Aotea College - 11/10/2016

Findings

NCEA results show ongoing improvements in achievement. Ensuring equity for Māori and Pacific students is a strategic priority. Improving teachers' use of assessment information is an area of focus. The school is well placed to strengthen evaluation practice and continue to build student 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?

Aotea College, located in the Porirua City, caters for students in Years 9 to 13. The current roll of 929 includes 30% who identify as Māori, 12% as Samoan and 13% from other Pacific groups.

There have been a number of schoolwide professional development programmes over the past three years. These include Ministry of Education initiatives, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success.

The schools values of and expectations for Manaakitanga, Perseverance, Sauni and Excellence are integral to learning.

Planning is well advanced for the construction of new buildings and facilities over the next 18 to 24 months.

2 Learning

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

School leaders use a range of assessment tools to establish baseline data on student entry at Year 9, and show progress through to Year 10. The information gathered is used schoolwide to show trends and patterns and identify appropriate responses to students in need of targeted support. Year 9 and 10 charter targets aim to accelerate each cohort’s progress in writing.

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results for 2014 and 2015 show ongoing improvement in achievement at Levels 1 to 3. Results are above schools of similar type and schools nationally. Although good progress has been made to close achievement gaps, the school is yet to achieve equitable results for Māori and Pacific students.

Improving the achievement of Māori and Pacific students and raising the proportion of merit and excellence certificate endorsements in NCEA is an ongoing focus. A strategic approach to achieving this includes:

  • setting appropriate schoolwide charter targets
  • mentoring and regular monitoring by deans and form teachers
  • establishing focus groups for Māori and Pacific students.

Sound systems support clear tracking of student performance and early identification and response to emerging trends. Regular communication with families effectively supports a growing partnership with parents.

School leaders have identified, and ERO's evaluation affirms, the need to continue to strengthen teacher capability in departmental and class use of assessment information. This should better inform planning and teaching, and assist teachers to evaluate lesson and programme effectiveness for learners at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad based curriculum provides many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership activities. Pathways, including the Academy, Gateway, Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) and Industry Training Organisation programmes, provide options for senior students, who receive sound careers advice and guidance.

TheNew Zealand Curriculum key competencies and values underpin department schemes, planning and reporting. There is a clear schoolwide focus on subject specific vocabulary to improve student literacy skills. Aspects of the curriculum are regularly reviewed to ensure continued relevance and reflection of the diverse cultures in the school. Student feedback is a significant part of curriculum review and design.

ERO observed classes where teachers use a range of effective strategies to support students' learning. Classes were well settled with students on task and engaged in their work. There are positive relationships among students and teachers. Digital technology is used as an effective tool to support student engagement and learning.

An effective model guides teachers' inquiry into their practice. There is an appropriate focus on using professional learning and development and appraisal to support ongoing development of teaching practice.

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

The school’s strong commitment to increasing success for Māori students as Māori is highly evident in daily practices, routines and interactions. Māori language, values and tikanga are well embedded. Leaders have committed to Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success, a professional development initiative to support the aspirations of the Māori community by encouraging Māori students to pursue their potential. Key practices include:

  • identifying improved learning outcomes for Māori students as a strategic priority
  • incorporating aspects of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into the curriculum
  • recognising and celebrating Māori achievement
  • providing positive role models to encourage high aspirations
  • giving prominence to Manaaki Tauira O Aotea to foster quality engagement between the school and the Māori community
  • supporting and valuing the successful kapa haka group
  • building links with iwi
  • promoting the holistic wellbeing of students
  • building culturally responsive teaching practices.

How well does the school promote success for Pacific students?

Pacific students benefit from the strong schoolwide focus on inclusion. The positive climate and genuine celebration of cultural diversity means that Pacific students know that their identity and values are recognised and respected. They are well engaged in the life of the school, participating successfully in all activities. Many remain at school until they have completed Year 13.

Students can learn the Samoan language from Years 9 to 13. The school engages Pacific parents and aiga through the Pasifika Fono, where parents meet together regularly with teachers at the college.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to strengthen evaluation practice, to sustain its performance and continue to build student success.

The board of trustees is future focused. New members bring a useful range of experience and knowledge. Trustees are well informed and receive a range of information about student achievement, activities and school operation to support resourcing decisions. The board regularly engages with parents and whānau. They are working to raise the school’s profile with the wider community.

The principal, trustees and senior leaders have a shared vision for school development. They are student focused and work collaboratively to define and lead ongoing school development. The refined appraisal system supports the continued growth of teachers’ professional practice.

A well-considered pastoral care system promotes student wellbeing and sense of belonging. There are effective links with a range of external agencies to further support students and their families. Student voice provides important feedback on many aspects of school operations.

Sound systems are in place to transition students into the school at Year 9. School leaders are working with contributing schools to enhance the quality and relevance of achievement information shared during transitions. The developing Community of Learning involving the college and many contributing schools should further enhance these transition processes.

There is strong community support for school activities and operation. Several programmes are well supported by community organisations.

A number of new programmes and organisational changes have been trialled or introduced since the November 2013 ERO report. School leaders are reviewing these initiatives. Sound systems and processes support leaders’ internal evaluation to determine the impact of these changes on student learning and achievement.

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 seven international students attending the school, including two exchange students.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. The school has begun to align its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

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

NCEA results show ongoing improvements in achievement. Ensuring equity for Māori and Pacific students is a strategic priority. Improving teachers' use of assessment information is an area of focus. The school is well placed to strengthen evaluation practice and continue to build student success.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

11 October 2016

About the School

Location

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

253

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

929

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Female 50%, Male 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Tokelauan

Asian

Cook Island Māori

Other ethnic groups

32%

30%

12%

7%

6%

5%

8%

Special Features

Porirua Activity Centre - attached unit

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

11 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

August 2012

August 2009