Taita College - 27/09/2017

Summary

Taita College is a co-educational secondary school in the Hutt Valley. It has 460 students from Years 9 to 14, including 45% who identify as Māori and 34% who are of Pacific heritage.

The college has recently refreshed its vision and values encouraging students to “aim high for what is truly valuable, be persistent and don’t let obstacles stop you from achieving your goal.”

To support positive conditions for learning, the college is welcoming and inclusive. Shared values promote “respect for our people, our place, our learning”. An orderly and encouraging environment supports teaching and learning. The grounds include a community marae, Te Whakaruruhau. The library now operates as a “knowledge hub” and has a school wide initiative operating in partnership with Hutt City libraries.

A new principal was appointed in 2016. The board of trustees elected in 2016 was dissolved in June 2017. A commissioner appointed by the Secretary for Education now has responsibility for all aspects of governance.

The college has participated in Ministry of Education initiatives, Kia Eke Panuku and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L). It has joined the Taita-Stokes Valley Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako and is working collectively with the neighbouring Naenae Kāhui Ako.

The college has made progress towards addressing the next steps outlined in the September 2014 ERO report. Some areas, including strengthening the use of assessment information to meet the needs of diverse learners and internal evaluation, continue to be priorities.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all students?

Taita College is focused on improving its response to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Overall results in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) have fluctuated since the previous ERO report. The trend shows a decline in achievement at all Levels during 2015, followed by some improvement in 2016. While achievement is improving, it remains below the average for all schools nationally and the average for schools similar to the college.

In 2016, just under two thirds of students left the college with at least NCEA Level 2, an increase from 2015. There is disparity in achievement for Māori students in most areas, shown in both entry and leaver data. Outcomes for Pacific students have generally improved over time.

More work is needed to establish and sustain practices that promote increased learning, engagement and progress for all students. This includes:

  • ensuring the curriculum offers meaningful and relevant pathways for learning
  • building the effectiveness of teacher practice
  • improving and developing effective evidence-based internal evaluation across the school
  • further building relationships and partnerships with the community.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Taita College leaders and staff must continue to have a relentless focus on improving the effectiveness of responses to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The college is seeking to build on some recent improvements in overall achievement and has introduced further changes to the curriculum and assessment to promote increased engagement in learning.

Leaders recognise that achievement for groups of students at NCEA Levels 1 and 3, and in University Entrance needs significant further improvement. Girls achieve better than boys, with the gap widening as they move through the school. Improving attendance and engagement for some students is a priority.

Deliberate actions have begun to address disparity in achievement for Māori and other students. Teachers have strengthened their response to these students’ cultural and learning needs. Some improvements in overall achievement and engagement are evident. Pacific student achievement shows improvement, particularly at NCEA Level 2. However, disparity between Māori and others in the school and nationally continues. This is evident in both rates of progress up to Year 10 and NCEA achievement. Approximately half of Māori students leave the college with NCEA Level 2 or above.

Data from Year 9 students’ previous schools is used when they enter the college. This shows that most of these students require accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy to meet curriculum expectations. Those needing improved achievement are targeted. Reported information shows increased progress for some students. The proportion of Māori experiencing accelerated progress is less than for their peers in the school.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Taita College continues to develop processes for the achievement of equity and excellence.

To support positive conditions for learning, the college is welcoming and inclusive. Shared values promote “respect for our people, our place, our learning”. An orderly and encouraging environment supports teaching and learning.

For students entering the college, there are well-considered processes to respond to their learning and pastoral needs. Good communication with contributing schools, parents and whānau results in useful information for teachers. The college’s membership of Taita-Stokes Valley Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako should provide opportunities to extend collaboration with primary and intermediate schools, to raise students’ achievement and support their transition to the college.

Curriculum leaders have extended the range of pathways that respond to the needs and aspirations of students and their whānau. More students are involved in vocational courses developed as part of useful relationships with external providers. New courses and programmes cater for Māori students at risk of not achieving at expected levels. Information collected by the college indicates that most leavers go into employment or further study.

Teachers have worked to improve students’ engagement and participation in the curriculum through integrating authentic contexts for learning and responding to their interests and strengths. Professional learning for staff has been underpinned by Kia Eke Panuku. This has prompted culturally responsive inquiries into the effectiveness of teaching. Students’ culture, language and identity are increasingly woven into curriculum content and teaching practices. Pastoral data indicates improved engagement since 2016.

Leaders and teachers focus on building strong relationships with students and their sense of belonging within the college. Students work with their tutor teacher to develop individual learning plans and set goals for improvement. Monitoring and review provides good information for parents and their children. Increased communication and sharing of learning information is evident.

Pastoral care is well considered. Students’ achievement and pastoral needs are closely tracked and monitored throughout their years at the college. Supporting their wellbeing for success is a priority. There are strong links with external agencies, institutions and support groups that are used appropriately, as required.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

In time, re-establishment of a board of trustees to work strategically and collaboratively with the principal, staff and students, and realise the community’s vision and values, will be important to sustaining development for equity and excellence.

Changes made since 2016, are intended to improve the equity and excellence of learner outcomes. These closely align to the college’s renewed vision, values and strategic priorities. They include further building relationships and partnerships to reflect community aspirations to improve outcomes for all students.

Ongoing focus on developing practice to accelerate the progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students is needed. Initial strategies have been implemented for Year 9 students aimed at accelerating their literacy learning and achievement. An inquiry-based approach for all Year 9 classes was introduced in 2017.

An appropriate range of data about student engagement, learning and achievement is collated. The college is seeking to strengthen the use of assessment tools and information to show the impact of practices and initiatives that are intended to raise achievement.

Leaders and teachers are increasingly reflective. Extending leaders’ capability to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of departmental practice for teaching and learning, should assist in strengthening the college’s overall capacity to respond effectively to students’ increasingly diverse needs.

The college identified that the previous appraisal system lacked consistency and rigour. A new performance development and professional review cycle, implemented in 2017, reflects the Practising Teacher Criteria and usefully links to the school’s strategic goals. Further strengthening this process and ensuring its robust implementation should result in better monitoring and guidance for improvement in teacher practice.

Priorities to accelerate students’ learning include:

  • a comprehensive review and cohesive development of the curriculum to address disparity in educational opportunities and outcomes and ensure meaningful and relevant pathways through and beyond school
  • setting specific, measurable targets for accelerated achievement and increased engagement aligned to school priorities
  • strengthened evidence-based internal evaluation to investigate and show the impact of actions taken to accelerate students’ progress and improve their achievement.

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

  • asset management.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all students who need it?

Taita College is reviewing and developing the conditions needed to promote significantly improved learning, engagement and progress for all students. Disparity in achievement for Māori and other students is evident.

Leaders and teachers know the learners whose progress and achievement need to be accelerated and now need to continue to:

  • develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner

  • improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement

  • build teacher capability to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate progress for learners
  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and learners’ progress
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all students.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

27 September 2017

About the school

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

258

School type

Secondary (Years 9 - 14)

School roll

460

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 45%
Pacific 34%
Pākehā 18%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

27 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review July 2011
Supplementary Review August 2009