Huntly College - 24/12/2014

Findings

Huntly College aims to meet the wellbeing and learning needs of all students. Initiatives to promote engagement and retention include a services academy, trades academy, extension classes and outdoor education opportunities. Further academies are planned for 2015. ERO will continue to monitor progress and successes for embedding school improvement.

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 is situated in the north Waikato town of Huntly and caters for students in Years 9 to 13. Of the 322 students enrolled in the school, 70% identify as Māori. Māori parents are always welcome and many attended a recent kapa haka competition at the college. Students have also participated in Koroneihana celebrations. The school’s waka ama team are national champions. They have recently won silver medals at the world championship in Brazil.

ERO’s Education Review report 2012 identified that many students were making good progress and some were achieving high levels of academic and vocational success. However, a significant number of students, particularly Māori, were leaving school without formal qualifications. Retention and participation of senior students were continuing challenges. ERO has continued to monitor progress and recommend further support for the school to address these issues over the past two years.

Trustees, senior leaders and staff have demonstrated high levels of dedication in addressing the well being and learning needs of students. They have introduced new programmes and initiatives to increase engagement, participation and retention. A popular trades academy has been added to the already successful services academy. Primary industries and performing arts academies will be introduced in 2015. In addition, students in Years 9 and 10 continue to be placed in extension and outdoor education classes according to their interests and achievement levels. The college has strong community support for these initiatives.

Following ERO's interim progress meeting in 2013, the principal has received very effective support from an external education adviser to assist in the systematic planning and implementation of improvements to management systems. The board has also received targeted and useful training to assist in strengthening shared understandings about governance roles and responsibilities.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • Curriculum design and implementation
  • Use of achievement and assessment information.

Progress

Curriculum Many examples of high-quality teaching have been observed by ERO. Teachers effectively develop and implement learning programmes that respond to the interests of college students. In all faculties there is evidence of meaningful learning contexts and practical hands-on activities wherever possible.

Senior students have access to a range of academic and vocational pathways. This year, an integrated study topic based on Te Awa incorporated English, social studies, science and mathematics learning at year 9. Faculty guidelines for teaching and learning have been recently reviewed and revised to reflect current practices and expectations. The college’s curriculum now more clearly reflects the expectations of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Assessment Professional development has resulted in the wider awareness and use of formative assessment strategies to better support student’s learning. This has encouraged teachers to increase literacy learning across the curriculum. They have also worked collaboratively with students to develop a school-wide positive behaviour for learning strategy, which is in the early stages of implementation. Teachers are now engaging in training to increase their use of computers as tools for teaching and management. The Ministry of Education has provided a student achievement function practitioner to support the college in developing assessment practices.

Nationally referenced assessments are used to identify students’ learning needs, so that these can be addressed across the curriculum. Information about reading, writing and mathematics achievement in Years 9 and 10 has been collated and reported to the board. The achievement of senior students is actively monitored through the year to ensure the best possible outcomes for students in achieving National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and other qualifications. Senior students’ results are used to modify programmes and reflect on teaching practices.

Further progress

ERO finds that there is a need to ensure that:

  • Māori perspectives and local contexts are continually integrated into the curriculum.
  • Students who are at-risk of underachieving in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 9 and 10 are targeted and that their progress is accelerated and monitored each term. Overall interim and end-of-year progress for these students should be reported to the board.
  • All students are provided with strategies to use assessment information to manage their personal learning and progress.
  • Accelerating progress for targeted underachieving students becomes an important component for teachers’ planning of learning programmes.

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

  • Leadership, including appraisal and management systems
  • Governance, including self review.

The school is becoming well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

Progress

Leadership Responsive pastoral care is a strong priority for senior leaders and staff. New school-wide guidelines have now been developed to provide a framework to ensure that concerns about student and whānau well being can be more effectively addressed and monitored over time. There is a strong emphasis on restorative practices and ensuring that students remain engaged at school. Non-attendance is continually followed up.

The principal acknowledges the positive support he has received from an external advisor.

He has introduced new guidelines for departmental review and aspects of the appraisal process continue to be revised. The latter includes professional self reflection and observations of teaching practice. The senior leadership team has received constructive feedback from an external appraiser.

Heads of faculty demonstrate high-quality teaching and provide effective leadership for curriculum implementation. They maintain individual student profiles to monitor achievement and progress through the school. They meet regularly to discuss school-wide issues. A literacy leader has been appointed and she is providing effective leadership for literacy learning across the curriculum.

Governance Board members are committed to supporting school leaders, staff and students. They acknowledge that training from an external facilitator has strengthened their understandings about governance and their effectiveness as governors of the college. A sub-committee of the board is meeting regularly to update the college’s policy framework. The board receives regular updates about student achievement, and provides funds for initiatives and activities that respond to students’ needs.

Further progress

ERO also identifies the need for:

  • further collaboration between senior and middle management in direction setting and reviewing the success of school-wide initiatives
  • compulsory professional development about accelerating progress for at-risk students in literacy across the curriculum
  • appraisals to be linked to teaching as inquiry about progress for underachieving students, and to cultural competencies
  • school-wide training in effective staff appraisal.

The board has identified, and ERO agrees, that the board should engage an external consultant to assist in consultative charter review and strategic planning, and to continue to consolidate learning from board training. Strategic goals and targets should include high expectations for attendance, progress and achievement.

ERO identifies that associated areas for further progress are to:

  • continue to consult with Māori students and whānau. This should include a strategic goal to increase parent and student partnerships for learning at all year levels and include their aspirations for success
  • use Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013-2017 as a contributing resource to charter and strategic planning goals
  • engage support from an external education advisor to assist the principal to unpack and prioritise the appraisal recommendations and develop an associated action plan. The board should have a role in monitoring this action plan.

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.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continues to provide:

  • assistance and support for the principal in addressing areas for development identified in this report
  • ongoing support and training for the board
  • continued staff professional development to address very low achievement in literacy for significant groups of students.

ERO identifies the need for trustees, senior leaders and heads of faculty to work together to ensure that areas for further progress identified in this ERO review are incorporated into the college’s 2015 strategic and annual plans. These plans should be sent to ERO when completed for ongoing monitoring, review and support.

Conclusion

Huntly College aims to meet the wellbeing and learning needs of all students. Initiatives to promote engagement and retention include a services academy, trades academy, extension classes and outdoor education opportunities. Further academies are planned for 2015. ERO will continue to monitor progress and successes for embedding school improvement.

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 December 2014

About the School

Location

Huntly

Ministry of Education profile number

119

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

324

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other

67%

26%

7%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

24 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

August 2012

June 2009

February 2006