Akina Activity Centre - 16/01/2013

1 Background

Introduction

Akina Activity Centre is one of 14 activity centres in New Zealand that provide alternative schooling for students in Years 9 to 11.  Students are referred by their enrolling schools to activity centres because they are likely to benefit from a specialist programme that will meet their social and educational needs. 

Once accepted at an activity centre, students remain on the roll of the enrolling school, and attend the centre for periods that vary in length depending on students’ readiness for a successful return to schooling.

The programme of learning for students at an activity centre should improve:

  • the attendance of students
  • students’ academic achievement
  • students’ personal and social skills, through a programme that is based on the core competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum or the graduate profile in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

A key component of the programme is the successful and planned transition back into enrolling school or on to further education for activity centre students. 

The host school’s Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of this activity centre.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Akina Activity Centre in relation to the terms of reference for this review.  The terms of reference are:

  • educational and social outcomes for students, including the extent to which students’ learning has been accelerated
  • the use of information to plan and implement individual programmes for, and with, students, and to monitor their progress
  • management and governance practices including planning, self review and professional capacity-building
  • support for students to achieve improved outcomes
  • students’ experience of interagency support for them and their families
  • transitions in and out of the activity centre. 

2  Context

Akina Activity Centre provides education for up to twenty students who have behaviour and learning challenges that are impeding their educational progress. The centre is attached to Karamu High School. Students receive academic, social and personal support, guidance and mentoring. 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.

Each Activity Centre is attached to a secondary school (the host school) that is responsible for the governance and management of the centre. The host school for Akina Activity Centre is to change to Hastings Boys' High School in 2013. A recently appointed acting head teacher has developed clear policies and procedures and clear information in the charter. These documents will support the new host school.

The morning programme focuses on literacy and numeracy and is delivered through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu-The Correspondence School (Te Kura).  The afternoon programme consists of health, physical education, art and technology. 

3 Findings

Learning is valued by staff and students. Challenging, high expectations are set for behaviour and achievement. Students are given responsibility and are positive about the progress they are making. Recently developed behaviour and learning goals and indicators support student engagement and progress.

Learning plans to cater for strengths and interests are developed for each student. Staff should consider using these plans to strengthen individual planning in the afternoon session. The head teacher has identified the need to provide good quality and timely information to students and the management committee about student achievement and progress. The next step is to collect baseline data in order to show the academic progress students make.

Routines are well established and known by students. They learn in orderly, calm and secure surroundings where staff take all reasonable steps to provide a safe environment. Relationships are positive and affirming. Current students who spoke with ERO said that they felt well supported by centre staff and had made good progress in their learning and behaviour.

The head teacher has identified the need to develop and strengthen transition planning to:

  • include the support students need to receive for ongoing development in their enrolling school
  • clearly identify the roles and responsibilities for each person who has a responsibility to the centre
  • ensure the process is more inclusive of whānau, students, the enrolling school and head teacher.  

The next step is to monitor students after they leave the activity centre as part of ongoing self review. This should inform future transitions, programme planning and provision of pastoral care. 

Students enjoy a broad curriculum that is strongly needs-based. The programme is authentic and relevant to students. Resources are appropriate and accessible. High quality planning for the afternoon session is clearly linked to The New Zealand Curriculum. Te ao Māori is naturally woven throughout the day. Students have opportunities to explore their interests and strengths especially through the visual arts programme.

High priority is given to literacy and numeracy. Planning meets the specific requirements of each student. Good opportunities for literacy and numeracy are provided in other subject areas. Career education is in the initial stages of implementation. Staff are working towards strengthening this.

Opportunities to talk about the programme and some review of curriculum areas is occurring. Students reflect on their progress and development. Teachers and leaders have sought and used the student’s point of view to determine what supports their learning.

Staff demonstrate the importance of social and pastoral care to support the achievement of students. There are clear goals and expectations for classroom activity and student work. The centre draws on a range of external agencies to support student success. There is a warm, nurturing and safe atmosphere in the activity centre. Students express a sense of security and comfort with the environment.

Staff understand and affirm, through their practices and protocols, the cultural backgrounds of the students. Kaupapa Māori is recognised through daily karakia mō te kai. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is highly reflected in the centre environment. Staff actively promote effective relationships with whānau.

The centre is developing its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

School leaders ensure that the curriculum is well designed and that teachers are implementing high quality teaching strategies and interventions for students. A comprehensive operations manual has recently been developed detailing the programme, referral process, student entry process and aspects of safety. This promotes unity of purpose, consistency of expectation and clear lines of communication.

The management committee actively supports the head teacher. A useful strategic plan that describes the targets for the centre for the year has recently been developed and provides useful guidance.

Increased rigour of the performance management system has improved the support teachers receive. The management committee focus on building teacher capability through targeted professional learning and development.

Limited contact with the centre from enrolling schools is evident, apart from some members of management committee regularly visiting. Strengthening relationships to focus on collaborative planning and ongoing review of students’ progress and achievement would be beneficial.

The head teacher has re-established relationships with important community members. Good communication with families and regular home contact supports student success. ERO encourages centre staff to find ways to strengthen whānau involvement. 

4 Future Action

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

Joyce Gebbie
National Manager Review Services
Central Region (Acting)

16 January 2013

About the Activity Centre 

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

6119

Activity Centre roll

11

Gender composition

Male 7, Female 4

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Asian

9
1
1

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

16 January 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Special Review

Special Review

Accountability Review

December 2009

June 2005

April 2001