Hillmorton High School - 14/11/2017

Summary

There were 730 students at Hillmorton High School at the time of this review. This included 132 Māori, 99 Pacific and 84 Asian learners. There were 39 learners with high and very high needs in the Upland Unit, and 10 students in a satellite van Asch class.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, there have been several leadership changes at the middle and senior levels. Significant progress has been made in some of the areas identified for improvement in the 2014 report, in particular improving attendance levels. Other areas are part of ongoing developments, including clearer planning and monitoring, and completing the Years 7 to 10 curriculum.

Hillmorton High School collaborates with a cluster of local schools.

Achievement is beginning to improve for some groups of learners. However, there continues to be disparity for some Māori learners, and overall there is lower achievement in mathematics.

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

This school is sharpening its focus on those Māori children and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. It has some effective processes that are supporting equity for its learners. The school has shown that it can plan very effectively to make a difference for children. Trustees and leaders need to ensure all key priorities are effectively planned for.

A key strength of the school is its inclusive caring culture. This is the fourth year of having Years 7 and 8 at the school. Leaders and teachers continue to establish a Years 7 to 10 curriculum that is integrated, collaborative and progressive, to provide engaging and authentic learning.

At the time of this review, the school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. However, disparity in achievement for some Māori and other learners remains.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to:

  • develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner
  • improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement
  • build teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO. 

ERO will:

  • provide feedback and resources to support the development of more targeted planning
  • provide an internal workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all learners.

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

Equity and excellence

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

This school is sharpening its focus on those Māori and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school’s achievement information for all learners in Years 7 and 8 over the last three years in relation to the National Standards shows:

  • that three-quarters of learners are reading at or above the standard
  • an increase in 2016 in the writing achievement to three-quarters of the learners achieving at or above
  • a decrease in mathematics achievement, with half of the children at or above the standard.

Years 7 and 8 teachers need to implement robust systems to assure the school and parent community of the consistency of practices and judgements in relation to the National Standards (NS).

The school has been collecting more information to monitor the progress and achievement of learners in Years 9 and 10 across learning areas. This information shows that in social sciences, English and science, approximately three-quarters of learners are achieving at the school’s expected levels. Just over half of these learners are achieving at this level in mathematics.

Achievement for senior learners (Years 11 to 13) over the last 5 years shows increased levels of achievement of NCEA Level 1, especially for Māori and Pacific learners. Overall learners’ achievement of NCEA Level 2 has also increased in the last 2 years, however this trend is not evident for Māori and Pacific achievement. Over two-thirds of school leavers achieve NCEA Level 2. Fewer learners, overall, are attaining NCEA Level 3. The school has considerably improved its systems for managing senior learner assessment.

The proportion of learners staying at school until the age of 17 increased in 2016, and significantly so for Māori learners. Over the last three years retention has been consistently high for Pacific learners. Most school leavers go on to further education, training or employment.

Learners receiving specialist teaching and services make good progress against their individual goals and go onto meaningful employment and future training. English language learners make good progress.

Trustees and school leaders are aware that reducing the significant disparity for Māori learners across the school is a key ongoing priority. 

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has some effective processes to support equity for its learners.

A key feature of the school is the way in which the rich diversity of the learners is respected and celebrated. All learners are well supported to belong to their school. There are strong pastoral care systems to nurture and support student wellbeing. The school’s values of whanaungatanga/positive relationships, mana/self-worth and ako/teaching and learning relationships are highly evident.

Improved and new systems for staff and student accountability have significantly improved student presence, engagement and orderliness at the school.

Some teachers are using a range of approaches to make learning more authentic and engaging to learners.  In Years 7 to 10 these teachers are purposefully linking learning across several subject areas to give meaningful learning contexts. These contexts often include activities out in the community.

Teachers, leaders and trustees are making better use of achievement information to inform their teaching and planning decisions for better outcomes for learners. These include:

  • specific adaptations to courses and programmes to better suit the needs and interests of individual and groups of learners
  • a school-wide focus on literacy.

There is effective communication and collaboration to ensure learners are well supported to have relevant learning pathways between:

  • staff responsible for pastoral care
  • careers and transition staff
  • teachers.

Useful relationships with the community are providing further education opportunities and meaningful transitions for learners beyond school.

Learners in the Upland unit are welcomed and able to take part in many aspects of school life. Effective school-wide systems and teaching practices support the inclusion of these learners and celebrate their successes.

There are many and varied opportunities for Māori and Pacific learners to explore, see and hear their cultures and languages as part of their learning and life at the school. For example, the school:

  • has established a strong kapahaka group for learners in Years 7 to 10 and the Upland unit
  • offers language classes in Māori and Samoan.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school has shown that it can plan very effectively to make a difference, for example by improving the rates of attendance at school. Trustees and leaders need to ensure all key priorities are effectively planned for.

Trustees and senior leaders need to develop more explicit and visible plans that clearly set out how priority developments will be progressed by trustees, leaders and all staff. They need to effectively monitor and evaluate the progress against the set priorities and respond appropriately.

School leaders and teachers need to extend the use of learning information to know about the sufficiency of progress for all learners, individually and collectively.

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

At the time of this review there were 21 international students attending the school, along with two exchange students.

An efficiently organised international student programme provides effective support for students’ wellbeing and learning. Their English language learning and progress is suitably supported and closely monitored. International students are well included and involved in a broad range of activities at school and in the local community.

Going forward

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

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. However, disparity in achievement for some Māori and other learners remains. 

Leaders and teachers need to continue to:

  • develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner
  • improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement
  • build teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

ERO will:

  • provide feedback and resources to support the development of more targeted planning
  • provide an internal workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all learners.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

14 November 2017

About the school 

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

339

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

730

Gender composition

Boys: 53%
Girls: 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 18%
Pākehā: 52%
Pacific: 14%
Asian: 12%
Other: 4%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

14 November 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review:    June 2014
Education Review:    August 2010
Education Review:    December 2007