South Auckland Middle School - 29/08/2016

Findings

South Auckland Middle School is not yet meeting all the obligations outlined in the Agreement with the Crown. However it has demonstrated that it has the capability to continue to improve educational outcomes for all its students.

1 Context

South Auckland Middle School is a Partnership School|Kura Hourua (PSKH) located in Manurewa, Auckland. It caters for students from Years 7 to 10. The school's sponsor, the Villa Education Trust, also operates a private school and another partnership school.

As with all PSKH, it operates under a contractual arrangement with the Crown, to achieve results, maintain participation, keep students safe and act with probity. The school opened in 2014 and this is the first full ERO review of the school's performance in relation to the performance standards stipulated in its contract.

South Auckland Middle School aims to:

  • provide a window of opportunity for outstanding learning for Year 7 to Year 10 learners
  • play a significant part in preparing students for full and effective participation in their future academic, cultural, sporting, social and working lives
  • provide a learning environment that is thorough, innovative and able to be applied for each learner, through his or her individualised education.

The New Zealand Curriculum underpins the school day. There is a strong academic focus on core learning areas in the mornings and opportunities for success across the breadth of the curriculum in the afternoons. Students also undertake eight independent projects each year that integrate learning areas across the curriculum. Teachers support students' learning through related class activities and individual attention in independent learning time. The school aims to build personal character through applied Christian values.

The contract specifies that 75 percent of the school roll should be comprised of priority learners (Māori, Pacifica, children with special education needs and those from a low socio economic background). In the first quarter of 2016 priority learners made up 89 percent of the roll. There are two ORS funded children at the school.

The sponsor has attested that they have meet the requirement that 80 percent of the curriculum is taught by registered teachers with current practising certificates.   

2 Performance Standards and Results

The school is required to report on its outcomes against the Performance Standards in its Agreement with the Crown by 31 January each year.

Student achievement

The school's data for 2015 show that for students in Years 7 and 8:

  • 72 % of students were at and above the National Standard in reading
  • 73% of students were at and above the National Standard in writing
  • 70% of students were at and above the National Standard in mathematics.

The Ministry of Education has agreed to work with the Villa Education Trust to develop additional measures to demonstrate student progress that will accurately show value added across students' current set of ability and measures for Years 9 and 10.

Student engagement

The performance standard for student engagement has not been met. In 2015 three students were suspended and one student was excluded. In each case a careful process was followed to involve the family and inform the Ministry of Education as required.

The performance standard for student attendance has not been met. There were a high number of unjustified absences in the fourth term from a specific group of students. School processes for monitoring student attendance are thorough and focus on engaging with families.  

3 Sustainability and future focus

To what extent does this school have the capability to assess and improve educational outcomes for students?

The principal and staff are working with an external facilitator to develop worthwhile targets that that will allow them to ascertain students' progress and achievement over time. The school is continuing to improve systems and processes for making judgements about individual student's achievement in relation to the National Standards. Teachers are using standardised tools to help assess students' achievement in reading and mathematics. The facilitator is also supporting teachers to evaluate achievement in writing across the curriculum. Systems are in place to track the extent to which student achievement is accelerated as students progress through the school.

Teachers across the Villa Education Trust schools work collaboratively to moderate students' work to bring greater consistency to their overall assessment judgements. Teachers evaluate students' engagement and achievement through their work on projects designed for each year level of schooling. The tasks included in the projects that students undertake provide the framework for teaching and learning across the breadth of The New Zealand Curriculum. Teachers could consider how they can use assessment information more specifically to target teaching to meet the particular needs of learners where accelerated progress is needed.

Students spoken to by ERO appreciated the support and encouragement that teachers give them to complete tasks. Students are highly engaged in their learning and respond positively to the challenges inherent in the programme. The timetable structure enables students to benefit from extended time in physical and cultural activities that expand their experiences. Involvement in extension activities across the Villa schools, such as an overseas trip, helps to build student engagement and partnerships with families and whānau.

School leaders have clear goals for student success and are demonstrating progress towards them. Ensuring that students are well prepared for the next stage of their education remains a key goal, both in terms of academic achievement and attitudes towards learning. The school is successfully building collaborative partnerships with parents to better support their children's learning. A next step could be to use internal evaluation more deliberately to consider the effectiveness of programmes and interventions.

4  Statutory / Legal obligations

The school has attested that it has met all its legal and contractual obligations.

The school has made good use of the Wellbeing@school survey to inform decisions about improving school operations. Students rated the caring nature of the school culture highly and reported positively on their experiences in the school.

ERO verified the school’s evidence of student safety. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school has taken all reasonable steps to keep student safe.

5 Conclusion

South Auckland Middle School is not yet meeting all the obligations outlined in the Agreement with the Crown. However it has demonstrated that it has the capability to continue to improve educational outcomes for all its students. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

690

School type

Partnership School|Kura Hourua (Years 7 to 10)

School roll

148

Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Cook Island Māori
Tongan
Indian
Niue
African
other

32%
11%
27%
  8%
  8%
  3%
  3%
  2%
  6%

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

29 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

New School Assurance Review

October 2014