Taieri College - 26/11/2019

School Context

Taieri College is a co-educational composite school providing education for students in Years 7 to 13.  The college has a roll of 1104 students, 12% of whom identify as Māori.  The school regularly hosts a small number of international students.

In addition to the New Zealand Curriculum the school offers industry training programmes in engineering and primary industries.

The school’s vision for students is that they become confident, connected, life-long learners who are positively involved in society. Strategic priorities to achieve this include:

  • support for student wellbeing and engagement, including through positive behaviour management practices
  • providing a future-focused curriculum
  • promoting teacher capability to respond to the diverse learning needs of students
  • promoting bicultural understandings and culturally responsive practice
  • encouraging student involvement in a range of school contexts.

The school has achievement targets focused on supporting Māori student achievement and pride in cultural identity, accelerating the learning of those students not yet at expected curriculum levels in Years 7 to 10 and maintaining National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 achievement rates.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement against New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in reading, writing, mathematics and social studies for students in Years 7 and 8
  • achievement against NZC levels in most learning areas for students in Years 9 and 10
  • achievement of senior students in all levels of NCEA, University Entrance and industry based training
  • achievement and rates of progress of all students identified as needing support to achieve at expected curriculum levels in Years 7 to 10
  • engagement and wellbeing
  • school leaver destinations.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is mostly effective in achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

School information for the past three years shows:

  • most students achieve success in NCEA at Levels 1 to 3 and the majority of students attempting it gain University Entrance
  • an increasing proportion of students achieving NCEA Levels 2, 3 and University Entrance over time
  • students participating in industry training programmes achieve relevant qualifications and transition successfully to employment and further training
  • the majority of Years 9 and 10 students achieve at curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics and in other learning areas
  • a large majority of Years 7 and 8 students achieve at expected levels in reading and mathematics with a slightly smaller majority achieving well in writing
  • high levels of attendance in all year levels
  • improved levels of student engagement and the school’s positive culture for learning
  • most students report a sense of belonging and social, physical and emotional safety and the majority report positive relationships with other students.

NCEA information shows parity in academic outcomes for Māori in NCEA Levels 2 and 3 and for University Entrance. School information identifies disparity for some Māori in core curriculum areas in Years 9 and 10 and at NCEA Level 1. A current achievement target is in place to address this. Recently the school has not analysed Year 7 and 8 learning information to know about equity of outcomes for all groups of students.

NCEA information shows some disparity between the performance of boys and girls in Levels 1 to 3. This reflects, in part, the number of boys choosing to pursue industry-based learning and following pathways to work. School information identifies some underachievement for boys in writing in Years 9 and 10.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effective in accelerating the learning of students who need this to be able to access the curriculum at appropriate levels. School information for 2017 and 2018 shows that in most areas a majority of identified students in Years 7 to 10 made significant gains in their learning in reading, writing and mathematics and in the development of science capabilities. Almost all senior students identified as needing extra support to achieve NCEA Level 1 and 2 were successful.

Further analysis of the information on students’ rates of progress is needed to know how equitably the school’s strategies to accelerate learning are working for all groups of students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees and leaders are strongly focused on enacting and achieving the school’s vision, goals and targets for student achievement and wellbeing. They are effectively creating and sustaining the conditions for ongoing school improvement and positive outcomes for students.

Leaders have set clear, consistent school-wide expectations for practices designed to maximise student engagement, opportunity to learn and sense of belonging in the college. Teachers have been appropriately supported to meet these expectations with professional development.

The school’s curriculum responds very well to the diverse interests, needs and abilities of students. Teachers are actively building and sharing their knowledge of students as learners. They make very good use of a wide range of learning information to know about student’s progress, achievement and developing capabilities. They are using this knowledge increasingly well to develop specific strategies to improve student achievement and engagement.

The senior curriculum provides very well for students’ diverse learning pathways. These include well-established and successful industry training and work experience programmes that effectively support students’ transitions to work. The school has reviewed its Year 9 and 10 curriculum and is in the process of implementing significant changes designed to better respond to student interests, provide more choice and raise engagement.

Students needing additional support are quickly identified and responded to through effective pastoral and academic monitoring systems. Each curriculum area has developed processes to identify and respond to students at risk of not achieving at expected levels. Early and ongoing communication with families about aspects of students’ engagement, wellbeing, progress and achievement supports timely intervention.

Students with high and complex needs are well supported to learn alongside their peers and with appropriate challenge. The diverse wellbeing needs of all students are met through a range of targeted programmes and individual support services. Students’ transitions into, through and on from the college are carefully considered and managed. Senior students are benefiting from strengthened academic mentoring to help them manage the challenges of NCEA.

Internal evaluation, review and inquiry have been strengthened and are supporting and sustaining improvement and innovation. The school wide focus on accelerating learning has resulted in increased collaboration and professional sharing, within and across learning areas, about what works to improve student engagement and achievement. Leaders and teachers are reflecting more as individuals and teams on the effectiveness of teaching practices and making responsive changes to courses, assessment programmes and practices.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

In addition to strengthened systems and practices for identifying and accelerating the learning of students who need this, leaders and teachers need to continue to build teachers’ capability to respond to diverse learning needs. This will support the embedding of high-quality pedagogy to support improved outcomes for all groups of students.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to build culturally responsive practices that support all students to feel a sense of belonging in the school. This should further contribute to the school’s inclusive culture.

Trustees and leaders need to ensure key internal evaluation activities explicitly identify outcomes for all groups of students and the effectiveness of strategies in addressing disparity. This should include the analysis of wellbeing and engagement information and information on the outcomes for students with special and additional needs.

3 Other Matters

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 section 238F of the Education Act 1989. Sixteen international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO evaluation.

The school has attested that it complies with the Code. The school has well considered practices for the induction and pastoral support of international students, both at school and in their homestays.

Learning programmes respond well to students’ English language and other curriculum learning needs and aspirations.

Students are well supported to participate in the life of the college. The school needs to strengthen reporting on the progress and achievement of international students to the board and to formalise processes for collecting student voice on their wellbeing and overall satisfaction.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management. The school could strengthen

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Taieri College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • leadership that collaboratively pursues and enacts the school’s goals and targets for excellence and equity
  • a broad curriculum that responds to the students’ diverse interests, needs, capabilities and pathways
  • effective systems and practices for identifying and responding to the needs of those students needing additional support to achieve success.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to build teachers’ capability to respond effectively to students’ diverse learning needs
  • continuing to build culturally responsive practices across the school to further affirm the culture, language and identity of all students in their learning
  • deepening the scrutiny and evaluation of equity across school programmes to know how well they are helping all students to achieve the school’s valued outcomes.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

26 November 2019

About the school

Location

Mosgiel

Ministry of Education profile number

495

School type

Composite (Years 7-15)

School roll

1104

Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
NZ European/Pākehā 79%
Asian 3%
Other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

26 November 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review August 2016
Education Review November 2012