Taradale High School - 28/05/2015

Findings

1. Context

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

Taradale High School is located in Napier. Since the 2011 ERO review, the roll has declined slightly with an increasing proportion of students who identify as Māori. Each year cohort is of similar size due to good rates of retention and a significant number of students transferring to the school during their senior years.

Trustees have complementary skills and experience suited to their governance roles. School leaders use a wide range of tools, processes and events to engage and consult with the community.

The school has recently introduced a number of professional learning and development (PLD) programmes to improve levels of student engagement and achievement in a positive learning environment. These include Restorative Practices and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

These two initiatives have successfully promoted shared high expectations and reinforced the existing school charter values of respect, integrity, curiosity and excellence: R.I.C.E. A healthy attendance initiative has improved rates in this area.

Students participate successfully in a wide range of sporting, performing arts and cultural activities and programmes available across the school. Student leadership, mentoring and tutoring initiatives support learning.

2. Learning

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

School leaders and trustees use student achievement information well to set priorities for improving student outcomes. They have further refined these processes over the past two years. They collect and use a range of achievement information to inform strategic goals, programme development and initiatives to improve engagement and achievement of groups of students across the school.

Since 2012 there have been steady improvements in National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEA) results, particularly at Levels 2 and 3 and for University Entrance, where achievement has mostly been well above schools of similar type. Boys' achievement at all NCEA levels has improved to be well above their peers from similar types of schools.

NCEA Level 1 rates of achievement, while above those of similar schools, have declined during that time. Leaders identify the need to use a range of more effective strategies, programmes and interventions to reverse this trend.

Measures to increase percentages of NCEA merit and excellence endorsements across all levels are leading to some improved rates, especially at Level 3. Achievement and retention levels for the small number of Pacific students are similar to those of their peers.

In the past two years, leaders and teachers have increased their tracking and monitoring of senior students not achieving to expected levels. Significant numbers of students have been given additional support to complete course requirements and assessments in the latter half of the year. This process has been extended so that in 2015 these students are identified earlier as target groups. These initiatives have contributed to increased rates of achievement at some levels.

Leaders and pastoral teams make good use of student attendance, engagement and behaviour data to monitor progress, intervene and bring about positive changes in these areas. Data shows improvements in relationships, engagement, and enactment of school culture values and expectations. Data from student surveys identify increased levels of satisfaction.

Form and class teachers have access to regularly updated pastoral, engagement and achievement information about their students from school-based monitoring and assessment. They use this to support and mentor students across all levels.

A good range of information, including standardized data for mathematics and reading, is collected about students on entry at Year 9. This is used for placement and grouping students with additional learning needs. Teachers and curriculum leaders share information about students’ achievement, particularly in relation to levels of progress for gaining the junior certificate. Teachers are expected to use pastoral and academic information to develop responsive learning programmes.

Some teachers make good use of diagnostic data in reading, writing and mathematics to inform their Year 9 and 10 programme planning and the targeted teaching of learners who are achieving below expectations. Next steps to support improved outcomes for these students should include:

  • monitoring and reporting to leaders and trustees during the year on the progress of these groups of students, particularly in literacy and mathematics
  • improved levels of evaluative self review by curriculum and senior leaders to measure the quality, impact and effectiveness of programmes to accelerate the progress of these learners.

3. Curriculum

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

Leaders and teachers are actively involved in developing a responsive schoolwide curriculum that better caters for the learning needs and aspirations of diverse groups of students.

A range of learning and vocational pathways are enabling increased numbers of senior students to achieve NCEA qualifications at Level 2. Pre vocational courses, trades academy, secondary - tertiary programmes and extended work-place based learning have increased opportunities for more learners to gain success. These pathways have contributed to retention of students at school.

The school is responsive to the increasing numbers of students who enter school with identified learning needs or are achieving below expectations for their year level. Homeroom programmes and a range of literacy and social interventions support these groups to make progress.

Awareness of the importance of improving provision of careers education is evident. It is identified as a priority in current strategic documents. Further review and development should include:

  • benchmarking current practice across the school
  • making explicit the expectations for alignment between curriculum design, vocational pathways and individual students’ careers planning
  • improved use of existing data including information from student surveys, student learning plans, and leavers’ destinations to inform ongoing evaluation of provision across the school.

A wide range of PLD programmes and activities is well tailored for professional learning groups, departmental initiatives and schoolwide priorities. Useful processes and tools have recently been introduced to improve teacher practice and expectations in some subjects and departments.

Staff PLD, consultation and resourcing decisions are included in a planned increase in e-learning across the school. A 2013 initiative promoting students’ use of their digital devices for deeper learning has been extended to cover all Year 9 classes in 2015.

The next step is for leaders to further develop measures to improve and monitor consistency in meeting high expectations for teaching across departments.

Transition to school is well managed through the development of closer relationships and increased sharing of student information with contributing schools.

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

The school has made progress in developing frameworks and processes that support Māori students' wellbeing and achievement. Trustees and school leaders have appropriately placed increasing emphasis on raising overall achievement and success for Māori students as Māori. School leaders and trustees agree this should continue as a high strategic priority as numbers and percentages of Māori on the roll have continued to increase significantly since the 2011 ERO report.

Trustees and leaders continue to strengthen partnerships with whānau. This process has been supported by a Māori representative recently co-opted onto the board. A kaumatua is involved to further develop relationships with whānau, hapū and the local marae. Recent Māori community surveys provide trustees and leaders with useful feedback for making improvements and reviewing strategic priorities.

Leaders and teachers use a range of strategies and initiatives to help raise the profile of te ao Māori. Annual -inter-house haka competitions celebrate and promote te reo Māori. Staff PLD has supported ongoing cultural awareness.

The recent development of a school waiata, led by a Māori staff member, promotes culture, identity and pride. In some classes students’ engagement levels improve when provided with learning experiences and challenges related to te ao Māori concepts and contexts.

The school provides increasing opportunities to empower Māori learners. These include developing their leadership through:

  • leading waiata practises with staff and students
  • mentoring junior Māori students’ to support their wellbeing, and engagement
  • supporting opportunities for whānau to engage with the school.

The principle of ako, where Māori students are teachers and teachers are learners, is increasingly promoted in these initiatives.

The level of national qualifications success is variable across Levels. NCEA achievement for Māori continues to be well below their peers at Level 1, Level 3 and UE in 2014. Since 2012, rates of students staying at school until 17 years and those leaving with Level 2 have improved to be closer to those of their school peers.

ERO, trustees and leaders agree the key next steps are to:

  • continue to develop teachers’ knowledge and confidence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori
  • increase opportunities for Māori students to learn and achieve through contexts relevant to their culture, language and identity
  • further develop the strategic goals, targets, actions and high expectations for accelerating progress and raising achievement of Māori learners.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal appropriately promotes leadership capability across the school. Recent initiatives such as the use of external advisers for PLD, establishing a curriculum leadership group and promoting a learning culture amongst staff extend leadership expectations and opportunities.

Trustees receive regular, informative reports related to the annual and strategic goals, including actions to raise achievement and promote excellence. ERO affirms leaders' plans to improve processes for schoolwide and departmental monitoring and reporting, during the year, on rates of progress of identified target students who are at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Self review is an expected and established practice in the school. Trustees review policies and use analysed student achievement information for planning and resourcing decisions. Leaders gather a wide range of information through surveys and feedback from students, staff, parents and whānau to inform decisions and planning. Curriculum leaders provide annual departmental reports to the board. These are of variable quality, depth and robustness.

The policy, guidelines and expectations for self review need strengthening. This should involve raising the capability of trustees, leaders and staff to be evaluative in relation to the quality, effectiveness and impact of programmes, strategies and initiatives on student outcomes.

Senior leaders value external appraisal and support in their roles. However, the appraisal process across the school is highly variable in its support of development and accountability. The appraisal framework needs to include stronger alignment and links with school expectations for raising achievement, particularly for targeted priority learners.

Subject leaders access specialist support to promote inquiry into teaching in their departments. Most are beginning to model and support teachers’ inquiry into their teaching practice. More explicit links to measureable outcomes for groups of identified students should enhance the value of this process.

School leaders identify the need to further develop their knowledge, skills and frameworks for managing change initiatives and transitions to sustain ongoing school improvement.

Supportive classroom environments, positive relationships and school tone promote inclusion, learning and wellbeing for students to gain success.

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 36 international students attending, including two exchange students.

Learning pathways and ESOL programmes are responsive to students’ individual needs, goals and aspirations. Students’ wellbeing is well supported and monitored. They receive high quality pastoral care and are effectively integrated into the school community.

The school has robust self-review that is led by experienced staff members. They use a range of information from students, home stay hosts and parents to evaluate the quality of the provision for international students. This allows the school to make improvements in response to its self-review findings. These are reported annually to the board and senior management.

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 values of respect, integrity, curiosity and excellence are well enacted across the school. Responsive learning pathways cater for diverse groups of learners. Strategic initiatives have raised levels of engagement, retention and achievement across the senior school. Improvements to schoolwide self review and evaluation should further improve quality and performance.

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

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifJoyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

28 May 2015

About the School

Location

Taradale, Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

215

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

957

Number of international students

36

Gender composition

Female 55%, Male 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

19%

74%

4%

2%

1%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

28 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

December 2011

January 2009

December 2007