Taieri College - 31/08/2016

Findings

Students at Taieri College are well provided for. Their learning is promoted through a collaborative and positive school culture. Significant building and other developments are improving teaching and learning. The school’s curriculum is broad and progressive. Wellbeing for staff and students is well supported. Extending analysis of the sufficiency of students’ progress should better inform teacher-inquiry practices, school-wide internal evaluation and reporting.

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?

Taieri College is a large, co-educational school providing education for students from Years 7 to 13 on the Taieri Plains. Students attend from all around this area. Roll numbers in the junior school (Years 7 and 8) have increased since the last ERO review, in 2012.

There has been a sustained school-wide focus on developing and embedding a positive school culture. Teachers work collaboratively and collegially for the benefit of all students. Students have pride in their school.

Since the 2012 ERO review, there have been significant changes to the senior leadership team, including a new principal and several changes to the deputy principals’ positions. The appointment of a new deputy principal is pending. Major building developments have been completed, including the administration block, library and some classrooms. More classrooms are planned. An increase in digital resources and up-graded technologies have improved aspects of administration and communication, as well as teaching and learning.

Significant progress has been made in many areas in response to the last ERO review. This includes:

  • improvement in the quality of relationships within the school
  • improved student engagement and the use of engagement information
  • redefinition and clarification of senior-leadership roles.

The school’s assessment information shows that achievement levels have been raised for some groups of students.

2 Learning

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

The school is using student achievement information increasingly well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students participate and achieve in a wide range of sporting, cultural and other activities.

Senior students’ achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) shows that:

  • at Levels I and 2, almost three quarters of Years 11 and 12 students have attained the certificate each year, for the last five years
  • increasing proportions of Year 13 students are achieving Level 3
  • the proportion of Māori students gaining Level 2 is similar to that of their peers
  • in 2015 most senior students gained their literacy and numeracy requirements
  • the proportion of school leavers having achieved Level 2 is increasing, with almost all Year 13 leavers having attained at least NCEA Level 2.

The board receives information showing how well students are achieving in NCEA, as well as trends and patterns in this over time. Raising the proportion of students gaining excellence and merit endorsements remains a key NCEA objective for the school.

Other senior school information shows:

  • high levels of student retention to age 17
  • significant student success within the trades academy and other vocational courses
  • students are well supported to track their progress towards NCEA.

Years 7 and 8 student achievement information shows that:

  • three quarters of students are reading at or above the National Standards (NS) in reading and mathematics
  • increased proportions of students are achieving at or above the NS in writing, an area of ongoing school-wide focus
  • Overall, Māori students are not achieving as well as their peers overall in relation to NS.

Students in Years 7 to 10 are well supported to assess and monitor the quality of their work.

Fortnightly ‘learning readiness’ reports are being used well to monitor individual's and cohorts of students’ engagement with their learning. This includes key competencies such as self-management and relating to others. Teachers assess, know and track student achievement information and report this to students, their parents and curriculum leaders.

Curriculum leaders are using student achievement information well to:

  • identify what course programmes are meeting students’ needs and make appropriate adjustments
  • track the progress of students’ acquisition of key skills and knowledge within their respective curriculum areas
  • report progress against department and/or school-wide goals to senior leaders.

Next steps

Senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school should develop and implement a system that enables early identification of, and appropriate support for all students who need a ‘boost’ with aspects of their learning. 

Senior and curriculum leaders should better use the learning information to:

  • report how well Years 9 and 10 students are achieving against the school’s expectations
  • analyse, evaluate and report the sufficiency of the progress students are making in Years 7 to 10
  • evaluate and report the impact of new initiatives on students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

This information should further assist the board in making appropriate resourcing decisions. Senior leaders believe the school is now better placed to do this with the school’s recently adopted student-management system.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning and is responsive to students’ immediate and ongoing needs.

Students benefit from a curriculum that:

  • supports the school’s vision for its learners
  • provides increased opportunity to learn
  • encourages them to contribute positively to the school and society
  • is broad, relevant, personalised to individual interests, needs and abilities
  • provides many opportunities for cooperative learning
  • continues to extend the scope of the curriculum for senior students, for example in the trades academy and primary rural management courses
  • connects students’ learning to the wider community.

Learning for Years 7 and 8 students is enhanced through the opportunities they have for specialist subject teaching. These students value the mentoring and support they receive regularly from senior students. Learning programmes are carefully designed to support students’ progression through the year levels from Year 7 onwards. Some examples of this include key skills, knowledge and assessment practices.

Curriculum leaders are collaborating effectively to:

  • identify areas of common need, such as writing, and how these will be focused on to raise student achievement
  • share strategies to support students to gain endorsements
  • work with senior leaders to establish school-wide annual goals
  • support teachers (including newly graduated teachers) who are new to their curriculum team
  • reflect on and improve course and subject provision for students to better meet their needs.

Next steps

School leaders should strengthen their expectations for teachers to inquire into their teaching practices to evaluate the difference they are making to students’ learning. This inquiry should occur throughout and at the end of teaching units. It should involve rigorous scrutiny of student learning information. 

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

Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and their learning. The principal has taken responsibility for overseeing Māori student achievement and wellbeing.

The school has recently developed a plan to advance Māori succeeding as Māori. This plan is suitably based on the Ministry of Education (MoE) resource Ka Hikitia and shaped to the school’s context. The next step is for the school to share this plan with whānau to gain their feedback and input.

The school has recently appointed a kaitiaki (guardian) of their Māori and Pacific students. In addition, a mentor has been appointed to support Māori students to increase their educational success and build awareness of their individual cultural identities. Students told ERO they value the work of the kaitiaki and mentor.

Māori culture, language and identity continue to be well promoted in the junior area of the school. Senior students ERO spoke with said they would appreciate hearing more te reo Māori used in class and at school events.

Some teachers are undertaking professional development to improve their awareness of tikanga Māori. All staff would benefit from becoming familiar with the cultural competencies, as set out in the MoE resource Tātaiako.

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. This is evident in:

  • the cooperative and collegial way staff and leaders are working together
  • improved board and management systems to ensure current legislative requirements are met
  • the school prioritising what matters most for students’ learning in its long-term and annual planning
  • the willingness of staff to try new things in order to achieve improved outcomes for all students
  • the high priority the board places on student and staff wellbeing.

The principal has built an environment where staff are supported to share ideas and build their professional practice. Students appreciate the ways in which the principal interacts with them and the interest he shows in them. He has deliberately established a sound foundation upon which to make further change. He manages changes in a considered and inclusive manner.

Next steps

Leaders should strengthen internal evaluation. This should include using an appropriate framework and suitable indicators to guide internal evaluation. Rigorous evaluation should help leaders and the board to know what is working well and what needs to change. 

Leaders need to further develop the appraisal process for teachers, to ensure it meets all the requirements of the Education Council and is implemented consistently.

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. Twenty two international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO evaluation. The school has attested that it complies with the Code. ERO’s findings confirm this.

International students are well provided for by the school and in their homestays. Their learning and wellbeing are closely monitored by International Student staff and their teachers. Students’ pastoral care and English Language Learning support are strong. They are well integrated into school life. A new Director of International Students has recently been appointed.

As yet there have been no reviews of the effectiveness of the International Student programme beyond ensuring that the school meets the requirements of the Code. A next step is for the director to report to the board showing how well students are achieving and progressing.

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 at Taieri College are well provided for. Their learning is promoted through a collaborative and positive school culture. Significant building and other developments are improving teaching and learning. The school’s curriculum is broad and progressive. Wellbeing for staff and students is well supported. Extending analysis of the sufficiency of students’ progress should better inform teacher-inquiry practices, school-wide internal evaluation and reporting.

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

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

31 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Mosgiel

Ministry of Education profile number

495

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

1009

Number of international students

22

Gender composition

Boys:     50%
Girls:      50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Asian
Other

82%
10%
  1%
  1%
  6%

Special Features

Technology centre for students in Years 7 and 8 from schools on the Taieri Plains

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

31 August 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2012
March 2009
October 2005