Heretaunga College - 29/05/2014

1 Background and Context

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

Heretaunga College is a co-educational secondary school in Wallaceville, Upper Hutt. At the time of ERO’s 2012 review, major redevelopment of the school’s buildings and facilities was underway, and this project is now completed. Since 2012, the roll has grown by 9%, and the proportion of students who identify as Māori has increased from 18% to 20%.

In 2012, ERO reported that students’ performance in National Certificates of Achievement (NCEAs) was lower than that in comparable schools. The review found that the analysis and use of achievement information needed strengthening to promote improved results through more targeted teaching. ERO also highlighted the need for leaders and trustees to develop a formal self-review framework and processes for robust evaluation of programmes and initiatives.

ERO determined that the school needed support to improve in these areas, and a review to be carried out over a period of 1-to-2 years was initiated. This has involved regular meetings, professional learning and development and a collaborative approach to addressing the key development areas.

During the course of the two year review process there were several changes of school personnel. These have included replacing two senior managers with a new and expanded leadership team and the election of a new board of trustees.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities for review and development addressed during the two year process were to:

  • strengthen the quality and depth of data analysis and use by departments and teachers
  • use analysed data to inform differentiated teaching, increase student engagement and inquire into the effectiveness of strategies used
  • support curriculum leaders to develop explicit action plans that reflect and respond to specific achievement trends and patterns
  • formalise evidence-based self review to evaluate the impact of interventions, initiatives and programmes designed to promote student learning - engagement, achievement and progress
  • implement and evaluate strategies to increase Māori students' engagement, achievement and success as Māori
  • strengthen and embed cultural responsiveness schoolwide
  • continue to increase parent and whānau engagement and involvement as partners in learning
  • build trustees’ understanding of and capability in governance.

Progress

The principal’s professional leadership has been effective in strengthening shared understandings about working with information about learners, to increase engagement and raise achievement.

An appropriate teacher professional learning and development programme was accessed and implemented by an external provider. This involved upskilling heads of department in the robust analysis and use of student achievement data to inform teaching and improve outcomes for learners.

Expectations of curriculum leaders and teachers are clearly articulated, with a set of guidelines being trialled and reviewed. As a result of these positive changes, the focus of teaching practice is shifting from subject content to meeting the needs and strengths of learners.

Senior leaders recognise that the quality of data analysis and use is still variable, and that ongoing monitoring and support is needed to ensure continued improvement and consistency across the learning areas.

Analysis of students’ performance in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs), has led to a useful and wide-reaching review of courses offered in the senior school. Curriculum leaders are exploring further options to transform curriculum implementation and cater for a broader range of vocational pathways.

The expected outcome of these investigations is increased retention, success and qualification levels for senior students. While results at NCEA are improving, achievement is still below comparison with other schools' nationally.

To increase Māori students’ engagement, achievement and success, leaders are seeking and responding to the views of Māori learners and their whānau. Consequently, te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are increasingly evident in the school.

Effective leadership is provided by a teacher who has a positive relationship and good rapport with Māori students, parents and whānau. Her ideas and initiatives are valued and nurtured by senior leaders. Although strategies to increase cultural responsiveness schoolwide are not yet reflected in NCEA results, a sound foundation for ongoing improvement is now evident.

Senior leaders and trustees continue to use a variety of approaches to bring parents into the school and increase their engagement in students’ learning. Stronger community links are a strategic development priority.

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

Leaders and trustees have good information about learners to inform decision-making. They are using this knowledge to review and evaluate the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives. Consequently, they have a clear view of students’ learning and wellbeing and what aspects need further development and review.

The strategic direction of the school is explicit and improvement-focused. Systems and operations are well aligned.

The senior leadership team demonstrates commitment to an ongoing schoolwide focus on evidence-based decision-making and planning.

The board should continue to build its understanding and capability in self review, to ensure that resources are directed where the need is greatest and where they will have the most impact on progressing school goals.

Additional factors which have a substantial influence on the sustainability of school operations are the positive school climate and embedded student leadership. The school culture is underpinned by well-understood values and high expectations. Student leaders play a significant part in reinforcing these. They are effective role models and agents of change.

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)

About the School

Location

Upper Hutt, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

251

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

762

Number of international students

39

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

67%
20%
  6%
  5%
  2%

Special Features

Attached Teen Parent Unit

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

29 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
December 2008
September 2005