Mahurangi College - 01/06/2016

Findings

Mahurangi College students thrive in a student-centred learning environment. The broad, coherent curriculum supports high levels of student achievement and engagement. School goals drive improvement for learners, particularly priority students. Strong governance and leadership, effective teaching and learning, and partnerships with parents and the community enhance outcomes for students.

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?

Mahurangi College in Warkworth continues to attract students in Years 7 to 15 from the wider Mahurangi area. The school now caters for 1308 domestic students and a growing number of international students. The number of Pacific students on the roll is steadily increasing as the community becomes more diverse.

The school’s vision statement is: “To create a dynamic learning environment challenging every student to strive for excellence and to positively contribute to their community”. The student learning centre that caters for students with specific learning needs occupies a central position in the school.

Commitment to bicultural practices is demonstrated through the prominence of the marae and strategic planning focused on raising the achievement of Māori students.

Students use electronic devices to enhance their learning across the curriculum. The "bring your own device" (BYOD) approach was introduced in 2014. School staff ensure that students have equity of access to digital learning.

The school has been part of the Learning Change Network (LCN) which had a particular focus on Pacific student success. Current professional development is designed to extend teachers’ capability in the use of student achievement data across the school.

Major upgrades and refurbishments to the school have provided staff and students with a high quality learning and work environment.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is used effectively to inquire into patterns of achievement, and to identify relevant professional development for teachers in order to improve outcomes for students. Good use of data underpins teaching and learning decisions across the school. School goals provide the impetus for accelerating the progress of all students. High expectations of academic achievement are evident.

There is a settled, purposeful atmosphere throughout the school. Students are engaged in, and enjoy learning. They respond well to the school’s expectations of them as confident, self-managing learners. They adapt to new and changing contexts, and use multiple strategies for learning and problem solving.

Overall, students in Years 7 and 8 achieve at or above National Standards, particularly in reading and mathematics. The school has identified that student achievement in writing, particularly for boys, needs improvement. Appropriate targets have been set to improve outcomes for these learners. There is a school-wide goal of improving student outcomes in writing. Increasing student knowledge of what they do well and where they need improvement is supported by students using writing skills across the curriculum. Reports to parents provide them with good information about their child’s progress and achievement in National Standards in reading, writing and maths, as well as other learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

National Standards data in reading, writing and mathematics for Pacific students is showing significant acceleration of their progress over time. There is good evidence of improvement for Māori students although school data show they, as a group, are achieving below school averages at this level.

The school is beginning to systematically collate achievement information about students in Years 9 and 10. Teachers are identifying valid assessment tools and becoming more familiar with curriculum levels appropriate to expectations for student achievement. Analysing student achievement information across Years 7 to 10, including ethnic and gender analysis and information about accelerated student progress in learning, would further enhance decision making and resourcing.

Mahurangi College students’ results in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) compares very favourably with, and generally exceeds, national and similar schools’ results. Māori student achievement is similar to non-Māori. The trend of ongoing improvement is particularly evident at Level 3 and University Entrance. These improvements have been the result of careful monitoring, increased focus, and the school’s determination to provide greater equity of opportunity for students to access tertiary study. Significant improvement in NCEA course endorsements has been sustained over the years. The school has identified the next steps towards achieving the school vision of success for every student as continuing to investigate and trial strategies to improve boys’ achievement and to increase subject endorsements in NCEA.

Students experience high levels of success across areas of the arts, and academic, sporting, cultural, social and service events.

3 Curriculum

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

The responsive and inclusive curriculum adapts to, and provides for, students’ learning aspirations. It is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Students have effective, sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn.

The school curriculum is strongly aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum, particularly the key competencies, values and principles. These have been adapted specifically to this school’s context. There is a deliberate focus on students as members of, and contributors to a cultural, local, national and global community.

The school’s curriculum design promotes academic achievement across a breadth of subjects. Good work has been done to enable students of different abilities and interests to contribute to and engage in learning across a variety of meaningful pathways. Māori and Pacific themes are very evident in teachers’ planning across the curriculum and year levels.

Strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the school’s inclusive practices that reflect their determination to improve outcomes for students with particular learning needs
  • strong support for students’ wellbeing including academic and careers counselling
  • the use of digital devices and resources in ways that promote learning
  • numerous opportunities for student leadership, and leadership of learning
  • the strong co-curricular programme that provides many opportunities for students to be active participants in a wider curriculum.

Ongoing review continues to inform the content and structure of the school curriculum. The current review of the Year 7 to 10 curriculum structure is a significant part of the ongoing improvement. Building sound foundations for continuity across the Year 7 to 15 curriculum continues to be a priority.

Teaching practices engage students in meaningful learning through:

  • a shared understanding of expectations between students and teachers
  • additional opportunities and mentoring beyond the school’s timetable, to support student learning.

Leaders agree that it would be useful to have a regular school-wide survey to gain further information about student wellbeing to inform programmes and initiatives.

Students benefit from mutually beneficial relationships between the school and the community. These relationships focus on the learning partnership between the school and parents. Learning-centred relationships engage and involve the school community. Community collaboration and partnerships extend and enrich opportunities for students to become "confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners".

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

The school has strongly improved its effectiveness over the past three years in supporting educational success for Māori as Māori. Māori and Pacific students report feeling confident about, and proud of, being Māori or Pacific in this school. They are well supported in their cultural identities.

The school has developed a Māori Achievement Plan in consultation with Māori parents defining success for Māori as Māori. A continued strategic focus on raising the achievement of Māori students includes:

  • the school-wide promotion of tikanga Māori
  • strong leadership in tikanga to facilitate PLD, provide learning opportunities for students, and liaise and consult with the Māori community
  • expectations of student leaders to use and promote te reo me ona tikanga Māori at Mahurangi College.

ERO recommends the college continues to develop teacher and student understanding of, and responsibility for, the concepts within success for Māori as Māori.

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. The school vision and values underpin school direction, and are widely known and supported by students, staff, trustees and the wider community.

Factors that contribute to effective and sustainable practices to achieve the school’s vision include:

  • a collective responsibility within the school community to create the conditions in which all students may experience success
  • well considered and strategic decision making by senior leaders, strongly modelled by the principal
  • the way leaders build relational trust at all levels of the community to support openness, collaboration and risk taking, and are receptive to change and improvement
  • the performance management systems that strengthen and sustain focused professional learning and collaborative activity to improve teaching and learning.

Well considered appointments to the senior management team, aligned to the school’s strategic plan, are enabling this team to lead change in the school and support professional teaching practices. The school is currently developing a teacher profile to enhance teacher effectiveness aligned with Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, which promotes culturally responsive pedagogies, to continue to improve outcomes for Mahurangi students

Shared respect and understanding are evident in the way the principal and board relate to each other and work cooperatively to establish a purposeful and successful learning environment for their students. Self review is used to sustain a continuous cycle of development that improves student learning.

The school is now well poised to further sustain and improve its performance. School staff and trustees could further build their capability and capacity in using evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building for improvement.

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 27 international students attending the school.

The education and integration of international students in the school and community are closely monitored and evaluated. High quality pastoral care, together with academic, vocational, arts and sporting programmes enable international students to be successful across a variety of learning opportunities. Staff responsible for the care of international students regularly review the quality and effectiveness of their provision for these students. The board is well informed about international student involvement, progress and achievement.

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

Mahurangi College students thrive in a student-centred learning environment. The broad, coherent curriculum supports high levels of student achievement and engagement. School goals drive improvement for learners, particularly priority students. Strong governance and leadership, effective teaching and learning, and partnerships with parents and the community enhance outcomes for students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 June 2016

About the School

Location

Warkworth

Ministry of Education profile number

24

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll

1308

Number of international students

27

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Kiribati/ Tuvaluan

African

Chinese

Samoan

South East Asian

Tongan

other European

other Pacific

other

67%

13%

4%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

9%

1%

1%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

1 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

November 2009

June 2006