Kingslea - Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo - 21/10/2016

Findings

Teachers and leaders at Kingslea - Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo focus on providing the best outcomes for the individual students during their time in the classroom and in transitioning back to mainstream schools, training or the community. Students’ needs are catered for in a stimulating, modern learning environment. They are provided with broad and rich programme, integrated across the school and residence, which supports them to develop skills that prepare them for the workforce. Teachers have high expectations for student achievement, which are reflected in the quality of student work. Students are well engaged in their learning. This high quality practice is underpinned by Kingslea School’s culture of ongoing improvement.

Context

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

Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo is a 40 bed, mixed gender, Youth Justice residence that caters for young people aged from 14 to 17 years. Most are severely at risk with varied and complex needs.

CYF is responsible for running the residence and Kingslea School provides education onsite for the young people. The principal is responsible for all Kingslea Schools located on four sites, in Dunedin, Christchurch, Rolleston and Rotorua. An assistant principal provides the day-to-day leadership of Kingslea - Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo School site.

Students are divided into three classes, based on their residential group. Student-to-teacher ratios are low to allow for attention to students’ individual needs. A challenge for the teachers is the variable and unpredictable length of time a young person might spend in the residence. Students may stay from one week to several months. Teachers are supported in classroom management by CYF residential staff.

1 Transitions

How effectively managed are the transitions students make into the residence?

Teachers and residential staff manage the transition of young people into the school very effectively in challenging circumstances. A systematic, pre-planned approach for students’ transition into the school is difficult as most students arrive without prior warning. Information about students’ educational history and achievement follows later. Such information is often limited, with many students having been alienated from education for a considerable period prior to their arrival and their links to earlier schools are tenuous.

Teaching staff collect reliable information about the student using a range of appropriate assessment tools and student interviews. They develop individual plans for each student that include their interests and strengths, goals linked to the values and key competencies in the school’s curriculum, and specific achievement targets for literacy and numeracy. Individual planning is timely and in place from the first week the young person is in the school.

Where possible, teachers contact the previous school and or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to ascertain whether the young person has achieved NCEA credits and what courses they are enrolled in. Teachers try to ensure that the young person’s education is restarted as quickly as possible so that the time spent in the facility is used productively.

Staff work closely with residential staff to develop positive relationships with the young person. For many students the transition is traumatic and unsettling. Staff are well trained in managing young people who have experienced significant trauma.

How effectively managed are the transitions students make out of the residence?

The teaching and residential staff effectively manage the transition out of the facility, when they have prior warning of the departure. This is a challenge as students’ entry and exit is reliant on the courts and can be unpredictable.

The pastoral leader coordinates teacher input into the development of the transition plan in the multi-agency meeting facilitated by the site Multi Agency Team (MAT). The curriculum leader coordinates the sharing of assessment information with the next school or provider.

Once the young person has left the residence, the education staff have less influence. It is difficult to monitor the outcomes when the young person comes from and returns to different parts of New Zealand. Very few young people transition to a mainstream school. Most move to some form of training course, employment, or an adult prison.

Teachers have identified that their next step is to find ways to ensure and monitor that young people make more robust transitions back to the community and into education, training or employment.

2 Curriculum

How responsive is the programme to the strengths, needs and interests of each student?

The programme is very responsive to the strengths, needs and interests of the student. Its goal is to provide a foundation for further learning, and transition to training or employment. The trauma informed pedagogy is designed to meet the needs of young people who have experienced significant trauma in their lives. Programmes are personalised so that each student is working at their own level towards their own specific goals. Learning contexts are relevant and include real-life skills such as health, parenting, safety and employment skills. Students engage quickly in their work and value the opportunity to improve their skills.

Classroom environments are modern, stimulating, well resourced and flexible. All students have access to computers, well-chosen books and other resources. In each class there is an English and mathematics specialist as well as teachers with skills in other learning areas. Teachers for art, hard technology, Māori carving, careers, music and physical education have their own specialist classrooms. Students in one part of residence participate in a military academy programme. Students access a wide and varied curriculum.

Programmes are increasingly integrated across the classrooms and residences. The CYF programme leader and the school pastoral leader work closely together to provide opportunities for the young people to earn NZQA credits through Gateway and Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) funding. There are many opportunities for students to develop skills that would help them gain employment in the future, including barista training, hospitality courses, operating a farm bike and tractor. Most students work towards NZQA credits, many with more success than they have had previously.

Classroom protocols are culturally responsive and the young people clearly value routines such as karakia, mihi and the use of te reo Māori.

How effectively is the programme improving students’ engagement and educational achievement?

Students are engaged in learning and are motivated to achieve. Teaching approaches are individualised, positive and encouraging, and motivate each young person to do their best. Students value the time to focus on their education when they have been out of the classroom for some time. The quiet settled atmosphere of the classrooms enables them to concentrate on their work and improve their skill levels. Students demonstrated a palpable eagerness to get on with their work at the beginning of the school day.

Weekly individual planning, goal setting and the daily feedback from teachers on their progress helps motivate students. Teachers provide regular praise and incentives for completion of high quality work. The work is carefully set so that the young people can achieve success and new work is set to accelerate the student’s rate of progress. Teachers have very high expectations for students’ work and behaviour and students respond to these.

Young people who remain in the residence long enough for re-testing show accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy. For others, progress is evident from tracking the weekly planning and reflections in students’ individual exercise books. A focus on improving the teaching of writing has resulted in some outstanding student poetry writing in particular. In 2015, students won prizes in the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) where they learned skills easily transferable to the workplace. Students take pride in their work and the progress they are making.

3 Internal and external relationships

How effectively do internal and external relationships support the programme for each student?

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been challenges in managing the relationship with the CYF facility because of management changes and high staff turnover. This impacted adversely on teachers’ ability to provide students with a settled environment, through a consistent and cohesive approach between residential and teaching staff. A new residential manager took up their position during 2015, resulting in positive changes.

Significant progress has been made in improving relationships between the residential and teaching staff. Key improvements include daily debriefs at changeover, joint management meetings and the initial intake meeting involving multiple agencies and the school. School ILPs are now well aligned with CYF ICPs.

Residence and school staff work together on initiatives that support students’ vocational pathways, such as STAR, Gateway, YES and collaboration with Careers NZ. School and residence staff work collaboratively on holiday programmes for students. These include anger management, drug and alcohol education, first aid, health and safety training as well as activities designed to promote team work and social relationships. Such collaboration enhances students’ learning opportunities and their transition to future training or employment.

4 Sustainable Performance

How effectively do programme leaders conduct internal evaluation?

Kingslea School has an effective, school-wide, self-review process. There is a strong evidence base for decision making. Assessment data is used to identify trends and patterns and the impact of teaching on student achievement. The process for internal evaluation follows a consistent model, has a clear rationale, seeks the views of all stakeholders, identifies benefits and risks, and identifies key messages.

The principal has established a Centre of Excellence across the four schools to share and further develop effective practice. The curriculum and pastoral care community of practice leaders share research readings and newsletters amongst the sites. There is a focus on Kingslea being one school rather than separate entities, and developing consistent curriculum and pastoral practices in all classrooms at the four sites. This process is growing leadership across the whole school and providing rich opportunities for professional collaboration.

A robust formal appraisal process common to Kingslea School contributes further to ongoing development of teachers. A review of the performance management system has placed more responsibility on teachers to evidence their own practice, and seek and act on feedback from peers and others to maintain ongoing improvement in their expertise. Teachers are in the early stages of using the new model, but the system is increasing professional discussion, research, professional reading, reflection and feedback.

Professional learning and development (PLD) is strongly linked to the teaching and learning priorities, and the therapeutic approach of the school. The principal and assistant principal actively promote and encourage ongoing learning to improve staff responsiveness to student needs. All staff have completed PLD about the trauma-informed approach and practice. The impact of PLD on teaching writing is evident in the quality of student work in this curriculum area. In addition, individual teachers have opportunities to attend PLD appropriate to their needs.

Teachers at Te Puna Wai o have further opportunities to share and develop their practice through their participation in the Rolleston Learning Cluster. Kingslea teachers have provided support in te reo and tikanga Māori, and catering to Pasifika learner needs in local schools.

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.

Governance

The board of Kingslea School is a specially constituted board made up of two Ministerial Appointees, two Child, Youth and Family representatives, and two co-opted members along with the staff trustee and principal. Trustees bring to the board high levels of expertise, experience and passion for young people. The board provides effective stewardship for this complex school covering four sites in Dunedin, Christchurch, Rolleston and Rotorua. Efficient governance processes support both accountability and continuous improvement. The board’s strategic planning considers the longer-term needs of children in residences, who have high and complex needs that have not been met in mainstream school settings. It seeks innovative solutions and scrutinises carefully the effectiveness of the school in achieving positive outcomes for vulnerable young people.

Conclusion

Teachers and leaders at Kingslea - Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo focus on providing the best outcomes for the individual students during their time in the classroom and in transitioning back to mainstream schools, training or the community. Students’ needs are catered for in a stimulating, modern learning environment. They are provided with broad and rich programme, integrated across the school and residence, which supports them to develop skills that prepare them for the workforce. Teachers have high expectations for student achievement, which are reflected in the quality of student work. Students are well engaged in their learning. This high quality practice is underpinned by Kingslea School’s culture of ongoing improvement.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that:

  • residential and teaching staff should continue to strengthen cohesion and collaboration between the residence and school to further enhance students’ learning opportunities and their transition to future training or employment
  • CYF and the Ministry should review processes for transitioning out of residential schools to ensure better continuity of learning that meets students’ needs.

The timing of the next review will be decided in consultation with the Ministry of Education and Child Youth and Family. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern

21 October 2016

About the School

Location

Rolleston

Profile No

518 (Kingslea School)

School type

Special School, Residential

School roll

Up to 40

Special features

Youth Justice facility administered by Kingslea School under contract to the Ministry of Education

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

21 October 2016

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

April 2013