Linwood College - 27/08/2015

Findings

Linwood College now provides education for students from Years 7 to 13. Staff and student morale has recently lifted. The school’s focus has returned to raising student achievement and improving the quality of teaching and learning. A relieving principal has been appointed and is working positively with the board to provide sound leadership.

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

1 Context

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

Linwood College provides education for students from Years 7 to 13. Students, staff and the board value the diverse cultures enrolled at the school. Students are well supported by the inclusive culture of the school.

The college has had a turbulent time over a number of years associated with the ongoing impact of the Christchurch earthquakes. This has included property development, a falling roll, and high staff turnover as a result of conflict between staff and management.

A limited statutory manager was appointed in September 2014 in response to a request from the board of trustees to resolve employment issues. The principal resigned in June 2015.

A relieving principal has been appointed. She is working positively with the board to provide sound leadership, establishing more positive relationships with staff and students and building trust in the school’s community. The improved climate has contributed considerably to lifting staff and student morale. There is a strong sense of positive forward movement.

The board and the relieving principal are optimistic about the future. Their key strategic goals should provide a stable foundation for the future.

2 Learning

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

The way achievement information is used to improve students' learning is inconsistent across the school. There is variable practice across the school in the way teachers use achievement information to improve students' learning.

There is limited evidence that student achievement information for Years 9 to 10 students is gathered and analysed at a school-wide level.

Senior leaders and deans make good use of NCEA student achievement and attendance information to support individual students to meet their learning goals.

Teachers are gathering and making good use of student achievement information in Years 7 and 8. This information shows students enter the school with low levels of achievement in mathematics and literacy. Teachers are using this information to plan appropriate programmes for groups and individual students to help them learn at their level. Students at risk of not achieving are provided with additional support.

The teachers responsible for coordinating support for students with learning needs work well with students and their teachers to identify specific needs and how they can best be met.

The relieving principal has a relentless focus on improving the engagement and achievement of students. She is working closely with heads of learning to improve their effectiveness as leaders of learning. This has resulted in improvements in the quality and frequency of reporting to the board about student achievement.

Area for review and development

ERO has identified, and the board agrees that, to improve engagement and learning outcomes for students, leaders and teachers need to:

  • make more effective use of the college's Student Management System to record and use data for ongoing improvements to teaching and learning
  • develop a clear rationale and guidelines for gathering, analysing and using student achievement information at teacher, learning-area leader and senior leadership levels.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is aware that the curriculum is limiting some students' choice and preferred learning pathways to take them successfully into the senior school and beyond.

The school's values have been well identified by students and the community. The values are in the process of being implemented by all teachers to best support student learning and wellbeing.

Teachers provide a curriculum in Years 7 and 8 that helps students to personalise their learning and follow their interests. Students have access to specialist teachers to support their learning.

Students in Years 9 to 13 benefit from the ways some teachers take a genuine interest in each student as a unique learner. These teachers develop strong, positive and caring relationships with students. Other key features include the strategies some teachers use to:

  • adapt their teaching approaches and programme to engage students in their learning
  • set high expectations and recognise each student's potential to learn well
  • give timely and useful feedback to students about their learning progress
  • provide extra mentoring and tutorial support
  • gather and respond to students' ideas and opinions about their learning and the effectiveness of teaching
  • plan and make efficient use of teaching time to maximise learning
  • celebrate the diverse range of cultures and languages that students bring to the school.

The next step is to improve the consistency of these practices across all teachers.

The school is strengthening the ways leaders and teachers engage with parents to build positive partnerships to support learning outcomes for students. This includes:

  • the effective and responsive work of the guidance and counselling, and careers teams
  • a number of initiatives to promote the wellbeing of students to strengthen their readiness for learning
  • extensive leadership opportunities for senior students based on strong processes for selection, training and support, to ensure their ideas contribute to the life of the school.

Areas for review and development

ERO has identified, with the acknowledgement of senior leaders and the board, the steps that are critical for ensuring the curriculum is more responsive to the needs of all students.

Senior leaders and curriculum leaders must develop curriculum guidelines that determine how the curriculum is provided so that students learning in Years 9 to 13 build on their positive experiences in Years 7 and 8.

Restructuring of pastoral care within the school has begun. The next step is to ensure that the work of staff to support student wellbeing combine coherently to effectively improve students' learning.

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

The school has some systems in place that promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. This includes:

  • the establishment of a school-wide process for ensuring that culturally responsive practices are being implemented for the benefit of Māori students by all teachers
  • making use of external expertise to support teachers.

The school provides a supportive and inclusive environment for Māori students. They identified the whāre as the place where being Māori was actively promoted in learning programmes.

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

The school has some systems in placed that support Pasifika students to succeed in their learning. A key staff member leads a culturally responsive mentoring programme that is appreciated by many Pasifika students.

An increasing proportion of families of Pasifika students are feeling comfortable to engage positively with teachers. Pasifika students who have significant English language learning needs are well supported. They are very appreciative of the positive ways the school provides for their learning and offers opportunities for leadership.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

When the areas for improvement outlined below are effectively addressed, the school should be better placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board and relieving principal are working positively and strategically on what matters most and doing what needs to be done.

Key tasks for the board to sustain and improve the school's performance include:

  • setting and making clear the school's vision, aspirations and direction for its future development
  • further developing the strategic goals with clear links to the vision
  • identifying and implementing manageable planning and reporting processes
  • ensuring that students, staff and parents are consulted
  • making sure that annual planning shows how key priorities for the future are to be managed and achieved.

The board should continue to make use of external expertise to help achieve these tasks.

School leaders should review leadership roles and responsibilities to ensure effective leadership of curriculum development, teaching practice and the use of student learning information.

The appraisal process has been redeveloped to align with current good practice. The next step is to implement appraisal practices that better enable teachers to lead and monitor their personal goals and to inquire into their own teaching. These practices are needed to meet the requirements for registration and renewal of practising certificates.

There is very limited school-wide evaluation. The school has made good use of external evaluations to identify some areas that needed improvement.

The next steps to make evaluation systematic and coherent across the school include:

  • identifying priorities
  • developing evaluation processes and plans to achieve these
  • monitoring changes made and the impact they have on improving 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.

International students are welcomed and integrated into the school. Their learning needs are identified early and appropriate learning programmes and support are put in place.

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.

During the review, two areas of non compliance were identified. The board must ensure that:

  • in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students [National Administration Guideline 1(v) — National Education Guidelines]
  • it reports to the school community on the achievement of all students and the achievement of Māori students.[National Administration Guideline 2(iii) — National Education Guidelines]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continues to provide support and advice to the board through this period of transition.

Conclusion

Linwood College now provides education for students from Years 7 to 13. Staff and student morale has recently lifted. The school’s focus has returned to raising student achievement and improving the quality of teaching and learning. A relieving principal has been appointed and is working positively with the board to provide sound leadership.

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

337

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

703

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Boys 391; Girls 312

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Pacific
Other ethnicities

47%
27%
13%
  9%
  4%

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

27 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

October 2012
September 2008
June 2005