Turanganui-a-Kiwa Activity Centre - 17/10/2017

Background

Introduction

Turanganui-a-Kiwa Activity Centre is one of 14 Activity Centres in New Zealand that cater for secondary school students (Years 9-13) who are at risk of disengaging from mainstream schooling and at risk of low educational, social and vocational outcomes.

Activity Centres provide a specialised learning programme which will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school, social outcomes and successful transition rates. A key component of the programme for activity centre students is to successfully transition back into the enrolling school or move on to further education or employment.Registered teachers support students to increase their achievement and engagement in education guided by an Individual Learning Programme (ILP) which is responsive to the needs of each student.The ILP details the student’s learning goals and is developed in partnership with the student, teacher, parents/whānau and enrolling school.

Gisborne Girls’ High School (GGHS) is the managing school for this activity centre. The school’s Board of Trustees holds governance responsibility for the Activity Centre and is responsible for providing a high quality educational service, in a physically and emotionally safe learning environment. The centre functions as a faculty of GGHS. The centre management is responsible to the board and receives considerable support and resourcing.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Turanganui-a- Kiwain relation to the terms of reference developed with the Ministry of Education. The terms of reference are:

  • management and governance practices including planning, internal evaluation and professional capacity building

  • the use of information to plan and implement individual programmes for, and with, students, and to monitor their progress

  • support for students to achieve improved social and educational outcomes

  • educational and social outcomes for students, including the extent to which students’ learning has been accelerated

  • students’ experience of interagency support for them and their families

  • transitions in and out of the Activity Centre.

The key evaluative question is:

How effective is this Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

Context

Turanganui-a-Kiwa Activity Centre provides education for up to 20 students who require a specialised learning programme that will lead to increased attendance, engagement and achievement at school. Support continues until they, their families and whānau, centre staff and their enrolling school decide that they are sufficiently well equipped to return to mainstream schooling, or move on to further education and training.

At the time of the review there were 16 students on the roll, all were Māori. Eight were female and eight male.

Centre staff foster close links with parents and whānau, community groups, external agencies and the management committee. This promotes a unity of purpose, consistency of expectations and clear lines of communication.

Four of the five enrolling schools have referred students to the centre in the past year.

The premises have recently been significantly upgraded and now offer a modern learning environment for the students.

Findings

How effective is the Activity Centre at achieving positive outcomes for students?

The centre is achieving some positive outcomes for students. The focus is to successfully transition students back to mainstream with a better approach to learning. This goal was met with almost all students transitioning back to school, to further education or employment.

It is likely the educational outcomes for students in 2016 were better than those reported to the Ministry of Education. That report showed only 17 of 32 students demonstrated a lift in numeracy and 19 in literacy. More specific assessments are likely to show a greater impact. Also, only nine students (28%) had an attendance rate of 80% or more, despite a range of strategies in place. Given that many of the students referred are for truancy reasons, this has been a focus for the centre staff. Better attendance has been noted recently.

Some students attend the centre to improve aspects of their behaviour. Many have displayed more mature behaviour and those spoken to were looking forward to returning to school with a much improved attitude. Enrolling schools expressed to ERO the more positive attitude students have on returning.

What is the quality of governance and leadership of the Activity Centre?

The centre director and staff have been strongly supported by the managing school, Gisborne Girls’ High School. The principal is responsible for the director’s appraisal. They meet regularly. The director provides strong pedagogical leadership and has experience as a Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour.

Trustees take a keen interest in the centre. They visit the centre and scrutinise the regular reports from the director. The board manages the centre’s finances and has been instrumental in initiating the refurbishment of the centre. The current premises are spacious and inviting. Students now have more opportunities to work independently or in group situations.

The board has enabled a social worker to be employed as a whānau support person. This is a key role as there is an identified need to establish stronger partnerships with whānau to support their children.

The centre has robust strategic and annual plans. Policies are consistent with those of GGHS and tailored to the specific needs of the centre. The strategic goals express the expectation that a high proportion of students will make progress in literacy, numeracy and attendance. When the annual plan for 2018 is prepared, the goal should more inclusively aim to make a difference for all students rather than a proportion.

The advisory committee meets termly and individual members have regular meetings with the director and often visit their students on site. The proactive committee includes principals, deputy principals, Special Education Needs Coordinatorsand guidance counsellors. The mix of membership enables a range of specialist knowledge to support the director.

How effective are the selection and transition processes?

Transition is a strength. The director has close connections with the enrolling schools, attending their Priority 2 meetings and gaining a good idea of potential students. The enrolling schools have two representatives on the committee and have a clear idea of the type of student who will make successful transitions in and out of the centre. The processes are consistent, well-considered and inclusive. All voices are listened to. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. Links are maintained and liaison teachers visit regularly.

The enrolling school representative with the student, whānau and director meet for an entry hui. The student and whānau have time to consider if the centre will be appropriate. There is a trial period before assessments guide the staff on programme level, and goals are established. This considered and well-paced process enables a smooth transition into the centre. The student is made aware of routines and high expectations of staff.

Enrolling school staff are closely involved. They meet with their student at the centre fortnightly to discuss work and their Collaborative Action Plan (CAP).

There is an equally appropriate process when the student decides on readiness for transitioning back to school. Most students make this transition successfully. Enrolling schools express satisfaction with the outcome. As part of the exit, a good transition plan is developed. This includes what works for the student and what to avoid. The student usually attends the referring school for one subject at first, before slowly building to a full programme.

How well does the Activity Centre identify the social, emotional and academic needs of each student?

A strength of the centre is the positive way it identifies and works with students’ social and emotional wellbeing. Mana Potential is a framework that gives student voice on where they think they are at. This provides direction for staff who are all Mana Potential trained.

Goals are established in an ILP by the student, centre, whānau and enrolling school. Progress in meeting these goals is evaluated weekly using student reflection. The ILPs are well designed to support the students’ social and emotional wellbeing. However, not all explicitly meet the Memorandum of Understanding expectations of what should be in an ILP, particularly related to numeracy and literacy goals.

A range of external agencies supports the centre. These include the weekly visits from the health nurse. Visiting community groups and individuals who students relate to provide lessons on sexual health, smoking cessation, mana and drug addiction. The whānau support person provides a valuable role in developing and maintaining a partnership. This assistance with social issues is supported by contributing schools and Ministry of Social Development.

How well do the specialised learning programmes meet the needs of each student?

Literacy and numeracy are timetabled daily and these are the focus learning areas. Science and Life Skills are provided by Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). The centre teaches Pathways and careers competencies. The afternoon and Friday programmes offer many opportunities for students to experience wider social, physical and academic activities.

The next step is to review the assessment process and set more specific literacy and numeracy targets in ILPs. Teachers should identify the specific areas students are unable to grasp in literacy and numeracy and use this information to plan individualised targeted teaching.

Too much whole class teaching does not address individual needs. Given the comparative large class size, the students would benefit from further opportunities to practise skills for improved literacy and numeracy.

How effectively are students prepared for their future pathways?

The centre has a strong focus on establishing future pathways for the students. The priority is for transition and re-engagement at school with a clear understanding of the purpose of school education. Almost every student who left the centre in 2016 transitioned back to school, to further education or to employment. Enrolling schools speak positively on the outcomes.

Students are willing to take more responsibility for their own learning. They want to transition to mainstream.

Attendance, though still not good, has improved. Enrolling schools have evidence that there is a long term improvement once the student returns.

The director, who has close links with each school, helps with testing and meets with potential and ex-students. In this way, students are known before they are referred and how they are going can be monitored and tracked long after they have left the centre. The outcomes are good.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

17 October 2017

About the Activity Centre

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

6125

Activity Centre roll

16

Gender composition

Female 8; Male 8

Ethnic composition

Māori

16

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

17 October 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Special Review
Special Review

February 2013
October 2009
June 2006