Wakatipu High School

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Education institution number:
374
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
1115
Telephone:
Address:

47-49 Red Oaks Drive, Frankton, Queenstown

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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

 

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 to students from Year 9 to 13. Students and staff members come from diverse backgrounds, with over thirty cultures groups represented in the school. The school is effectively managing the challenges as a result of growing roll numbers. A new site for the school is being planned for 2018.

The school provides education for a significant number of temporary-entrant students, transient students, and students from migrant families.

Students know about the school’s strategic direction. They know the part they can play in bringing about the goals that affect them, and the high expectations the school and community have for them.

The school’s vision and values are shared regularly by staff with students. Students know what part they play in meeting the school’s expectations for students to:

  • be life-long learners who ‘reach for their heights’
  • show respect for self, others and the environment
  • act responsibly
  • cope with and grow from challenge
  • value diversity.

School leaders, teachers and students make good use of the nature of the wider local environment, and opportunities, such as in the hospitality and adventure tourism industries as contexts for learning, and employment for students.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of learning information to effectively support students to engage well with their learning, make appropriate or accelerated progress, and achieve well. In 2013, 83% of students leaving school did so with at least a NCEA Level 2 certificate.

Students use achievement information well to:

  • have discussions with teachers to set useful goals for their learning, including aiming for merit and excellence in Years 11 to 13
  • play their part in monitoring and tracking their own progress towards achieving their goals each year.
  • Teachers use student achievement information purposefully to:
  • inform discussion with students about meeting high expectations
  • meet the needs of the students and help them know the purpose of the learning
  • ensure the learning is suitably challenging for students
  • implement appropriate literacy and numeracy support for students.

Teachers in middle-management/leadership roles make good use of student learning information to:

  • know about students’ learning needs on entry into Year 9 and through to Year 10, and share this information with the teachers who need it
  • assist with course selection and student placement
  • support teachers to use or improve their use of learning information in their teaching
  • report to trustees about overall student achievement in their learning area against annual targets.

Senior leaders use student achievement information effectively to:

  • inform decision making such as the choice of professional learning and development, setting annual achievement targets, and resourcing
  • contribute to curriculum review.
  • Trustees use student achievement information strategically to:
  • know where the priority learners are in the school
  • work with senior leaders to set targets for improvement
  • ensure they are well informed for data-driven decision making.

3 Curriculum

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

The school‘s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Students benefit from the breadth of the curriculum offered. Leaders and teachers actively help students understand how the school’s values support their learning. Students are keen participants in the wider life of the school and in the wide range of sporting and cultural activities made available to them.

Senior students have a wide range of subject options and courses to prepare them for life beyond school. They learn to take responsibility for their own learning and study time through the well-resourced and effectively managed Senior Independent Learning Centre. The centre includes spaces for silent study, cooperative learning, and lessons taught by correspondence. Students move from being closely supported to managing their own learning with increasing independence. This high-trust environment has been significantly developed since the 2010 ERO review, including the use of students’ views about how it can best support their learning.

The shape of the school timetable is unusual in its allocation of time equally across learning areas, especially for students in Years 9 and 10. Aspects of the timetable have been reviewed, for example the degree to which students are accelerated and the number of mixed-year-group classes. An extensive review of the timetable is currently being undertaken. ERO believes that this review is timely and highly appropriate.

ERO saw multiple examples of effective teaching strategies in the sample of classes ERO reviewers visited. These strategies included:

  • students and teachers demonstrating mutual respect through their interactions
  • teachers using a good range of strategies to engage students with learning
  • teachers making personal connections with students’ lives and interests
  • students and teachers making good use of ICT resources, including their own devices
  • students’ ideas being valued in planning what is learnt and how the learning might occur
  • students being encouraged to learn at their own pace and/or use their own learning style.

Students benefit from targeted support in their learning to help them achieve appropriate success at each level of the school.

Senior leaders are at an early stage in developing a ‘Visible Learning’ philosophy. The development of strategies to implement this philosophy should help the school arrive at an agreed view of what good teaching practice looks like. The agreed strategies should act as a foundation for monitoring, reviewing and appraising the quality of teaching in the school. ERO endorses this development as an important next step in defining and supporting high-quality teaching.

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

The school is increasingly effective in promoting and supporting educational success for Māori students. There is a growing awareness of the importance of a strong bicultural dimension in the life of the school. This includes a goal in the board’s strategic plan to increase success for Māori students. Māori students ERO spoke to said that they feel they are valued and that their culture is being increasingly recognised.

Challenges that the school has identified include providing te reo Māori for senior students, strengthening the links between kapa haka and recognition for NCEA, and developing different ways for Māori students not involved in kapa haka to experience success.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board has a good balance of longer-serving and newer trustees. Trustees are confident in asking questions, especially around improving outcomes for students. They communicate well with the local community and have clear ideas about the future direction of the school. The school’s charter was developed in consultation with the community and is well used by school leaders to monitor and improve performance.

A positive, collegial school culture is now well established. The strategic approach to growth and development demonstrated by the board and the senior managers is effective in establishing priorities and managing change. Staff members feel that their views are sought and considered in decision making. Middle managers are confident in their roles. There is a general spirit of optimism throughout the school, balanced by a realisation that further work will always be needed, especially as the school plans for its new site, set to open in 2018.

The board receives good quality student achievement reports from each learning area and reports from some other parts of the school’s operation at the end of each year. This good practice should be extended to include more areas where staff members have specific responsibilities. Some of these reports could usefully be required during the year rather than at the end of the calendar year.

Trustees, managers and teachers continue to place the creation and maintenance of a safe and inclusive culture as central to the school’s operation. The school is proud of the multi-cultural backgrounds of its staff and its students. Student wellbeing is supported by a team of deans and tutor teachers, guidance and careers staff, senior managers and learning support staff.

Students feel that their opinions and ideas matter and are acted on. They understand and appreciate the feedback they are getting from the surveys they take part in, for example the recent wellbeing and engagement survey carried out in term one, 2014. They contribute, alongside adults, to the school’s strategic plan and other aspects of the school’s operation, for example the uniform review.

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, there were 35 international fee-paying students attending the school, including one exchange student.

The school is very aware of the needs of all its international students, those paying fees, those who are children of migrant workers and those that have temporary entry.

The school has effective systems that meet the Code requirements for the care and support of fee-paying students. All international students who need support with English are assessed and placed in appropriate courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages. The school has strong systems for monitoring the progress and welfare of all students, including those not born in New Zealand. International students are well integrated into the school and 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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

23 May 2014

About the School

Location

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

374

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

706

Number of international students

35

Gender composition

Male: 51% Female: 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnicities

72%

11%

12%

2%

3%

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

23 May 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2013

February 2011

March 2007