Paraparaumu College - 29/07/2015

1 Context

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

Paraparaumu College is a co-educational secondary school on the Kāpiti Coast, north of Wellington. At the time of this review of the 1144 students, 13% were Māori. Student learning opportunities are well supported by the extensive facilities that are available. A respectful and inclusive tone amongst students and adults is evident.

A new principal was appointed in 2013. Soon after he arrived, extensive community-wide consultation about future learning priorities for students took place. Good learner attributes were identified that are now a focus for teaching and learning.

Since 2013, three key initiatives to improve outcomes for students, have built on past developments. These involve:

  • enhancing relationships to promote learning
  • extending the cultural competency of teachers to respond more effectively to Māori learners
  • linking current e-Learning initiatives, to better support future learner needs.

Students are engaged in a wide range of cultural, sporting, leadership and service activities. These activities successfully contribute to a sense of belonging and achievement. A recently introduced house system provides further impetus to this. Students’ involvement in meaningful leadership roles is supported and valued.

2 Learning

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

Teachers and senior managers have continued to increase their use of achievement information to make positive changes to student learning.

In Years 9 and 10, literacy, mathematics and other data is used to identify learning needs, show achievement in relation to curriculum levels and in some cases consider progress. Senior leaders identify the need to more consistently respond to achievement information across the junior curriculum.

Each year, approximately 80% of students leaving school achieve at least National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2. This is similar to national rates for comparable schools. As a group, Māori students in the school achieve at a lower level than their peers.

Since the June 2012 ERO report there has been a significant improvement in NCEA Level 1 achievement. In 2014, it was well above similar schools. Achievement at Levels 2 and 3 has remained relatively stable. At all NCEA levels there has been a significant increase in the proportion of certificates gained with merit and excellence endorsements. Twelve students gained New Zealand Scholarships across nine subjects in 2014.

Female and male students now achieve NCEA Level 1 at similar levels. In Levels 2 and 3, females continue to achieve at a higher level than males.

Individual student achievement in NCEA is closely tracked throughout the year and additional support is provided for some students. In 2015, the tracking process is increasing the robustness of follow-up to support those students at risk of not achieving.

Since the previous ERO report, raising overall Māori engagement and achievement has been a priority. A schoolwide focus is evident. In 2014, there were gains in junior literacy achievement for Māori and there was an improvement in Māori achievement at NCEA Level 1. The focus is now on building on these gains and raising achievement at Levels 2 and 3.

A revised process for reporting to parents provides more timely and meaningful information on student achievement and next steps. It contributes to parents being better informed and able to actively support their child’s learning.

Next steps for the board, principal and staff are to:

  • continue to build the extent to which data for Years 9 and 10 is used to monitor student progress, particularly for those students needing to accelerate their learning
  • ensure board, department and teacher targeting is focused on identified students across the school who are unlikely to achieve at expected levels.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum caters well for the strengths, interests and needs of most students.

The Good Learner Profile identifies the attributes necessary to prepare learners for the future. The aim of being resilient, collaborative, curious, self-managing, focused and a critical thinker guides learning, teaching and relationships with each other. Further unpacking of the profile should assist learning experiences to be more clearly linked to the desired outcomes for students.

In Years 9 and 10, programmes are guided by The New Zealand Curriculum and from Year 11, predominantly by the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. A range of subjects is offered to meet students’ interests and needs. Multi-level courses, use of external providers and learning support initiatives cater for students at risk of leaving without achieving NCEA Level 2. Available advice and guidance contributes to clarifying possible pathways to future education and career aspirations.

Current curriculum developments include:

  • consideration of ways to make vocational pathways more explicit for all students as they move through the school
  • review of the timetable to be more responsive to all students’ strengths and needs.

As part of these developments, careers education and guidance should continue to be extended to ensure it effectively prepares all students to successfully transition between year levels and to further learning and work.

Students see teachers as very supportive of them as learners. In classrooms, ERO observed positive relationships between teachers and students contributing to purposeful learning. Teachers use a range of approaches to effectively promote engagement and reinforce learning. In many situations, students work collaboratively to achieve positive outcomes. Student success is regularly affirmed and steps for improvement appropriately shared.

Students use information and communication technologies (ICT) in ways that promote learning and digital literacy. A range of professional learning opportunities for staff focus on building understanding of the use of ICT to better prepare learners for the future.

Programmes customised to the varying requirements of students with more complex needs effectively promote academic and social development. Individual learning plans are developed and reviewed in partnership with parents.

A new approach to challenging and extending students identified as being gifted and talented in a range of areas was introduced in 2014. Students are successfully supported in cross-curricular and collaborative inquiry. The programme, that also includes mentoring, has been extended in 2015.

Processes supporting the transition of students and their families into the school have been extended. Increased responsiveness to individual student strengths and needs, and positive relationships with families and whānau have resulted.

Promoting and sustaining student wellbeing remains a whole-school priority. A range of practices and support networks effectively respond to students’ academic, pastoral and social needs. The focus on communication and early intervention is a significant contributor to the positive and caring tone. Strong connections are maintained with agencies working with young people in Kāpiti and the wider region.

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

The school has significantly improved its capability to promote educational success for Māori.

Senior leaders and trustees are committed to developing meaningful relationships with whānau and iwi, and to a school environment that reflects a genuine partnership with Māori. School surveys of groups of Māori students and whānau indicate they feel the school is supportive of them, as Māori.

Te Ako Patuia (The Good Learner) is a well-considered strategy for raising Māori student engagement and achievement. It involves ongoing consultation with whānau. Current initiatives build shared understandings and have the potential to accelerate progress.

Relationships with Whakarongotai Marae and Te Ati Awa ki Kāpiti continue to be strengthened. Student marae visits and consultation hui are regular activities.

Students’ language and culture are reflected in the curriculum and everyday school practice. The names of houses introduced in 2014 are based on iwi history of the rohe. A number of staff are enrolled in te reo Māori courses. Whole-staff professional learning is building understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori.

School analysis indicates good examples of relational and culturally responsive teaching based on manaakitanga and ako. Te Ako Patuia is supporting these practices to be more consistently reflected across the staff.

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.

Self review continues to develop schoolwide. A focus on improvement is evident. In some situations, expected outcomes of programmes and initiatives should be more clearly articulated. Extending the level of evaluation within reviews should assist programmes and initiatives to have greater impact.

Good systems and processes are in place to support and grow teaching practice. Teachers increasingly collect evidence from a range of sources to reflect on their impact on student progress. Professional learning is aligned with school priorities and builds shared understandings about improving outcomes for students.

The board of trustees has worked with the school community to refresh the school’s vision and strategic direction. Decision-making, as expected, gives priority to improving student outcomes. The varied skills and experience of board members are effectively used.

Trustees receive a range of useful information from the principal, school leaders, students and community. Senior achievement information is regularly shared and critically discussed. The board’s ability to respond to students most at risk of underachieving would be improved through:

  • greater use of Years 9 and 10 achievement information
  • regular reporting of the progress of target students.

Trustees are focused on promoting engagement and achievement of Māori students. They support initiatives to promote Māori educational success. Board practices are respectful of and value te ao Māori, whānau, hapū and iwi.

Recent comprehensive review and reframing of policies and procedures ensures they reflect identified best practice and recent school initiatives.

Leadership ensures school processes and practices effectively promote and support student engagement and wellbeing. Senior leaders’ roles are appropriately focused on portfolios critical to achieving school goals. They actively participate in and lead teacher learning and development.

The principal effectively drives improvement. He is student-focused and highly visible in the school community.

Community collaboration and partnerships are promoted to enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for students. A range of appropriate and effective strategies are used to communicate with and engage parents, whānau and the community.

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

The curriculum caters well for the needs, interests and strengths of most students. Positive relationships and a wide range of activities contribute to students’ sense of belonging, wellbeing and achievement. Leavers achieve at levels similar to comparable schools. The school is increasing its focus on accelerating the progress of students needing additional support to successfully achieve.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Paraparaumu

Ministry of Education profile number

248

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1144

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

78%
13%
  5%
  3%
  1%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

29 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
February 2010
November 2006