Hastings Girls' High School - 02/11/2017

Summary

Hastings Girls’ High School caters for girls in Years 9 to 13. It has 767 girls on the roll, with 41% Māori. Pacific students comprise 16%, Pākehā 33% and other ethnicities make up 10% of enrolments.

The school is welcoming and inclusive. The motto of ‘Akina’ promotes girls advancing in all aspects of learning and life. Shared values to be respectful, strive to succeed, show resilience and be honest’, have been developed through the Ministry of Education’s, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative.

The principal joined the school at the beginning of Term 2, 2017. The school has made improvements to several buildings since the September 2014 ERO report. Steps have been taken to increase connectivity to high speed internet to provide a digital platform for students’ learning.

The school is a member of the Hastings West Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Progress has been made towards addressing the areas for development outlined in the 2014 ERO report. Most of these continue to be priorities for improvement.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Overall results show that many students experience success in National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA). However, the school is yet to successfully achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

In 2016, achievement was above the national figures overall. Nearly all students gain Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements. Most girls leave the school having gained at least NCEA Level 2. However, there is a gap between the overall achievement of Māori students and their New Zealand European (NZE) peers in all Levels of NCEA. This disparity is greater at Level 3 and for University Entrance (UE). Pacific students’ overall achievement is lower than both Māori and NZE at all levels, with a significant gap at NCEA Level 3 and UE.

Students needing improved achievement are identified and become a school priority. Reported information shows increased progress for some students. The proportion of Māori and Pacific students experiencing accelerated progress is less than their peers. Leaders recognise that achievement for Māori and Pacific girls needs improvement, particularly increasing the numbers leaving the school with NCEA Level 3 and UE.

In response to an external evaluation, the new principal and trustees recently revised the strategic direction of the school. Newly developed plans suitably prioritise the improvement of relationships, student mentoring, curriculum and increasing outcomes in literacy and numeracy. The school will discuss progress against its change action plan with ERO.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Improving the effectiveness of the school’s response to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration is a focus for the new leadership team. Leaders are currently developing and introducing a range of different strategies and actions to address this disparity.

A range of data and pastoral information is gathered at the time of students’ transition into the school. Reported data shows that around half of students beginning Year 9 are achieving below expectations in literacy and mathematics and require accelerated progress to meet curriculum expectations. Māori and Pacific students are overrepresented in this group. Some students entering the school have English as a second language learning needs. Data is used to group students, particularly those at risk of underachievement.

Teachers are using a range of assessments to measure students’ achievement and progress. Analysed data identifies a pattern of underachievement and limited progress through Years 9 and 10 in literacy and mathematics. Only a small proportion of students who require acceleration experience increased progress. Māori and Pacific students, in particular, are not making sufficient gains to put them on a positive trajectory towards success in the NCEAs.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School leaders are strengthening processes to better support students to achieve success and provide meaningful pathways through and beyond the school.

Good communication with contributing schools provides useful achievement data and range of pastoral information to group students for teaching and learning. Future involvement in the Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning has the potential to strengthen transition.

Curriculum leaders have extended the range of courses available to cater for the increasingly diverse needs of students. More subjects have been added and teachers are developing areas that respond more effectively to students’ cultural needs. Students are involved in a range of co-curricular academic, cultural and sporting groups.

Groups of teachers are becoming more collaborative and collegial in meeting the challenge of raising achievement. An increased range of information has been more usefully analysed by some teachers and programmes modified. These teachers focus on developing an individualised approach to teaching and learning. These practices need to be extended for all teachers. Integrating contexts for learning that better reflect the culture and history of the local area is supporting improved engagement.

A collaborative response and wraparound support system effectively promotes the priority on student wellbeing. Pastoral deans are successfully identifying, tracking and monitoring students who are at risk. Suitable individual support is put in place and students are setting goals for success. Adapted programmes are promoting increased engagement. Students are involved in leadership and mentoring aligned to the school priorities for promoting wellbeing and a sense of community.

The school caters well for students identified with high or complex needs. A range of individualised plans and strategies are developed and regular meetings monitor and review the effectiveness of support. External agencies are used appropriately when required.

Increasingly reflective teachers and leaders are beginning to value and use student voice to consider how to improve teaching practices.

The principal promotes a collaborative and distributed approach to leadership across the school. Leaders successfully establish an orderly and supportive teaching and learning environment.

Trustees bring a range of capabilities to their stewardship roles. They are increasingly well informed and focus on promoting the school’s vision and values. Continuing to strengthen their understanding of their roles and responsibilities will assist them in this aim.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Recently introduced changes to school practices and processes should improve achievement of equity and excellence.

The school is planning a comprehensive review of the curriculum through consultation with students, parents and the community in order to better align to the strategic aim of developing successful lifelong learners. The review should consider how well the curriculum promotes:

  • improved achievement and progress for priority learners
  • a shared understanding of effective teaching
  • meaningful and relevant pathways through and beyond school.

School leaders acknowledge the need to continue to review the choice and purpose of assessment tools to provide a clearer picture of students’ achievement and progress, particularly for priority learners in literacy and numeracy. Improving how well achievement information is used to plan actions that respond to learning needs, particularly in Years 9 and 10, should assist in improving outcomes for students as they move through the school.

Good relationships between teachers and families are evident. Strengthening these to develop partnerships that promote learning is an ongoing focus. There is an increased focus on developing students’ sense of belonging to the school. Supporting teachers to develop their capability as mentors and promote high expectations for achievement and success are identified next steps.

The school identified that the previous performance management system lacked rigour and consistency. A new appraisal framework and process was implemented during 2017. Further development and full implementation is required to support the school’s aim to strengthen teacher effectiveness.

Leaders have identified the need to develop a shared understanding of evidence-based evaluation across the school. Determining the impact of planned actions on improving achievement and progress to decide what is making the biggest difference to improving equity and excellence, is a next step.

Strategic aims clearly emphasise raising achievement across the school. Refocusing targets to be more explicit for those learners who need acceleration, particularly in Years 9 and 10, is needed.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The 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. The school has attested that it complies with and meets all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 11 international students, drawn from across Asia and Europe.

Processes for orientation to the school are well considered. Systems for identifying and responding to individual needs and interests are effective. Care is taken to provide suitable, relevant courses that reflect the interests, needs and aspirations of students and their families. Students who set goals for academic achievement experience success at NCEAs that supports transition to higher education.

International students’ welfare needs are well supported and they benefit from the inclusive environment. They participate in a range of cultural and sporting activities at the school and in the wider community. Students have opportunities to share their cultures with other students.

Strengthening the self-review process will support the school to continue to make positive changes that further benefit international students.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Hastings Girls’ High School is reviewing and developing the conditions needed to promote improved learning, engagement and progress for all students. Disparity in achievement for Māori and other students remains.

The key development priorities for the school are to:

  • review the curriculum to strengthen meaningful pathways

  • improve the rate of progress in literacy and numeracy, particularly in years 9 and 10

  • address the disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific

  • strengthen evidence-based evaluation for improvement at all levels.

The school has developed a Change Action Plan to respond to the areas. The school should discuss its progress with ERO.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

2 November 2017

About the school

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

228

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

767

Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 41%
Pākehā 33%
Pacific 16%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

2 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review August 2011
Education Review September 2008