John McGlashan College - 03/08/2015

Findings

This is a high performing school. Students and staff respond positively to the school’s high expectations for teaching and learning. There is a strong focus on what is best for boys to become well educated men of character. Students succeed very well in their learning and in culture and sport. Students needing extra help are effectively supported. School leaders place a high priority on continuous improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

John McGlashan College provides a positive environment for student life and learning. Its vision, values and traditions are evident in the respectful way students and staff relate across the school.

Teachers and school leaders have high expectations for students to succeed, academically and as responsible, ‘well-educated young men of character’. The college’s special Christian character is integral to boys’ learning.

Students are effectively supported to succeed in their learning and in their wider cultural and sporting interests. They seek to achieve to a high level and their successes are celebrated. A dual pathway for academic success is available for senior students to achieve well in either NCEA or the International Baccalaureate.

Since the last ERO review in 2012, a new principal and chairs of the two governing boards were appointed. They work collaboratively and have maintained the college’s strong focus for what is best for boys and their learning. This includes providing safe and modern environments for teaching and learning.

Teachers are well supported to extend their professional learning and teaching practice. A continuing emphasis is placed on using a range of technologies to promote student engagement, as a tool for teaching and to support students to take their share of responsibility for their learning.

A strong focus is placed on ongoing improvement. This is evident in the way that staff and school leaders monitor students’ achievement and evaluate the quality of their learning. Student opinions help to inform decisions about teaching and learning.

The college boarding house provides effective care for its diverse mix of boys, from both rural and town backgrounds, as well as a small number from other countries.

The school responded well to the recommendations for improvement in the 2012 ERO report.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school makes effective use of learning information to identify next steps to be taken by students, teachers and leaders to continually improve outcomes for students.

Students achieve very well both in NCEA and the alternative international university entrance examination, that some students in Years 12 and 13 choose to participate in. Students show high levels of achievement in Years 7 and 8 against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The small number of students not achieving as expected in writing are well supported to make extra progress.

Students:

  • set useful personal goals, strive to achieve well and value excellence
  • respond well to the good teaching practices that are tailored to their needs
  • learn cooperatively and collaboratively.
  • Teachers effectively use learning information to:
  • evaluate the efforts they make to accelerate students’ progress
  • know what worked and build their knowledge for improvement and future innovation
  • design relevant courses that provide students with a suitable level of challenge, and an appropriate pathway to success in the senior school.

Leaders effectively use learning information to:

  • set useful annual targets for improving achievement in discussion with trustees
  • know where teaching and learning are going well and where improvements need to be made
  • determine what support is needed to bring about the planned improvements for students.

Trustees:

  • receive reports about student achievement and the effectiveness of teaching programmes
  • receive principal reports through the year that help them know about progress the school is making towards achieving the annual achievement targets and curriculum goals.

The next step is to ensure the setting of achievement targets focuses clearly on the students at risk of not making sufficient progress. School leaders can then:

  • evaluate the efforts of teachers to accelerate the progress of these students
  • celebrate the positive impact of teaching on all students who make more than twelve months progress in a year.

3. Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes students’ learning. Learning programmes are responsive to students’ abilities, needs and interests. A consistent focus on what works best for boys guides teachers’ planning.

Strong support for the school’s vision and values is evident in the attitudes and actions of staff and students.

Teachers and senior leaders are using technology well in teaching and learning. Students are becoming more involved in and responsible for their learning. A next step for school leaders is to provide a better basis for more focused monitoring and evaluation of the impact technology has on students’ learning.

Students appreciate the wide range of opportunities they have to learn and to achieve at a level that supports, extends and challenges them. Their programmes of learning are meaningfully based on their interests. The range of senior courses leading purposefully to future employment are continually reviewed and extended. ERO agrees with the identified need to develop a school-wide vocational pathways programme that better supports all students to plan well for their future.

A community of learners, ‘ako’, is evident and modelled across the school. Teachers take time to tutor and mentor students. Boys also support and tutor other boys in their learning. This collaboration, ‘tuakana-teina’, contributes to the school’s positive culture.

Teachers provide comprehensive support for students. This includes pastoral care for all students and highly effective learning support for students at risk of not achieving. Students who have specific learning challenges are effectively supported to demonstrate what they know and can do to achieve NCEA certificates. Teachers work collaboratively with each other and with parents to help students focus on their learning.

Teachers find ways to make assessment accessible to students so they can show what they know and can do. These practices are well under way in Years 7 and 8. A next step is to make sure they happen more widely in Years 9 and 10.

School leaders and trustees have a strong focus on continuing to improve teaching and learning. They receive regular reports about how their expectations for quality are being met across the school. School leaders have identified the need to strengthen the approach to careers education so that a school-wide approach supports all students to follow well-considered vocational pathways.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school effectively supports Māori students to achieve highly in senior school qualifications and to learn about their cultural heritage.

Māori students speak highly of their teachers and school. Their learning, abilities, interests and needs are effectively supported.

The ways Māori language and culture are used and promoted across the school are currently under review. The school has experienced an increased number of Māori students entering the junior school, and an increased interest and competence among junior students in learning Māori language and culture.

A number of initiatives are being considered to help further meet the needs of Māori students. These include:

  • maintaining close liaison between school leaders, Māori parents, teachers and whānau
  • a leadership group, steering committee, and planning to help manage and monitor change
  • supporting teachers’ confidence and competence in using te reo Māori
  • the establishment of a cultural club, and attendance at cultural performing arts festivals
  • increased collaboration with tertiary providers and other schools.

ERO supports the board's intention to update its planning for Māori success. At the on-site stage of the review the principal was leading a process to record key decisions for action planning.

The next step is to build on the good work already underway by ensuring planning covers building Māori success across the school, particularly for students in the junior part of the school. This will provide an improved basis for effective implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Staff members benefit from a collaborative culture with a clear focus on what is best for boys and school improvement. Teachers inquire into their practice to improve outcomes for students.

Leadership in the school is strong. The principal and other professional leaders are well focused on continuous improvement in the ways they meet the learning needs of boys. School leaders make helpful evaluative responses to curriculum leaders about how well teachers have implemented strategies to bring about better outcomes for students.

Teachers are well supported by an appraisal system that evaluates their teaching and their efforts to be culturally responsive to the various backgrounds of the students.

The board of trustees and the board of proprietors work well together to promote the best outcomes for boys at the school. They have a well-considered strategic focus on improvement. The planned future direction of the school has been developed out of a good consultation and communication process. Trustees are focused on combining the best of the school’s traditions with current best teaching approaches as they plan for the future.

Trustees and leaders are developing collaborative relationships with other schools, locally and beyond, and with tertiary providers and other organisations, to strengthen what they provide for students.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement and the quality of the learning programmes. They focus on responding to information gathered to ensure the school is serving the needs of its community in a coherent and effective way.

The next step is to ensure all reports to the board about curriculum and achievement are consistently evaluative, with a clear focus on how well the work of teachers has made a positive difference to improved outcomes for students.

Provision for international students

The school 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 all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 25 international students attending the school. A well-coordinated team of staff members manage the systems that ensure the needs of these students are effectively met. The work of the team of staff is reported to a board committee that requires regular assurance that the international students are well cared for and their learning programme is tailored to their needs.

International students are supported on enrolment to feel welcome in the school and carefully placed in suitable accommodation. The high standard of pastoral care they receive ensures their wellbeing requirements are identified and met. Students’ language needs and learning goals are identified so they can be supported and monitored. Progress towards achieving their individual learning goals is carefully tracked. The students are well integrated into the school and the wider community. Their culture and learning achievements are celebrated and shared within the school.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school’s boarding houses are owned and operated by a board of proprietors that works closely with the school. Accommodation includes a senior hall, a junior hall, and an international students’ house, all effectively within the school grounds. About 130 Year 9 to 13 boarders are accommodated seven days a week.

The board, director of boarding and matron show good leadership. They and the staff have good systems to show they take all reasonable steps to provide a safe environment that supports boarders’ welfare and learning.

Learning is positively promoted within the hostel. Several members of the school’s teaching staff regularly provide tutoring that fits effectively into the learning support programme for boarders. The director of boarding ensures boarders’ families are kept informed about what is provided for their sons’ wellbeing and learning needs. Parent support for the school’s boarding houses is strong.

The director of boarding and staff members in the boarding houses work effectively as a team to provide comprehensive systems to meet the needs of the boys. There are clear systems and expectations about what boarders should do and how they will be supported. International students who board are well integrated into the boarding house life.

Some key features impacting positively on boarders include:

  • the physical environment providing boys with suitable spaces for dining, study and recreation
  • the support boarders get to follow sporting and cultural interests
  • the focus on boarders’ wellbeing, individual responsibility, communication and links with home
  • the support for their learning and access to ICT
  • the provision of pastoral support and counselling
  • the range of ways boarders can raise issues and expect a response to their ideas and opinions.

Boarders are very positive about their experiences living and learning at the boarding house and school.

Staff members in the boarding houses receive good support from the board of proprietors, including the expectation that regular reporting to the proprietors is providing assurance about what is going well and what needs to be improved.

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.

Conclusion

This is a high performing school. Students and staff respond positively to the school’s high expectations for teaching and learning. There is a strong focus on what is best for boys to become well educated men of character. Students succeed very well in their learning and in culture and sport. Students needing extra help are effectively supported. School leaders place a high priority on continuous improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

3 August 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

387

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

547

Number of international students

25

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Māori

Pacific

80%

10%

9%

1%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

3 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

EducationReview

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

December 2008

August 2005