Stratford High School - 11/06/2019

Findings

Stratford High School has been involved in a one-to-two year longitudinal ERO review since May 2017 to improve its overall performance and build its self-review capability.

Processes and practices are more successfully contributing to improved student outcomes.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Stratford High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Stratford High School caters for students in Years 9 to 13 from Stratford, Eltham and the surrounding rural areas in Central Taranaki. The current roll of 493, includes 122 students who identify as Māori.

The valued outcomes stated by the school are to provide a safe and inclusive environment that promotes personal growth and values that foster concern and respect. The HEART values – ‘Honest (Pono), Excel (Hiranga), Aroha (Care), Responsible (Haepapa) and Tolerant (Manawanui)’ are prioritised.

The 2019 strategic and annual plan identifies priorities for improvement in relation to achievement, curriculum and partnerships with whānau and the community. The annual targets focus on accelerating progress of Year 9 boys in reading and improving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in Year 11 and 12 for Māori and boys.

The school supports a number of students with high and complex needs through its Te Rangimarie class. The school also oversees attached units for Alternative Education and Teen Parents (Whaimana Ako).

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

The school is part of the Central Taranaki Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Since the May 2017 ERO report, the school has worked alongside ERO to respond to the areas for improvement identified. Professional development has focused on extending practices that better support learners and building senior and middle leadership capability. There are two new members of the senior leadership team since the 2017 ERO review.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • Raising achievement in Years 9 to 13, particularly for Māori and male students.

  • Reporting to the board of trustees with a greater emphasis on students at risk of not achieving.

  • Senior and middle leadership to more effectively drive improved learner outcomes.

  • Extending the use of Years 9 and 10 progress information to determine the impact of literacy and numeracy programmes and teaching practice.

  • Using internal evaluation more effectively to review the impact of systems and practices, particularly in relation to those students who are underachieving.

  • Policy, procedures and practices related to student safety and wellbeing.

Progress

Improved processes are contributing to improved and more equitable student outcomes. Teachers an leaders are being supported to strengthen practices and have a greater impact on learning.

Since 2017, NCEA results have improved at Level 1 and Level 3. Outcomes are similar to national comparisons at Level 1. Māori and boys achievement in Level 1 have improved. Further reducing the overall data disparity between Māori and non-Māori and between boys and girls at each level of NCEA remains a significant area of focus the school is yet to successfully address.

At Years 9 and 10, standardised assessments are used to show achievement and progress in literacy and numeracy. Data indicates accelerated progress for some students who enter the school below curriculum expectation. Teachers and leaders have strengthened their capability to use data more effectively to evaluate the impact of teaching and support programmes. This practice should also assist leaders and teachers to clearly identify strategies that have the most impact on learner progress in the junior school, particularly for Māori and boys.

A greater focus on reducing disparity and promoting individual student progress is evident. Trustees are more focused on responding to the progress of at risk students. The annual plan has been strengthened to provide appropriate direction and identify priorities for improvement. Broadened curriculum options in the senior school, including vocational pathways, are effectively responding to the specific needs and interests of individual students.

Increased targeting has successfully supported some students to achieve improved outcomes and reduced disparity in some areas. Processes continue to be refined to ensure teaching and additional actions respond more effectively to the needs of targeted students. Ensuring more consistent, schoolwide tracking of at risk students should promote greater effectiveness and improved outcomes for them.

The Year 9 and 10 curriculum is more closely aligned to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum. Reporting to parents is being enhanced through showing achievement and progress based on curriculum levels.

A re-developed appraisal process is more effectively supporting teacher development and is compliant with Teaching Council requirements. An improved approach to teaching as inquiry is strengthening teacher understanding of the links between deliberate teaching approaches and improved student outcomes. To further strengthen the appraisal process, an increased focus on leadership roles and the quality of feedback and feedforward is needed.

Policies and procedures relating to student care, health and safety are being reviewed in association with an external provider. The school is aligning the documented processes with practices in place. Two priority areas for review and implementation are:

  • bullying prevention programmes and a schoolwide approach to managing bullying behaviour

  • practices and procedures to ensure the safety of students in education outside the classroom activities (EOTC).

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is:

  • developing its capacity to reflect, plan and act using evidence that includes student achievement and wellbeing information

  • increasing use of student data to inform decision making promoting wellbeing and learning

  • supporting middle leaders to increase the depth and quality of curriculum area review and evaluation

  • developing a cycle of planning, improvement and self review

  • building capability to sustain and continue to improve student engagement, progress and achievement.

To support improved student outcomes leaders need to:

  • establish goals and direction to further promote equity and excellence

  • ensure effective teaching across the school

  • build collective capacity and understanding of effective evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement

  • ensure a supportive environment conducive to engagement, learning and wellbeing.

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.

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should ensure:

  • health and safety issues are regularly monitored and reported as part of the principal’s report

  • the annual report is accessible to the public

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students.

Conclusion

Stratford High School has been involved in a one-to-two year longitudinal ERO review since May 2017 to improve its overall performance and build its self-review capability.

Processes and practices are more successfully contributing to improved student outcomes.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Stratford High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

11 June 2019

About the School

Location

Stratford, Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number

179

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

493

Gender composition

Male 54% Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

25%
69%
1%
5%

Special Features

Whaimana Ako (Teen Parent Unit) Alternative Education

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

11 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2017
May 2014
November 2010