Hamilton Junior High School - 28/11/2018

Findings

Hamilton Junior High School has made some progress since the 2016 ERO report. There is an improved focus on accelerating student progress. The language, culture and identity of Māori learners are now strongly affirmed and celebrated. Despite these improvements significant ongoing support is needed to raise overall levels of student achievement and to strengthen leadership for learning and governance.

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?

Hamilton Junior High School (HJHS) is located in the suburb of St Andrews. The school provides education for 103 students in Years 7 to 10, including 74 of Māori descent. The school is comprised of four learning hubs. A dedicated technology and arts suite provides specialist teaching in science, technology and visual arts for HJHS students and Year 7 and 8 students from surrounding schools.

Since the 2016 ERO evaluation there have been significant changes to the personnel and make up of the board of trustees, leadership and teaching team. During 2017, the principal resigned and since then there have been multiple principal and deputy principal changes. During the onsite stage of this review a new principal had been appointed. Ongoing changes to personnel have made it difficult to sustain improvement and progress during the last two years.

In response to the areas for review and development in the previous ERO report, the school has sought a range of external advice and guidance to raise student achievement. The school has worked extensively with Ministry of Education (MoE) facilitated student achievement team to build teacher capability and develop professional leadership capacity across the school.

Teachers have engaged in externally facilitated professional learning about mathematics, literacy and inquiry. The school is now Tier 2 Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) with an emphasis on supporting students’ readiness for learning.

Learning for life - growing success for all learners, is the guiding whakatauki for the school and through this focus they aim to develop students to be powerful thinkers, contributors, communicators, self-managers and explorers.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The areas identified in the 2016 ERO evaluation for improvement were in relation to raising student achievement though the development of a collaborative culture for learning, effective teaching and the implementation of a responsive curriculum.

Progress

A collaborative culture for learning

Positive progress has been made in establishing a collaborative learning culture. The authentic integration of te reo and tikanga Māori has had a strong impact on students’ readiness and respect for learning. The language, culture and identity of individual Māori students is highly valued and affirmed. Teachers and learners role model and support each other to understand and be active contributors in a positive and inclusive school culture. Students display a growing sense of pride, security and understanding of te ao Māori.

The strong tuakana teina approach is empowering students to work alongside each other to build confidence and knowledge in their learning. Continued school-wide development of PB4L is supporting clear expectations for appropriate learning behaviours.

Significant improvements are evident in the learning environment that supports students’ sense of belonging and engagement. Nurturing relationships between teachers and students enhance learners’ motivation and participation in programmes for learning.

Effective teaching

Significant improvements to teacher practice is evident. Teachers and leaders now have higher expectation for student engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers are making better use of achievement data to target and monitor individual student progress, especially for those achieving below expected levels.

School-wide systems and processes have improved to better support teachers to track acceleration for groups of learners. There are some examples of responsive planning for acceleration, especially in literacy and mathematics. Many students are aware of and able to discuss their levels of learning in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum in reading, writing and mathematics.

In order to further accelerate student progress and achievement, key next steps are:

  • continuing to work with external expertise to strengthen the quality of teaching practice
  • establish and embed expectations for effective teaching practice across the school.
Responsive curriculum

Some progress has been made in the development of a responsive curriculum. Learning programmes integrate local areas of significance to Māori and include a focus on Kingitanga. This knowledge is used to extend learning opportunities.

An area for improvement is the further development of the Hamilton Junior High School Curriculum. This is a priority for school development and needs to include:

  • robust consultation with school stakeholders to gather whānau aspirations
  • implementing the Learning Progressions Framework (LPF) especially in literacy and mathematics to better facilitate student progress across The New Zealand Curriculum
  • building teacher and leaders’ capability in the effective use and analysis of achievement information.

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 yet well placed to sustain and continue to review and improve its performance.

Key next steps

Raising student achievement and strengthening governance and leadership remain urgent priorities. For ongoing improvement the school needs to:

  • embed effective teacher practice
  • review and fully develop the HJHS local curriculum
  • build capability and capacity of leadership for learning
  • access training for trustees to build understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities
  • develop shared understandings and ownership of the newly purchased policy and procedural framework
  • improve understanding of internal evaluation for improvement, innovation and knowledge building.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure school-wide practices align with the school’s new policies and procedures.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 78L of the Education Act 1989 for the school to prepare and carry out an action plan to raise overall levels of student achievement.

ERO also recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to:

  • strengthen trustees knowledge and understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities for effective stewardship.

ERO recommends that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, as Administrator of the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, follows up with the school its implementation of the Code.

Conclusion

Hamilton Junior High School has made some progress since the 2016 ERO report. There is an improved focus on accelerating student progress. The language, culture and identity of Māori learners are now strongly affirmed and celebrated. Despite these improvements significant ongoing support is needed to raise overall levels of student achievement and to strengthen leadership for learning and governance.

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

28 November 2018

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1942

School type

Restricted Composite (Years 7 to 10)

School roll

103

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other Asian
Other

72%
16%
4%
8%

Special Features

Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Technology Centre

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

28 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review 

April 2016
January 2013