Westland High School - 04/11/2019

Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Westland High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

1 Background and Context

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

Westland High School is a co-educational, Years 7-13 secondary school in Hokitika. It has a roll of 300, 28% of whom are Māori. The school is a member of the Westland Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Prior to the June 2017 ERO review, the Board requested the support of a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to take responsibility for the financial and personnel aspects of the work of the board. The Ministry of Education appointed an LSM for this purpose.

In July 2017, the principal resigned. Over the following year there were three acting principals. In April 2018, the current principal was appointed using the Principal Recruitment Allowance (PRA) process.

This report identifies Westland High School’s progress in addressing the areas for review and development that were identified in ERO’s June 2017 Education Review report and in the mid-point progress visit report in April 2019.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • the quality of teaching and learning
  • pastoral care
  • student achievement, and analysis and use of achievement data and other information
  • relationships and school culture
  • school governance and leadership (section 3 of this report)
  • internal evaluation, including curriculum review (section 3 of this report).

Although the school has made good progress these priorities have remained since the 2017 ERO report.

Progress

The quality of teaching and learning, including reporting to parents

Generally good levels of participation in learning were observed in settled learning environments. Interactions were positive and respectful, with good relationships evident. Students knew the learning routines and behaviour expectations. The majority of students reported that their teachers cared about their learning.

Good quality classroom resources that promote learning and engagement were evident in some classrooms.

Pastoral care

The consolidation of pastoral leadership has strengthened academic and wellbeing support for students. School information shows positive improvements in student behaviour.

Leaders are developing effective, inclusive and culturally responsive practices with the wider school community. Within the school, pastoral leadership groups are continuing to develop by sharing and building knowledge about student learning and wellbeing needs.

Student achievement, and analysis and use of achievement data and other information

The board recognises that improving student achievement is a high priority and it receives regular reporting on NCEA progress and achievement. Access to the depth and breadth of the curriculum has been improved with changes in the subject options available to students. Changes to the school timetable in 2019, particularly for Years 7-10, are ensuring student access to learning opportunities for improvement in literacy and numeracy.

Attendance data for the first half of 2019 has been analysed and patterns identified. Positive shifts are evident, with improved student attendance.

A useful student graduate profile has been developed for Māori and other students in the bilingual unit that identifies appropriate, valued competencies and skills.

Relationships and school culture

There has been significant strengthening of relationships with the school community, including parents/whānau, education agencies and support services, and other community organisations. At governance level, community representation and an acknowledgment of the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi partnership have been recognised with Manawhenua representation on the board.

Within the school community there has been a shift towards a positive culture built on strengthening respectful relationships. Stakeholder involvement in key aspects of the school is encouraged and survey information is gathered. There have been opportunities for professional collaboration within and beyond the school.

Key next steps

Student achievement, and analysis and use of achievement data and other information

In order to improve student achievement, the school needs to:

  • develop clear and consistent processes for collecting, analysing and reporting achievement information at all levels of the school to support student progress
  • take deliberate, well informed actions to address disparity for Māori and other priority students
  • ensure there is a clear schoolwide understanding of acceleration of learning and sufficiency of progress for those targeted and other students who need this
  • establish explicit, documented targets for Years 7-10 Māori and other students that promote opportunities for them to make progress.

The quality of teaching and learning

A high priority for leaders and teachers is to complete the school’s curriculum framework to strengthen how it responds to learning needs, engagement and progress to achieve valued outcomes for its students.

Developing consistently effective teaching practices should be part of curriculum development. Providing targeted PLD that includes a focus on understanding and using effective teaching inquiries, to reflect on and build professional capability, will support progress for students. Strengthening the quality of planning, developing clear expectations for teaching and learning, and ensuring consistent understanding and implementation of assessment practices will improve schoolwide systems and practices to meet the school’s vision.

The school needs to ensure that bicultural practices underpin schoolwide teaching, learning and reporting.

An appraisal process needs to be fully implemented to meet Teaching Council expectations.

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 becoming better placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The board is fully supportive of the new principal and is prioritising actions and resourcing to support student outcomes.

Improvements in the organisation of pastoral systems to support student learning, wellbeing and inclusive practices have led to an improved school culture and respectful relationships. These could be a model of practice for other organisational changes within the school.

Significant improvements in a number of structural, operational and relationship areas are helping to re-build the conditions that best promote positive learning and achievement outcomes for all students.

Key Next Steps

It would be timely for the board to have further training to build its capability. This should support sustainable stewardship over time. Strengthened effectiveness should ensure a focused and efficient approach to the development, management and monitoring of strategic and annual planning, and improve outcomes for students. Planning needs to prioritise identified actions for improvement.

To increase successful outcomes for all learners, senior and middle leaders need to collaboratively identify priorities and actions for high quality curriculum leadership, teaching and learning, and assessment and reporting.

More effective communication between middle and senior leaders, and increased opportunities for middle leaders to build their capability, would help to strengthen middle and whole school strategic leadership.

The school should develop a school wide internal evaluation/review plan. This will help to develop a deeper understanding of what internal evaluation is, how to apply it, and how to inform an effective strategic action plan to promote and sustain school improvements.

ERO recognises the positive progress the school has been making and strongly recommends that the school continue to build the collective capacity necessary to meet its strategic goal of raising achievement for every learner through innovation, student engagement, technology, and high quality teaching and learning in every classroom.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that Ministry of Education continues to support the school in order to bring about the following improvements to:

  • student achievement and acceleration of learning
  • curriculum programmes and schoolwide teaching practices
  • bicultural practices to meet Treaty of Waitangi obligations
  • internal evaluation to meet schoolwide valued outcomes
  • middle leadership.

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association further support the board with trustee training and the development of internal evaluation processes.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Westland High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

4 November 2019

About the School

Location

Hokitika

Ministry of Education profile number

305

School type

Secondary (Years 7-13)

School roll

300

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnicities

28%

68%

2%

2%

Special features

Bilingual class, Levels 1 and 2

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

4 November 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

June 2017

July 2013