Putaruru College - 30/09/2014

Findings

Putaruru College has worked with external facilitators during the past two years to address aspects of management. This has led to improvements in the leadership of departments and teaching practice. Trustees will seek training and ongoing external support to assist school management to provide continued cohesive professional leadership.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Putaruru College is located in the township of Putaruru and caters for students in Years 7 to 13. The experienced board of trustees have a range of relevant skills and continue to be committed to school development and improving student engagement and achievement.

Since the last ERO review in 2012 the roll has increased to 407 and there have been significant changes in staffing, including several new heads of departments. The school has received support and guidance from external facilitators employed by the Ministry of Education and the board of trustees. The focus of this support has been to address priorities indentified in ERO’s 2012 report. The school now ensures that parents of students in Years 7 and 8 are reported to twice a year in relation to National Standards. New behaviour management initiatives are also being developed.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Following ERO’s review in 2012, the following priorities were identified.

The board must ensure that school leadership develop and implement:

  • a coordinated school curriculum framework
  • improved levels of engagement and achievement by all students
  • structures for collection, analysis and use of school wide student achievement
  • systems to address the performance of several heads of department.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should address the following compliance issues:

  • continue to address issues of attendance, stand-downs and suspensions
  • ensure that the school reports twice a year to parents in relation to National Standards.

Progress

A coordinated school curriculum framework

Individual departments have developed curriculum frameworks that include expectations for planning and assessment. Department teams have used assessment to identify priority groups and provided extra support for these students.

The next step is to develop the school curriculum framework along with guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning school wide. This framework needs to link to the vision, principles and key competencies outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC) and incorporate local context. It is important that there is a clear rationale behind the design of the curriculum, and that it is developed in consultation with students, staff and parents.

Improved levels of engagement and achievement by all students

ERO observed improved levels of student engagement in classrooms. Positive relationships among teachers and students were observed and learning experiences related to students’ prior knowledge. Classrooms were generally settled and teachers were working to build and maintain a positive, constructive learning environment.

Teachers use their knowledge of their students and achievement information to decide on the teaching content, to identify student strengths, and to plan programmes for students requiring learning support. They meet regularly in departments and across year groups to share their knowledge and understanding of successful teaching strategies. Teachers are increasingly providing sufficient and effective opportunities for students to engage in purposeful learning.

School data shows an improvement in Years 7 and 8 levels of achievement in National Standards and National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 2 and 3. However, these improvements are not yet evident at Years 9 and 10 and at NCEA Level 1.

Structures for collection, analysis and use of school-wide student achievement

The school gathers and collates a range of assessment data from standardised assessment tools and other assessment sources in relation to National Standards and NCEA. Departments and teachers have strengthened their collection and analysis of achievement information to better inform their teaching programmes.

There remains a need for senior management to better analyse this information in order to clearly identify school-wide trends and patterns of achievement for decision making and reporting. This should enable school leaders to make comparisons with national expectations and previous groups of students at the school.

Systems to address the performance of several heads of department

The principal has effectively established a new head of department team since the last ERO review in 2012. The team has received external professional development that has resulted in a positive sense of direction and collegiality. They have worked hard to develop a team approach to decision making school wide, and are providing strong leadership for staff within individual departments.

Heads of department have developed improved systems and practices for departmental organisation and promoting the evaluation of learning programmes. They have identified the importance of using student knowledge in learning experiences and a school wide need to raise aspects of literacy. Teachers are expected to target students requiring extra learning support with appropriate programmes. Departmental goals are aligned to the school charter and targets.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The board of trustees continue to work to improve student learning outcomes by seeking and providing valuable and appropriate professional learning opportunities for staff. This has enabled the principal and staff to identify and lead a number of initiatives aimed at raising student achievement. These initiatives are at the early stages of implementation and yet to be fully evaluated.

While the board of trustees and staff have worked to address the agreed priorities from the previous ERO review, the school is not yet well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There remains a need to review and strengthen the following areas:

  • The implementation of a robust appraisal system for all staff.
  • The effectiveness of the senior leadership team to provide cohesive professional leadership.
  • A consistent approach to the implementation of behaviour management and improved pastoral care systems.
  • Consistent school-wide expectations for teaching and learning.
  • The analysis and use of school-wide student achievement information.
  • The review and evaluation of school initiatives.
  • Ensure Putaruru College curriculum is linked to TNZC and developed in consultation with staff, students and parents.

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.

The board of trustees and management need to address two areas of non-compliance:

  • Implement policies and procedures for the appraisal of staff.(s 77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement)
  • Comply with the requirements to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.(Section 60B education Act 1989)

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should address the number of stand downs and suspensions currently being given.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the board of trustees seek external support to assist the principal to work with his senior leadership team to clearly define shared roles and responsibilities. This will assist them to work as an effective leadership team to meet agreed goals that should bring about improved school operations and direction.

Conclusion

Putaruru College has worked with external facilitators during the past two years to address aspects of management. This has led to improvements in the leadership of departments and teaching practice. Trustees will seek training and ongoing external support to assist school management to provide continued cohesive professional leadership.

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

30 September 2014

About the School

Location

Putaruru

Ministry of Education profile number

494

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

407

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

South East Asian

Other

59%

37%

2%

2%

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

30 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

October 2012

November 2009

September 2008