Wairoa College - 30/07/2019

Findings

Wairoa College is successfully addressing its priorities for improvement. Trustees and school leadership are ensuring overall tone, processes and practices more effectively support improvement and students’ learning and wellbeing. Continuing to improve achievement, particularly for boys remains a priority.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wairoa College’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?

Wairoa College is a Year 7 to 13 secondary school located in northern Hawke's Bay. At the time of this ERO review the roll was 478, with 88% of students identifying as Māori. Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa are identified as mana whenua.

Students have opportunities to achieve success in a wide range of cultural, sporting and leadership activities. Staff, whānau and community members support students to regularly participate in these activities throughout the wider region.

Since the June 2016 ERO report, Ministry of Education appointed Limited Statutory Managers (LSMs) have supported trustees to respond to identified issues and build the board’s capability to contribute to school improvement. Trustees have acted independently since the LSM role concluded in August 2018. The recently elected board includes a mix of experienced and new trustees.

After a period of leadership uncertainty there have been several staffing changes, including within the senior leadership team. A new principal began in 2018. A deputy principal and learning and pastoral leaders have also been appointed. A number of new initiatives, processes and revised structures have been introduced since the beginning of 2018.

Led by the board and principal, a re-visioning of the strategic purpose has taken place based on ‘Kia mataara: Be vigilant, choose wisely’. The mission of the school is now described as, ‘through manaakitanga we will create a supportive environment, setting high expectations that will inspire lifelong learning’. Promoting personal excellence and celebrating success are a current focus to support this mission. Core values linked to the valued outcomes are identified as, ‘Manaakitanga (caring for each student), Kotahitanga (working together), Whakamana (respect) and Aumangea (resilience)’.

Improvement areas in the 2019 annual plan, linked to the strategic intent, include:

  • raising student achievement, engagement and wellbeing

  • improving overall tone

  • lifting expectations for teaching and learning.

Specific strategies have been identified to support these areas to improve student outcomes.

The school is a member of the Mata Nui o Kahungunu Kāhui Ako. This education initiative involving a number of regional schools is focused on improving literacy, better supporting wellbeing and greater collaboration with iwi.

Since the previous ERO report, the school has worked alongside ERO to respond to the areas for improvement that were identified. Focus has been on ensuring the school more effectively responds to the learning and wellbeing needs of students and that improvements are sustainable. Professional development has emphasised improving practices that support learners and building senior and middle leadership capability.

Since the beginning of 2018, positive change across a number of areas has occurred. At the time of this ERO review, governance and management is focused on ensuring processes and practices effectively support positive outcomes for all students.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The areas identified in the previous ERO report as requiring improvement included:

  • raising achievement at all year levels

  • implementing a schoolwide approach to the use of achievement information

  • developing a curriculum framework that supports culturally responsive teaching practice

  • implementing an appraisal process that supports improved teaching practice, including through robust inquiry

  • effective leadership of change, that includes consultation with a range of stakeholders

  • development by the board and school management of a ‘fit for purpose’ policy framework and supporting procedures

  • enhancing internal evaluation capacity.

Progress

School processes and practices are more effectively supporting improvement and students’ learning and wellbeing. The school has made significant progress in addressing the issues identified in the previous ERO report in a way that reflects current educational theory, best practice and has included a collaborative, focused approach.

Achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) Level 1 has improved markedly since 2016 and in 2018 was similar to the national average. Māori and male NCEA achievement has improved at Levels 1 and 2 and disparity with other groups has reduced. Continuing to improve Māori and male NCEA, and overall leaver outcomes, continues to be given priority. Improving NCEA Level 2 and certificate endorsements are a specific focus in 2019.

Many students enter Years 7 to 10 below curriculum expectation. A range of appropriate assessment tools are increasingly used to show the extent of progress. Some students make accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy over a year. Greater progress for more students is necessary to enable access to a wider range of learning choices as students move through the school.

To further improve use of assessment in Years 7 to 10, students need to be aware of what they need to know and be able to do at each level, to be successful learners as they progress through the junior school. Such awareness should more effectively assist:

  • students to take more responsibility for their own learning

  • teachers to more effectively identify student learning needs and next steps

  • parents and whānau to engage as partners in their children’s learning.

The charter and strategic plan is based on the revised school vision and provides a clear and appropriate direction moving forward. Supporting greater student engagement and valuing and promoting Māori success as Māori are integral to the annual plan. Learning area goals align to the annual plan.

Trustees are focused on knowing about and supporting student needs. They are well informed by the principal and learning leaders about achievement and progress across the school. Achievement targets are in place for Years 7 to 13. An overall school attendance target has been set. Progress towards these targets need to be a key part of board reporting and evaluation of effectiveness.

A more consistent schoolwide approach to the use of achievement information assists trustees, leaders and teachers to:

  • better develop and monitor specific achievement targets for all year levels
  • implement targeted teaching and learning programmes
  • identify, track and support students at risk of underachieving to make accelerated progress.

Leaders should continue to build the use of data schoolwide to inquire into the effectiveness of teaching and intervention strategies on student progress.

A shared schoolwide commitment and improved processes contribute to improved tracking, more learning-based conversations and better student outcomes. Greater impact should result from ensuring strategies to respond to identified learning needs are more specific.

A policy and procedural framework is in place to guide practice in all aspects of school operation. Regular review by the board is guided by a work plan. Regular consideration of board practices in relation to effective governance guidelines assists in clarifying trustees’ stewardship role. The board effectively meets its legislative requirements.

A collaborative and consultative approach are key elements of the well-considered approach to change. The principal and senior leadership are effectively leading improvement. They are supportive of staff and provide clear direction. Promoting greater engagement and learning through effective teaching and leadership are a central aspect of leaders’ improvement strategies. Regular collection of feedback from students and staff informs ongoing reflection on the impact of processes and initiatives.

Leaders and teachers are developing a curriculum that is more localised, engaging and future focused. Professional learning and development supports teachers to be more responsive to the varying interests and needs of students. Clarifying and strengthening culturally responsive teaching practice and teacher inquiry are current priorities. Development of the Year 9 curriculum includes greater use of an integrated, project-based approach using contexts of high student interest.

The various components of the appraisal process more successfully promote improved teacher practice. The process complies with Teaching Council expectations. Ensuring greater consistency and robustness in implementing appraisal should focus on building the quality of feedback and feedforward by appraisers, including as a part of teacher observations.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school has:

  • strengthened its capacity to reflect, plan, act and report to trustees using evidence that includes student achievement information

  • developed a sustainable cycle of planning, improvement and review

  • built the capability to sustain and continue to improve student achievement

  • extended the capacity to respond effectively to any current or emergent issues

  • made significant progress in establishing a foundation of values, leadership, tone, climate and relationships likely to sustain and improve student engagement and learning.

To further support improved student outcomes leaders need to continue to:

  • embed across the school the good quality approaches and review processes that have been developed since the previous ERO review to respond to student needs and promote success

  • extend understanding and use of robust evaluation to assist consideration of the impact of practices and what is needed to continue to improve.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Conclusion

Wairoa College is successfully addressing its priorities for improvement. Trustees and school leadership are ensuring overall tone, processes and practices more effectively support improvement and students’ learning and wellbeing. Continuing to improve achievement, particularly for boys remains a priority.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wairoa College’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 Region

30 July 2019

About the School

Location

Wairoa

Ministry of Education profile number

214

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

478

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

88%
9%
3%

Special features

Bi-lingual Year 7 and 8 class Services Academy Learning Support Centre

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

30 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2016
July 2012
December 2008