Rotorua Girls' High School - 23/09/2014

Findings

Students benefit from the extensive pastoral care and academic support systems. They have access to a broad range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. School culture is vibrant, inclusive, and reflects Te Ao Māori. The recently appointed, but experienced, principal is strengthening the focus on quality teaching and learning.

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?

Rotorua Girls High School is a state secondary school catering for girls in Years 9 to 13 from Rotorua city and its surrounding areas. The current roll is 622, of which 74% identify as Māori, and most affiliate to Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru. There is a significant decrease in the roll since the 2009 ERO review. The school undertook a Curriculum and Pastoral Needs Analysis (CAPNA) process at the end of 2011 and again in 2013, to manage the required reduction in staffing.

A new principal took up her position at the start of 2014. The previous long serving principal retired at the end of 2013. The roles and responsibilities of the three deputy principals in the senior leadership team have been restructured.

A new board chair was appointed after the 2013 trustee elections. The board has taken effective steps to improve the financial position of the school, and made considerable investment in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and resources. The school Charter emphasises the values of aroha, manaaki, whakawhanaungatanga and pono which underpin the positive, vibrant school culture. Recent professional development has led to the promotion of the “Four A’s” of Always be here, safe, respectful and prepared. This has complemented the behaviour management plan, which is now showing improvement in attendance and behaviour statistics.

School leadership responded to recommendations in the 2009 ERO report to strengthen the leadership of learning by clarifying the roles within the senior leadership team, heads of faculty and deans. In addition, Ngāti Whakaue iwi funded school initiatives continue in the area of literacy.

2 Learning

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

The school is making good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. In particular, achievement information is effectively used to identify, support and monitor the progress of priority learners.

Students are tested prior to entry using a standardised assessment tool. This information indicates that a significant proportion of students enter Year 9 below nationally expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. In addition the school gathers information on student learning styles which is shared with teachers and used to inform aspects of planning and practice. The school uses data to place students in class and to identify those who are in need of additional pastoral and academic support. These students benefit from a range of literacy interventions generously supported by local iwi funding. These programmes are planned to respond to identified needs and carefully evaluated.

The school has strengthened its focus on promoting the achievement and progress of students in Years 9 and 10. It has implemented a Foundation Certificate of Education Achievement (FCEA) for Year 9 students and a Junior Certificate of Educational Achievement (JCEA) for Year 10 students. These certificates allocate points within each curriculum area and for extra curricula contributions. The curriculum area assessments are aligned with curriculum levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC). Annual student progress targets are expressed in terms of the numbers of students achieving these certificates. Student progress is carefully monitored by staff and shared with parents and whānau. School data indicates that a high proportion of students make expected progress or better through Years 9 and 10.

In Years 11 to 13 student progress towards achieving the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is comprehensively tracked by subject teachers and pastoral care staff. This information is shared with students, parents and whānau and used for academic goal-setting. Heads of Faculty provide detailed annual reports to school management on student progress, particularly at Years 11 to 13.

The board receives regular reports on student achievement levels and progress and uses this information to inform resourcing decisions and for reporting to the community. NCEA data for 2013 shows an increasing proportion of students, including Māori are gaining Levels 1 and 2, while the overall achievement rate remains slightly below similar schools. The same data indicates high proportions of students including Māori gaining the required NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy credits.

Pastoral care staff continue to carefully monitor student attendance and retention rates and report them to the board and community. This data shows that attendance rates are improving and have reached 90% overall for Term 1, 2014. While the proportion of students retained to senior levels is increasing over time the retention of Māori students remains less than non-Māori. NCEA data on the qualifications of school leavers shows that an increasing proportion (74% in 2013) achieved Level 2 and 60% gained University Entrance.

3 Curriculum

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

The Rotorua Girls High curriculum provides a broad range of academic and applied knowledge courses, and extra curricula opportunities for students. This curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning and their future pathways to higher study, training or work. There are high levels of student participation and success in sporting, cultural, leadership and social experiences which are regularly acknowledged and celebrated by the school. Students are supported to develop a strong sense of belonging through many shared school and house events and celebrations. A feature is the wrap around pastoral care provided by staff and supported through the school Wellness Centre. Effective use is made of external agencies to further support students and their whānau.

Teachers successfully establish affirming and respectful relationships in their classrooms, which are settled and productive learning environments. ERO observed high levels of student engagement. Examples of good practice included:

  • sharing the purpose of learning particularly through learning intentions
  • revisiting prior learning often through 'Do Now' exercises
  • using authentic and relevant contexts for learning
  • student self management of projects supported through reference to the Key Competencies of the TNZC
  • increasing use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning.

Professional learning for teachers is currently focussed on promoting increased reflection on practice. Regular weekly meetings for teachers encourage the sharing of effective teaching and learning strategies, and the use of student achievement information to inform planning and curriculum delivery. In addition, the recently developed performance management system is supporting these priorities in the development of professional practice.

School and curriculum leaders recognise and ERO agrees that there is further development to be undertaken to ensure the consistent implementation of agreed good practice. This includes literacy across the curriculum, strengthening the diagnostic use of data, and formative assessment practices, which are likely to increase student ownership of their learning.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. Students’ language, culture and identity as Te Arawa are affirmed by the school.

Māori students experience and benefit from:

  • many examples of strong leadership by Māori across all levels of the school, including the principal, and a high proportion of senior and curriculum leaders and students
  • the considerable number of staff who are Māori and have long standing links with the school and its community
  • significant opportunities for participation and success in Māori performing arts
  • regular involvement in local hapū and iwi events
  • the ongoing support and involvement of local kaumātua and kuia
  • protocols that strongly reflect the reo and tikanga of Te Arawa
  • regular consultation with and support from the Whānau Support Group
  • the support given by the school to strategic education initiatives of Te Arawa.

School leaders and ERO agree that the next step for the school is to review the consistency and sustainability of daily practices, which promote te reo and tikanga Māori across the school.

Success for Pacific as Pacific

Initiatives to affirm the identities, cultures and languages of Pacific students are coordinated by a key staff member with the support of her family and the Pacific community. She has been pivotal in seeing the growth and success of the Pacific cultural group. She has coordinated mentoring and tutoring for students to support their academic learning and progress.

School leaders recognise and ERO agrees that sustaining these initiatives for the nearly 10% of the student roll who have some affiliation to Pacific cultures is important.

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. Factors supporting this are set out below.

The board has strong iwi representation and maintains an active interest in ensuring the effective support for all students and their families. The well-led board continues to seek external expertise and advice as and when necessary to support their governance roles and responsibilities. They also demonstrate strong ongoing support for the principal, staff and students.

The principal brings established regional, professional and iwi links and support to her role. She also brings previous experience as a principal, and through her leadership, is actively promoting the empowerment of staff at all levels, the development of professional practice, and the creation of positive conditions for learning.

Teachers and staff work collaboratively and a high proportion give generously of their time and energy to support pastoral care and to facilitate extra curricula activities for students.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are actively involved in supporting the academic, cultural and sporting life of the school.

There are extensive self review practices that involve senior managers, curriculum leaders, students and community members. These practices have the potential to guide school improvement and benefit education outcomes for students.

The board, school leaders and ERO agree on the following priorities for development:

Through a process of community consultation, review the school Charter with particular regard to the school’s philosophy, mission and vision. This should include consideration of the ‘Kia Tū Rangatira ai’ framework for success as Māori from a Te Arawa perspective, as a foundation for curriculum review. This is likely to strengthen the school’s shared sense of purpose and direction that responds to current student, parent, iwi and community aspirations.

Build productive partnerships with contributing schools that support greater sharing of assessment information, and allows the school to more effectively build on students’ prior learning.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under the section 238F of the Education Act 1089. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school.

International students benefit from the extensive pastoral care and academic support systems already in place at the school. Additional language support is available and appropriate curriculum courses made available. International students benefit from the school’s vibrant and inclusive culture, and the range of sporting, cultural and social activities available.

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

Students benefit from the extensive pastoral care and academic support systems. They have access to a broad range of academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities. School culture is vibrant, inclusive, and reflects Te Ao Māori. The recently appointed, but experienced, principal is strengthening the focus on quality teaching and learning.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 September 2014

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

153

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

622

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

South East Asian

Indian

Cook Island Māori

Fijian

Samoan

Other Pacific People

Other Asian

Other European

Other

74%

14%

3%

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

23 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2009

June 2006

December 2002