Rangiora New Life School - 19/12/2014

Findings

The board, principal and staff work well together to make the school a welcoming and supportive place for students. The school’s Christian character strongly supports the quality of teaching and learning. Significant numbers of students achieve at high levels in literacy and mathematics in the primary school and at NCEA Level 2 in the secondary school. Good progress has been made in promoting success for Māori students.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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?

Rangiora New Life School’s special Christian character and values continue to provide a strong foundation for students, staff and board. The school has experienced a steady increase in the roll. Students come from a wide area beyond the school’s locality.

The board, staff and students are well supported by the church proprietors and the wider community. The completion of the latest building programme, including a highly functional events centre, enables the board to share the school’s facilities with its community. The principal and teachers are involved in a cluster of local schools where shared professional benefits are regularly achieved.

The board and senior management team have addressed some areas identified for further improvement in the May 2011 ERO report.

A small committee supports staff in developing a bicultural programme for the school. Students have improved opportunities to develop their awareness and understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

The board and senior management team still need to strengthen the usefulness of some of the school’s documentation so that it is clear that the school's goals are being monitored and evaluated.

2. Learning

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

Teachers effectively use achievement information to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

This is most evident where teachers and leaders:

  • make sure learning programmes meet individual needs
  • identify and provide extra support for students who have difficulties with their learning
  • monitor student progress and make necessary changes to programmes to further support learning needs, including the needs of highly able students
  • provide information to the board about student achievement for all year levels.

Achievement information for National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in 2013, shows that students achieve best at Levels 1 and 2. High achievement in NCEA Level 2, including an increasing number of merit and excellence endorsements, shows that the school has well exceeded the predicted national target for this level. Achievement of Level 1 literacy and numeracy continues the strong trend of high achievement in these areas over time. Leaders have begun to develop ways to increase achievement at NCEA Level 3.

In the primary school, a good number of students achieve above both regional and national levels in literacy and mathematics. In particular, a significant number of students entering Year 4 and at the end of Year 8 are at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Areas for review and development

The board and leaders, when appraising staff, could identify what has been having the greatest impact on student progress and any next steps for further improvement.

Leaders could also consider ways to provide increased support and opportunities for teachers and curriculum leaders to analyse achievement information within their classes and learning areas.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting student learning, progress and achievement. Students have a wide range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school. This includes access to distance learning that expands curriculum choices for individual students.

The curriculum is flexible and responsive to the interests, needs and aspirations of students. For example, in 2013, a high-quality Year 11 programme was developed to meet the needs of students having difficulties with their learning. Extensive support resulted in very successful outcomes for all students. In 2014, the programme is providing effective individual support for students’ vocational pathways.

A major strength of the curriculum is the extent to which the special Christian character helps to define the school’s values. A range of desirable learning and teaching qualities and expectations are linked to the school’s motto to seek, serve and soar high.

Students spoken with by ERO said that the school’s positive and caring culture, and its focus on service to others, helped them to have a sense of belonging and pride in their school.

Areas for review and development

Leaders should ensure that:

  • current initiatives in the junior school to improve the accuracy of teacher judgements about student achievement are reviewed and reported on
  • planning, reviewing and reporting is effectively used to set the direction and priorities for vocational pathways across the school.

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

The Māori committee is strongly committed to promoting educational success for Māori students as Māori. The school now has:

  • an active kapa haka group
  • opportunities for students to learn te reo and tikanga Māori across the school
  • good links with the local marae
  • useful feedback from Māori parents to help staff in developing future plans.

To further strengthen the school’s bicultural programme:

  • the board could set targets based on meeting the needs of Māori students
  • the Māori committee could develop a plan that outlines the goals for the bicultural programme and how these will be met and reviewed.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The board has well-defined roles and responsibilities and maintains a good focus on continuing to lift and support student achievement. Trustees bring a useful range of expertise to governance at the school. The steady roll increase is being well managed by the board.

The school charter strongly reflects the school’s special character and has broad goals for improvement.

The senior management team is stable and cohesive. The managers' positive relationships with staff and students encourage and promote a culture of collaboration and collegiality. A variety of opportunities are available for teachers to develop their own leadership skills. This is helping to share leadership responsibilities across the staff. Many staff told ERO how much they enjoy working at the school.

A recent survey of the community has led to improvements in communication with parents and staff. Leaders told ERO that further developments to the school’s student management system should contribute to ongoing improvements in this area.

Area for review and development

The board could more clearly identify its current specific strategic priorities in its strategic plan and how these are being monitored and evaluated.

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 11 international students attending the school.

The school provides high-quality pastoral care and learning support for international students. Students have good opportunities to participate in a range of programmes including educational and cultural experiences in and beyond the school and involvement in community service.

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

The board, principal and staff work well together to make the school a welcoming and supportive place for students. The school’s Christian character strongly supports the quality of teaching and learning. Significant numbers of students achieve at high levels in literacy and mathematics in the primary school and at NCEA Level 2 in the secondary school. Good progress has been made in promoting success for Māori students.

Next ERO Review

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

19 December 2014

About the School

Location

Rangiora, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

418

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

379

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Girls 52%; Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Cook Island

Samoan

Other Pacific

Asian

Other Ethnicities

80%

9%

1%

1%

2%

5%

2%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

19 December 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review Education Review Education Review

May 2011 January 2008 December 2004