New Plymouth Boys' High School - 21/04/2017

Findings

At New Plymouth Boys’ High School, many students achieve success in a broad range of learning areas, options and extra-curricular activities. The school is welcoming, inclusive and promotes a strong sense of belonging and connection, valuing diversity and difference. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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?

New Plymouth Boys’ High School caters for boys in Years 9 to 13. At the time of this review there were 1212 students, of whom 20% identify as Māori. The school hostel houses 160 boarders, including most of the 17 international students.

Since the 2014 ERO review, a new headmaster joined the school in 2015. The senior leadership team has been reshaped with recent appointments of a deputy headmaster and an assistant principal.

Leaders, in consultation with all stakeholders, have refreshed the vision of the school. “Be the example” defines the values and underpins all aspects of school life.

The school has participated in the Kia eke Panuku initiative, aimed at giving life to Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 and addressing the aspirations of Māori communities by supporting Māori students to pursue their potential. The board valued this initiative and has committed funding for the next three years.

The school has responded positively to the areas for improvement outlined in the previous ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school continues to strengthen its practices to make positive changes to learners' progress and achievement. There is an increased focus on using information about students' achievement and progress to respond effectively to their needs, interests and aspirations.

In response to previous results for the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs), a schoolwide review of programmes, strategies and pathways was undertaken in 2015. In the 2016, improvements in NCEA results are evident, with most students achieving well. Achievement of the NCEAs Levels 1 and 2 is above figures for students in similar schools, and for boys nationally. Around three quarters of school leavers achieved NCEA Level 2 or higher.

There is increasing retention of students to the end of Year 13. However, although there have been improvements in achievement of NCEA Level 3, these results are below national figures for similar schools. Leaders acknowledge this is an area for improvement.

Māori student achievement has improved since 2015, at all NCEA Levels. The within-school gap between Māori and others is narrowing. The school prioritises equity and excellence of outcomes for all students.

An increased range of information about student achievement and wellbeing is collected from contributing schools. It is used effectively to group students and direct resourcing that responds to those with additional needs.

Teachers and leaders continue to develop the use of standardised assessments of progress and achievement in literacy and numeracy in Years 9 and 10. A Year 9 and 10 diploma uses school-based assessment criteria to measure achievement. The planned internal evaluation of the diploma should establish how effectively it promotes progress and achievement, particularly for priority students.

Next steps are for leaders and teachers to better use analysed achievement data, especially at Years 9 and 10, to accelerate students’ progress and improve access to the curriculum. This should include:

  • continuing to develop the use of assessment tools to gather information about student achievement and accelerated progress
  • setting clearer targets with expected outcomes
  • using increased data to better inform programme planning and decision making
  • evaluating the impact of actions and strategies on improving student outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum is increasingly effective in promoting engagement, learning and achievement.

Many students achieve success in a broad range of learning areas and options. Increased flexibility provides more responsive learning pathways to better suit individual students' abilities, interests and aspirations. Recently introduced programmes have successfully improved engagement and achievement for groups of students at risk of underachievement.

ERO affirms school leaders' plans to ensure the curriculum meets the needs of all students. Ongoing review and development should focus on:

  • a clear curriculum framework that reflects the principles and philosophy of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • guidance and expectations for high quality teaching and learning
  • indicators of desired student outcomes as a basis for evaluation of the effectiveness of programmes.

The school is welcoming and inclusive. It promotes a strong sense of belonging and connection, valuing diversity and difference. Classrooms observed by ERO had a positive, settled tone, with good levels of engagement in learning.

A cross curricular approach to promoting literacy in Years 9 to 10 has seen improvement for many students and accelerated progress for some. Students identified as at risk of poor outcomes on entry to Year 9, benefit from a focus on building relationships and gathering a wider range of information that enables the school to be more responsive to their learning and wellbeing needs.

Pastoral systems and processes aim to cater for the diverse needs of students and include: increased use of shared information, introduction of mentoring, vertical form grouping to support student wellbeing, relationships and leadership, and use of restorative practices.

Careers education appropriately guides students to choose suitable pathways and options that respond to their strengths and interests for future employment and training. Targeted programmes for Māori students promote their increased engagement, retention and success.

A strong focus on improving communication and building positive relationships between the school and the community is evident. The school continues to strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau to facilitate better education outcomes for students.

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

The school has recently increased its emphasis on promoting improved educational success for Māori and culturally responsive practices.

Kia Eke Panuku and associated initiatives have raised staff awareness and understanding. Māori leaders in the school have strengthened relationships with the community. There is increased consultation with improved opportunities for whānau involvement.

Mentoring and pastoral support respond to the wellbeing needs of individuals and groups. Increased use of culturally responsive learning contexts and teaching strategies promote engagement and recognition of students’ language, culture and identity.

Leaders and staff are committed to valuing and promoting te ao Māori. Trustees plan to build a new wharenui in the centre of the school. To sustain ongoing improvement in outcomes for Māori, the school should continue to:  

  • set specific annual goals and targets to accelerate progress and raise the achievement of Māori at all levels  
  • develop programmes and pathways that promote language, culture and identity for increased numbers of students
  • strengthen the framework, resourcing and strategies for building the cultural competencies of all teachers. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Leadership sets a clear direction for school improvement. It seeks the perspectives of all stakeholders to decide the vision, values and strategic priorities for the school. Leaders ensure an orderly and supportive environment that promotes teaching and learning. They collaboratively promote effective planning, coordination and review of the school’s curriculum.

Processes and systems for the school's internal evaluation are established at leadership level and are leading to improvement. Teachers and leaders now need to seek improved evaluative information about what makes the greatest difference to, or limits, students' learning, engagement, progress and achievement.

The performance management process has been reviewed and strengthened. There is an increasing focus on supporting teachers to improve their practice and meet the challenge of new initiatives. A more structured framework includes developing a portfolio of evidence that assists those seeking to renew their Practising Teacher Certificates.

A new process encourages teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. All are now involved, but there is variability in how well the process is understood and implemented. Greater focus on priority students and use of evidence should improve how teachers are able to show the impact of changes in their practice on outcomes for students.

The board focuses on improving outcomes for all learners. Trustees have participated in training about their roles and responsibilities. ERO identifies that targeted action and strategic planning should have a greater focus on accelerating progress for all priority learners, including those in Years 9 and 10.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) .The school has attested that it complies with and meets all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 17 international students attending the school.

Processes for orientation to the school are well considered, providing students and their families with detailed information. Systems for identifying and responding to individual needs and interests are effective.  English language learners receive appropriate tuition. Additional classroom support is provided where necessary.

International students receive high quality pastoral care, and their wellbeing is a strong focus. Students benefit from positive, respectful relationships. Those who set goals for academic achievement are successful.

The school continues to make positive changes in response to its self-review findings that further strengthen provision for international students. 

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Hatherley House, accommodates 160 students, 13% of the school roll. It is owned by New Plymouth Boys’ High School Board of Trustees. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. Since the 2014 ERO review, the hostel manager has also been appointed as deputy headmaster.

There has been recent upgrading of some areas of the hostel and a commitment to strengthening buildings and emergency procedures. Emphasis is placed on building strong care and educational partnerships with parents and whānau.

Hostel leaders have reviewed and further developed some procedures to support the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of boarders. Orientation and mentoring for Year 9 students assists their transition to hostel life. Cultural mentoring of Māori students supports their culture, identity, wellbeing and educational success.

Opportunities are provided for students to develop leadership, take responsibility and contribute. Students value the ease of access to the facilities and recreational activities.

Feedback from boarders and their parents is regularly sought, encouraged and responded to. External agencies and providers are used for health and safety education and promotion of student wellbeing. Boarders spoken with by ERO valued the extended family like atmosphere.

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.

At the time of this review, one person was employed in a full-time teaching position without a current Practising Teacher Certificate. Since the onsite phase the situation has been resolved.

The school must have systems and practices in place to ensure that all persons employed by the school in a teaching position have a current Practising Teacher Certificate. [section 349(2) Education Act 1989].

Conclusion

At New Plymouth Boys’ High School, many students achieve success in a broad range of learning areas, options and extra-curricular activities. The school is welcoming, inclusive and promotes a strong sense of belonging and connection, valuing diversity and difference. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 April 2017

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

171

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1212

Number of international students

17

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

20%

74%

5%

1%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

21 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2014

December 2010

October 2007