Waitaki Boys' High School - 23/01/2017

Findings

ERO is not confident that the school leaders are capable of effectively addressing the important issues identified in this report. ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education maintains the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the improvements in the following areas:

  • governance
  • leadership and change
  • strategic planning and internal evaluation.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

The school’s 2014 ERO report highlighted a number of significant issues that had the potential to impact on positive outcomes for students. These are listed in the following section. Since the time of the last ERO review: 

  • ERO has maintained ongoing involvement with the school
  • a Statutory Commissioner was appointed
  • the previous rector has resigned
  • the school roll has declined but has stabilised
  • a number of changes to staffing have occurred. 

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2014 ERO report identified these significant areas for review and development: 

  • governance
  • leading and managing the school
  • effective teaching
  • a safe and inclusive school culture
  • engaging parents, whānau and communities. 

Progress

The quality of communication and relationships in and out of the school have been improved, as have aspects of student engagement, such as levels of attendance. However, there is still much to be done. The school’s data for 2015 shows low levels of overall achievement, attendance and retention, and increased stand downs and suspensions.

Some improvements to curriculum planning and delivery have been made. Heads of Faculty are required to report on their respective areas. Teachers are taking increasing responsibility for managing classroom learning and behaviour. They are in the early stages of developing expertise in inquiring into their own teaching practice.

Senior students now have broader opportunities for vocational learning, for example through partnerships with other schools and providers. Support for students with high learning needs has become more focused.

The deans of pastoral care work collaboratively and provide good support for students. The wellbeing of staff and students, including hostel students, is being closely monitored. The dean of Pasifika students has supported the improved attendance, engagement and achievement of Pasifika students. ERO and the deans agree on the need to improve planning and evaluation of pastoral care.

Communication and relationships between staff and senior leaders have improved. Staff and students generally feel that the school is more settled and they are positive about school leadership. The views of staff and students are being increasingly sought and listened to. The acting rector is accessible and approachable for students and staff.

The governance issues faced by the school have been significantly improved.

Improvements include: 

  • better communication and relationships with parents, local schools and the community
  • a significant reduction in complaints, and resolution of employment issues
  • a well-maintained focus on the wellbeing of staff and students
  • the appointment of an experienced acting rector for school stability
  • an ongoing commitment to appointing a rector whose vision aligns with the school’s focus for improving teaching and learning. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is not well placed to improve and review its performance. Strategic planning and internal-evaluation practices require significant development or improvement. Key relationships continue to pose a risk to the school’s ability to sustain and improve practice and overall performance. Leaders need to develop a greater level of trust to ensure that they can fulfil their roles and responsibilities more effectively. The working relationships within the senior leadership team require urgent review.

A board of trustees has yet to be established to govern the school and hostel (Don House). At the time of this review, a new rector was still to be appointed. This needs to be carried out in a timely manner to ensure stable professional leadership for the immediate future.

A number of key tasks for school leadership continue to require development or improvement. These include: 

  • implementing strategies and practices to lift the low levels of achievement, attendance and engagement evident across the school
  • revising and fully implementing the school’s charter, vision and values as a basis for school development
  • closer monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the school’s progress in meeting its key priorities for development and for raising achievement
  • ensuring expectations for effective curriculum management, delivery, review and reporting are known, followed and consistent across the school
  • leading high quality teaching and learning support through rigorous appraisal, inquiry and professional learning
  • ongoing monitoring of provisions for a safe and inclusive environment for staff and students
  • increasing opportunities for student leadership and for students to be more involved in their learning
  • re-establishing the range of initiatives for lifting the lower levels of achievement of Māori students
  • improving communication and relations with parents and the wider-school community, including consulting with parents, whānau and local iwi/rūnaka. 

The principal's appraisal process needs to be fully implemented. This will give the commissioner assurance that the school’s key priorities are being achieved.

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.

Since the on-site stage of this review, the Commissioner has completed the Board Assurance Statement identifying several areas requiring attention. ERO will continue to monitor these.

4 Recommendations

ERO is not confident that the school leaders are capable of effectively addressing the important issues identified in this report, without a highly functioning school leadership team. ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education maintains the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989.

Conclusion

ERO is not confident that the school leaders are capable of effectively addressing the important issues identified in this report. ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education maintains the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the improvements in the following areas:

  • governance
  • leadership and change
  • strategic planning and internal evaluation.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern

23 January 2017

About the School 

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

365

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

484

Number of International students

12

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pasifika

Asian

Other

77%

12%

5%

3%

3%

Special Features

School Hostel

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

23 January 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2014

April 2010

February 2007