Aparima College - 28/06/2017

Findings

The school has made some progress in responding to the areas requiring development identified in the previous ERO report. Senior students are effectively supported to achieve the credits they need to gain certificates in NCEA, particularly in Levels 1 and 2. Significant further work is needed to strengthen school leadership and ensure an effective board of trustees can be elected and sustained.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

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

In 2014 a commissioner was appointed by the Ministry of Education, following the resignation of the school’s board of trustees. ERO’s review of the school early in 2015 found significant aspects of the school’s performance that needed improvement. The commissioner grouped these into five key areas:

  • school leadership
  • teaching and learning
  • communications and public relations
  • the behaviour management system
  • compliance.

The school’s progress and key next steps for further improvement are outlined in section 2 of this report.

The commissioner is providing stable governance for the school. She is:

  • actively working towards the school having a board of trustees, by leading monthly governance meetings and building the capacity of potential future trustees
  • using a range of external expertise to help the school move forward positively
  • consulting widely with staff, students and parents
  • communicating effectively with the school community
  • ensuring the principal receives extensive professional development and support. 

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Progress

School leadership

There is greater clarity for the roles of deputy principals in the senior leadership team. Staff members value the support provided by the faculty leaders. A rigorous and comprehensive appraisal process as well as significant professional development have been provided to support the principal over the previous two years.

Teaching and learning

The school’s curriculum is being increasingly adapted to better meet students’ needs. This has included an innovative learning support programme for Year 8 Māori students. Senior students benefit from close monitoring, mentoring and support to achieve their learning goals. Teachers have improved the way they report to students and their parents about progress in relation to the National Standards through Years 7 and 8. Teachers have used their involvement in professional development and initiatives to accelerate some students’ literacy learning. A redeveloped and improved appraisal system is benefiting teachers and students.

Communications and Public Relations

The school is using a wide variety of ways to communicate regularly with parents and the wider community. Teachers are more regularly providing information to families and whānau about their children’s achievement and progress. The commissioner has:

  • successfully encouraged a small group of parents to attend governance meetings to prepare them for the work of a board of trustees
  • kept parents informed about the school’s progress in addressing issues of concern
  • responded well to ideas shared or issues and complaints raised by parents
  • taken steps to strengthen links with the local rūnanga.
Behaviour Management System

Leaders and teachers have made changes to the system to manage the behaviour of students and clearly documented the system that teachers are to follow in 2017. A comprehensive pastoral care system is in place to support students’ wellbeing and help them focus on learning. Information is gathered from students about their wellbeing and matters that affect them at school. This puts leaders and teachers in a good position to respond to areas of need. Staff members have agreed to participate in a school-wide behaviour-change programme to better supports students’ learning. 

Compliance

The commissioner has overseen the completion of a suitable process to appraise the performance of the principal over the previous two years. The school has assured ERO that the requirements for police vetting of adults in the school have been met.

Key next steps

School leadership

The principal is not providing consistent, coherent, effective and sustained professional leadership. Significant improvement in the quality of the principal’s professional leadership is urgently needed.

Teaching and learning

Some groups of students in Years 7 to 10 are not achieving well and not making sufficient progress, for example in writing, reading and mathematics. The school has set appropriate targets to improve learning outcomes for these students. Leaders and teachers need to strengthen the quality and consistency of their evaluation of the impact of their efforts to bring about these high-priority improvements.

Communications and Public Relations

The commissioner and school leaders need to ensure that the efforts over the last two years to improve communications with the school’s community are sustained.

Behaviour Management System

The school’s participation in a Ministry of Education behaviour-change-for-learning programme is in the very early stages. In the meantime, the commissioner needs to be assured that all reasonable steps are taken to support students’ wellbeing and help them achieve positive learning outcomes.

Compliance

At the time of this review, the principal’s Performance Agreement for 2017 was yet to be formalised. This is a matter of high priority.

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 not well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The student roll has dropped over the last two years.

The school will be better placed to sustain what is going well and improve its performance when:

  • the key next steps indicated above have been responded to effectively
  • a board of trustees is in place and functioning well. 

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the:

  • commissioner ensures the school responds with urgency to the key next steps identified in this report
  • Ministry of Education consider ongoing statutory support for school governance when and if a board of trustees is re-established.

Conclusion

The school has made some progress in responding to the areas requiring development identified in the previous ERO report. Senior students are effectively supported to achieve the credits they need to gain certificates in NCEA, particularly in Levels 1 and 2. Significant further work is needed to strengthen school leadership and ensure an effective board of trustees can be elected and sustained.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

28 June 2017

About the School 

Location

Riverton

Ministry of Education profile number

409

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

183

Gender composition

Male: 60%

Female: 40 %

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Other

56%
40%
4%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

28 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2015
April 2012
February 2010