Edgewater College - 14/12/2011

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Edgewater College serves a diverse and multicultural community. The increasing numbers of Pacific students and students from outside the school zone have further strengthened the school’s commitment to inclusive practices and participation. Students are involved in a variety of well considered learning programmes and learning pathways. Senior leaders have extended the school day and timetable to provide a greater range and flexibility in students’ learning options.

The school’s highly inclusive practices invite and value the diverse range of students and communities. The two onsite Sommerville Special School satellite classrooms form an integral part of the school, with students from these units participating in relevant college programmes.

School events and co-curricular activities continue to be well supported by students and the community, and increasing involvement of the Māori community is evident. Ongoing maintenance and new building additions help ensure that students are provided with attractive and good quality teaching and learning areas.

The school has responded positively to ERO’s 2008 report, developing effective self-review processes, and progressive and responsive strategic planning that place high value and priority on student learning: engagement, progress and achievement.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Edgewater College shows an ongoing and purposeful commitment to improving learning outcomes for students. Overall, students are well engaged in their learning. Student achievement data is used to best place students according to their ability and interests. These placements are well monitored to help ensure that students have a range of choices to pursue appropriate learning pathways.

Achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1 to 3 shows good improvement since 2008. Most students achieve at or above national NCEA averages. Pacific student achievement is above NCEA national averages for Pacific students. Significant increases in pass rates for the Level 1 NCEA literacy requirement reflect the school’s emphasis and professional development focus on effective literacy teaching and learning over the past three years.

Many students who enrol at Year 9 are achieving at levels below national averages in literacy and numeracy. However most of these students make significant gains over time and achieve well in NCEA. Senior leaders and teachers are considering ways to better analyse and use Year 9 and 10 student achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics. Improved analysis would give the board a clearer understanding of the progress and achievement of groups and cohorts of students and a better overview of the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

Data are used to set relevant and realistic targets for improved student achievement. Ongoing self review, and the recently introduced evaluative discussions between the principal, curriculum leaders and teachers, are raising levels of accountability and critical reflection on practice and use of assessment information across the school. Senior leaders are now placing greater emphasis on increasing the number of merit and excellence grades and endorsements in NCEA.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students are proud of their achievements as Māori in this school. The school places high value on Māori student engagement and achievement. These values are given priority through the school’s strategic goals. Māori students are achieving in NCEA at Levels 1, 2 and 3 at comparable or above average for Māori students nationally.

Effective leadership and increased engagement of Māori whānau have had a positive impact on strengthening students’ learning of te reo and tikanga Māori, their levels of success in kapa haka, and their sense of pride in being Māori. Strong links to a local marae and Māori representation on the board have also contributed to improved learning outcomes and to students’ success as Māori. The principal and the head of the Māori department are skilfully assisting the school to implement the principles of the Ministry of Education’s Strategy for Managing Success for Māori: Ka Hikitia. Senior leaders have identified maintaining the impetus of improvements made, including improvements in NCEA performance, as a school priority.

3 Curriculum

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

The Edgewater College curriculum is well designed and targeted to improve outcomes for all students. Self review forms a central part of the school’s curriculum development and direction. Students are at the centre of decision making about curriculum matters and the curriculum is well aligned with the vision and values of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC).

Over the past three years, teachers’ professional learning has focused on teacher inquiry, the NZC key competencies and effective literacy teaching strategies. The emphasis on teachers inquiring more deeply into their own practice is being introduced in a considered, staged manner to develop teachers’ understanding of the processes involved in inquiry approaches and their implications for teaching practice. Senior leaders know that continued emphasis on this initiative is needed to achieve whole-staff understanding and implementation. Students’ feedback on classroom programmes and teaching practice is now being collated as part of the school’s revised teacher appraisal system. This should enable teachers to be more responsive to students’ interests and learning needs.

Specific programmes are in place to support students who are underachieving, as well as those who require further challenges and extension. Language skills classes in Years 9 and 10 build sound foundations for future learning across the curriculum. Students receive good information about potential directions for their learning and future careers. Alternative pathways in Years 11 to 13 include Employment Skills and GATEWAY programmes to help prepare students for future vocationally-based learning and employment. The structure and variety of curriculum programmes results in high levels of student engagement in learning.

In classrooms, students are on task, participate and contribute to lessons. There are good examples of students being challenged in their thinking. Senior leaders and teachers could now consider ways to further increase students’ understanding of, and responsibility for, their own learning.

Students appreciate the variety of sporting, cultural, pastoral and academic learning experiences. They achieve success at local and national events. Senior students have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Senior leaders agree that these opportunities could now be extended to include students at Years 9 and 10. They envisage the planned ‘house system’ as a possibility to achieve this.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Senior leaders and the board use an inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote ongoing improvement in student outcomes. The strategic direction of the school is flexible and responsive to student needs. The principal’s reports to the board give trustees useful information for decision making. Trustees are increasingly reflective about their effectiveness as a board and about the ways in which their work supports students in their learning. Prudent financial management, and student achievement targets that are linked to the principal’s and teachers’ performance appraisals, help to achieve the school’s strategic goals.

The board is building productive educational partnerships with the parent community. Hui and fono promote community involvement with Māori and Pacific families, and help school leaders to understand the goals and aspirations parents/whānau have for their children. The board and senior leaders acknowledge the importance of continuing their efforts to increase attendance at these meetings.

Senior leaders and teachers discuss and monitor curriculum developments, the quality of teaching practice and pastoral services to help ensure that student needs remain central to decision making. The school’s positive tone, inclusive culture and supportive relationships provide a strong foundation for sustaining student learning.

Provision for international students

Edgewater College 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. At the time of this review there were 27 international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

International students contribute to the school’s multicultural environment, where inclusive practices are evident in all programmes and practices. Students are assessed well to ascertain their English language learning needs on arrival at the school so that appropriate ESOL learning support can be provided. Careful selection of courses helps ensure that learning pathways for international students remain flexible to enable them to gain access to tertiary institutions both in NZ and their home country.

International students participate well in cultural, sporting, and academic activities. Their pastoral care, academic and social needs are catered for through well coordinated systems and procedures. Self review and high quality monitoring by the director of international students contribute to ongoing improvement to programmes and provisions for the students. The next step is to collate and analyse international student achievement information to provide the board with a clear overview of their overall progress and achievement.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

14 December 2011

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

79

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

887

Number of international students

27

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

Chinese

Cook Island Māori

Fijian

Filipino

Middle Eastern

Niuean

African

Cambodian

Japanese

Sri Lankan

Other Asian

Other

16%

17%

16%

10%

7%

6%

5%

4%

4%

3%

3%

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

3%

Special Features

Host school for two Sommerville Special School satellite classes

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

14 December 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

August 2008

December 2005

August 2004