Rangiora New Life School - 11/05/2011

1. Context

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

Rangiora New Life School is an integrated area school for students in Years 1 to 13. The board, principal and staff actively foster the school’s special Christian character.

The school has maintained many of the positive features noted in the January 2008 ERO report and made very sound progress in addressing the areas identified for improvements in teaching and learning.

Behaviour management has been strengthened so that students can enjoy a safe and supportive learning environment.

There has been a significant increase in the number of secondary students enrolled at the school. The principal, senior staff and teachers have extended the range of course options and other learning experiences for these students, including the Cambridge International Examinations programmes, sports and performing arts.

Primary and secondary students benefit from the school’s close relationships with similar schools, in particular, the increasing opportunities provided for distance learning and sport.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Most secondary students achieve well. Reports to the board show ongoing improvements from year to year in the number of students succeeding in Levels 1 to 3 in the National Certificate in Educational Achievement. Students achieve better than in similar schools in completing certificates and in Level 1 literacy and numeracy.

Results in 2010 show a 100% pass rate at Year 11 (Level 1), 76.5% at Year 12 (Level 2) and 85.7% at Year 13 (Level 3). Overall, more students gained merit and excellence endorsements than in previous years. The school gained its first scholarship award in statistics. The pass rate of 84% for University Entrance was well above that in similar schools.

Student achievement in literacy and mathematics in Years 1 to 8 is variable. Many students achieve at, and some above, national expectations in reading, mathematics and writing. Achievement is higher in reading and mathematics than in writing which reflects the national trend.

Teachers have identified several groups of students who are achieving below, and in some cases, well below National Standards. The board and school leaders have set some appropriate targets to lift the performance of these students.

School leaders and teachers are making increasing use of assessment information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programmes and practices and consider the best ways to raise achievement.

The school has well-developed systems for identifying and responding to students’ individual learning needs, particularly in reading. Withdrawal programmes, included opportunities for gifted and talented students are well planned, taught and monitored. Steps have been taken to strengthen teachers’ knowledge and skills in meeting these students’ strengths and needs within their classroom programmes.

School leaders recognise the need to continue to improve student records and track the progress groups of students make over their time at the school. This will help them to evaluate more effectively how well the school’s curriculum is promoting student learning.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Achievement reports show that while most Maori students in Years 1 to 8 are achieving at and some above National Standards in literacy and mathematics, almost half of Māori students are achieving below these standards, particularly in reading and writing.

School leaders are aware that they need to do more to promote success for Maori students and foster biculturalism. They have developed a comprehensive development plan, along with a detailed annual plan, to further improve the learning outcomes for Maori students in 2011 and over time. These initiatives now need to be given priority.

The school has not maintained its consultation with the parents of Māori students. This process is planned for 2011.

The targets set for raising the achievement of Māori students are included with the targets for all students. These targets should more clearly show students’ individual learning needs and how teachers plan to lift performance.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s new curriculum is well designed. It strongly reflects the school’s special character and takes into account the needs, interests and strengths of students.

Particular features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the continuity it provides for students as they move through the school
  • the successful integration of, and emphasis on, school values, beliefs and the competencies required for successful learning
  • the widening range of course and study options for Years 9 to 13 students and the introduction of a diploma of learning to help motivate Years 9 and 10 students
  • the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to extend and enhance class programmes and for distance learning.

The quality of teaching continues to improve. This is largely the result of the school leaders’ focus on improving teachers’ knowledge, understanding and use of effective teaching practices and well-targeted professional development. For example:

  • more teachers are using a wider range of practices to successfully motivate and engage students in learning than at the time of the previous review
  • clearer expectations for high quality teaching and more guidance and support now exist for teachers to meet these expectations
  • most students spoken with by ERO said that they were well supported in their learning by teachers and their peers.

School leaders acknowledge that they need to continue to support teachers in developing and embedding teaching methods that successfully engage students in learning and cater for their varying strengths, interests and needs.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is in a good position to sustain and improve its performance and enhance student learning because:

  • the board and school leaders have high expectations and are making ongoing improvements to the quality of education for students
  • the board and school leaders regularly and systematically undertake reviews and make good use of the findings to plan for the future
  • the board, school leaders and staff have developed a positive school culture that encourages collaboration and reflection
  • curriculum leadership and management is helping to support the ongoing implementation of, and improvements to, the curriculum.

The quality and usefulness of some plans and reviews could be improved. For example:

  • strategic and annual plans could include clearer indicators of success to help focus action and evaluate their effectiveness
  • reviews in areas such as literacy and mathematics should identify what may be contributing to patterns of student achievement and progress so that these can be extended or changed to benefit students.

Provision for international students

The school has generally good systems for reviewing compliance with the Code. Students receive effective pastoral care and quality of education. Although most students stay for a short time, they have good opportunities to mix with New Zealand students.

Currently, the board does not receive reports on the progress and achievement of international students so that they can be assured that programmes and resources are benefitting these 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. At the time of this review, there were nine international students attending the school.

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

ERO’s investigations confirmed the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Rangiora New Life School does not have a school hostel.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' 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.

Recommendations to other agencies

Not applicable

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 May 2011

About the School

Location

Rangiora, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

0418

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

Decile1

8

School roll

314

Number of international students

9

Gender composition

Girls 51%;

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

74%

10%

4%

12%

Special Features

Christian School

Review team on site

February 2011

Date of this report

11 May 2011

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

January 2008

December 2004

April 2002

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrate schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides