Tararua College - 25/05/2018

Findings

Leaders and trustees have a well-planned approach to guiding improvements aligned to the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report. Strengthened assessment processes and pastoral systems ensure a more comprehensive response to meeting the needs of learners. Student achievement increased significantly in 2017. The school is well placed to build on changes made and make further improvements towards their identified priorities.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Tararua College caters for 308 students of whom 40% are Māori and a small number are Pacific learners. Students are drawn from the township of Pahiatua and the surrounding rural area.

The school vision is to maintain and develop a college that is at the heart of the community, supporting the students and their whānau to be the best that they can be. Promoting respect, involvement and excellence reflect the shared values of the school and community.

Recent appointments include a deputy principal in 2016 and principal at the beginning of 2017. A number of new trustees were elected in 2016.

The December 2015 ERO report identified that the school was required to prioritise raising student achievement and strengthen school governance. The overall focus was to improve processes and practices that would enable the school to address disparity, particularly for Māori students and males. ERO has undertaken an ongoing evaluation process with the school over the past two years.

The school has accessed a range of professional learning and development (PLD) to assist staff and trustees address the areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report. The school is currently working with the Ministry of Education to implement Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

The school is a member of the Tararua Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The previous ERO Report recommended that trustees, leaders and teachers:

  • strengthen the use of assessment information to raise achievement and address disparities for Māori students and males
  • review and further develop the school curriculum and pastoral systems
  • build the quality and consistency of teacher practice, including further development of appraisal and inquiry processes
  • strengthen governance capability, updating the school charter and ensuring policies and procedures match legislative changes.

Progress

Leaders and trustees have taken a well-planned approach to address the areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report.

The number of students achieving National Certificates in Educational Achievement (NCEAs) has increased at Levels 1, 2 and 3. In 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of Māori students and males achieving qualifications, particularly at Levels 1 and 3.

Assessment processes are used more effectively to identify students who require their achievement accelerated, or respond to learners with additional needs. Improved tracking, monitoring and reporting systems are increasingly used more effectively and collaboratively by leaders, trustees and teachers to respond to the needs of students.

Assessment tools in reading, writing and mathematics have been introduced to better identify, monitor and inform teaching and learning in Years 9 and 10. Reported achievement in 2017 showed many Year 9 students accelerated their achievement in writing.

Purposeful changes to the design and delivery of the school curriculum have led to improved student outcomes. Teaching in Years 9 and 10 is increasingly more responsive to student interests by collaborative planning through a similar context.

The senior curriculum offers a wide range of suitable options for students. Courses provide academic, practical and relevant work-based opportunities to meet the aspirational needs of individuals. Involvement of students, parents and whānau in learning focused discussions supports collective decisions in relation to options for individuals.

Leaders and teachers have suitably strengthened their response to meet the pastoral needs of learners. There is a strong focus on developing positive relationships and supportive partnerships between students, staff and the wider school community. PB4L increasingly fosters shared expectations and practices aligned to the school values. Through guidance and mentoring teachers work purposefully to support the academic, social and emotional needs of learners. Mentoring is beginning to foster purposeful connections between learners and teachers to facilitate improved outcomes.

Leaders and trustees acknowledge that raising levels of student attendance remains a priority. Appropriate processes are used to track, record and regularly report student attendance to trustees. A range of well-considered initiatives suitably supports and follows up students with low attendance patterns.

Teacher participation in well-planned professional learning and development has impacted positively on their practice, leading to better outcomes for students. Expectations for teaching and learning identify agreed strategies to be used in promoting successful classroom practice. Professional learning groups foster the collective development of teacher capability aligned to shared expectations. Appraisal and teaching inquiry processes are being strengthened to fully monitor and build the professional capability of teachers.

Improved reporting and planning practices have strengthened school governance. The revised school charter reflects well-considered annual and strategic priorities. Senior leaders and departments regularly report progress and achievement to inform resourcing decisions. Trustees access relevant training to build their understanding of roles and responsibilities.

Key next steps

The school and ERO agree that, to further strengthen achievement outcomes and promote equity and excellence for students, leaders, trustees and teachers should:

  • continue to target achievement, including increasing certificate endorsements, in the NCEAs especially for males in Levels 2 and 3, and Māori learners
  • revise and set achievement targets that clearly identify those students requiring accelerated achievement in Year 9 and 10
  • make further improvements in the use of assessments in the junior school and moderation of practice at NCEA Levels 1 to 3
  • continue to strengthen teaching and learning aligned to the school's effective teacher profile
  • review and further promote planned curriculum changes, including revision and development of the junior curriculum.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Leaders, trustees and teachers have developed and implemented responsive systems and processes to sustain and continue to promote ongoing improvement.

Changes to assessment processes, pastoral systems and the curriculum have impacted positively on raising student achievement and fostering a more effective response in meeting the learning needs and aspirations of individual learners. The school is well placed to further develop evidence based evaluation and inquiry.

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

Leaders and trustees have a well-planned approach to guiding improvements aligned to the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report. Strengthened assessment processes and pastoral systems ensure a more comprehensive response to meeting the needs of learners. Student achievement increased significantly in 2017. The school is well placed to build on changes made and make further improvements towards their identified priorities.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

25 May 2018

About the School

Location

Pahiatua

Ministry of Education profile number

235

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

308

Gender composition

Male 50%, Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

40%
56%
1%
3%

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

25 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

December 2015
October 2012
July 2009