Huntly College - 22/05/2018

Findings

Student wellbeing and the overall levels of low achievement are matters requiring urgent attention. In order to achieve equity and excellence for all students the board of trustees and school leaders must address the priority areas for improvement in this report. Community engagement is crucial for bringing about these improvements. The board and staff should continue to work collaboratively with community groups and iwi to build an environment for learning and teaching that is relevant, engaging, and enables student to experience success.

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?

Huntly College provides education for students in Years 9 to 13. The school is located in the North Waikato town of Huntly and has a roll of 282 students. A significant majority of students are of Māori descent.

In 2012 ERO identified significant concerns in the school. The school was then placed on the longitudinal review process. ERO has monitored the school’s progress since that time. In 2014 significant concerns remained, particularly in relation to curriculum design, assessment, and the use of achievement information. Leadership and governance were also identified as areas needing to be improved. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed by Ministry of Education (MoE) in September 2015 to assist the board of trustees in matters of employment, communication, health and safety, and curriculum and assessment.

Patterns of low achievement remain for a significant majority of students at all year levels.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • leadership, including appraisal and management systems
  • governance, including self review.

Significant personnel changes occurred in 2017:

  • two deputy principals were appointed end of Term 1
  • the principal resigned end of Term 3
  • a new LSM was appointed end of Term 3.

Following the on-site stage of the 2017 ERO review, a new principal was appointed. This appointment includes the Principal Recruitment Allowance (PRA).

Progress (since 2014)

The school’s response to areas for review and development has been inconsistent and slow. School leaders have not worked effectively with staff and the board to bring about the necessary changes to improve the quality of appraisal, the use of assessment information, and self review.

However, work began in curriculum design and development in Term 2 2017. Currently the two deputy principals, with support from an external facilitator, are working collaboratively with teachers. They are leading a deliberate and inclusive process, with the view to developing an integrated curriculum that is personalised and responsive. Some initial consultation with parents, whānau and students has occurred, and these voices are influencing planning for Term 1 2018.

Some staff have benefitted from professional development in restorative practices as a reciprocal behaviour management strategy.

Key next steps

Leadership for learning requires urgent development. Priority must now be placed on:

Managing and using achievement information

Leaders need to collate and analyse school-wide achievement information, particularly at Years 9 and 10. This should enable leaders and teachers to monitor and track rates of progress for groups of learners, such as Māori, boys, girls, and year level cohorts. Consistent data analysis and reporting is necessary to inform decision making at all levels (governance, leadership, departmental and classroom). Improved use of achievement information will lead to improved internal evaluation systems.

Curriculum design and development

Leaders must adopt a strategic approach to curriculum development. There needs to be a focus on:

  • expectations about teacher planning and assessment
  • agreed best practice for learning and teaching, particularly in reading, writing, and mathematics
  • strategies to engage all students as active participants in their learning
  • differentiated teaching in response to the identified learning needs, abilities, and interests of individual students.

Professional learning and development

A planned approach is required to build the capability of teachers to teach effectively in this school context. Professional learning and development for teachers needs to be:

  • relevant and ongoing
  • informed by achievement trends and patterns (low levels of literacy at Years 9 and 10)
  • aligned with the school’s annual plan, particularly achievement targets for at-risk learners.

There needs to be a particular focus on:

  • the use of assessment information to plan specifically to meet the identified learning needs of students, particularly in reading, writing, and mathematics
  • culturally responsive teaching practices.

Performance management

In its review of performance management systems and practices, school leaders must place priority on clearly documenting:

  • roles and expectations for appraisers and appraisees
  • the process and timelines.

This process must align with the school’s professional learning and development, annual plan and teacher inquiries in relation to the Education Council requirements.

Pastoral care and student wellbeing

Pastoral care systems and practices need to be better resourced and consistently implemented. Currently, access to counselling services is limited. Priority now needs to be placed on ensuring better access for students to specialist services to support their health and wellbeing, in a timely manner.

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 well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Immediate challenges are:

  • the recruitment of suitable staffing in the school’s context is an ongoing challenge for the board of trustees
  • building and fostering connections between the school and its wider community, including local iwi.

Priority must now be placed on:

  • developing and maintaining a safe physical and emotional environment for students and staff
  • the provision of a relevant and inclusive curriculum for Years 9 to 13 students that enables them to experience success
  • raising achievement, particularly for Māori and others whose learning needs acceleration
  • the provision of effective professional leadership of learning and teaching to build teacher capability
  • the consistent implementation of a performance management system that is both improvement and accountability focused leading to consistently high levels of teacher performance.

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 of non-compliance

The board of trustees must:

  1. ensure that performance management systems meets legislative requirements and are consistently implemented
    [Section 77c, State Sector Act 1988]
  2. implement the appraisal process for teachers and leaders to include sufficient evidence in relation to the standards for the teaching profession in order to meet New Zealand Education Council requirements
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989 ]
  3. improve the range of assessment practices at Years 9 and 10 to be sufficiently comprehensive to enable the progress and achievement of students to be evaluated, and develop and implement appropriate teaching and learning strategies to address the needs of all students
    [NAG 1 (3 & 4)]
  4. ensure that current practice for students in Years 9 and 10 to achieve success meets the requirements and base teaching and learning programmes on the New Zealand Curriculum.
    [NAG 1 (1)]

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review practices in relation to health, safety and welfare of students and staff to better manage and protect their wellbeing.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider continuing the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the following improvements in employment, communications, health and safety, curriculum management and student achievement.

Conclusion

Student wellbeing and the overall levels of low achievement are matters requiring urgent attention. In order to achieve equity and excellence for all students the board of trustees and school leaders must address the priority areas for improvement in this report. Community engagement is crucial for bringing about these improvements. The board and staff should continue to work collaboratively with community groups and iwi to build an environment for learning and teaching that is relevant, engaging, and enables student to experience success.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

22 May 2018

About the School

Location

Huntly, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

119

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

282

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Cook Island Māori
Fijian
Pacific
Indian
Other

71%
20%
2%
2%
2%
1%
2%

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

22 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
August 2012
June 2009