Morrinsville College

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Education institution number:
126
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
506
Telephone:
Address:

Alexandra Avenue, Morrinsville

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Findings

Morrinsville College is a well-established secondary college that has close links with the community including local iwi. The college is focused on raising levels of achievement, provides a positive and inclusive college culture, and a curriculum that offers a wide range of opportunities for students to experience success.  

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?

Morrinsville College is a co-educational secondary school catering for students in Years 9 to 13 from the township of Morrinsville and surrounding rural areas. The roll of 659 includes 143 students who identify as Māori. Many of these students have strong connections with Ngāti Haua and Tainui.

The college has had a positive reporting history with the Education Review Office (ERO). Since the 2014 ERO review, the college has reaffirmed its valued outcomes, and refined the curriculum and school processes to strengthen outcomes for students. Teachers continue to engage in regular professional development to enhance their practice, and new initiatives such as the services academy have been introduced to meet the diverse needs of students. Other developments include the establishment of learning coaches, kaitiaki and manukura roles to support the care, wellbeing and academic needs of students. 

The Te Ao Marama document, developed by the Māori community for all students, provides the foundation for the teaching and learning of Māori concepts: kotahitanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, nga moemoea, manatangata, and hauora. These values are especially evident within Te Puawaitanga, which is an initiative that provides culturally appropriate pastoral and academic support for students within a supportive Māori environment.

The college is part of a Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL) involving a number of schools within the Morrinsville area. The CoL is in the establishment phase and it is intended that these schools will work collaboratively to provide meaningful learning pathways for students as they transition through education.

2 Learning

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

The college is using achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. A good range of standardised achievement information is gathered at the end of Year 8 to inform class placement and to identify students who require additional learning support.

Data from 2016 indicates that a significant proportion of Year 9 students were below or well below the National Standards on entry to the college. Appropriate targets were set for students who were below the expected curriculum levels to improve achievement in literacy and mathematics. Progress and achievement information in 2016 showed that the significant majority of these students made accelerated progress towards the expected curriculum level.

A next step for senior leaders is to set specific charter targets and implement targeted strategies for those students who enter the college well below the National Standards. Teachers should also be supported to effectively use the Learning Progressions Framework (LPF) to further accelerate the progress of students so that they are at the expected curriculum level by the end of Year 10. This process would further support the college’s current focus on the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy strategies across the curriculum.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) roll-based data from 2016 showed that 65% of Year 11 students achieved Level 1, 79% of Year 12 students achieved Level 2, and 62% of Year 13 students achieved Level 3. Forty five percent of students gained University Entrance (UE). The roll based data also showed that at NCEA Level 1 and 3, boys achieved at significantly lower levels than girls. The college is responding to the needs of boys through programmes and vocational courses that lead to further education, training and employment.

Overall Māori students achieve at lower levels in NCEA than other students. Just under half of Year 11 Māori students achieved Level 1 NCEA in 2016. Senior leaders have effectively responded to students who were not successful through close mentoring, monitoring and support. Almost all of these students have now completed Level 1 in Term 1 2017, and most are well on track to achieve Level 2 by the end of the year. A notable success was the proportion of Māori students who achieved NCEA Level 3 in 2016, which was higher than for other students.

To further address levels of disparity between Māori and other students, it is important for the college to:

  • refine charter targets to focus more clearly on students at risk of underachieving
  • align learning area targets and develop further action plans that focus on accelerating the progress and achievement of Māori and boys who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes
  • strengthen processes that support teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their practice in relation to at risk students.

3 Curriculum

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

The college provides a broad curriculum that supports and promotes student learning. The curriculum is well designed to ensure that students are able to access a range of academic and vocational learning pathways that are appropriate to their needs. Students benefit from involvement in a wide range of sporting and cultural experiences. Initiatives such as the student council, house leaders and amokura promote and encourage students as leaders within the college and wider community.

Students’ pastoral and academic needs are well catered for through the learning hubs, learning coaches, manukura and kaitiaki. There is a strong emphasis on building positive learning relationships. Students receive good quality support and mentoring in making decisions about their learning pathways. Learning coaches, kaitiaki and manukura play a key role in supporting and nurturing the wellbeing and academic needs of students. Close tracking of individual progress towards NCEA helps ensure students are provided with appropriate guidance.

Students who require specific learning assistance are well supported to achieve success. Key personnel work closely with students, their families and specialist services to provide a meaningful curriculum that meets the differentiated needs of these students. A next step is to strengthen the quality of the individual education plans (IEPs) to include more specific goals and clearly defined actions to maximise positive learning outcomes for students.

Teachers consistently use learning intentions and success criteria to engage students in the learning process. They have established positive and supportive learning relationships that promote student engagement and motivation.

There is a clear expectation that teachers effectively:

  • use assessment information to differentiate learning
  • integrate Māori contexts and knowledge within their subject areas
  • provide opportunities for students to use digital devices to support their learning and engagement.

Developing greater consistency in the use of these strategies is an ongoing priority for senior leaders.

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

The college continues to promote educational success for Māori.

A feature of the college is Te Puawaitanga which now includes 120 students who are mostly Māori.  The close monitoring and mentoring of Māori students in this supportive environment, and the emphasis that is placed on maintaining strong relationships with whānau and iwi, have had a positive impact on advancing learning outcomes for Māori students.

The creation of a cultural advisor position, funded by the board, has been instrumental in building teacher capability and understanding of culturally responsive practice. The advisor has worked closely with teachers to integrate Māori contexts across the curriculum and with leaders to develop a restorative approach to behaviour management that reflects whānau and iwi aspirations.

There are many opportunities for Māori students to experience success. Courses such as Māori performing arts, te ao Māori, te ao wahine and te reo Māori provide culturally relevant learning opportunities. There has been significant growth in the status of the amokura leadership position as tuakana role models within Te Puawaitanga and as cultural leaders across the college. The Māori and Pacific awards evening continues to be well supported by whānau and staff. This event celebrates the academic and cultural success of students as well as showcasing their many talents. 

The principal has played a pivotal role in establishing relationships with local marae and Ngāti Haua. He actively seeks the advice, guidance and support of kaumātua and kuia to further enhance the success of Māori students. Senior leaders acknowledge there remains a need to reduce disparity of achievement between Māori students and their peers, and are actively working to achieve equitable academic outcomes for these students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • trustees provide sound governance in all aspects of board operations and are highly supportive of the principal and staff
  • a collaborative senior leadership team, with complementary skills, promote a collective responsibility and accountability for student achievement and wellbeing
  • teachers are actively engaged in professional learning and development to build their teaching capability
  • evidence-based self review is contributing to ongoing decision making, and the development of robust systems and processes that support student success and achievement
  • strong community networks and links between the college and its community provide authentic and meaningful learning for students.

The key next step is for the college to continue to focus on raising levels of achievement and reduce disparity by addressing the matters identified in this report through the college charter and learning area plans.

Provision for international students

The college 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. At the time of this review there were 11 international students attending the college.

The college has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the college’s self-review processes for international students are thorough. The college has effective systems and practices for the pastoral care, quality of education provision, and integration of students into the college community.

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

Morrinsville College is a well-established secondary college that has close links with the community including local iwi. The college is focused on raising levels of achievement, provides a positive and inclusive college culture, and a curriculum that offers a wide range of opportunities for students to experience success.  

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

3 July 2017

About the School 

Location

Morrinsville

Ministry of Education profile number

126

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

659

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Girls       53%
Boys      47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
South East Asian
Indian
Other

62%
26%
  3%
  2%
  7%

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

3 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
November 2009
August 2006

Findings

Morrinsville College provides good quality educational opportunities for students across a wide range of learning areas. Academic and vocational courses provide meaningful learning pathways for students who wish to transition to work and tertiary study. Students benefit from the commitment of teachers and school leaders to ensuring a positive and caring school culture.

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?

Morrinsville College is a Years 9 to 13, co-educational secondary school, catering for students who come from the township of Morrinsville and surrounding rural areas. The roll of 713 includes 143 students who identify as Māori. Many of these students have strong connections with Ngāti Haua iwi and Tainui waka. There are also 8 international fee paying students.

Since the 2009 ERO review, the experienced principal, and a high proportion of the staff have remained the same. A new and extended senior leadership team has been established, and the current chairperson of the board of trustees was appointed in 2013.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO and has responded to the areas for review and development in the 2009 ERO report. Teachers have engaged in significant professional learning and development related to enhancing teaching strategies and reflecting on their practice. This has included a range of initiatives and programmes such as assessment for learning, positive behaviour for learning, teaching as inquiry, and development in information and computer technologies (ICT). In addition, there have been a number of initiatives to better engage priority learners, improve retention rates, and increase the collection and use of student voice.

Students learn in a friendly and caring school culture promoted by the CLEAR principles - contribute, listen, engage, achieve and respect. The school is well supported by active trustees, parents/whānau, the wider community, and helpers in sporting and cultural events.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers are increasing the use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school assesses Year 8 students in term 4 prior to their entry using nationally referenced assessment tests in reading and mathematics. Data from this assessment indicates that a significant proportion of Year 9 students are achieving below national expectations at the time of entry. This data, and other information, is used to identify priority learners and guide staff in supporting students’ literacy and numeracy requirements. Senior leaders acknowledge the benefits of continuing to work with contributing schools to share achievement information to assist students as they transition to college.

In Years 9 and 10, teachers use a range of school assessments to gather and report on student achievement information in relation to levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC). Teachers have increased the feedback they give to students about their learning, and some teachers are planning differentiated programmes to meet the needs of diverse learners. In a recent initiative, some learning areas have introduced individual student portfolios that include examples of assessed work and student goal setting. The challenge for senior leaders is to ensure that there is greater consistency in the use of high-quality teaching practices that contribute to students’ understanding of their own learning and next learning steps.

Senior leaders and learning area leaders provide the principal and board with regular reports that evaluate student achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school is able to show that by the time students reach Year 11, they are achieving at similar levels to national expectations in Levels 1, 2 and 3 in NCEA. The school has identified that, as a result of teacher professional development, the gap between Māori and non-Maori achievement has narrowed. Raising the achievement of boys and Māori students, and increasing the number of merit and excellence grades in NCEA, remain priorities for the school community.

Senior leaders gather and analyse a range of other information on attendance and retention that informs decision making and resourcing. The board and senior leaders recognise that increasing the rates of attendance, and retention to senior levels, are ongoing challenges.

3 Curriculum

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

The Morrinsville College curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning across all areas of TNZC. School leaders design learning pathways in response to students’ interests and future needs. Students benefit from access to a range of vocational courses and careers advice that support their transition to further education and the world of work. Significant features of the curriculum include the success of the performing and visual arts, the range of available technologies, agriculture and science, and physical education and sport. Students have many opportunities to take part in extra-curricular learning activities, events and excursions.

A range of student leadership opportunities include school and house leaders, peer and academic mentors, and Māori student leaders (amokura). There is an active student council which provides suggestions for school improvement.

Teachers establish positive and caring relationships with students. They are increasingly focusing on individual and small group coaching and mentoring to better support students to achieve success. An example of this is the ‘learning hub’ that has been established to help students at risk of not successfully transitioning to high school.

Students who require additional learning support are identified and monitored. The special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO), school leaders and teachers are sharing and implementing strategies to raise their achievement. The principal and ERO agree that a more strategic and coordinated approach is now required to accelerate the progress of students who have been identified as underachieving.

In response to teacher professional learning and development, most classroom teachers are implementing a range of teaching practices which include:

  • sharing the purpose of the learning
  • introducing literacy and numeracy strategies across the curriculum
  • integrating Māori contexts for learning
  • incorporating ICT into teaching and learning.

Recent priorities in teacher development have included a strategic focus on seeking student feedback about the learning programmes. Teachers are also inquiring into, and reflecting on, the effectiveness of their own practice as part of the newly developed performance management process.

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

The school continues to promote educational success for Māori as Māori.

Positive actions and initiatives include:

  • the principal’s continued commitment to and support for Te Ao Māori
  • the continued expansion and development of Te Puawaitanga as a place of belonging and identity for Māori students, teachers and whānau
  • the establishment of a waharoa near Te Ao Whaanui as an important gateway to the school
  • murals and artefacts in and around the school
  • ongoing relationships with local marae and iwi organisations
  • significant Māori representation on the board of trustees
  • ongoing consultation with Māori community and whānau
  • the increased opportunity and promotion of the Māori performing arts and manu korero
  • Māori student leadership and the celebration of Māori achievement at award evenings
  • a significant group of staff who have participated in a Mauri Ora course

School leaders and the Māori community recognise that educational outcomes for many Māori students remain a concern. The board and school community should give priority to the understanding and effective enactment of the guiding principles of Ka Hikitia in all aspects of school operations. These principles include:

  • belief in the positive potential of Māori students
  • high expectations for Māori students to achieve
  • ongoing valuing of identity, culture and language
  • productive partnerships with whānau.

Increasing opportunities for Māori students to access culturally appropriate pastoral and academic support is likely to support and promote their wellbeing and success as Māori.

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 because:

  • the board of trustees places high priority on student wellbeing and success and work closely with the principal and staff in promoting the school’s strategic goals
  • the principal is knowledgeable, experienced and leads by example. He has established strong connections within the education and wider community and is well supported by a collaborative and capable senior leadership team
  • learning area leaders provide effective curriculum implementation and support for teachers
  • school leaders and staff introduce programmes and initiatives to improve student wellbeing and the school culture for learning
  • there are regular and systematic processes for self review.

ERO recommends that the board, principal and senior leaders work with external expertise to:

continue to work towards developing an agreed, shared vision for the school as a 21st Century learning environment, as reflected in the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. This vision, along with more effective self review, is likely to bring greater cohesion and sustainability to school development and improvement.

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.

At the time of this review 8 international students were attending the school. The school also hosts school groups for short stays as part of an ongoing relationship with schools in Japan.

The school provides a high standard of pastoral care for international students and gives them regular opportunities to talk about their goals and experiences. A well-designed and effectively implemented ESOL programme caters for students who need English language support. The students are making good progress towards achieving their goals. Appropriate policies and practices support the social integration and academic learning programmes of the school’s international students.

The international Dean, home-stay coordinator, principal and board have developed processes to monitor the quality of provision for international students and to ensure compliance with the Code. There is a need to report to the board in relation to international students on an annual basis and for more regular monitoring of students in home stay situations. The board and principal also need to ensure that relationships amongst personnel who work with international students, remain positive and do not compromise the effectiveness of their work.

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

Morrinsville College provides good quality educational opportunities for students across a wide range of learning areas. Academic and vocational courses provide meaningful learning pathways for students who wish to transition to work and tertiary study. Students benefit from the commitment of teachers and school leaders to ensuring a positive and caring school culture.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 June 2014

About the School

Location

Morrinsville

Ministry of Education profile number

126

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

713

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

Pacific

70%

21%

7%

1%

1%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

August 2006

June 2003