Tauranga Boys' College - 23/09/2014

Findings

School leaders and teachers at Tauranga Boys’ College provide high quality education for a large and diverse student population within a well-ordered, caring, inclusive and welcoming environment. Students can experience success through a rich curriculum, multiple learning pathways, and an extensive programme of co-curricular activities appropriate for boys.

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

1 Context

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

Tauranga Boys' College is a large secondary school catering for boys in Years 9 to 13 who come from Tauranga and the surrounding rural areas. The school has a roll of 1771 students, of whom 26% identify as Māori. Most Māori students whakapapa to several iwi in the local area in particular Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui, and Ngati Pukenga. There are 44 international fee paying students.

At the time of the previous ERO review in June 2011, the principal was new to the role. Since then, he has established himself as an effective professional school leader. The senior leadership team has been re-structured. A school house system and vertical form classes have been introduced to enhance a sense of belonging and support for student wellbeing. Property developments have included a new technology block and refurbishments to other learning areas.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO and has responded well to the areas for review and development in the last ERO report. Recent initiatives have included the introduction of academic coaching to more effectively monitor student progress, attendance and retention. It also guides student decision-making about learning pathways. Participation in a Ministry of Education (MOE) contract - Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) - has resulted in a focus on school-wide values centred on respect for self, others, and the school environment. Teachers have been involved in the development of clear expectations to guide classroom practices that meet the needs of boys. In addition, there has been ongoing development of the curriculum to respond to the diverse strengths and interests of students.

An important school priority has been the introduction of a number of initiatives, including strengthening partnerships with whānau, to improve the engagement and achievement of Māori students. The board of trustees has co-opted a Māori representative who is making a valuable contribution to the development of the bicultural dimension in the school.

The principal and board are providing clear, strategic direction for school governance and improvement. Students benefit from a positive and caring school culture. Senior leaders and staff know students well. School leaders and teachers set high expectations for learning and behaviour. The school’s vision and values emphasising respect, a sense of belonging, and being ‘better than before’, are strongly promoted and are highly visible throughout the school.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learner’s engagement, progress and achievement. Effective school-wide systems and processes monitor and track student progress and achievement. Good quality data is being gathered and analysed to:

  • set strategic goals and targets at school wide and curriculum department levels
  • inform self review and decision making about learning programmes
  • identify trends and patterns over time for cohorts and targeted groups of students
  • inform student goal setting and monitoring of their own progress
  • provide information for parents about the progress and achievement of students.

School systems and practices ensure that leaders, teachers, students and their parents have ready access to a range of good quality information relating to students’ wellbeing, progress and achievement.

An important next step for teachers is to extend and embed the use of student achievement information to inform planning to meet the specific needs of groups and individual students in their classes. This would assist in further raising achievement, particularly of priority learners.

The school develops collaborative relationships with students and parents prior to entering Year 9 and during their time at the school. This includes using student achievement and other information to place students in appropriate classes and programmes. The school is able to show, through school-wide and curriculum data, that students make good progress in Years 9 and 10.

Overall achievement in the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) has shown improvement since the last ERO review in 2011. In 2013, students achieved above national comparisons for boys in Levels 1, 2 and 3. The school is committed to raising Māori student achievement and the results for Level 1 NCEA showed improvement compared to 2012. An increasing number of Māori students stay at school to Year 12 and 13 and these students experience success. The school is able to track and monitor the destination of those Māori students who pursue tertiary and trades related courses and employment.

The school is proud of the high number of scholarships and endorsements in NCEA obtained over the last five years. In 2013, students gained 43 scholarships. Significant numbers of students succeed at local, regional and national levels in a range of sporting, cultural and other academic pursuits.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively supports student learning. Students benefit from a broad and holistic curriculum provided by knowledgeable and experienced teachers. The curriculum is further enriched by opportunities for students to experience success, develop leadership skills, and participate in a wide range of sporting, cultural and co-curricular activities. There are many ways in which the school rewards and celebrates student success for both academic and non academic achievements.

A flexible approach to timetabling allows multiple pathways across learning areas. Students and their parents receive good quality advice and guidance in relation to subject and career choices.

A particular strength of the curriculum is the way in which learning programmes are designed to respond to the varied needs of groups of students. These include:

  • accelerate learning programmes including opportunities to study at university level
  • a high performance sport programme
  • specialised programmes such as inquiry learning, and learning through sport-related contexts
  • programmes designed to promote tikanga and te ao Māori within the school such as Te Whānau a Aronui, te reo, bone and wood carving, and Tama Tu, Tama Ora.
  • courses that enable students to be involved in vocational, trades-based and work experiences and participation in tertiary programmes.

High quality support is provided for students with special learning needs by a skilled and dedicated team of teachers and teacher aides. This includes junior and senior learning support classes for students with high needs. These classes place a strong emphasis on literacy, numeracy, practical life skills, and promotion of independence. A careful and deliberate approach ensures that students are well integrated into the full life of the school. In addition, a designated learning centre provides opportunities for students in mainstream classes to receive literacy support.

Student learning and wellbeing are strongly supported by an extensive and well co-ordinated pastoral care network that includes access to counselling, health services including a school nurse, and good use of outside agencies. There has been a deliberate approach to promoting a safe and inclusive school culture focused on respect, and encouraging students to support each other in vertical form classes and through programmes such as peer mentoring. Student learning, progress and wellbeing are monitored and supported through an academic coaching programme provided by form teachers.

In classrooms, students are settled and engaged in their learning. Examples of effective teaching practice included:

  • positive and supportive learning relationships
  • varied learning activities including group work, hands-on activities and practical experiments
  • teachers sharing the purpose of the learning and providing verbal feedback to individual students
  • effective use of information and communication technologies(ICT)
  • the use of inquiry learning and literacy strategies.

School leaders and teachers demonstrate a strong commitment to further improving their professional practice and supporting students and each other to be successful. They have ongoing opportunities to engage in meaningful professional learning, and reflect on their practice.

Teachers have been involved in the initial development of an effective teaching profile that sets expectations for classroom practice. Senior leaders have identified and ERO agrees that in order to further raise student achievement, an important next step is to refine, strengthen and embed these expectations and practices.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori.

Since the previous ERO review, there has been a sustained and strategic approach to improving educational outcomes for Māori students. Significant aspects include:

  • a focus on engaging with Māori students, their whānau and iwi to promote a greater sense of belonging and connectedness
  • increased visibility of bicultural perspectives in school protocols, environment and documentation
  • professional learning and development for leaders, teachers and trustees to promote culturally responsive leadership and practices
  • the promotion of Māori language , culture and identity in areas of the curriculum
  • celebrating success and raising the aspirations, engagement and profile of Māori students through a range of strategies
  • Māori students benefitting from the high number of Māori teachers and role models within the school community.

Māori student leadership in a variety of positions, inspiring other students to succeed.

The school is aware that improving the achievement of Māori students in NCEA in relation to that of other students remains an important priority. Senior leaders recognise and ERO agree that there is a need for teachers to focus on accelerating the progress of Māori students, especially in Years 9 and 10.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Key factors contributing to sustainability are:

  • the high quality school leadership provided by the principal and his senior leaders
  • effective leadership of curriculum delivery and school-wide initiatives
  • evidence-based self review that is systematic, planned and well utilised to inform decision making, future direction and ongoing improvement
  • trustees who bring a range of appropriate skills and experiences to their role and are providing high quality governance and strategic direction
  • robust systems and practices to ensure a safe and positive school environment
  • close and collaborative partnerships with parents, whānau and the wider community.

A strength of the school is the focus on responding to the diverse needs of its students and wider community. The school’s history, traditions, philosophy and supportive community relationships contribute to promoting success for boys.

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

At the time of this review there were 44 international fee-paying students in the school. These students are well supported by a very experienced Director of International Students, a Home-stay coordinator and an administrative support person. Policies and procedures are clearly documented and regularly reviewed.

Students have access to high quality education programmes including a well planned English as a Second Language (ESOL) programme that is related to their particular needs. Students participate in sporting and cultural activities and are able to take up leadership roles within the school. There is a strong focus on ensuring students wellbeing and pastoral care. Their progress is carefully monitored and they receive strong support in planning their learning pathways.

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

School leaders and teachers at Tauranga Boys’ College provide high quality education for a large and diverse student population within a well-ordered, caring, inclusive and welcoming environment. Students can experience success through a rich curriculum, multiple learning pathways, and an extensive programme of co-curricular activities appropriate for boys.

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 September 2014

About the School

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

121

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1771

Number of international students

44

Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other

59%

26%

5%

3%

7%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

23 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

June 2008

November 2004