Rangitoto College - 05/11/2015

1. Context

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

Rangitoto College is New Zealand’s largest, co-educational school. It caters for students from Years 9 to 13 and is situated in the east coast suburb of Mairangi Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. The college campus covers a large, unique site with a commanding view of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island.

The college’s vision is to acknowledge learning diversity and tailor educational opportunities for each individual student. The curriculum offers programmes to cater for 60 different subject options at Level 2 of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school’s co-curricular programme offers over 80 activities in sporting, artistic and cultural pursuits.

The school is very well resourced for learning, with such facilities as a new common room/study facility for Year 13, a large multi-purpose auditorium, all weather playing fields and an Olympic standard hockey field. The board is currently funding 15 additional teaching positions to enhance student learning opportunities.

Since the 2010 ERO review, the board of trustees has elected a new chairperson and several new board members. Trustees bring a variety of background experiences and expertise to their governance role. The board is working positively with the principal and school leaders. Strong support from the school community benefits school development.

The college has made good progress in response to the findings of the 2010 review, particularly in regard to improving outcomes for Māori learners. The continuity of the principal, senior leadership team and many long-term staff members has helped to ensure well implemented and sustainable improvement.

Rangitoto College continues to provide and set high expectations for academic achievement, student wellbeing and quality educational outcomes for all learners.

2. Learning

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

Rangitoto College makes very good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Reliable data is analysed and evaluated by senior leaders at department levels and by teachers at class levels. Teaching and leadership inquiry is resulting in deliberate changes to course structures and programme planning and the use of flexible assessment opportunities for the benefit of students.

Student learning takes place in a settled and supported school environment. The school ethos is that ‘every child is a learner’. Teachers are flexible and adaptive in their efforts to find opportunities for all students to succeed.

Processes that focus on critical thinking and problem solving are evident in classroom programmes. These approaches prepare young people to be effective and future-focused learners. Expectations around co-operative and collaborative learning also promote wellbeing as students flourish in these learning contexts.

Student achievement in the National Certificates of Education (NCEA) is above average for similar schools at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Students also achieve well above national levels for NCEA merit and excellence endorsements. The college is ranked fifth nationally in University Scholarship and is acknowledged for achieving success in the widest number of scholarship subjects. Māori students are progressing and achieving well at similar rates to others in the school, particularly for NCEA Level 2.

Students with special learning needs are promptly identified. Accelerating the progress of learners who need additional support is a priority focus in school strategic planning. The Learner Support department is focused on the best possible outcomes for students in their care.

School leaders work closely with contributing schools to strengthen learning transitions for Year 9 students entering into the secondary system. School achievement information for Year 9 and 10 students shows students making good progress in literacy and numeracy, positioning them well for success at NCEA Level 1.

Students have many opportunities to engage in a wide range of co-curricular activities and the college is very proud of its high levels of success in the arts, sports and cultural activities. The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) competencies of contribution and participation are highly valued by the school.

ERO and school leaders agree that the school should continue to plan appropriately to:

  • formalise academic counselling structures to further support student decision-making about future career directions
  • increase the number of NCEA merit and excellence passes for Maōri learners.

3. Curriculum

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

Rangitoto College’s curriculum supports and enables students to learn very effectively. Its curriculum principles are closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Senior leaders and faculty heads are strategically driving the development of the school’s curriculum. Students are responding positively to a greater emphasis being placed on providing them with opportunities to input into decisions relating to their learning and to curriculum delivery.

Curriculum planning and self-review within faculties and departments is effective and thorough. Teachers in many teaching areas use a variety of teaching approaches and strategies to engage students in learning. The school curriculum is relevant and authentic, in keeping with NZC principles. A well-researched plan and vision for ‘the digital school’ is currently being actioned.

Teachers are increasingly focused on engaging students in programmes that encourage innovation, creative learning and thinking, as well as qualifications success. Teaching approaches that capture students’ interests and strengths are proving to be highly engaging.

The school has a well-managed and highly stimulating professional learning programme. Teachers are encouraged to be reflective and to search out best evidence to improve their practice. Inquiry and research are the key drivers of teacher success.

Student engagement in the curriculum is strongly supported by a comprehensive and inclusive pastoral care network. Deans play a significant role in assisting student decision-making, in terms of both personal and academic support.

In ERO’s discussions with school leaders, areas for future curriculum development were considered and include:

  • broadening the school’s counselling structures for guiding students’ future directions and pathways in order to further cater for different learner interests, strengths, abilities and aspirations
  • considering how groups of learners from the different Pacific cultures within the school might also benefit from some approaches already proven to be having a positive impact on accelerating Māori success.

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

Educational success for Māori, as Māori, is promoted effectively by the school’s strategic focus and direction. Meaningful partnerships are continuing to develop with Māori whānau. Bicultural perspectives in learning are frequently integrated into school programmes to benefit all students.

A five-year Maori Education Plan is guiding school leaders. A growing number of very committed teachers are involved in the mentoring and motivational aspects of this plan under the leadership of a Māori Achievement Group. Mentors for Māori students in Years 11 and 12 assist students in their career and pathway choices.

Māori students overall achieve very well at Rangitoto College and qualifications success has continued to improve at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. These results are well above national averages and better than those for Māori students in other similar schools.

Other successful initiatives and developments include:

  • opportunities for Māori students to study te reo from Years 9 to Year 13
  • professional learning, development and support for staff to incorporate Māori contexts and approaches into their teaching programmes
  • an increased focus on engaging parents through whānau evenings, NCEA information workshops, careers and mahi kainga
  • leadership courses for Māori students
  • a student-led Māori celebration evening.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Rangitoto College is very well placed to sustain and improve its high quality performance. A culture of continuous improvement permeates the school. Self review has effectively promoted school development and coherence in its systems. The school’s senior leaders work effectively and responsively with teachers and staff.

Board governance is based on sound policies and systems that are regularly reviewed. The board is well informed by the principal about progress being made in relation to strategic and annual school goals. The board is working effectively with its community.

Middle managers’ leadership continues to maximise the vision of the NZC. Educational programmes are of very high quality in many cases. Shared understandings of the potential of The New Zealand Curriculum for promoting learning is having a profound and positive effect on the quality of teaching.

The college’s teacher appraisal system is robust and linked to expectations of best practice. New and beginning teachers are often invited to share their expertise and energy as distributed leadership is encouraged at all levels.

Next steps for the board of trustees could include:

  • refreshing the school’s strategic vision in consultation with the community to better reflect valued student outcomes
  • seeking new ways to formalise the board’s reporting to, and consultation with, the Māori community.

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 258 international students attending the school from over 23 different countries. International students are very well cared for and experience high quality programmes that are suited to their learning and wellbeing. International students are well integrated into the school community and participate well in school cultural and sporting activities. The school provides opportunities for international students to take on leaderships roles. The current student representative on the board of trustees is an international student.

The school’s monitoring system for international students is effectively administered and ensures students receive high quality pastoral support. The board receives regular reports about the quality of education provided for international students and how well they are progressing and achieving.

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

Rangitoto College is a high performing secondary college. Students achieve very well academically and benefit from the focus the school places on the wellbeing of young people. The curriculum offers many enriching educational opportunities and experiences. Learning is tailored to the chosen pathway for each individual student.

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

About the School

Location

Mairangi Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

28

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

2818

Number of international students

258

Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
African
South East Asian
Indian
Samoan
Pacific
other European
other Asian
other

  7%
45%
11%
  6%
  2%
  1%
  1%
  1%
12%
11%
  3%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

5 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

October 2010
August 2007
April 2004