Pakuranga College - 13/05/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Pakuranga College is a large co-educational secondary school in East Auckland. It is culturally diverse with significant groups of New Zealand European, Asian and Indian students, as well as growing numbers of Māori, Pacific and international students.

The college has a rich legacy of providing a caring, personal and respectful environment in which students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. The college’s Learning Charter, which outlines expectations for good quality teaching and learning, is also an integral part of this legacy. At the time of the ERO’s 2010 review, the Learning Charter was being reviewed to provide clearer expectations for students, teachers and parents to benefit student learning.

In 2010 the new principal had introduced strategies to encourage teachers to align their teaching practice with the expectations of The New Zealand Curriculum and to support students to achieve well academically. The impact of these strategies is evident in that both teachers and students are challenged to think, reflect and evaluate their own progress and achievement.

The college is well led at all levels and has a culture of respect and trust. Trustees, the principal, senior and faculty leaders, teachers, support staff and students are able to be responsible leaders working effectively together to realise the school vision:

Pakuranga College will provide an exceptional and innovative learning community that challenges, and supports students to excel and develop the skills, attitudes and values they need to succeed now and in the future. [School Charter]

2 Learning

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

Pakuranga College uses achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. There is an established school-wide expectation that teachers will investigate, through regular data analysis, the best ways to promote academic success. This ongoing and robust focus applies to individual students, groups, classes, and courses.

High expectations for academic achievement are reflected in the board’s annual targets and the numbers of students gaining merit and excellence passes in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Māori students achieve well at Level 2 and 3 in NCEA.

Achievement information has been well used to identify patterns and trends in NCEA results over the last eight years for all learners, including ethnic groups. Thorough examination of NCEA performance leads to continuous improvement in teacher practice as well as learning programmes.

Data is well used by faculty staff to address the needs of priority learners (Māori, Pacific and groups of students with special needs) and to set appropriate targets within learning areas. Each faculty is expected to set annual achievement targets for Māori (and Pacific) students.

Information about attendance, retention through to senior years, co-curricular involvement, participation in, and contribution to, school life assists leaders and teachers to understand student engagement. School leaders could use this data more effectively to build a complete picture of the engagement, progress and achievement of Māori, Pacific and special needs students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school‘s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. The curriculum’s principles are closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Students consider their learning to be relevant and meaningful. The Learning Charter, recently updated by students, underpins the importance of the school’s values which are to strive, connect, reflect and respect.

The NZC’s key competencies for living and lifelong learning are given prominence in student learning. Teachers consciously support the personal development of young people. Social competencies are prioritised as well as academic success. Students feel empowered by the student-centred nature of the school’s curriculum philosophy. There are many opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds to become involved in school life, through a wide range of co-curricular activities and experiences. This feature has become a defining characteristic of Pakuranga College.

Students benefit from teacher use of strategies that concentrate on how to learn as well as what to learn. Students are fully engaged in the stimulating learning programmes which are responsive to their interests and capabilities and are prominent throughout the school.

Teachers are reflective about their practice. They work collegially to accelerate the progress of groups of under-achieving students. Some consideration is being given to extending teachers’ cultural responsiveness to Māori learners. An effective professional development programme for teachers that is informed by good quality self review is the key driver behind improving student outcomes.

The recently formed Student Services Faculty incorporates the well developed careers, guidance and pastoral care network as well as the provision for groups of learners with special needs. Peer and adult mentoring is a key component of school culture as is the focus on student learning and career pathways through and beyond the school. Special needs students are valued and support for their learning is prioritised. ERO endorses the school's inquiry into how the tutor teacher role could more effectively include academic and pastoral support to enhance the potential for all students to succeed.

Innovation to benefit student learning continues as one of the hallmarks of Pakuranga College. The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is transforming teaching and learning, and communication with parents. This is a forward-thinking, future-focused school.

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

The school is progressing towards becoming more effective in promoting educational success for Māori. Each student’s academic progress and achievement is known and monitored. Students at risk of not achieving educational success and NCEA qualifications are identified, supported and mentored. Students are encouraged to have high aspirations and make successful transitions to university, other tertiary providers and employment.

Māori enjoying education success as Māori is a key goal of Ka Whakatipu Te Rito o Pakuranga, the school’s Māori strategic plan. The plan clearly defines success as Māori. The board is resourcing several initiatives to increase the mana of te reo and tikanga Māori throughout the school, in line with NZC expectations. Provision of a suitably located and resourced whare wananga would support these initiatives and the progress of the strategic plan.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review and strategic planning are very effective.

The board of trustees receives succinct and pertinent assurance reports to inform its annual review of the school’s charter and policies. They support the board’s strong focus on student attendance, retention, participation, progress and academic achievement. Separate fuller reports about the success of Māori and Pacific students could be useful to inform strategic planning and annual target setting. They would also be useful for consultation and communication with the respective Māori and Pacific communities. A separate report about outcomes for groups of special needs students could also be a useful self-review tool.

Substantial and effective self review for school improvement is an integral part of the work of the senior leadership team and faculty leaders. The reviews are focused and well paced. They are informed by student and parent perceptions, school data, current research and good practice in other schools. They are of high quality.

The strong culture of self review for sustaining high quality teaching within a caring and personalised environment supports the school focus on developing outstanding young citizens who are well equipped to succeed now and in the future.

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were 103 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. The school is highly effective in providing education and pastoral care for international students. It is responsive to the aspirations, interests and needs of students and their parents. Students progress and achieve well. They are well integrated into the school community.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

13 May 2013

About the School

Location

Bucklands Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

80

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1993

Number of international students

103

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Chinese

Indian

Other Asian

Southeast Asian

Other European

Other

35%

10%

6%

16%

8%

3%

7%

9%

6%

Special Features

Pegasus Unit for high needs' students

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

13 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

August 2002