Central Southland College - 17/06/2015

Findings

Students at Central Southland College enjoy their varied and rich curriculum. Most students participate in a range of activities. The school is welcoming and friendly. The board and community actively support their vision for a ‘well rounded student’. Students value the way in which their teachers help them to learn. There is an increased focus on supporting students to achieve 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?

Central Southland College educates students from Years 9 to 13 from Winton and the wider rural area. The majority of students travel to school by bus.

The school roll has increased since the last ERO review in 2011. This includes an increasing number of students from diverse cultural and language backgrounds. New students are welcomed and well supported in a variety of ways. This includes their access to English language support. A new principal was appointed in 2013. Some specialist learning areas have been redeveloped to better support students in their learning. This adds to the attractive existing learning spaces.

The large number of students ERO spoke with were very positive about:

  • their relationships with their teachers
  • their dean's interest in their wellbeing and learning
  • teachers’ responsiveness to their learning needs
  • the wide range of leadership opportunities they take
  • the vocational support and guidance they get.

Students learn in a positive environment. There are effective systems for promoting student wellbeing and achievement. Deans know their students well as learners and individuals. The extent of students’ involvement in school activities is considerable. ERO noted students were very busy participating in a wide range of events/activities.

Members of the wider community are very supportive of the school and its students. Students benefit from local organisations and clubs contributing actively to their learning programmes. This includes the local Trades Academy and Salvation Army.

Since the last ERO review in 2011, the following progress is noted:

  • there is improved reporting on student achievement to the board within redesigned departmental reports
  • issues related to international students have been fully addressed
  • the school has yet to develop current guidelines describing what the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) key competencies, values, modern teaching and learning practices and principles will look like in this school.

2. Learning

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

The school is using student achievement information increasingly well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School achievement information shows:

  • that overall, senior students achieve at similar levels in NCEA compared with national comparative groups
  • 72% of school leavers in 2014 achieved NCEA Level 2
  • senior students’ achievement in literacy in NCEA Level 1 to 3 has increased significantly in the last five years
  • the proportion of students gaining excellence and merit endorsements has improved for NCEA Levels 1 and 2 since 2012, but is still lower than national comparatives
  • that overall girls are achieving better than boys, as are non-Māori students when compared to Māori students at the school.

Most students feel well informed about their achievement and progress. They appreciate the useful opportunities they have to assess their own learning and that of their peers. Students and teachers’ reflect on students’ learning each week when they complete students’ learning journals.

Leaders, deans and form teachers use effective systems to identify, monitor and support students at risk of not achieving. These students benefit from useful ongoing support to ensure they are aware of their progress towards meeting their goals.

Teachers use student achievement information effectively to plan and deliver programmes at appropriate levels of challenge for students. Many students ERO spoke with reported that their level of leaning was “just right” for them.

Senior leaders are well informed about student achievement, progress and wellbeing through the ongoing work of the deans.

Department reports include useful information for the senior leadership team and board. This includes progress against school and departmental goals.

Areas for review and development

The school’s charter targets should specifically focus on accelerating the progress of groups of students who are underachieving or have low achievement. Progress towards meeting these targets should be reported in an ongoing way to the senior leadership team and the board.

There is scope to better analyse student achievement information for specific groups, such as migrant students, Māori boys and students who are new to the school. This should help to inform school self review.

Leaders should continue to develop departmental reports to:

  • be more evaluative with respect to how well the department is performing and meeting its own and school-wide annual goals
  • include more detail as to how the department will improve student achievement, and implement relevant school targets.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Students benefit from a broad and rich curriculum. They appreciate the many sports, cultural and beyond the classroom learning experiences. There is a focus on ensuring that students grow to be well-rounded adults. This aligns with parents’ aspirations.

Students benefit from a progressive career education programme throughout the school. This culminates in high quality vocational and career support for senior students. There has been careful matching of senior courses to the vocational pathways that students may take beyond the school. Teachers make ongoing adaptations to the curriculum to better meet students’ needs, such as Trades Academy options and some Level 2 courses.

There have been significant developments in the use of ICT for teaching and learning throughout the school. This has increased students’ communication with teachers and their access to learning resources.

Areas for review and development

It is timely for leaders to:

  • clarify and document how the principles, values and key competencies of the NZC and modern teaching and learning practices and principles will look like in this school
  • review the success of recent ICT developments for students and teachers
  • review how well the school’s bicultural curriculum is evident in action.

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

Māori students experience some aspects of their identity, language and culture in learning and school life. Students told ERO that they recognise and appreciate the increased valuing of Māori culture throughout the school.

Some recent school developments to better reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage include a:

  • popular kapa haka group
  • te reo Māori introductory course for all Year 9 students
  • whānau group that provides a variety of relevant experiences for Years 11 and 12 students.

Māori students report that “there is something for everyone “ at this school and that “everyone has a go at everything”.

Areas for review and development

The next steps for the school are to:

  • further support Māori students by setting goals that will lead to raised achievement and closely monitor this
  • continue to strengthen the visibility of Māori culture in the school
  • continue to explore ways to seek the views/opinions of Māori students and their families.

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. This is evident in the:

  • expectations for reflection and ongoing improvement modelled by the board and leadership team
  • useful range of self-review practices, including surveys/student voice and reports that gather useful information that leads to change.

ERO found some high quality examples of teachers/departments inquiring into their practices with a focus on what would improve outcomes for students. The next step is for these good practices to be spread more widely.

The new senior leadership team:

  • provides effective professional leadership
  • carefully considers and manages changes within the school
  • is strengthening a positive and collaborative staff culture.

Teachers reported to ERO that they felt well supported by the leadership team.

The trustees:

  • are well informed and understanding their roles and responsibilities well
  • use the information that comes to them effectively, asking useful questions about student achievement information
  • have thorough processes for reviewing policies and procedures.

Leaders are focused on developing teachers’ professional practice and improving the quality of teaching and learning. This can be seen in the:

  • restructured appraisal process that encourages staff to reflect on, gather evidence about their professional practice and share their practices to better support their professional growth
  • focus on professional reflection and development within staff meetings and the establishment of a teaching and learning committee.

The current strategic plan has identified four key strategic priorities. These are included in each department’s goals and reported against.

Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders should clarify, document and implement an agreed process for effectively reviewing aspects of school performance.

The board and senior leadership team have identified, and ERO agrees, that it is timely to review the current strategic plan.

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. School self-review practices related to International Students have been enhanced since the 2011 ERO review and are now fully compliant with the Code.

At the time of this review there were 13 international students attending the school, including 6 exchange students.

The school has clear, well documented systems to promote good quality education, welfare and pastoral care for international students. Senior managers, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, deans and form teachers all contribute to the school’s processes for monitoring students’ academic and other achievements. An extra ESOL class is proving beneficial for both international and migrant students.

Students are especially positive about the role the Welcoming Committee plays in introducing them to the school and to other students. The school’s International Friendship Club is most effective in linking international students and Kiwi students in a mutually enjoyable and beneficial way. Students are very well integrated into the school and participate in a wide range of school activities.

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

Students at Central Southland College enjoy their varied and rich curriculum. Most students participate in a range of activities. The school is welcoming and friendly. The board and community actively support their vision for a ‘well rounded student’. Students value the way in which their teachers help them to learn. There is an increased focus on supporting students to achieve success.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

17 June 2015

About the School

Location

Winton

Ministry of Education profile number

399

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

520

Number of international students

13

Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European

Māori

Filipino

Other

70%

14%

6%

10%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

17 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

October 2008

August 2005