Ormiston Senior College - 12/06/2015

Findings

Ormiston Senior College is a senior secondary school that was opened in 2011. An innovative curriculum supports students to achieve well in qualifications. Students develop independent learning skills in a modern learning environment. They benefit from personalised and empowering learning approaches. Effective leadership promotes continual improvement through robust self review.

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?

Ormiston Senior College is a senior secondary school catering for students in Years 11 to 13. The school serves a diverse community who have high expectations for student learning and success. Located close to the site of the new Ormiston town centre, the school’s community is still growing. Students are proud of their school and the school roll has now doubled.

This is the second ERO review of the college. The 2012 ERO report commented on the distinguishing features of the college. These included personalised learning, modern learning spaces and the alignment of teaching practices with the school’s vision of providing students ‘a place to stand’ and ‘inspiring them to achieve their very best in a global society’. These features are now embedded.

The school’s ‘norms’ for learning now provide a stronger foundation for student achievement and success. They are well understood by staff and students and, increasingly, by members of the community through regular consultation opportunities.

The foundation principal resigned at the end of 2013 and the board has appointed a new principal with considerable experience and expertise in ‘new’ school leadership. Further changes have been made to the senior leadership team and middle leadership structure.

The school hosts a satellite unit for students enrolled with Kelston Deaf Education Centre (KDEC). Hearing impaired students receive specialist tuition and also participate in specialist subjects. They are well integrated into the school and are valued as an important part of the Ormiston family.

2. Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to know their learners and enhance their success. Regular, well considered tracking systems are resulting in robust and reliable achievement information.

Students demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. Positive interactions and respectful relationships between teachers and students promote a settled and focused learning environment. Students have access to good quality information about their achievement as they make decisions about their learning.

Students receive very good guidance from their learning advisor, who remains with them over their three years at the school. Regular meetings with advisors help students to monitor and review their progress and to take responsibility for their learning.

Students achieve well in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). In particular, very good progress was evident at NCEA Level 1 in 2014. By the time students exit the college, many students achieve very well in NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance. Students are increasingly achieving merit and excellence NCEA endorsements.

School reviews have successfully improved processes to increase student engagement and achievement. The school now has a stronger foundation for successfully meeting government targets at NCEA Level 2. The board could set more specific targets to accelerate the progress of clearly identified groups of students, including Pacific students.

Māori students achieve well and receive very good support from teachers. Their progress is well monitored and the school’s individualised support approach promotes their learning and wellbeing. Achievement targets for Māori students could be extended to promote their success at NCEA merit and excellence levels.

School leaders have identified that there is further work to do to support Pacific students reach the government’s achievement targets. The school has high rates of retention for Pacific students and key staff are developing a more strategic approach to support their academic success. Fono with families, and a review of the school’s cultural responsiveness could offer further ways to promote Pacific students’ identity and success, and to meet families’ aspirations.

Students with additional learning requirements receive appropriate and well planned support. As the school roll increases, leaders plan to further promote success for these students through professional learning for staff and appointing personnel to lead this important area of the school.

Achievement information is increasingly used to know the students as they transition to the college. This good practice is also helping to strengthen connections with parents/whānau. Leaders plan to review written reports and communications with parents when the new parent online portal is activated. This initiative could extend parents’ understanding about their child’s learning and their potential pathways beyond the college.

A feature of the school is the holistic way student achievement and wellness information is used by the school to promote and support student wellbeing for learning. As the overall Ormiston Year 1-13 education campus develops, the board is looking to collaborate with adjacent schools to share key services such as medical personnel.

3. Curriculum

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

The school provides an effective, responsive and flexible curriculum. It promotes and supports student learning, encouraging students to develop their self confidence and resilience as learners. The school curriculum is strongly based on the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

A high level of trust and respect for the needs of diverse young adults underpins the school curriculum. Other key features include:

  • the innovative use of i-time for students to self manage and prioritise their learning with meaningful and ongoing support from learning advisors
  • how students are able to share with whānau their progress, success and next learning steps
  • ways students are beginning to design their own learning briefs, between subjects to make connections that increase the depth and relevance of their learning
  • the wide variety of well chosen digital learning resources that increase students’ access to information and promotes their inquiry skills
  • well resourced, open and comfortable learning environments that allow students to work flexibly and develop valuable interpersonal skills for life-long success.

The school has expanded the curriculum to cater effectively for students’ individual learning interests. Improvements to the timetable have supported students to make better use of their learning time. Relevant and personalised pathways for students extend through the school curriculum and with outside providers.

At Year 11, the Duke of Edinburgh award combined with the new health and physical education pathway has strengthened support for students’ hauora and physical wellbeing. School leaders are well placed to develop this pathway further. The provision of language options remains an area for ongoing consideration.

High levels of staff commitment and engagement are evident. School leaders and teachers work collaboratively to develop their shared understanding of high quality teaching practices, in a modern learning environment. Strengthening the consistency of effective teaching approaches and balancing the teacher’s role as educator and facilitator are worthwhile school focuses.

Professional learning and development (PLD) is well planned and led. The school successfully uses external PLD opportunities and the expertise of staff and students. Further e-learning PLD could help staff to consolidate teaching approaches and the use of digital resources. Teachers’ performance management is well structured and clearly linked to strategic priorities and school targets.

School leaders recognise the need to increase the pace of learning and extend the complexity of learning tasks more consistently across the school. The curriculum could further include Māori and Pacific perspectives to complement the schools’ PLD focus on increasing cultural responsiveness.

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

The school is founded on strong bicultural, inclusive values and practices that promote and support educational success for Māori students.

The authentic development of these values, begun by the first principal and supported by new leaders, also offers opportunities for students and whānau to make valuable contributions. Links with local iwi have purposefully informed the school’s development and supported ongoing progress. The new principal is committed to enhancing these relationships and looking for additional ways to extend the partnership with whānau and iwi.

Māori students achieve well. They are encouraged to aim high and pursue worthwhile careers and further education. Their success is celebrated in meaningful ways that affirms their identity and culture. School events and awards recognise Māori perspectives. New school taonga enhance students’ understanding of Māori perspectives and New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Māori students are proud of their culture, identity and heritage. The school is a place for them to stand tall and have a sense of belonging. They have good opportunities to lead as Māori and experience success as Māori. The school affirms Māori students as tangata whenua. School powhiri and waiata are well embedded practices.

The school has a committed Māori Success team who engage in regular hui with students and whānau. Seeking external expertise to work with these key leaders could extend the depth of their self review and provide further opportunities for whole staff learning.

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. A culture of self review is very evident. Leaders are managing the pace of change well, using evidence-based practices and seeking multiple perspectives in school review. This is promoting collaborative working relationships. Student contributions and leadership opportunities continue to increase and diversify.

The new principal and other senior leaders are respectful and inclusive in their leadership approach. They listen carefully, have robust discussions and are engaged in rigorous self review practices. Good progress is being made to implement more sustainable school structures aligned to the school’s vision and strategic plan.

School leaders promote opportunities for teacher leadership. Recently appointed, curriculum leaders are developing a shared understanding of their roles. They complement the new team leaders, who now support learning advisors. Both are key groups to help sustain and improve school performance. They require time to embed their roles and evaluate their effectiveness.

The board is well led and trustees have a broad range of useful expertise. They have connections with the local community and are representative of the diverse communities. Well chosen external training and support has helped trustees to refine board policies and operating processes.

The board has managed complex change well. Working with the new principal, the board has strengthened strategic planning and reporting systems. This improvement has established a valuable foundation for ongoing school development.

Senior leaders provide well analysed achievement and other information to the board. More regular reports on student and staff wellbeing would help trustees to evaluate how well the board is meeting its good employer obligations. Trustees are exploring ways to consult with contributing schools and the community to inform the board’s planning. The board is also reviewing curriculum costs to families to make it clearer which are voluntary, according to the June 2013 Ministry of Education circular.

The board is in the early stages of succession planning for next year’s board elections. Trustees could consider ways of evaluating the quality of the school’s governance in preparation of the new board in 2016.

The positive school tone and affirming school culture is well established. School leaders are well placed to further promote an evaluative culture to guide future innovations and embed recent developments.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review, there were 10 international students attending the school.

ERO’s investigations have found that the school did comply with the Code. International students benefit from an inclusive and supportive environment. The personalised curriculum approach provides effective pastoral care and subject support.

A new international student manager was appointed at the end of 2014 for the 2015 school year. A robust and good quality self-review process has identified a number of significant areas to strengthen and improve. Since that review, good progress is evident and additional resourcing to improve and sustain the school’s provision is also required.

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

Ormiston Senior College is a senior secondary school that was opened in 2011. An innovative curriculum supports students to achieve well in qualifications. Students develop independent learning skills in a modern learning environment. They benefit from personalised and empowering learning approaches. Effective leadership promotes continual improvement through robust self review.

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

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 June 2015

About the School

Location

Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

564

School type

Secondary (Years 11 to 15)

School roll

433

Number of international students

10

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

South East Asian

Samoan

African

Middle Eastern

other European

other Pacific

other Asian

6%

12%

33%

14%

14%

4%

3%

2%

6%

4%

2%

Special Features

Satellite unit for Kelston Deaf Education Centre

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

12 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012