Wellington East Girls' College - 13/03/2018

School Context

Wellington East Girls’ College provides education for Years 9 to 13 students, from southern and eastern Wellington. The roll is stable and currently 1038 students attend.

The school is culturally diverse, with over 40 ethnic groups. Māori learners make up 15% and Pacific students 12%. Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Pākehā are the other main ethnic groups.

The school values its multi-cultural nature, with a mission for girls to ‘walk in many worlds, developing strength in personal identity’.

Students with additional and high needs are catered for within the mainstream setting and a special needs unit. A significant number of students are English language learners.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement of national qualifications, including of Māori, Pacific and all students over time
  • end of year achievement for students at all year levels, in all learning areas
  • reading, writing and mathematics achievement and progress at Years 9 and 10
  • student engagement and wellbeing
  • students’ holistic learning and development in relation to school goals.

The school governs the He Huaraki Tamariki Teen Parent Unit based at Linden School. Progress for these learners is included in a separate ERO report.

In 2012, the board began planning to address identified weather-tightness and seismic issues of the buildings and the surrounding rock banks. The extensive nature of the required building works and the complexity of the site has delayed the start of new building.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school systematically identifies and addresses disparity and, over time, is improving the equity of outcomes for all students.

High numbers of students overall gain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs). In 2016, 92% of students gained NCEA Level 1, 92% Level 2, and 85% Level 3. Sixty nine percent gained University Entrance. Students achieve well above national rates at all NCEA Levels.

Overall results have improved since the previous ERO review. In 2016, over 90% of leavers had gained at least NCEA Level 2, with 76% of leavers achieving Level 3.

Māori student achievement has continued to trend positively, with improving in-school equity over time. Māori students’ results are comparable with the overall figures for the school at Levels 1 and 2, with disparity remaining at Level 3 and in University Entrance success.

Data for 2016, indicated disparity in achievement of national qualifications for Pacific students. There is a need for sustained improvement overtime.

Retention of students is very high, with over 93% remaining at school until 17 years of age. This is particularly the case for Pacific students, with retention increasing since 2012.

Destination data indicates that the number of Māori and Pacific students enrolled in tertiary education following college increased from 2013 to 2015, and for Māori learners is approaching parity with all students. The percentage of Māori and Pacific learners achieving a vocational pathway award has notably improved from 2015 to 2016.

Students with complex and additional needs are well supported to make good progress against appropriately challenging goals within their individual education plans.

The school is aware of disparity in literacy and mathematics achievement at Year 9 entry. Reported data suggests that many Māori and Pacific learners make good progress and that the equity position improves from Year 9 to Year 10 in mathematics, with some improvement in literacy.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Responses to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration are deliberate and well considered. Increasing numbers of Māori and Pacific students accelerate their achievement and gain Level 2 NCEA for success beyond school.

The majority of Māori and Pacific learners enter the college at Year 9 at or below expectations in mathematics. By the end of Year 10, greater numbers of these learners achieve so that the senior curriculum is more accessible. Since 2012, more Māori and Pacific learners are participating in senior mathematics courses that lead to widened career options. 

In 2016, a marked improvement in Year 11 achievement of an English standard followed a schoolwide literacy focus in Years 9 and 10. Years 9 and 10 students achieving below national norms are well identified and some students are offered an additional reading programme. Other literacy initiatives are in place across junior English classes. Data shows that some students make accelerated progress in reading and writing during Years 9 and 10.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Conditions for learner success have continued to be strengthened. There is a relentless focus on, and strategic action for improving equity for Māori and Pacific learners. Leaders explicitly attend to relationships, school structures and processes to enhance students’ opportunities to learn and to address inequity.

Well-designed systems and processes promote and support students’ holistic wellbeing, and include a wide range of support services and resources. These provide a strong foundation for success and meeting the board’s stated aim for girls to positively contribute to their school and community.

The curriculum is increasingly responsive to students’ needs and interests, and supports their participation, engagement, and ownership of learning. Development has taken account of community views and the need for students to navigate a changing world. The curriculum blends in digital learning, is coherent across learning areas and culturally inclusive. Students learn to learn.

All Year 9 students and a trial group in Year 10 are in hubs for learning across subject areas. These learning hubs offer opportunities for teacher collaboration and sharing of knowledge about successful strategies for student progress, equity and excellence. Teachers use e-asTTle (Assessment Tool for Teaching and Learning) to identify and address students’ learning needs. Longer learning times and ‘AKO’ mentoring support this changed approach.  

The widened range of senior courses supports improved pathways. Integrated studies customises learning for students at risk of not achieving, to support their success and career direction. Those at risk of not achieving qualifications are well tracked and monitored. Collaborative action is taken to modify courses, provide career guidance, counsel and mentor these students.

Students are empowered to stand tall in their identity. Cultural and linguistic diversity are viewed as strengths. Leaders and teachers seek students’ views and respond to these meaningfully. The perspectives of Māori, Pacific, students with additional needs, and interest and identity groups, contribute to teachers’ understanding of students’ cultures and aspirations, and to strategies for learner success.

Māori students are successful learners at the college. A deliberative focus is on improving outcomes for Māori students for them to participate confidently in te ao Māori and as global citizens. Strategic direction setting is informed by external evaluation, whānau and Māori student voice. An increasingly culturally responsive learning environment is resulting.

The college knows its Pacific students well and has high expectations for their achievement and engagement. Relevant contexts and perspectives are included in programmes, priorities and teaching approaches.

School and community relationships are reciprocal and learning-centred. Leaders have strengthened communication and community connection to develop their understanding of how best to support student learning. They actively engage the participation of families with diverse languages. Whānau expertise is valued.

A strategic and coherent approach is taken to building leadership and staff professional capability and collective capacity to support the college vision and goals for innovation and improvement. Appraisal, inquiry processes and professional learning opportunities align with strategic developments. Leaders consider research and provide opportunities to innovate and trial initiatives. The board receives well-analysed senior data and a very good range of other information about student achievement and progress toward strategic goals.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

Organisational conditions successfully promote inquiry and knowledge building. Self review regularly and systematically informs improvement. A range of information and student, staff and parent feedback is collected to review programmes and school developments. Collaborative sense-making informs decisions about the teaching practices, beliefs or organisational conditions that need to change. There are models in the school of rigorous evaluation to measure the effectiveness of some programmes and initiatives.

Continuing to build across-school collective capacity to do and use evaluation is a next step. School leaders should develop staff understanding of effective evaluative thinking and processes.

A more explicit focus is needed on evaluating the effectiveness of responses to those students whose progress needs acceleration, to identify more specifically what is making the greatest difference and where further developments are needed. A particular focus for ongoing and deep inquiry should be on achieving equitable success for Pacific students.

The school intends to increase its focus on groups of learners most needing their progress accelerated from Year 9 to Year 10. ERO’s evaluation supports this intention and signals the necessity for more robust evaluation to determine the effectiveness of programmes for these learners.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management. 

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

To respond to and address expressions of concern, school processes include:

  • use of external agencies and support
  • review, planning and goal setting for future direction
  • working with students to promote safe practices.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 review there were 15 international students attending the school. Most come from Asian countries, including significant numbers of short stay learners during the year.

The school continues to provide relevant and responsive education programmes to suit different groups and makes effective provision for the pastoral care and wellbeing of international students. Students’ progress and achievement are monitored and reported in relation to English language learning and qualifications achievement. Students have a wide range of opportunities to engage and integrate into the local community.

Self-review processes have developed since the previous ERO report. Further strengthening internal evaluation processes should help determine the effectiveness of strategies and programmes and further assist decision making for ongoing improvement.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • effective, strategic leadership and governance, with well-aligned systems and processes for building capacity and driving innovation and school improvement
  • a curriculum and approaches to wellbeing that are responsive to students’ needs, interests, cultures and identities, to support their engagement and success as learners
  • strong collaborative and reciprocal partnerships between leaders, teachers, students, parents, whānau and the wider community. 

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in:

  • building collective evaluation capacity, to better measure the effectiveness of approaches to accelerating student achievement and progress, particularly for Pacific learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

13 March 2018

About the school 

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

274

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1038

International Students

15

Ethnic composition

Māori                                               15%
Pākehā                                            50%
Pacific                                              12%
Asian                                                17%
MELAA                                              3%
Other ethnic groups                    3%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

13 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2012
Education Review November 2008
Education Review November 2005