Rangiora High School - 31/05/2012

1 Context

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

The school has made significant progress since the 2009 ERO report. This is most evident in the positive school culture, better engagement in learning by students and improved levels of achievement, particularly in the senior school.

The school’s house system is strengthening students’ sense of belonging and pride in their school. Positive student attitudes are shown in improved attendance and fewer students requiring extra support to manage their behaviour.

The school has built strong links with local and wider business and education communities. These links extend students’ opportunities to succeed by providing extra resources and facilities to support their learning.

“Land-based” courses, including agricultural and equine studies, provide a significant point of difference, creating the school’s special character.

The board, senior leaders and staff are successfully managing the impact from the Canterbury earthquakes. The September 2010 and February 2011 quakes caused minimal damage to the school’s buildings and property. Staff coped well and the school carried on with very little disruption to teaching and learning. The school gained about 100 new students following its reopening. Further unexpected enrolments have occurred in 2012 due to the earthquakes’ ongoing effects. The board and senior leaders continue to:

  • monitor and support the wellbeing of students and staff
  • respond to the consequent pressure on the available classroom space and on staffing which the board, leaders and staff are managing as well as possible in challenging circumstances.

2 Learning

Reports to the board about student achievement show that for NCEA in 2011:

  • the percentages of students gaining certificates at Levels 1 and 2 were higher than those in similar schools nationally
  • achievement in all other areas of NCEA is comparable to that of similar schools
  • students are leaving Year 13 with higher minimum qualifications than in the past and this trend is steadily increasing.

In Year 9, data collected in 2011 about students’ progress over the year shows that there were some improvements in reading. For mathematics, a number of Year 9 students improved their performance in programmes designed to increase their rates of progress.

Areas of strength

Use of achievement information. Teachers make good use of student-achievement information to identify students’ strengths and needs, and cater specifically for these in class programmes. Teachers use assessment information to:

  • set targets in each subject for Years 11 to 13 students
  • organise classes to meet the varied needs and abilities of students
  • monitor progress towards end-of-year achievement targets and share with students ways for them to make faster progress
  • identify students requiring extra learning support or extension.

Programmes to support achievement of senior students. Some well-planned initiatives are having a positive effect on student engagement and achievement. These include:

  • a programme to support those students with insufficient NCEA credits to be able to achieve at the appropriate level
  • support for students at significant risk of underachieving
  • some boys-only classes to support them in their learning, by using practices that promote the motivation and interests of boys
  • thematic-studies classes that allow students to make meaningful connections across curriculum areas and be more fully engaged in their learning
  • the credit-card system to help students monitor their own progress towards set goals.

Junior-school initiatives. Some carefully-considered programmes and systems are successfully improving students’ motivation, self-management skills and engagement in their learning.

The school’s junior graduation programme has been strengthened to make it more challenging for students. Teachers identify students at risk of not making sufficient effort and progress. Students and parents get very good feedback about how well students are meeting the requirements and how they could improve. Students and parents find this feedback useful.

Students entering the school at Year 9 benefit from a range of strategies to make their transition to the school more successful.

The recently introduced e-portfolios are beginning to provide a more efficient way to record and share information about students’ achievement and progress and help students to be more actively involved in this process.

Area for development and review

Monitoring, collating and reporting progress over time in Years 9 and 10. The school does not yet have sufficient information about the value added to students’ learning in the first two years at the school. School leaders and teachers are exploring better ways to assess and report student achievement and progress over time from a range of sources. They have appropriately identified that the priority areas for this development will be in English and mathematics.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

At time of the review there were 171 students who identified as Māori, making up 10% of the school’s roll.

The school has taken some positive steps to more successfully engage Māori students in learning and promote opportunities for them to succeed as Māori.

The board, principal and the senior leader with specific responsibility for promoting Māori student achievement are providing strong direction for improving outcomes for these students.

The principal and other school leaders are developing several school-wide studies into ways to improve the engagement of Māori students and to include a greater bicultural dimension throughout the school.

Close links with Te Ngāi Tū Āhuriri Runanga are helping students strengthen their understanding and knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori.

The school’s kapa haka class is well supported by Māori and non-Māori students. An additional teacher has been appointed to cater for the increased interest shown by students.

The kapa haka group has successfully taken part in regional events and competitions and performed at local events. Students also gain motivation from their participation in a range of extension activities such as those offered by tertiary providers. Such opportunities enhance students’ experiences of success as Māori. Reports to the board about NCEA achievement by Māori students in 2011 show that:

  • Years 11 and 12 students have increased levels of achievement compared with previous years
  • Level 3 achievement is more variable but similar to that achieved by Māori students in similar schools.
  • A number of students come into the school at Year 9 with advanced levels of competence in te reo Māori. Many of these students achieve Level 1 te reo Māori before Year 11 and study Māori successfully at university level before they leave the school.

Areas for development and review

The school has begun work to explore the ways it can consult more effectively with the parents of Māori students and the wider Māori community and report back to them about student achievement and progress. This needs to be continued.

The worthwhile developments already underway to promote success for Māori students would be further enhanced by:

  • extending professional development to improve the ways some teachers engage with Māori students and promote their success
  • reporting Māori student achievement at Years 9 and 10 more comprehensively to the board
  • developing a Māori achievement plan to show how the school will take specific steps to achieve the chosen goals and targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s unique and localised curriculum is providing a sound basis for promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Area of strength

Curriculum design and development. Major contributing factors to the strength of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the well-balanced range of curriculum options
  • the work done with contributing schools to provide a curriculum with well-planned continuity of learning for students from Years 7 to 10
  • the way the curriculum is increasingly responding to the diverse needs and interests of students
  • the way planning of senior courses aligns with the future career pathways of students.

Area for development and review

Extending aspects of current good practice. School leaders and heads of faculty are supporting teachers to use a wider range of more effective practices to further improve student engagement and achievement. Priority should now be given to more widespread recognition of:

  • students’ prior knowledge when planning programmes at each class level
  • students’ different abilities, needs and interests
  • ways to successfully engage boys in their learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school’s focus on continuous improvement is placing the school in a good position to sustain and further build on recent developments.

Areas of strength

Professional leadership. School leaders and staff with key responsibilities work well together to find sustainable ways to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Steps taken to achieve these goals include:

  • reorganising curriculum leadership to improve communication and share agreed expectations for effective practice
  • developing learning teams for teachers to share information about students and ways to support their learning
  • collaborating with other schools to explore ways to improve teaching and learning
  • using the expertise of staff to support their colleagues.

Improvement focus. Teachers, leaders and trustees place a high priority on lifting student achievement and rates of progress. The following actions contribute effectively to this focus:

  • setting well-considered targets for groups of students at each year level
  • providing comprehensive mid-year reports showing the progress being made towards these targets
  • reporting extensive information to the board about student achievement, particularly about senior students.

Area for development and review

Extending self review. The board and school leaders need to extend their self-review processes to gain a stronger picture about the effectiveness and sustainability of some current practices and initiatives aimed at improving school performance. Areas worthy of further review include how:

  • the board evaluates its own effectiveness in governing the school
  • effectively the senior leadership team operates as a team and communicates with staff
  • planned or unexpected developments and changes have affected staff.

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 its self-review processes determine that it complies with the code and ERO’s findings confirm this.

Aspects going well include:

  • provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teaching and learning programmes
  • pastoral care and support
  • New Zealand experiences for international students
  • the opportunity for international students to participate in kapa haka and te reo Māori classes.

Area for development and review

Reporting international student-achievement information. Senior leaders and the board could be better informed about how well international students are achieving and progressing with respect to the aims and aspirations for their time at the school. This information should also include how well students are achieving in subjects other than ESOL.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

In order to improve current practice, the board, as a good employer, should regularly carry out an anonymous survey of all employees about their:

  • general satisfaction with their role in the school
  • views about how the school could improve the conditions of their service.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

31 May 2012

About the School

Location

Rangiora

Ministry of Education profile number

312

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1789

Number of international students

44

Gender composition

Female 51% Male 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

85%

10%

3%

2%

Special Features

Adult Community Education (ACE) facility Host school for itinerant music teachers

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

31 May 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

June 2009

December 2005

November 2004