained over recent years
  • achievement at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 is above national and similar school comparisons
  • the school is well on track to achieve the Level 2 national target of 85% by 2017
  • the percentage of students gaining merit or excellence endorsements is highest at Levels 2 and 3.

Students who are at risk of lower achievement benefit from the improved school-wide support systems. These include early identification of students with learning needs, the good range of support teachers and teacher aides provide in classrooms, and regular use of external support for students who need additional help. This is especially evident in the primary school area.

Areas for review and development

The board, school leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for improvement include:

  • continuing to build teacher capacity and a deeper understanding of effective data analysis and use
  • improving the acceleration and tracking of student progress over time
  • strengthening evaluative reporting to the board so that the impact of initiatives and programmes are clearly identified
  • ensuring robust reporting to the board of Year 9 and 10 student progress
  • evaluating how effectively the needs of all secondary students are being met, especially for students at risk of lower achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is increasingly promoting and supporting student learning. School systems and programmes across many learning areas are becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs, interests and aspirations. Students have access to an interesting range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school.

Initiatives introduced by school leaders in recent times are beginning to have a positive impact. The introduction of learning communities is strengthening collaborative and consistent teaching practices. This initiative is also helping students to make effective transitions through the school. The use of a national programme that promotes positive behaviour has had a noticeable impact on students’ engagement in their learning.

School leaders have introduced a school-wide approach to strengthening students’ understanding of themselves as learners. Digital technologies are being used to support and extend students’ learning.

The secondary school curriculum is becoming more responsive to students’ needs. School leaders are broadening NCEA programmes, opportunities and choices for students. There is a stronger focus on developing individual learning pathways for senior students. The senior school timetable is increasingly based on students’ learning interests and needs. Partnerships with education and employment providers continue to be strengthened to increase opportunities for students.

Teachers know students and their families well. Students are positive about the way teachers provide extra support for them. They benefit from a wide range of well-targeted pastoral needs. There are good links with external agencies to provide assistance for students who need additional support. Older students actively support younger students in a variety of ways.

Areas for review and development

School leaders are aware that a curriculum review needs to be completed. Review priorities could include:

  • documenting the unique characteristics and richness of the local curriculum and linking them to the school’s vision and values and the NZC
  • identifying clear curriculum guidelines and expectations for teachers to promote clarity and consistency
  • embedding bicultural perspectives across all learning areas.

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

The school has been making good progress with promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students generally achieve at similar levels to their peers at the primary level in reading and writing. While the number of Māori students is lower at NCEA Level 2, their achievement is proportionally higher.

The teacher of Māori is effectively leading a range of improvements to promote Māori culture and tikanga. These include:

  • students and teachers having increasing opportunities to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori
  • establishing a whānau group as a forum for parents of Māori students to share ideas and suggestions
  • establishing a kapa haka group that is actively involved in a number of cultural events.

Areas for review and development

In consultation with whānau, the school now needs to develop a Māori responsiveness plan that identifies priorities and planning for building success for Māori, as Māori. This should include a focus on continuing to strengthen culturally competent practices in all classrooms.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Although at an early stage, the strengthening of school systems, programmes and practices is putting the school in a better position to improve opportunities and outcomes for students.

The board is focused on supporting the learning and wellbeing of students. A number of board members have had board training. The system for policy review has recently been improved. Positive relationships between the board, principal and senior leaders are evident. Staff members are positive and supportive of the school’s strategic focus and direction. An improved appraisal system was introduced at the beginning of 2016.

The principal is initiating and leading a range of improvements to students’ learning and wellbeing. Senior leaders provide very good support for these developments. Appropriate priority is being given to teachers becoming increasingly reflective about their teaching programmes and practices. Leaders are effectively managing change at the school.

There is strong community support for school activities and events. The principal and senior leaders are actively developing closer connections and relationships with the local and wider community.

Areas for review and development

While there have been examples of ongoing self review at the school since the last review, the board and school leaders agree that building capacity in internal evaluation is a key priority. This should include:

  • developing an identified process and schedule for internal evaluation
  • regular evaluation of governance and leadership effectiveness
  • ensuring that student voice and other perspectives contribute to all internal evaluations.

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

Students at Hurunui College benefit from positive relationships across the school. Teachers provide very good support for students’ learning and wellbeing. Achievement at junior and senior levels is generally continuing to improve. The school’s curriculum is becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs and interests. A number of useful initiatives to improve student learning and achievement are helping the school to move ahead positively. The areas identified for improvement in this report are likely to further strengthen the progress being made. 

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

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

23 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Hawarden

Ministry of Education profile number

0311

School type

Area School

School roll

241

Gender composition

Boys 57%; Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Pākeha
Māori
Pacifica
Asian
Other

188
  42
   3
   7
   1

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

23 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Supplementary Review
Education Review

2012
2009
2008