Queen Elizabeth College - 16/11/2016

Findings

The curriculum provides a wide range of academic, vocational and work based options for students, including a te reo Māori bilingual class in Year 9 and 10. Promoting student health and wellbeing is a priority. Strengthening leadership to progress the college's key priorities should further enhance outcomes for students.

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?

Queen Elizabeth College is a coeducational secondary school located in Palmerston North catering for students in Years 9 to 15. Of the 208 students enrolled, 52% are Māori and 8% are Pacific.

The college operates a junior and senior Service Academy. Reo Rua provides a bilingual option for students and whānau in Years 9 and 10.

The college is involved in a number of Ministry of Education initiatives. Staff are in their third year of implementing Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L). Recently, the college has finalised a change and improvement plan with a Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner focused on strengthening assessment and literacy practice in Year 10.

2 Learning

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

The college uses achievement information well, making a positive difference to students’ progress, achievement and engagement. Leaders are currently seeking to develop teacher assessment practice in Years 9 and 10. A well-considered, comprehensive plan identifies needed improvements. Ensuring actions are fully implemented should strengthen the responsiveness of teaching and impact positively in meeting the specific needs of students.

Data shows most students begin Year 9 requiring accelerated progress to meet the expected curriculum level for their age. Leaders gather achievement information at the beginning and end of each year to show student progress in reading and numeracy. They recognised in 2015 that data lacked reliability and made changes to address this in 2016. Improving assessment practices should strengthen the dependability, analysis and use of data for teaching and learning in Years 9 and 10.

Many students achieve National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications and results have improved since 2013. In 2015, NCEA Level 2 achievement is comparable to that in similar schools nationally. Close monitoring of student progress during the year occurs to assist staff to determine the specific needs of individual students. Learning plans, created for senior students, provide useful direction to track progress and achievement.

Achievement of qualifications by Māori girls has improved, showing high levels of retention at school and similarly positive NCEA results. The priority for the school is to achieve equity in the retention at school and qualifications gained for Māori boys.

Setting targets explicitly focused on the students requiring accelerated achievement and implementing relevant actions should enable better information to be gathered about the effectiveness of responses to the needs of these learners.

A well-structured mentoring and tracking initiative, Poutama was introduced in 2015. Students discuss their progress and achievement, set goals and receive guidance. Developing a purposeful relationship between the college, parents and whānau is a key component of this initiative. Some review of the structure of this initiative has taken place. It is timely for leaders to further evaluate the impact and benefits of this initiative for students, to ensure it achieves the desired intent.

3 Curriculum

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

The college provides a broad curriculum which aims to promote students’ academic and vocational pathways, and work based options. Leaders and staff have identified curriculum changes that are needed to build on success and strengthen responses to the needs and aspirations of students. The proposed curriculum changes should also strengthen the alignment between the junior and senior curriculum.

The Year 9 and 10 curriculum suitably prioritises numeracy and literacy. Regular reviews of the junior curriculum incorporate the views of students. This has contributed to the introduction of a junior Service Academy option and a junior enterprise class. These changes strengthen learning pathways into the senior school and show high levels of student involvement.

Careers information is timely and accessible. The future pathways programme is comprehensive, providing meaningful ongoing training, vocational and work-based opportunities for students.

Pacific students' identity is suitably reflected in events, experiences and curriculum contexts. Leaders in the college, and former students, guide practices supporting students’ performance at Pasifika Fusion, Manawatu.

Positive student wellbeing is a priority for the college. Organisational structures are well designed to identify and respond to the pastoral needs of individuals. Extensive partnerships with external agencies ensure these needs are addressed. Students are suitably involved in leadership opportunities. Their views are valued by school leaders and trustees.

PB4L values underpin the college's expectations and interactions. Interactions and relationships are generally positive and respectful between teachers, students and their peers. Information gathered from students and staff identifies that embedding of PB4L is required at all levels of the school.

Improving the quality of teaching is a priority for the college. In some classes, teachers use a range of well-considered strategies that are aligned to the college's expectations for effective practice. Leaders recognise that increasing responsive teaching and learning practices schoolwide is required, to meet the diverse learning needs of individual students.

Professional learning and development for teachers shows a clear alignment to the college's identified priorities for strengthening literacy and assessment practice. The college is building leadership capability to ensure improved practice is achieved and sustainable.

Review of appraisal in 2015 and the introduction of teaching as inquiry provide useful processes to strengthen the monitoring, feedback and inquiry skills of staff. Greater rigour in the application of these processes is required to achieve their desired outcomes.

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

Shared values promote an inclusive environment and sense of belonging for Māori learners. They are well represented in leadership roles and participate meaningfully in all aspects of college life.

Reo Rua provides a te reo Māori bilingual option for students in Years 9 and 10. Inclusive relationships between teachers, students and whānau promote a positive and collaborative learning environment. Learning encompasses authentic experiences recognising students' culture, language and identity.

Some students enter college with te reo Māori proficiency. Appropriate learning pathways are provided for these students to access achievement standards in te reo Māori at NCEA Levels 1 and 2 in Year 10.

As a next step, leaders should consider evaluating the impact of Reo Rua students transitioning into mainstream classes at Year 11. This should help to identify the practices that support or limit the ongoing achievement and engagement of the students.

Comprehensive department reviews undertaken in 2016 made useful recommendations to strengthen capability and curriculum practice in 2017. Providing opportunities for students to achieve NCEA success through their involvement in kapa haka and developing the cultural competencies of teachers across the school are well-considered next steps.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The college is strengthening practices to sustain and improve its performance.

Leaders and trustees have identified key priorities to further extend curriculum provision, strengthen the use of assessment, build teacher practice and improve student attendance. Improvements are appropriately planned for, to build on the college's current successes and to focus on achieving equity and excellence for all students.

Many teachers undertake leadership roles. Staff are reflective, collaborative and have identified key areas for curriculum development. Building professional leadership to guide and facilitate ongoing improvement should strengthen achievement of these planned goals. Specific focus should be given to:

  • robustly implementing and developing a shared understanding of the teacher appraisal process
  • increasing teachers' capability to inquire effectively into the impact of their practice
  • improving the use of assessment information, especially at Years 9 and 10
  • formalising induction processes for newly graduated teachers and undertaking evaluation to determine the quality of this provision.

Trustees collaboratively undertake their governance roles and responsibilities. Succession planning for new trustees is well managed. Regular reporting supports the board's decision making. Strategic planning goals are clear and reflect the college's priorities.

Strengthening target setting in annual planning and increasing the quality of evaluative information to the board should provide a stronger basis for evaluation of overall board and school effectiveness. Considering Hāutu – Māori Cultural Responsiveness Tool should support trustees' strategic considerations and focus on raising the achievement of Māori boys.

The college develops extensive and purposeful partnerships with other educational institutions and community networks. These practices support the health and wellbeing of students. Recent discussions regarding the establishment of a Community of Learning are an opportunity to work with other local schools to recognise their shared achievement priorities and work towards improved learner outcomes.

The college recognises that improving internal evaluation is an ongoing next step. It has developed useful processes to strengthen these processes and practices. Changes made, show that college personnel have collectively established clear priorities. Increased knowledge about evaluation should provide greater clarity about the quality of teaching practice, initiatives and processes.

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 provides a wide range of academic, vocational and work based options for students, including a te reo Māori bilingual class in Year 9 and 10. Promoting student health and wellbeing is a priority. Strengthening leadership to progress the college's key priorities should further enhance outcomes for students.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 November 2016

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

201

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

208

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

52%

32%

8%

8%

Special features

Bilingual Class - Years 9 and 10 Service Academy

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

16 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

November 2010

March 2008