Te Aratika Academy - 29/11/2017

1 Introduction

A New School Assurance Review is a review of particular areas of school performance and is undertaken to specific terms of reference.

New School Assurance Reviews are generally undertaken within the first year of the school’s opening.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Te Aratika Academy The terms of reference for the review are to provide assurance to the community:.

  • that the school is well placed to provide for students
  • that the school is operating in accordance with the vision articulated by the sponsor.

2 Context

Te Aratika Academy is a Partnership School | Kura Hourua (PSKH), opened in February 2017. Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua are bound by a Partnership Contract with the Crown to deliver defined outcomes, particularly in regard to student achievement and engagement in learning. Sponsors report quarterly to the Ministry of Education. The performance of the school is also monitored by the PSKH Authorisation Board.

3 Background

Te Aratika Academy is the first Partnership School | Kura Hourua (PSKH) to open in Hawkes Bay. It is sponsored by Te Aratika Charitable Trust, which acts as governor for the academy. The academy is a senior secondary school providing foundation education, construction and infrastructure education, and pathways for mainly Māori and Pacific youth in Years 11 to 13.

The trust’s vision is to create a platform for change that firmly supports and encourages one person, one family, one community at a time to find their pathway and journey to success. Te Aratika (the right path) is defined as enriching learners through Māori based values and innovative and modern technologies to enable them to achieve their potential, contribute to their families and communities, and aspire to positive and fulfilling futures.

The academy currently leases classrooms and grounds within Mangateretere School, a bilingual Years 1 to 8 state primary school. The two schools are separate and operate within clear parameters for managing student health and safety.

The academy roll has grown to 35 since opening. It is not yet meeting the minimum requirement of 50 students enrolled by the end of 2017. A careful approach is being taken to managing growth that recognises the need to establish a positive culture for learning and maintain systems and practices to support boys’ success.

The director acts as the executive leader of the school and an experienced teacher leads learning and curriculum development. Four fulltime teachers oversee whānau groups of learners. Two of these teachers are fully registered, another has applied for renewal of registration and applications have been made for Limited Authority to Teach for the others. Additional learning and pastoral coaches are employed by the trust for their specific experience and expertise in physical training, creative industries, life skills and mentoring youth.

Te Aratika Academy has recently joined Kahungunu Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

4 Findings

The school curriculum and teaching and learning practices clearly reflect the sponsor’s vision and philosophy.

The graduate profile aspirations drive the curriculum and learning programmes for the young men. Planning is based on key requirements for students to be culturally connected as Māori, have a positive sense of wellbeing and be confident and competent. This means being ready for future work, having the skills to be a good family and community member and having a strong and positive selfesteem. The curriculum strongly aligns to The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and includes core competency in literacy and numeracy, financial awareness, capability in using digital technology and the principle of future focus.

Programmes are individualised, with learning plans suitably aligned to the graduate profile and students’ goals for future education and career pathways. Numeracy and literacy standards towards achievement of National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) are key components of the courses offered. Other core programmes include life skills, kaupapa Māori and physical health and wellbeing. A project-based approach is taken, where thematic modules combine learning areas and provide relevant and meaningful contexts for learning. The vocational pathway areas of Creative Industries, Social and Community Services, and Construction and Infrastructure (civil) dominate currently.

Teachers are steadily developing curriculum approaches, documentation and resources to guide their programmes. The school is seeking to broaden the curriculum and works with other providers to achieve this. A key next step is to consider how well current programmes in literacy and numeracy are supporting those learners who need more intensive support, to improve their reading, writing and mathematical capabilities.

The sponsors’ vision is increasingly well implemented. Students spoken with during the review discussed their improved attitudes to school and education and their aspirations for the future. The school day reflects future work life, beginning at 7.30am and finishing at 4.30pm. Students’ high levels of commitment to the programme are shown in an attendance rate of 87%.

Since opening, the academy has received its New Zealand Qualifications Authority ‘Consent to Assess’ against the Qualifications Framework. Useful processes guide the collection, assessment and moderation of internal assessment. Teachers have established links with other schools to support better moderation.

Although many students have not experienced success in their previous schools, at the academy they are responding positively to adults’ expectations. Very careful transition processes successfully support students to settle within the school community and meet the high standards for cooperative behaviour and self-management. During transition into the academy, students, their whānau and leaders develop a clear and shared understanding about learner needs and what this means in terms of the school’s vision for ‘positive change’. Ongoing mentorship and support contributes to each student’s personal development. A calm and positive tone is evident.

Many students start at the school well below achievement expectations for their age level. Some students have made a very good start to achieving credits towards an NCEA. In 2017, students are achieving credits for NCEA Levels 1 and 2 and Infrastructure Works certificates.

Individual learning plans are thoughtfully constructed documents and clearly show students and whānau the progress being made and next steps for learning. The young men are individually mentored by teachers and learning facilitators and their progress is well tracked and monitored. Whānau receive comprehensive written reports in relation to graduate profile development areas and credits achieved towards qualifications.

Organisational leadership is effective. There is a close working relationship between the director and the trust’s chief executive. They share a strong commitment to the vision and articulate this strategically. Strengthening understanding of effective educational leadership, assessment and curriculum is an acknowledged next step. The academy is now in a position where it can use available achievement data to inquire into and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching practices and curriculum provision.

The academy is effectively governed by the Te Aratika Charitable Trust. A governance facilitator and a curriculum advisory board have worked alongside the trust and director to support the successful operation of the school during its establishment. Good systems are in place to report against the performance standards of the sponsor’s contract. An executive assistant assists the further development of the school’s policy and procedures. A useful framework is guiding the school in meeting its legislative obligations.

Sponsor assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the sponsor and school leaders completed the EROSponsor 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:

  • governance and school management
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students' 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

Te Aratika Academy has made a very good start to delivering the sponsor’s vision of providing a ‘platform for change’ for its learners. Students’ positive response is reflected in worthwhile personal achievements and increasing educational success.

ERO is likely to carry out the first full review of the school by the end of the third year of the school’s operation.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting) Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

29 November 2017

About the School

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

750

School type

Partnership School Kura Hourua

School roll

35

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pacific

33
2

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

29 November 2017