Aparima College - 26/09/2019

Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Aparima College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

This report evaluates Aparima College’s progress in addressing the areas for review and development that were identified in ERO’s 2017 Education Review report.

That report identified the need for improvements in:

  • professional leadership
  • re-establishment of a board of trustees
  • internal evaluation – particularly of strategies and plans to raise achievement and accelerate progress in years 7-10
  • communication and public relations
  • aspects of principal appraisal.

A new principal was appointed in Term 2, 2018. The Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed commissioner handed over governance of the school to a new board of trustees around the same time. A new assistant principal was appointed at the start of 2019.

The new first-time principal is accessing professional support to build confidence and capability in the role. The principal has worked with a MoE student achievement advisor to develop plans to address the areas for improvement and strategic goals of the school. The new board has worked with the New Zealand School Trustees Association to develop understandings, processes and procedures for school governance. Teachers are participating in whole school professional learning around the teaching of writing.

A high proportion of students achieved the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Level 2 in the last two years. The school has goals to lift the proportion of students who gain endorsements on their national qualifications.

This ERO review found that positive progress has been made in most of the areas identified as needing improvement in 2017.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

School governance/stewardship (including communication and public relations)

Trustees are strongly focused on improving outcomes for students. Since forming the board, trustees have worked constructively together, and with the principal, to develop a range of governance tools to support school operations and improvement. These have included:

  • developing a future-focused strategic plan

  • adopting a sound policy and procedure framework

  • developing a workplan, focused on regular review of all aspects of school operations

  • improved financial monitoring and reporting procedures

  • developing board guidelines to support role clarity, induction of new trustees and effective meeting procedures.

The board has continued to seek the views of the school community on key developments and decisions. These have included the development of the school values, introduction of digital devices and reporting to parents. Trustees have provided ongoing opportunities for the community to meet with them and discuss their aspirations for the school and their students’ learning.

School Leadership

The principal and senior leaders are working well together to collaboratively develop and enact the school’s vision, values and goals. This has involved:

  • consulting with students, teachers, parents and the wider community about shared values

  • consulting with staff regarding key priorities for teaching and learning

  • developing an operational plan that actively advances the school’s strategic goals for raising aspirations, and providing a relevant curriculum and a high-quality learning environment

  • strengthening systems for monitoring and tracking senior student progress toward national qualifications

  • strengthening practices for collecting and responding to student perspectives about what matters to them in their school

  • promoting a school-wide focus on improving students’ writing skills through collective professional learning for teachers, and alignment of practices across levels and learning areas.

Leaders are focused on implementing and embedding the school’s new values (Focus, Integrity, Resilience, Service and Taumata) by communicating and modelling high expectations for students’ learning and behaviour.

A robust process for principal appraisal is in place.

Communication and public relations

Trustees and school leaders have sustained effective ongoing communication with the wider school community. The principal has actively strengthened links with contributing primary schools through visits and participation in local events and forums. This has resulted in a higher proportion of local primary school graduates enrolling in the college in 2019. Trustees, leaders and teachers have promoted partnerships with the community to provide ‘real-world’ and ‘localised’ learning opportunities. The school has begun to strengthen resourcing for te reo Māori learning pathways in response to community feedback. Trustees and leaders have also introduced processes for collecting teacher feedback about the conditions supporting effective teaching and learning.

Internal evaluation

The school is in the early stages of a whole-school focus on improving junior students’ writing skills. This has involved building shared understandings of the skills students need and how these develop over time. Teachers are now focused on aligning teaching practices across learning areas and levels. The effectiveness of this approach in raising achievement is yet to be evaluated.

Leaders and teachers have recently introduced a consistent approach to reporting on student achievement in Years 7 to 10 across learning areas. There is still variability in the quality and usefulness of analysis of this information to know about and show how well junior programmes are supporting all students to make expected rates of progress. In particular, internal evaluation is not yet showing the effectiveness of strategies and approaches in supporting and accelerating the progress of students identified as achieving below curriculum expectations.

Key next steps

Trustees need to:

  • ensure school targets, and consequent monitoring and evaluation, include a focus on all students at risk of poor educational outcomes

  • receive useful reporting on the progress and achievement of students in Years 7 to 10 in order to know about the effectiveness of junior programmes in supporting all students to make sufficient progress

  • extend the reporting they receive to be assured that all reasonable steps are being taken to support students’ wellbeing, engagement and achievement of other valued outcomes

  • report to the school’s Māori whānau on plans to support the success of Māori students.

Leaders need to continue to:

  • promote and embed the school’s new values to support high expectations and a positive learning culture

  • lead and model effective internal evaluation at all levels

  • ensure staff are well-informed about and involved in the implementation of the school’s improvement plans.

Leaders and teachers need to:

  • develop more consistent practices for evaluating and reporting on students’ rates of progress and achievement across Years 7-10, with a particular focus on students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is developing useful systems, processes and practices which will enable it to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. Many of these need time to become embedded.

Findings

The school has made positive progress in most of the areas requiring development identified in the previous ERO report (2017). New trustees and school leaders are developing their capability and putting in place the strategic framework needed to guide future school improvement. Communication and consultation with the school community has been improved and sustained. Aspects of internal evaluation need strengthening, particularly the evaluation of planned approaches to improve achievement and progress in Years 7 to 10.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Aparima College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

26 September 2019

About the School

Location

Riverton

Ministry of Education profile number

409

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

186

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Girls 42%, Boys 58%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

38%
57%
5%

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

26 September 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2017
May 2015
April 2012