Garin College - 20/02/2014

1 Background and Context

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

Garin College is a state integrated Catholic secondary school in Richmond, Nelson. It caters for 462 students in Years 9 to 13 with 10% identifying as Māori. There are 19 international students. The school hostel accommodates about 40 boarders. The school hostel is owned and governed by a board of proprietors.

Most of the school’s trustees are newly elected this year and several bring with them previous school governance experience. The September 2011 ERO report identified improvement was needed in aspects of curriculum, leadership, governance and self review. ERO has worked with school leaders and trustees to foster improvement through reviewing and developing governance and leadership practices, particularly strategic planning and self-review processes.

In 2011 ERO reported that students achieve well in the National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEAs). This continues to be so and 2012 school leaver information shows that virtually all students had at least NCEA Level 2 when they left school.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

In 2011, senior leaders, trustees and ERO agreed that the next stages of school development should focus on:

  • strategic planning
  • leadership structure
  • self review
  • analysis and use of school achievement information.

During the course of this two year review the following areas have emerged as significant for school development and ERO’s evaluation:

  • review of pastoral care processes
  • clarity of roles, responsibilities and communication processes within the shared leadership structure
  • extending student ownership of learning
  • developing a culturally responsive curriculum
  • a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) project.

This report considers progress over the past two years.

Progress

Strategic Planning

The previous ERO report found that strategic planning, including the setting of annual targets, needed development. The previous board worked with the staff, the school community, ERO and the Ministry of Education to develop strategic and annual planning for 2012 and 2013. These documents clearly identify annual priorities and targets and are supported by useful action plans. The principal regularly reports to the board against the goals and targets of the annual plan. Teachers responsible for strategic goals provide informative progress reports to the board at midyear. The strategic plan is now embedded in governance and leadership practices. It is beginning to provide a framework for review and evaluation.

ERO, leaders and trustees agree that strategic planning should now be further strengthened by ensuring that annual targets focus on lifting outcomes for specific groups of students. This should help to monitor progress and evaluate how well these targets are met and inform future decisionmaking.

Leadership

A review of the school leadership structure was carried out in 2012. School leaders subsequently identified that this was not a robust review. It did not lead to clarity of roles and responsibilities or communication within the existing management structure. ERO, leaders and trustees agree that this remains an area for review and development. A leadership review, led by an external provider, is planned for the near future. Clear roles for leaders and teachers, and effective communication processes throughout the school remain priority areas for attention.

An appropriate system is now in place to ensure the completion and renewal of police vetting for non-registered staff.

Self review

Self-review practice is developing well. Leaders have designed and shared frameworks for evaluating a range of school practices, systems and structures. Teachers are currently trialling these models. Student feedback is a key feature of these reviews. Continuing to build on these evaluative processes is likely to support ongoing improvements for students.

A team of teachers and leaders has facilitated a school-wide self review to evaluate how well pastoral care systems support students’ emotional wellbeing. A range of perspectives has been sought. Once the data has been collated and analysed it is important that appropriate action plans are put in place to address the key findings. Trustees should be fully informed of evaluative findings and planned responses.

The self-review processes in place for the international student department effectively contribute to the provision of academic and pastoral support for international students. Extending these processes to incorporate review against the department’s strategic plan would provide the board with additional assurance that the long-term goals of the department are being met.

ERO’s 2011 evaluation identified further development was needed in the use of student achievement information.

Class profiles and collaborative action plans have been developed for Years 9 and 10 students. This initiative, supported by the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour provides teachers with a method to collaboratively inquire into student engagement and learning in each junior class. This comprehensive group inquiry approach assists teachers to share student knowledge, ideas, and strategies and is likely to lead to improved outcomes for students.

Teachers and leaders have been revising their system for gathering and collating Years 9 and 10 curriculum level data. ERO affirms this direction as it is important that leaders and trustees receive clear and well-analysed information about junior achievement, particularly in English and mathematics.

The school implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme in 2013 starting with the Year 9 students. This initiative is well planned. Ongoing review has included feedback from students, staff and parents. Staff report that increased use of e-learning within the curriculum has improved students’ self-management and engagement. Other recently introduced electronic resources assist senior students to monitor and manage their NCEA courses, support career education and course selection decisions.

Curriculum

There has not been a cohesive, school-wide professional development focus on teaching strategies that reflect The New Zealand Curriculum principle of learning to learn. This is an area for further development so that students are supported to have increased ownership of their learning and clarity about their next learning steps.

The profile of Māori language and culture has increased since ERO’s previous review. A range of initiatives driven by a few key teachers is having a positive impact for Māori students. Leaders and trustees should explore how to strengthen a cohesive strategic focus on Māori success, which includes recognition of ways to promote success as Māori. Teachers have received some professional learning about effective teaching for Māori learners. However, ERO finds there is still more work to do to support teachers to make the whole school curriculum better reflect te ao Māori as well as the diverse cultures of all students.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

ERO’s previous review found that aspects of governance, leadership, strategic planning and self review required improvement in order for the school to be capable of sustaining and improving positive outcomes for students.

During the course of this review the school has demonstrated its capacity to improve and review its performance. Positive indicators for sustainability include:

  • improved strategic planning and self-review practice and understanding
  • a newly elected board of trustees with governance experience and commitment to ongoing improvement for students
  • improved systems for the use, collation and sharing of student achievement information.
  • ERO, trustees and leaders agree that the following are areas for further development:
  • annual planning and reporting that more clearly identifies, analyses and responds to student achievement
  • better reporting and evaluation of school-wide Years 9 and 10 achievement
  • improved internal communication systems and clarity of leaders’ and teachers’ roles and responsibilities
  • a school curriculum and learning environment which better reflects te ao Māori as well as the diverse cultures of Pacific and other students.
  • a cohesive and strategic approach to achieving success for Māori learners as Māori
  • teaching strategies which better support all students to take increased responsibility for their learning.

School leaders are committed to ongoing development and refinement of evaluative self-review practice.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

20 February 2014

About the School

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

6975

School type

Integrated Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

462

Number of international students

19

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

10%

85%

2%

3%

Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

20 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

December 2008

October 2005