Nayland College - 19/09/2016

Findings

Nayland College is moving ahead positively. Student wellbeing and learning are at the centre of improvement initiatives and approaches. The new principal brings high levels of strategic understanding and expertise to his role. Positive relationships are evident between the board and school leadership and are promoted across the school. Very useful external expertise has helped to strengthen a number of school practices.

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?

The 2014 ERO report for Nayland College identified a number of areas that needed significant improvement. These included governance and leadership, student engagement and achievement, and internal evaluation. Appraisal and support for students at risk of poor achievement were also identified as priorities for review and improvement.

At the time of the on-site stage of the current review, school leaders were reviewing pastoral care, learning support and aspects of the curriculum.

A new principal was appointed at the beginning of 2015. The new board chairperson and some new trustees were appointed in 2016.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • Governance
  • Leadership
  • Student engagement and achievement
  • Self review/internal evaluation

Significant progress has been made in addressing all priorities identified for review and development in the 2014 ERO report.

Governance

Progress

The principal has worked closely with the board and senior leaders to develop a new charter, vision and values. This process included:

  • critical thinking about the nature, purpose and direction of the school
  • wide consultation to include, consider and respond to staff, student and community perspectives
  • close scrutiny of school achievement data and other information
  • a strong focus on improving equity and excellence for all students.

Communication has improved across the school. Clearer lines of communication between the board, principal and senior leadership team have been established. The board is now receiving a wider range of information about school operations. Greater transparency is evident in decision-making processes. Trustees should ensure that staff are kept well informed about the board’s focus and activities.

The board, principal and senior leaders are taking well-planned actions that are helping to build educationally powerful connections and relationships. Some examples of these actions include:

  • involvement in the local community of learning that is focused on positive outcomes for all learners
  • increased collaboration with contributing schools about student learning, wellbeing and achievement
  • expanded professional collaboration with local businesses and industries
  • building meaningful relationships and partnerships with local marae and iwi to strengthen Māori culture, language and identity.

Leadership

Progress

Leadership is being significantly strengthened across the school. Factors contributing to this include improved leadership structures, clear leadership expectations and responsibilities and distributing leadership more widely. Senior leaders are making more strategic use of staff strengths. Some key actions taken so far relate to:

  • increasing the alignment of school goals and targets with pastoral, curriculum and classroom practices
  • clarifying expectations and guidelines for staff and students
  • developing a stronger focus on curriculum connectedness and integration
  • introducing a range of new initiatives that effectively target priorities and professional learning for improved practices across the school
  • ensuring that change is being managed well.

Although at an early stage of development, a range of positive indicators of improvement is apparent. These include:

  • significant improvement in 2015 to the achievement of Māori students at National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 and 2 and all students at Level 1
  • positive ownership by staff of the direction being taken by the school
  • building evaluative capability and a culture of reflection and inquiry across the school
  • an intentional focus on strategies that are known to promote high quality teaching and learning
  • some early indications of roll growth.

Student engagement and achievement

Progress

School leaders and teachers are developing a collaborative approach and shared responsibility for student learning, achievement and behaviour. A number of well-targeted and evidence-based initiatives are building the conditions necessary for promoting equity and excellence for all students. The strong focus on making learning visible, academic mentoring and the school’s new SOAR values of success, opportunity, ako (working together) and respect are helping to strengthen and promote increased student engagement and achievement.

Positive improvements to data analysis and use by teachers, especially regarding regular monitoring and tracking of target students, are evident. Deliberate actions that have been taken to improve this practice include the:

  • restructuring of systems to better monitor student achievement, especially students at risk of poor outcomes
  • deeper and more regular scrutiny and sharing of student achievement, attendance and retention data
  • improving use of the school’s electronic student management system
  • more regular reporting to parents which is contributing to their increased involvement.

The board, principal and senior leaders should continue to maintain a strong focus on improving achievement and outcomes for all students.

Self review/internal evaluation

Progress

The wellbeing and learning progress of all students are now clearly at the centre of internal evaluation at the school. With the use of high quality external expertise, considerable progress is being made on building evaluative capability so that students benefit. This is especially evident in the way:

  • success for, and as, Māori is being promoted and enabled in authentic ways
  • strategies for raising student achievement are becoming increasingly focused on the use of evidence and research-based approaches.

A range of well-considered structures and practices have been put in place to lead, implement and evaluate targeted changes. As a result, a sharper understanding and use of evaluative practices that are most likely to promote the best outcomes for all students is becoming increasingly evident. The principal and senior leaders should continue to strengthen the school’s framework and shared approach about the most effective ways of carrying out various types of internal evaluation.

The board and principal have developed a comprehensive programme and clear lines of accountability for internal evaluation. Evidence provided to ERO showed a depth of strategic understanding about effective internal evaluation processes that promote positive outcomes for learners. These include close scrutiny of current practice, the use of data and gathering a wide range of perspectives within and beyond the school.

The school is at an early stage of improving curriculum reviews. Leaders should ensure that these reviews become increasingly evaluative and promote improvements that meet diverse and changing learning needs and aspirations.

Significant improvements are apparent in the school’s appraisal process for 2016. Although at an early stage, the following aspects are evident:

  • appraisal responsibilities, guidelines and expectations are clear
  • appraisal is now strongly evidence and improvement based and this is helping to build a culture of reflection
  • teaching as inquiry is being meaningfully developed and is well linked to school priorities.

In order to sustain and continue to improve practice, ERO recommends that leaders include the new appraisal system in its schedule of internal evaluation.

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 very well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

ERO’s evaluation of progress has confirmed that the school is moving ahead positively and is in a stronger position in all areas to sustain and improve its performance. Students’ learning and wellbeing needs are at the centre of well identified strategic priorities and actions for improvement.

Under the leadership of the new principal, a number of school systems and practices have been strategically restructured to more effectively address all areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO review. High quality external support has had a noticeable impact on building a learner-centred culture of reflection and improvement.

Key next steps

ERO recommends that the board, principal and leaders:

  • include the effectiveness of school stewardship and leadership in its programme of internal evaluation
  • ensure that the board has reliable ways of being assured about staff and student wellbeing, especially during a time of change and redevelopment
  • review the school’s senior leadership structure to ensure that responsibilities are manageable and improvements are sustainable and ongoing
  • continue to strengthen capability in evaluation and data analysis and use across 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.

Conclusion

Nayland College is moving ahead positively. Student wellbeing and learning are at the centre of improvement initiatives and approaches. The new principal brings high levels of strategic understanding and expertise to his role. Positive relationships are evident between the board and school leadership and are promoted across the school. Very useful external expertise has helped to strengthen a number of school practices.

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

19 September 2016

About the School

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

293

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

966

Number of international students

53

Gender composition

Boys 49%; Girls 51%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other Ethnicities

76%

15%

2%

5%

2%

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

19 September 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2014

July 2011

June 2008