Vanguard Military School - 29/08/2016

Findings

Vanguard Military School is meeting all but one of its obligations as outlined in the Agreement with the Crown. It has demonstrated that it has the capability to continue to improve educational outcomes for its students. 

1 Context

Vanguard Military School is a Partnership School|Kura Hourua (PSKH) located in Albany, Auckland. It caters for students in Years 11 to 13. The sponsor is Advance Training Group and an advisory board is in place to provide governance support.

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.

The sponsor's vision for the school is to develop young men and women to become productive, responsible citizens of New Zealand. There is a commitment to "striving for excellence in all tasks, unlocking the potential of each individual and creating a positive pathway for their future".

The school offers a curriculum based on The New Zealand Curriculum and designed to provide opportunities for success at Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The military ethos of the school with its emphasis on physical drill, character development and team work is intended "to motivate students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve personal and academic excellence so that they have clear pathways to further training or employment".   

The school has met its performance standard of enrolling 75 percent priority learners. Students attend the school from a very wide geographic area. Only 28 percent came from the local North Shore area in 2015. The school has data that show that many students have been previously disengaged or not performing to potential at their former schools.

The school roll at March 1, 2016 was 154, close to the 156 specified as the guaranteed minimum roll.

The sponsor has attested that in 2016, 90 percent of the curriculum is taught by registered teachers and holders of LAT. In 2015 there were 12 registered teachers with current practising certificates and one LAT in a teaching staff of 14.5.  

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.

Measures

2015 target

2015 result

Met / Not met

Student achievement

86.8% school leavers with NCEA Level 1

94.8%

Met

 

81.4% school leavers with NCEA Level 2

86.2%

Met


Student achievement

Students have achieved well in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. NZQA roll-based data for 2015 show that 90 percent of students gained Level 1 qualifications, 100 percent achieved Level 2 and 93 percent achieved Level 3.  

Māori students achieved better than all other ethnic groups in the school and significantly better than Māori and all other students nationally, except for University Entrance.  

A small percentage of students gained endorsement for merit and excellence in 2014. There was an upwards trend in merit endorsements in 2015 at Level 1.  

School data over the first two years of operation show a consistent upward trend in achievement in NCEA. Staff are keen to increase the level of endorsements for merit and excellence that students receive, and to increase the number of students who gain University Entrance.

Student engagement

The school has not met the performance standards for stand downs, suspensions, exclusion and expulsion. There were 6 suspensions, 1 exclusion and 5 expulsions in 2015. Students were stood down for a total of 16 days.

The school reports that it has met the performance standard for unjustified absences. At the time of this review the school reported daily attendance of over 91 percent. Attendance is carefully monitored and there has been a low rate of unjustified absence. 

3 Sustainability and future focus

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

The school has well developed capability to assess student achievement. Teachers make good use of professional networks to ensure that assessment tasks are fit for purpose and that teacher judgements are moderated externally to ensure that data is valid and reliable. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has expressed confidence in the school's systems for managing national assessment.

The school's curriculum is based on The New Zealand Curriculum but does not attempt to cover the full range of essential learning areas. Programmes are designed to enable students to achieve success in literacy and numeracy so that they have the necessary foundation for applying for further training or employment. Courses include te reo Māori, English, mathematics, science, history, engineering and defence force studies. Students have access to a limited range of credits and subject choices, but are well supported to succeed within this framework. All students interviewed had a clear sense of what they need to achieve their vocational goals.

All students take part in the Recruit Development Course which is designed to support young people to develop personal discipline, resilience and life skills, and is consistent with the vison, values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Enthusiastic engagement in the physical fitness programme each afternoon is helping to build the school culture of team work and shared success. Students described their increased levels of physical fitness as one of the chief benefits of being at this school.

School leaders have made good use of student feedback and analysis of student achievement data to review course provision to meet students' needs more closely. Very good systems are in place to monitor and track each individual student's progress and achievement. Further consideration of students' prior learning and the credits they may carry with them as they enter the school could be useful in tailoring courses more specifically for individuals.

The school's goals for 2016 are to continue to promote high levels of student attendance, student engagement and student achievement. Specific strategies are in place to support each area, including engagement in cultural and community activities that foster the sponsor's values. Good systems are in place to support ongoing professional development for teachers and to promote teamwork among the staff so that their performance is highly consistent with the sponsor's vision.   

4 Statutory / Legal obligations

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

The school has administered the Wellbeing@school survey for all students each year. School leaders have made very good use of the findings to alter course content and programme delivery to promote desired outcomes for students. Shared values and a commitment to service to others underpin relationships between and among staff and students, and students rated the school's caring teaching and learning culture most highly in the survey.

In order to improve current practice, school leaders should ensure that evidence to support teachers' endorsement against the Practising Teachers Criteria is robust and fully reflects the rigour of the school's appraisal process.

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

Vanguard Military School is meeting all but one of its obligations as outlined in the Agreement with the Crown. It has demonstrated that it has the capability to continue to improve educational outcomes for its students. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

694

School type

Secondary (Years 11 to 15)

School roll

154

Gender composition

Boys      66%

Girls       34%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Cook Island Māori
Tongan
Indian
other

40%
38%
  5%
  4%
  4%
  2%
  7%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

29 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

New School Assurance Review

October 2014