Christchurch Girls' High School | Te Kura o Hine Waiora - 06/08/2014

Findings

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for improvement?

Christchurch Girls’ High School is making good progress with improving the concerns identified in the 2012 ERO review. The new board, new principal and senior leaders are working well together to achieve the improvements needed. Staff members are highly committed to building on the significant strengths of the school’s past and promoting a successful future for students and the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years from the previous review in 2012.

1 Background and Context

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

The August 2012 ERO review identified serious concerns about professional relationships at board, principal and senior leadership levels. The report recommended that the Ministry of Education (MOE) support the school to resolve those issues. The MOE worked with the board to identify the priorities, plans and actions needed for improvement.

A new board was appointed in June 2013. The school’s long-standing principal left at the end of July 2013 and the deputy principal took over the role until the end of that year. A new principal commenced at the beginning of 2014.

The board has taken action to address the concerns outlined in the 2012 ERO report. The school roll has remained stable and student achievement has continued to reflect very good to high levels of success. Since the 2012 ERO report, the board, senior leaders and staff have continued to actively manage the impact of significant earthquake damage to buildings and facilities. Some important building re-developments are due to begin this year.

The board and principal are working together well to develop clear targets and goals for improvement that will build on the strengths of the past while planning for the future. Although new initiatives are at an early stage, the board and senior leaders have confidence in their ability to work together to bring about the necessary improvements.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Professional relationships between the board, principal and senior leaders.

Progress

The school is making good progress with addressing the priority area for review and development.

The new principal has met individually with teachers to listen to their views and has used this information to inform school plans and processes. She has worked with staff and students to develop a new school vision that embraces tradition, innovation and excellence. The vision is being very well articulated across the school and is well supported by staff.

The principal and senior leaders are strengthening communication at senior leadership levels. This is most evident in the ways:

  • the senior leadership team is developing shared beliefs and a common focus on school goals as the basis for team interactions
  • the number of formal and informal meetings that focus on school-wide improvement has increased
  • discussion forums have been developed as a way of encouraging staff to share and develop their views about classroom and school improvement.

The principal told ERO that she is well supported by the board and school community.

Many staff told ERO that there is a sense of forward momentum and that the staff and school community remain highly committed to maintaining successful outcomes for students and the school.

Further developments of technologies have been made to foster communication across the staff, student and school community.

Next steps

The board, principal and senior leaders should ensure and continue to seek assurance that:

  • change is being managed in ways that promote and support a healthy workplace
  • relationships across the school support the wellbeing and emotional safety of all staff.

The principal and senior leaders should ensure that there are planned opportunities during the year to reflect on their progress and effectiveness as a team.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The school is making good progress towards sustaining and continuing to improve and review its performance.

Progress

The board is strongly focused on continuous improvement. Trustees bring an extensive range of skills and experience to the board. They make good use of external expertise and have undertaken further training to ensure that their governance skills effectively reflect an educational context.

Trustees have identified key priority areas and improved systems to better manage these. They are:

  • providing opportunities for parents to speak with the board at the beginning of each board meeting
  • clarifying the board self-review cycle, and making it readily available to the community through the school’s charter
  • establishing a hostel committee to provide a more effective structure for the strategic planning, self review and ongoing improvement of the hostel.

The board used a thorough process, including the use of external expertise, for the appointment of the new principal. Staff, students and parents were consulted as part of this process.

The principal has undertaken a variety of ways to foster professional relationships with the board and senior leaders. These include:

  • providing reports to the board that are aligned to the school’s new vision and show progress towards meeting identified goals and requirements
  • using achievement information to promote professional discussions about teaching and learning and to inform decision making
  • making expectations clear by strengthening the teacher appraisal process and ensuring it is well linked to the school’s vision, charter and professional development programme.

Next steps

The board must ensure that the review of the school’s complaints policy is completed. Trustees should further consider other personnel and health and safety policies for review alongside the complaints policy.

The board, principal and senior leaders should ensure that effective processes are in place to support staff wellbeing and carefully monitor this in an ongoing and appropriate manner.

Renovations at the hostel made necessary by the Canterbury earthquakes will begin this year. The board must continue to make sure that there are robust processes in place to promote and support the effective governance and management of the hostel.

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

Christchurch Girls’ High School is making good progress with improving the concerns identified in the 2012 ERO review. The new board, new principal and senior leaders are working well together to achieve the improvements needed. Staff members are highly committed to building on the significant strengths of the school’s past and promoting a successful future for students and the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years from the previous review in 2012. 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

6 August 2014

About the School

Location

Riccarton, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

328

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

1031

Number of international students

30

Gender composition

Girls 1031

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other Ethnicities

78%

8%

2%

10%

2%

Special Features

School Hostel - Acland House

Adult Community Education (ACE) facility - facilities used by Risingholme

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

6 August 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

August 2012

November 2008

November 2007