Longburn Adventist College - 05/10/2016

Findings

Longburn Adventist College has sustained levels of NCEA student achievement consistently above schools nationally. Its special character is strongly evident and teachers successfully promote wellbeing alongside achievement. Improving internal evaluation will support ongoing school improvement. Areas for development in the provision for hostel students are a priority.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

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

Longburn Adventist College is a Year 7 to 13 integrated, special character school located to the south of Palmerston North. It has 272 students on its roll, of which 16% identify as Māori and 8% Pacific.

There are 71 students living in the hostel, which accommodates nearly all of the 18 international students, many of which are from Papua New Guinea. Boarding numbers have increased in recent years.

The leadership team has changed since the August 2013 ERO report, with the appointment of a new principal and deputy principal. The proprietors of the college are the New Zealand Pacific Union of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

An ongoing cycle of refurbishment has seen existing buildings upgraded.

The school is participating in the Ministry of Education (Ministry) Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme.

2 Learning

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

Teachers and leaders are strengthening their use of data to make positive changes to students' progress and achievement.

At Years 7 and 8, overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards are collaboratively developed by teachers using a range of information. Engaging in external moderation with other schools should strengthen the dependability of decisions.

Most students in Years 7 and 8 are achieving at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. School generated data shows that some students made good progress over these two years. The school’s achievement information for mathematics showed recent improvement, however literacy levels have fallen over the past year.

Teachers are increasing the range of standardised assessment data they gather about student performance in Years 7 to 10 to show levels of achievement. This should provide a clearer picture of progress, particularly for students in Years 9 and 10. Leaders identify that a next step is to build teachers’ capability to use assessment information more effectively to promote student engagement and learning. Knowing more about student progress at these year levels, and what makes a positive difference for learners, should improve the school's evaluation and knowledge building capacity.

Since the previous ERO review, the College has sustained levels of senior student achievement consistently above all schools nationally. School data for National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) showed that the percentages of students achieving at Levels 1, 2 and 3 exceeded the national roll-based percentages in 2015. Nearly all students leave the school with NCEA Level 2 or above.

Māori and Pacific students achieve well and their academic results compare equitably with their peers at the school. Most students continue into Year 13 to complete their studies and improve their qualifications.

School leaders have identified and are responding to a gap between boys' and girls' achievement at Level 1 in 2015. Senior leaders have targeted boys’ achievement at Level 1 and merit and excellence endorsements as areas for improvement.

Teachers and deans successfully track and monitor student performance. Regular reviews of progress assists them to identify those who are at risk of underachieving and provide these students with additional support.

Individualised plans are developed to support learning for students with additional needs. Regularly reviewing the impact of the planned interventions and programmes should support the school to improve student outcomes and success.

Reports to parents provide useful information about their child's strengths, levels of achievement and next steps for learning. How well students enact the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is also included.

3 Curriculum

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

The ongoing review and development of the curriculum should assist the college to strengthen how it supports all students to achieve successful outcomes.

The curriculum strongly reflects the NZC and emphasises the school's special character. The values of integrity, respect and resilience align with the special character and are clearly evident. The curriculum suitably focuses on literacy and numeracy, with religious studies integral.

The hostel contributes significantly to the school culture and character, supporting the success of the school.

Students are well engaged in positive and suitably-resourced learning environments. A calm and purposeful tone is evident throughout the school. In classrooms that ERO visited, school expectations were well understood and the school values were fully enacted. Students were clear about the relevance of their learning, showed high levels of collaboration and participated in programmes with confidence and enthusiasm.

Celebrations of student achievement, success and participation value and recognise students' development and contribution to the school. Students are affirmed for displaying positive behaviours for learning.

Students are provided with curriculum pathways that prioritise core subject areas. They benefit from extensive involvement in learning opportunities away from the school site. A review and development of the curriculum in the senior school should consider:

  • broadening students’ course options
  • increasing links with offsite learning institutions
  • improving the provision for students seeking to follow pathways to employment.

Identifying next steps through an effective evaluation process should assist the school to respond more successfully to the increasingly diverse needs of students. Including students and parents in the review process should increase its quality.

All staff successfully integrate a focus on promoting student wellbeing alongside achievement. Positive, trusting and fair student-teacher relationships are the basis for teachers to build their holistic knowledge of learners.

A next step is to review the quality of provision to determine how well:

  • pastoral systems and processes support wellbeing
  • the careers programme, guidance and subject advice assist students to access appropriate pathways.

A plan is being developed to promote greater use of digital technologies to enhance learning. Teachers are increasing their use of strategies that promote eLearning. Resolving issues that affect connectivity should support further development towards students becoming digital citizens.

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

The school is developing how well it promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

The process for the carving of a Pou, intended to be a focal point in the school's environment, has contributed to building a shared vision of the school's identity. It is seen as a catalyst for building more effective relationships with the Māori community.

There are opportunities to learn te reo Māori within the curriculum.

The school has identified, and ERO's evaluation supports, the need to improve and strengthen the response to Māori students’ culture and identity. The next step is to develop a shared vision for Māori learners at the college to further promote Māori success as Māori. This should align with the principles of The Māori Education Strategy: Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 - 1017, and the special character of the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Longburn Adventist College is continuing to develop its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

There is a shared vision and a positive working relationship between the proprietor’s board and the school board. The new school board is engaged in regular training and support to develop their capabilities in stewardship.

The board receives reports about student achievement that provide useful information on which to base decisions. Trustees set a clear direction for the college and establish priorities for improvement. Annual targets should benefit from more detail about priority groups and intended actions. More regular reporting of targeted students’ progress should strengthen trustees’ evaluation and decision making.

Senior leaders collaborate to share a vision for school improvements. They focus on further strengthening conditions for effective teaching and learning, that should contribute to improved outcomes for students. Deliberate actions are taken to support building middle leadership capability to lead learning and to distribute leadership roles more widely.

The appraisal process continues to be developed to support teacher development. It provides opportunities for teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their practice. It promotes a collaborative approach and collegial support. There is a robust process leading to the renewal of Teacher Practising Certificates. Extensive professional learning opportunities are aligned to the school’s identified priorities. Next steps are to strengthen the appraisal process to include more meaningful individual goals and focused classroom observations linked to school priorities and teacher needs.

The school has reviewed how well it builds the capability of its newly graduated teachers, and recognises the need to strengthen their support.

Effective evaluation by senior leaders is identifying key priorities for improvement. Building evaluative capability across the school is a next step.

Provision for international students

The college 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 and meets all aspects of the Code.

Nearly all international students are accommodated in the school’s hostel, which provides the foundation of pastoral care for their time in the school. Year group deans and subject teachers track and monitor academic performance. Students identified as underachieving are provided with additional support. Some international students make good progress and achieve well. Families receive good levels of information and are involved in decisions about courses and programmes.

Improving review and w should consider how to strengthen:

  • orientation and induction of new students into the college
  • monitoring of achievement and progress as a group
  • the use of achievement information to promote learning and success
  • regular reporting of student progress and achievement to the principal and school board
  • courses meeting the specific needs of individual students
  • strategies to celebrate students' diverse cultures, languages and identities.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Students spoken to by ERO enjoy the family-like environment of the hostel. They benefit from an inclusive culture and the diversity of students and staff. Routines and expectations are well understood by the students.

Students have opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities and sports. Students are able to provide ideas and give feedback on hostel provision. Improving the response to student feedback is a next step.

Leaders recognise that there has been a delay in addressing improvements needed to hostel facilities. They now feel they are in a better position to initiate the works needed to address maintenance issues and upgrade the accommodation for students. Some improvements are already underway.

Guidelines have been developed for volunteer deans that provide some direction for following systems and routines. These require strengthening, to include expectations for working effectively with boarding students.

The appraisal process for hostel staff and the improved expectations for volunteers need to be fully implemented and monitored. This should be directed towards increasing consistency of staff performance and building of staff capability.

The current policy framework is not sufficiently detailed to provide full coverage of legislative requirements in school hostels. Policies and procedures need to be developed to ensure they provide necessary guidance and expectations to meet compliance with legislation and to reflect areas of current appropriate practice. Once policies and procedures are updated they need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

Leaders have identified the need to strengthen the links between school and the hostel in terms of how well students learning is promoted. ERO's evaluation affirms this as an important next step.

Addressing the areas of improvement identified in this section of the report should be an urgent priority.

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

Longburn Adventist College has sustained levels of NCEA student achievement consistently above schools nationally. Its special character is strongly evident and teachers successfully promote wellbeing alongside achievement. Improving internal evaluation will support ongoing school improvement. Areas for development in the provision for hostel students are a priority.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 October 2016

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

191

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

272

Number of international students

18

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pacific

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

16%

9%

61%

14%

Special features

Integrated school

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

5 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

August 2013

October 2010

May 2008