Rangitikei College - 24/09/2015

1 Context

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

Rangitikei College is a co-educational secondary school that provides for students from Marton and the surrounding rural area. The roll is 261, of which 38% identify as Māori.

The principal, who was appointed in 2012, will leave the college at the end of Term 3 2015, and a new principal will begin at the start of Term 4. A new deputy principal began in 2013.

Since the January 2013 ERO report, the college has been involved in several Ministry of Education (MoE) programmes to improve conditions for learning and support student wellbeing for success. These include: He Kākano, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), restorative practices, Secondary Student Achievement, and Te Kākahu – Building on Success.

The college has worked in a deliberate and strategic way to address areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO report, and has made good progress towards achieving better outcomes for students. There has been ongoing improvement in overall levels of achievement across the college.

2 Learning

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

The college has improved its use of data to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

A greater focus on collection and analysis of data has led to a better understanding of how it can be used to promote learning. Teachers more frequently monitor and reflect on the progress and achievement of all students.

Senior leaders and trustees set goals and targets to accelerate the learning of students at risk of underachievement. They are regularly provided with achievement information to track progress towards their goals and guide decision-making.

Teachers have increased their knowledge and understanding of the individual needs of students as they enter the college. Assessment information from primary schools is gathered at transition into Year 9. Teachers identify gaps in learning and make decisions about how to respond through teaching. Additional support is provided for students identified as at risk of underachieving.

Data indicates improved achievement and progress for many Year 9 and 10 students in literacy and numeracy. Some students show accelerated progress. The college's Junior Certificate of Attainment recognises and rewards students who show positive attitudes to learning and gain academic success.

There have been good increases in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results, with a significant improvement at Level 1. The numbers of students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 are close to the national figure for all schools and the MoE's 85% target. More students are gaining NCEA merit and excellence endorsements. Several students have gained New Zealand Scholarship awards over the last three years.

The achievement for Māori students has improved over recent years at a rate that matches their peers in the school. At NCEA Level 2, Māori student achievement is similar to levels for non-Māori. However school leaders are aware that, for some Māori students, the significant gap remains between their achievement and that of their peers.

Leaders acknowledge the need to further strengthen their use of data to support ongoing improvement by ensuring:

  • clearer identification of student needs and next steps for learning
  • that teaching strategies match student needs
  • there is consistent monitoring and deeper analysis of students' learning and progress to support evaluation.

3 Curriculum

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

The Rangitikei College curriculum is increasingly responsive to individual student needs and is developing its effectiveness to further promote successful outcomes.

A sustained focus on developing a positive environment for learning has led to an enhanced school culture and values that support success. Implementation of restorative practices has improved classroom tone and students' engagement. Students enthusiastically participate in classroom activities and in the life of the school.

Teachers know students well. They have focussed on developing supportive relationships with students and their families. Teachers prioritise student wellbeing and meet the holistic needs of individual students.

Students with additional needs are well catered for through a collaborative and intentional approach. The college has developed good relationships with external agencies and effectively responds to students with complex needs.

An alternative education unit successfully provides learning for a small group of students with a view to their reintegration into mainstream classes. Systems and processes for sharing information and monitoring progress to support these students with additional needs should continue to be strengthened.

Teachers collaborate effectively to develop subject options that reflect students’ strengths and interests. Students are able to follow traditional curriculum pathways through core subjects, with vocational and practical courses offered for NCEA Level 2. Smooth transition from school into further training, education or employment is well supported.

A mentoring programme is strengthening students' participation in making decisions about their learning. Increased guidance for goal setting is in place. Three-way conferences with parents, students and teachers promote family and whānau involvement in partnerships that enhance students’ progress and achievement. Provision supports students to reflect on their subject options, pathways and career choices. Leaders have well-considered plans for further development in this area.

Teachers are building students’ literacy skills across all learning areas. Authentic and relevant contexts for learning are increasingly integrated into teaching. Recent improvements in the provision and use of digital technologies have enhanced engagement.

Leaders agree that is timely to review how well the Rangitikei College curriculum aligns with and reflects The New Zealand Curriculum, with particular reference to the principles of: learning to learn; the Treaty of Waitangi; cultural diversity; and, future focus.

This should strengthen the college's understanding of how effective its curriculum is in promoting outcomes for all students, and provide direction for future curriculum development.

Higher expectations for teachers’ professional practice are in place. Teachers are well supported to reflect on and improve their practice. They are collaborative and collegial. An appropriate performance management and appraisal process has been implemented. All teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their practice and what makes the biggest difference to students' learning.

Reviewing and enhancing the college's effective teacher profile should strengthen:

  • expectations for differentiated teaching
  • the use of formative assessment strategies to further, meaningfully include students in the learning process.

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

Reflection of te ao Māori across the college curriculum and environment continues to be an area for development. Additional courses for students' curriculum choices include aspects of tikanga Māori.

Professional learning and development is providing a platform for staff to increase how effectively they respond to Māori students’ learning needs. The school seeks to continue to build positive partnerships with whānau and iwi.

To further promote Māori students’ success as Māori, teachers and leaders should:

  • develop clear expectations for how the curriculum promotes language, culture and identity
  • continue to build teachers’ cultural competencies.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Rangitikei College has developed systems, processes and practices and is well placed to continue to promote improvement for all students.

Leadership has provided a clear direction and articulated high expectations. A culture of professional support and development has been fostered. Teachers are collaborative and collegial. Systems and processes that support teachers to improve their practice have been strengthened. Leaders have successfully managed changes needed to build teachers’ capacity and improved their practice.

Board of trustees' processes for setting strategic direction and planning have improved. Trustees are better informed through more detailed reports on student achievement and the curriculum. Systems for board operations and decision-making have been strengthened.

Trustees are now able to monitor progress towards school priorities and goals. They seek to consult and involve all members of the school community in decision-making, identifying college priorities and developing a strategic direction.

Trustees are strong advocates for student wellbeing, safety and engagement. They acknowledge the need to further develop partnerships with whānau, aiga and the wider community. In appointing the new principal, trustees were aware of the need to sustain and build on improvements.

School leaders, teachers and trustees agree with ERO that they should continue to build their evaluative capacity and processes to better understand the effectiveness of their actions and the curriculum in improving outcomes for all students.

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

Rangitikei College has developed a positive environment for learning that has led to improved levels of engagement, achievement and progress for all students. The curriculum is increasingly responsive to individual learning needs. Strengthened systems, processes and practices mean the school is well placed to continue to promote ongoing improvement for all students.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Marton

Ministry of Education profile number

195

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

261

Gender composition

Male 50%, Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnic groups

38%
50%
  6%
  3%
  3%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

24 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2013
August 2009
June 2006