Napier Community Activity Centre - 12/10/2017

Background

Introduction

Napier Community High School is one of 14 Activity Centres in New Zealand that cater for secondary school students (Years 9-13) who are at risk of disengaging from mainstream schooling and at risk of low educational, social and vocational outcomes.

Activity Centres provide a specialised learning programme that will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school, social outcomes and successful transition rates. Registered teachers support students to increase their achievement and engagement in education, guided by an Individual Learning Programme (ILP) that is responsive to the needs of each student. The ILP details the student’s learning goals and is developed in partnership with the student, teacher, parents/whānau and enrolling school.

A key component of the programme for activity centre students is to successfully transition back into the enrolling school, or move on to further education or employment.

Activity Centre and is responsible for providing high quality educational service, in a physically and emotionally safe learning environment.Napier Boys’ High School is the managing school for this activity centre. It is located adjacent to the centre. The school Board of Trustees holds governance responsibility for the

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Napier Community High School in relation to the terms of reference developed with the Ministry of Education. The terms of reference are:

  • management and governance practices including planning, internal evaluation and professional capacity building

  • the use of information to plan and implement individual programmes for, and with, students, and to monitor their progress

  • support for students to achieve improved social and educational outcomes

  • educational and social outcomes for students, including the extent to which students’ learning has been accelerated

  • students’ experience of interagency support for them and their families

  • transitions in and out of the Activity Centre.

The key evaluative question is:

How effective is this Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

Context

Napier Community High School provides education for up to 20 students, who require a specialised learning programme that will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school. Support continues until they, their families and whānau, centre staff and their enrolling school decide that they are sufficiently well equipped to return to mainstream schooling, or move on to further education and training.

At the time of the review, there were seventeen students on the roll. Nine students enrolled were Māori, seven Pākehā and one was of Pacific heritage. Nine of the students were female and eight male.

Centre staff foster close links with parents and whānau, community groups, external agencies and the management committee. This promotes a unity of purpose, consistency of expectations and clear lines of communication.

The premises have recently been significantly upgraded and now offer a modern learning environment for the students.

Findings

How effective is the Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

Napier Community High School is very effective in achieving positive outcomes for students. In the short period of time at the centre, most students make very good progress academically and socially.

Education outcomes, to mid-2017, have been very positive. In 2016, all students demonstrated a rise in both literacy and numeracy skills. Many achieved credits towards a National Certificate of Educational Achievement as part of the life skills programme. During the 2016 year, 20 of the 32 students enrolled returned to their enrolling schools and six transitioned into further education or training.

Literacy and numeracy learning is a focus. Students are assessed on entry and regularly during their time at the centre. There is good documented evidence to show accelerated progress for many students in both of these areas.

Some students attend the centre to improve aspects of their behaviour. For example, many improve attendance and develop the routine of coming to school on a more regular basis. In some cases, this aspect remains a focus for teachers and students, despite a range of strategies in place. Those students who spoke with ERO were looking forward to returning to school with a much improved attitude. These students expressed the concern that teachers would not recognise the change and improvement and treat them as they were before attending the centre.

What is the quality of governance and leadership of the Activity Centre?

The quality of governance and leadership is one of the strengths of the centre. There are positive and supportive relationships between the headmaster of the managing school and the director and centre staff. The Napier Boys’ High School board takes an active interest in the centre’s activities and outcomes. One trustee has the centre as part of his portfolio.

The Napier Boys’ High School headmaster professionally engages with the head teacher. He is in regular contact and has oversight of performance management, using a process that is consistent with the managing school. Appraisal and professional learning and development promote and support high quality teaching in the centre.

The managing school resources the centre appropriately and students are able to access the school facilities when required.

The director regularly provides informative reports to the board. These give detailed information on student numbers, year levels and their referring school. Student academic and social progress and readiness for transition inform the board of outcomes. The board is also advised of the programmes, other than literacy and numeracy, that are offered. Staffing, professional development, property and finance are also reported.

The managing school has an appropriate and current Memorandum of Understanding with each enrolling school. This outlines the criteria for enrolled schools, the responsibilities of the centre, the enrolled school and the student.

How effective are the selection and transition processes?

The committee, composed of referring schools’ guidance counsellors, works well and is a strength. They have a full understanding of the aims and expectations of the centre and ensure that only students who are likely to benefit are referred for selection. This has contributed to the positive outcomes over time.

Referring schools appreciate the consistent selection approach and provide appropriate information about the student prior to enrolling.

Embedded routines facilitate students’ transition into the centre and they quickly embody the centre’s culture. A feature of the transition, is that all current students greet new ones and visitors by formally introducing themselves, explaining the reason for their being there and their key goals.

How well does the Activity Centre identify the social, emotional and academic needs of each student?

Teachers quickly assess students’ academic capabilities. Mostly, the referring schools provide appropriate data. For some students, with very poor school attendance, the results need to be verified. Students are assessed on entry using normed tests and also a diagnostic test for Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu – The Correspondence School (Te Kura) study.

The enrolling schools provide valuable information about students’ social and emotional wellbeing. The centre uses Mana Potential, a strengths-based tool for behaviour. Some students gain an insight into their behaviours and signs that may indicate anxiety or aggression.

The centre recognises the importance of providing a culturally inclusive environment to provide a sense of belonging, particularly for Māori students. The managing school has offered to provide resources for increased inclusion for these students. Te Reo Māori is included in the classroom where appropriate and Māori students are encouraged to explore their whakapapa when completing their pepeha. As part of the Audio Visual Achievement in Literacy, Language and Learning programme, cultural issues are explored.

The Travellers programme encourages students to recognise their culture and the part it plays in developing hauora.

How well do the specialised learning programmes meet the needs of each student?

The learning programmes are mainly student centred. Mathematics and English from Te Kura is delivered online. Students work at their own pace and tracking is done through the Te Kura folder. Most students study at Level 4 of the New Zealand Curriculum. Levels 3 and 2 are available.

Teachers use assessment information to identify specific areas students are not grasping and provide targeted teaching to help catch up.

Students are re-tested near the end of their time, to gauge their readiness to re-engage with mainstream. All students show a marked improvement in literacy levels and usually master basic mathematics skills.

Apart from mathematics and English, students choose an option subject based on their interests and what they want to learn about. On Fridays, students, through contract, plan their own learning programme. This supports their self-managing skills.

How effectively are students prepared for their future pathways?

Students are very well prepared for their future pathways. They participate in a life skills programme and achieve credits for courses such as Safety in the Workplace, Teamwork and Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace.

Of the ten students who exited by midyear 2017, eight returned to school and one went to alternative education. One student is being home schooled.

The centre has been very successful in improving student attendance, mathematics and English skills and facilitating an improvement in core competencies. Some students who came to the centre with behavioural issues have improved their self-management skills, overcome their anxiety or have had external support to improve their health.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

12 October 2017

About the Activity Centre

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

6124

Activity Centre roll

17

Gender composition

Female 9, Male 8

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific

9
7
1

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

12 October 2017 

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Special Review
Special Review

February 2013
November 2009
June 2005