Wakatipu High School - 02/06/2017

Findings

Student achievement has continued to improve, especially at Levels 1 and 2 NCEA. Management of the school through significant change in location and approaches to teaching and learning are well supported by effective governance, leadership, teaching and strengthened learning partnerships with parents. The school is well placed to sustain ongoing improvement.

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

1 Context

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

Wakatipu High School is the only school in the wider Wakatipu Basin offering education for students from Year 9 to 13. Students who identify as Maori comprise 9% of the roll. Students come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The school has a rapidly growing roll. It is preparing to operate from a new innovative learning environment (ILE) site in January 2018. Trustees, leaders and contractors provide input to the Ministry of Education in the planning, design and establishment of the new facilities.

Consultation with the community has taken place recently for the review of the school vision and values. Programmes make increasing use of digital technology and the local environment and community.

The Wakatipu High School Foundation provides additional resources for staffing, professional learning and development (PLD) and targeted student and family support to further promote equity.

The school is actively involved in the establishment of the Wakatipu Community of Learning (CoL) comprising eight schools. Achievement challenges for the CoL are under discussion with school representatives and, together with the appointment of the lead principal, are expected to be formalised by mid-2017.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make very good use of relevant information from multiple sources to promote students’ engagement, progress and achievement. Data is analysed and used to set high expectations and challenging goals and targets and to raise achievement. 

Teachers and leaders extend their knowledge of students learning needs and progress through:

  • collecting and using transition information and data analysis from contributing schools
  • gathering student perspectives and feedback during the year
  • closely monitoring individual learner assessment information at class level
  • tracking students at risk of not achieving throughout the year
  • maintaining ako profiles that support students to manage and reflect on their expectations, goal setting, progress and wellbeing.

These processes provide detailed information about individual student’s needs, engagement, strengths and ongoing results during the year. They help inform ongoing interventions, additional support and resourcing to promote success at individual and group levels. As a result, student achievement has improved for most groups of students.

Since the May 2014 ERO report, rates of achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) have generally continued to improve. In 2016, achievement at Levels 1 and 2 NCEA were well above national rates and above schools of similar type. Certificate endorsements have increased at Levels 1 and 2 in 2016.

Rates of retention at school to age 17 years, and achievement at Level 2 NCEA have steadily improved schoolwide to be well above national rates over the last two years. Although 95% of Māori learners achieved Level 2 NCEA in 2016, achievement rates for Māori students are variable across different year levels. Leaders and trustees set strategic expectations for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement to be at or above that of their peers in relation to school goals.

3 Curriculum

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

A rich and varied curriculum provides many opportunities for students to learn, be challenged, explore their local environment and develop competencies for lifelong learning. Leaders and teachers have continued to extend the breadth and depth of the school’s curriculum to better provide meaningful learning pathways for an increasing number of students to achieve success.

The school has undertaken a curriculum review to support the transition to the new learning environment. Significant changes and innovations are being informed by research, planning and trialling initiatives, including:

  • review and redesign of the timetable structure to provide increased flexibility and choice for students
  • extending mentoring and monitoring of students learning and wellbeing schoolwide through redefined pastoral system roles and expectations
  • remodelling some learning spaces and adapting teaching strategies
  • introduction of bring your own devices (BYOD) for students at all levels.

Teachers in the different subject learning areas have begun to review and explore strategies for effective learning in this new context, including an increased expectation for self-directed and independent learning. Defining and documenting the expected practices and criteria for effective teaching and learning in the ILE environment should further support students, their families and whānau to understand and benefit from the changes.

Students are well supported to understand the stage they are at in their learning and what is needed to make expected progress and achievement. Parents are kept well informed through learning engagement reports and real-time achievement data throughout the year.

In 2017, a kaiarahi learning advisor role and regular ako meeting times have been timetabled to enhance whanaungātanga with each student and their family. The expectation is that this approach, alongside careers education and guidance, will provide a more holistic learning and wellbeing focus for learners as they move into, through and beyond the school.

The school has continued to provide a good range of interventions, programmes and resourcing to cater for students who need additional learning support. Literacy across curriculum areas has been a key focus and, together with targeted literacy and numeracy classes, further supports improvements in overall achievement across the school.

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

The school recognises and responds to the need to better promote educational success for Māori. Continuing to build capacity to respond to Māori learners and their whānau has become a priority. Actions include:

  • a range of initiatives being established to promote Māori students’ culture, language, identity and wellbeing
  • improved tracking and monitoring of learning over time
  • a whānau advisory group including an elected board representative
  • employment of a specialist te reo Māori teacher
  • a Māori students’ council for 2017
  • additional funding for initiatives and staffing to promote te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Continuing to develop a shared understanding of educational success for Māori learners and further promoting, modelling and celebrating culturally responsive teaching practices are next steps.

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 through increased focus on structures, roles and processes to promote improved educational outcomes for students.

The board is actively involved in consulting and representing the community at a time of significant change in the school. Trustees are improvement and future focused and provide very effective strategic leadership. They receive and scrutinise a wide range of information about student achievement. They use this well to set high expectations and challenging goals and targets to raise achievement across the school.

Trustees purposefully use the strategic planning process to make appropriate resourcing decisions so that areas of high importance are provided with additional resources to actively promote the school vision and valued outcomes for all students.

Growing and promoting effective leadership is a priority across the school. Extended leadership roles and positions further support the pursuit of the vision to be a 'high performing school, delivering a great all round education for all'. Well-considered change management and communication processes are evident. Leaders actively engage in and respond to external evaluation.

Leaders and trustees provide a wide range of programmes and support for building professional capability and collective capacity. Significant time and resources are aligned to planned changes in teaching practice, relationships and leading of learning.

Teachers are involved in a wide range of PLD programmes and initiatives to support their professional growth and development for new roles and school priorities. Further development is needed of ways to more closely measure the effectiveness of PLD programmes and processes in meeting anticipated changes in teaching practice and student outcomes.

Appraisal procedures have been appropriately reviewed and developed over the past two years, with a focus on improved practices and outcomes for learners and meeting obligations for endorsement of Practising Teacher Certificates. Many aspects of the process are developing well and senior leaders are aware of areas for further development.

The school has made very good progress with reviewing learning programmes and reporting on these, especially from faculty and department levels. Increased use of student perspectives and feedback supports teachers and leaders to make improvements for learners. Further development of the collective capacity to use inquiry and evidence based evaluation should support knowledge building and innovation to improve outcomes for learners.

A positive tone, respectful relationships and interactions are strongly evident. Together with clear expectations, these promote high levels of engagement, learning and wellbeing across the school.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice (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 ERO review, there were 46 international students attending the school, and no exchange students.

The school provides well for international students. They receive appropriate support and pastoral care, along with appropriate levels of support with the English language. Students are involved in a range of school activities, including education outside the classroom. The self-review process supports ongoing improvement of provision for these students.

Next steps for leaders are to ensure reporting to the board during the year on levels of students’ progress and achievement and the effectiveness of programmes in meeting expectations of students and parents.

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

Student achievement has continued to improve, especially at Levels 1 and 2 NCEA. Management of the school through significant change in location and approaches to teaching and learning are well supported by effective governance, leadership, teaching and strengthened learning partnerships with parents. The school is well placed to sustain ongoing improvement.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

2 June 2017

About the School 

Location

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

374

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

887

Number of international students

46

Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

9%

66%

14%

2%

9%

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

2 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

February 2013

February 2011